'Glee' Recap: Killing the Music Could Save This Thing

Glee Purple Piano ProjectIf you ever wondered how Glee would play if it were a horror movie, the premiere of Season 3 -- dubbed the "Purple Piano Project" -- came pretty close to the mark. Sue Sylvester is out to kill the arts in a bid for a Congressional seat. Quinn Fabray is dumping music in exchange for a Ryan Seacrest tramp stamp and a nose ring, and a shortage of high school drama options on her resume has Rachel Berry voicing plans to move to a small town and relegate herself to community theater productions of the Vagina Monologues. Aaaaaack!

Oh Gleeks, is this what we've come to? An hour-long PSA on the importance of arts education? Well yeah, but who says that's a bad thing?

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Sue's decision to run on an anti-arts campaign because being "pro-deportation" was entirely too positive for the Ohio electorate was certainly a perfect tie-in to the Glee Give a Note Program, launched as a tie in to the release of Season 2 on DVD last week. The project promises to give $1 million to support music in public schools (including $1 from the sale of each DVD). But it's a worthy enough cause that we'll forgive Ryan Murphy and co for the preachiness.

And let's face it Gleeks, threatening the very core of the show gave rise to the return of what made Glee worth watching to begin with.

The real triumph of the first episode came in the writers' decision to step back out of the "themed" episode comfort zone with songs from the Go Gos, Tom Jones, Barbra Streisand, and Broadway. It was refreshing to hear the stuff that gave Glee its start, as refreshing as it was to see straight-laced Quinn let loose with some rebellion and cocksure Rachel get kicked off her high horse by some seriously talented teens from schools that offered their kids far more opportunities than McKinley High.

I was getting sick of Rachel's perfect march into her awesomesauce future. I was tired of Quinn Fabray just being a perfect, well-adjusted teenager after GETTING PREGNANT AND GIVING UP HER BABY. Did they really think we'd continue to buy that crap in a high school setting? A setting where the kids are supposed to be maladjusted freaks?

As much as I loved last season for all those fun send ups, I kind of missed all that crazy quirk from the first season. So I'll say it: if it takes scaring us with a threat that the music is going away in order to stretch the characters out of their prescribed roles, bring on the horror show.

It's the best way to ensure the longevity of the show without compromising its integrity. We've been hooked. Now we need to be shocked.

Besides, Sue's run for Congress promises to be the plot point that will truly drive the funny in Season 3. Case in point: the very best of episode 1 belongs to Mr. Schue and Ms. Pillsbury's glitter bomb of Sue protest-style in the gym as she ran auditions for the Cheerios (who, ahem, draw from the same school funds as the arts programs!). Jane Lynch's face just edges out Brittany's explanation of Quinn's new look -- "We used to be like the three musketeers. Now Santana and I are like Almond Joy and you're like the Jolly Rancher that fell in the ash tray." -- for comic genius.

What did you think of the first episode? Do you like the new, slightly more serious Glee?

 

Image via Fox

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