“The Purple Piano Project”

Posted on September 21, 2011

If there’s one thing Glee (sometimes inadvertently) does really well, it’s coming up with episodes that clearly delineate what does and doesn’t work about the show. You can look at last night’s episode and see certain things being checked off a list; Will & Emma, the Senior situation (as in, who’s a senior in the cast and who isn’t), Blaine & Kurt’s relationship, Rachel & Finn’s relationship, the shuffling off of dead weight (goodbye Sam and Lauren), Quinn as the most put-upon and publicly humiliated pretty blonde cheerleader in the history of high school, Sue’s latest jihad against the glee club, and a roundabout return to the show’s earliest and potentially most interesting theme: the hopes of high school coming up against the crushing reality of post-high school life.

Of all the storylines put into place last night, it was the idea planted in Kurt and Rachel’s head that they’re not such hot shit outside the walls of the choir room, let alone Lima, that has the best and most potential to pay off big by the end of the season. The problem with Glee has always been that, unlike most TV series, it really only has one story to tell: a hodge-podge mix of losers and outcasts of various stripes navigate the deadly social constructions of high school, learn to believe in themselves, and grab a shot of glory before moving on. You can tell it in one two-hour movie. But Glee has to tell the same story over and over, week after week; shuffling the aging characters around the board, introducing new ones along the way, and switching up only the songs and romantic pairings to make it interesting. The problem with the highly problematic season 2 was the erroneous thinking that adding theme episodes and a whole lot of social commentary to the mix was the way to go to keep things fresh. The only true thing you can do with Glee – the only thing that doesn’t feel like a waste of time to the viewer – is to take that theme of going for the glory to its conclusion. Firmly declaring which characters are seniors, and thus, up to bat (so to speak) in terms of dealing with the major over-riding theme of the show, is the best thing that can happen from a story-telling point of view. Kurt, Rachel, Quinn and Finn have one final season to figure their shit out and get that big trophy before they exit the stage.

It may just be that the writing team will focus solely on these four characters for the rest of the season. Even though we’ve complained as much as anyone that Mercedes and Artie don’t get enough solos or storylines, we think a tighter focus on those 4 main characters is what the show needs right now. They have never learned how to effectively divvy up the spotlight for the large cast and it’s possible that they’re not even going to try that hard this year. It’s the 4 main characters, with everyone else in a somewhat supporting role. That’ll piss off quite a few fans of Mercedes, Tina, Artie, Santana, etc., but sometimes (we would argue all the time) a creator has to give his audience not what they want, but what they need. In order for Glee to survive, the show needs to tighten its focus and return to its themes.

Of course “return to its themes” meant a return to a bunch of stuff we’ve seen before, like Sue’s latest jihad, the Rachel and Finn relationship, and Quinn trying on the Bad Girl mantle again, and we admit, very little of it (okay, none of it) felt very fresh to us. In fact, that’s our main complaint about last night’s episode: it all felt a little stale and generic. But if you look at it purely from a writing perspective, in light of the critical lambasting the show got last season, and taking the long term goals into consideration, then last night’s season opener took the highly unusual step (for a season opener) of doing a “housekeeping episode.” Instead of starting off BIG! and NEW! and FRESH! like one would expect a Glee season premiere to do, the show was more about laying out the status quo and to do that, it was more important to check things off a list rather than dazzle the viewer with any newness. As strange as it sounds, checking things off a list and showing us stuff we’ve seen already was the boldest move the creators could have made; a way of saying to bitchy reviewers like us, “We have a plan; we’ve always known what it is; no more fooling around.”

Did this make for an electrifying hour of television? Sadly not. There wasn’t too much in the way of LOL moments and the numbers were energetic, but not spine-tinglingly so. At the end of the hour, we had a “Is that all there is?” moment, but in the light of day, having thought about it, we’ll take one underwhelming hour of Glee if it means they’re taking time to line up the chairs for the rest of the season. So no spontaneous applause in our TV room last night, but a lot of food for thought as to how focused the creative team is getting and whether they can pull off the trick of concluding the main story for half the cast while nurturing the other half for the season(s) to come.

Unfortunately, Hulu costs money now and we can’t insert videos of the musical numbers like we normally do. Pout. You’ll have to sing at your desk by yourself to relive the Glee experience. Do it quietly if you’re at work right now, okay?

[Photo Credit: fox.com]

    • Anonymous

      Really? You’re advocating for only focusing on the white kids?

      • http://www.tomandorenzo.com Tom and Lorenzo

        It’s always fun (and by “fun” we mean “not fun”) to see just how quickly someone in a Glee comments section is going to accuse us of racism or fat-phobia, or transphobia, or any of a number of other phobias and prejudices, but you managed it in the first 3 minutes! Well done, you!

        • Anonymous

           sucks when people assume the worst with no basis in fact.  I read that comment and thought how ridiculous.

        • Anonymous

          +1 to TLo for entertaining and condescending snark! Original commenter, not so much.

        • Nahir Otaño

          To point out that you are advocating to focus on the white characters does not mean that you are being accused of racism or fat-phobia, or any other number of phobias or prejudices. It is a legitimate question that does not have to be taken into what you are or are not. You are not those things, but focusing on that means that we don’t get to talk about the question. Is there a move in the show to showcase the white kids and why this is happening?

          • http://www.tomandorenzo.com Tom and Lorenzo

            To take our point that it’s a good idea to focus on the main characters’ stories since they’re leaving after this season and characterize it as “advocating for only focusing on the white kids” is an offensive, lazy and stupid thing to do. If you want to discuss the racial makeup of the main characters, be our guests. If you want to mischaracterize us as “advocating” for an all-white main cast, we’re going to point out what a stupid response that is.

            • Anonymous

              Fair enough.  I want to state that I agree in this context, T Lo’s original post and the “advocating” comment are poorly matched.

            • Terence Ng

              Actually, I think it’s also just as lazy (or maybe just unaware, which you don’t seem to be, based on your comments) to notice that all the main characters are white and decide that it’s not worth speaking about in a critique of the show, especially when every character you list as being unfortunately side-lined in the process is a minority of some sort.

              Maybe you just didn’t want to talk about criticisms of race in your review. Fair enough. Maybe that issue is something you’d rather point out and discuss when Vogue Italia releases another “Black Allure” issue. But then calling someone ELSE a lazy thinker for pointing out the idea you decided just not to deal with at all?

              What’s interesting is that instead of just responding somewhere in the vein of “No. That’s not what we’re advocating. We’re advocating that the show focus on its main characters,” you responded defensively (“Look, we’re not racists or any other type of prejudiced if that’s what you’re implying and you’re stupid for implying that we are! Bravo!”), and even then without addressing the topic at hand, which could have been as simple as, “Feel free to discuss the racial make-up of the cast and what that means when the focus changes.” or “No, but that’s a good point/something we hadn’t thought about.” or “No, and we disagree.”

              Instead, this became more about defending yourselves from a perceived attack on your moral integrity, which, to be fair, is not an uncommon response to this sort of thing.

              So the question becomes, “If you noticed this, why didn’t you make any mention of it in your review?” And if the reason is because you just wanted to review a show you like without getting all bogged up in that sticky top, then that’s fair, but do you really have a case to call someone else “lazy”?

            • http://www.tomandorenzo.com Tom and Lorenzo

              “But then calling someone ELSE a lazy thinker for pointing out the idea you decided just not to deal with at all?”

              Pay attention. We didn’t call that response lazy and stupid for pointing out the idea that the main characters are white; we’re calling it lazy and stupid because it claimed we were “advocating” for an all-white main cast.

              And you know what? Just so you know going forward, this is the very last time we’ll allow such a comment. By all means, criticize the show for its take on diversity, but we’re not going to host any more comments that twist around our words and subtly or not-so-subtly accuse us of prejudice for not making it the focus of our reviews.

            • Terence Ng

              I accept your point there. But I apologize if the impression is that I’m asking you to do anything or that I’m accusing you of being racist (at least in any way above how I view myself and others to be racist). I’m not asking you to make it the focus of your review. I’m asking why you thought it didn’t warrant “any mention”, which you’ve explained perfectly well. So I guess that’s the end of this issue.

            • Anonymous

              One of the main problems with Glee is its nearly pathological need to
              include every kind of minority all the time, which I believe began as a
              part of its dark twist on the after school special and became a very,
              very literal interpretation of it. What I’m trying to say is this: Yes,
              maybe they should lay off the black girl, the asian girl, the disabled
              guy, the lesbian, and focus more tightly on a smaller group of
              characters: gays, Jews, women with mental disorders and teen mothers. Or in other words, yes, every character sidelined is a minority, because nearly every character is a minority.

            • http://tigergray.blogspot.com/ Tiger Gray

              Honestly I find it somewhat racist to assume that characters should have the spotlight solely for their arbitrary characteristics as it is. The way the comment came across was, why aren’t these signs being held the highest rather than, why aren’t these characters getting a tighter focus? The black, disabled etc characters are not and should not be placeholders, faceless archetypes that exist to make white viewers feel better about racism or the various phobias. So, I am in agreement with Tlo. 

        • Terence Ng

          “…but sometimes (we would argue all the time) a creator has to give his audience not what they want, but what they need.”

          Which, surprise, surprise, turns out to be all the white kids on the show. This is actually interesting, because during the Glee Project finale, Ryan Murphy said the same thing:

          “We’re really looking for what the show needs.” …which happened to be not one, but TWO white guys…with some extra PC sprinkling of minor roles for the boho white girl and the gender-queer/trans black contestant. Because the show really “NEEDS” more white people, and specifically, more white males. It just does. Having two black, feminine characters is just plain redundant, but two white boys, one grungy, one clean cut, with a cast consisting of one All-American white boy, one bad-boy white boy, one clean-cut gay white boy, and one effeminate, white boy? Not redundant at all.

          I don’t find the initial comment outrageous at all. It actually points more toward how we are trained to approach racism in society: We’re afraid of discussing it or acknowledging our hand in all of it. It’s a bomb and everyone needs to run away because it’s the worst thing to be called ever and if someone points out something racist that you’re DOING, they’re automatically saying that you ARE a racist. But that’s not true at all. I don’t know the original poster’s intentions, but bare-bones, the comment doesn’t accuse TLo of BEING racist. It points out a racist assumption, one that ISN’T akin to burning a cross on someone’s lawn (which we’re all trained to believe is what being called “racist” or called out for doing something racist means), but one that fails to recognize the institutional racism of society, in this case, manifesting in representations of society in media.

          This is the idea that representations of white people in media are the norm or base characters; everybody can identify with them. A majority white cast on a show is instinctively a show “for” everyone, while a show with a majority of black characters (or any other ethnicity) suddenly becomes “a show for black people”. We are trained to perceive whiteness as default for us all and the inclusion of non-whiteness as unique and token, meaning that it can’t be shared by multiple characters without somehow cancelling them out. In mainstream media, you can have multiple white characters, but they’re differentiated by their individual personalities; no one gives a passing thought to the redundancy of their race. But three Asian characters, or three black characters (and not just one boy and one girl of the same minority) is suddenly a bit odd, isn’t it? “Why are there so many Asians? Is this an Asian show?” “Is this supposed to be black entertainment?” “Don’t we already have a black girl on our show?”

          We’re trained by an inherently white-focused society to believe that, and so even though we don’t think or believe in vulgar or blatantly racist things like “black people shouldn’t drink from the same water fountains as white people”, when we create shows, write stories, or review content without that critical thought, what we end up creating reflects that kind of white-focused society, whether we know it or not. And therefore, it continues to promote that social idea and that way of thinking.

          I wouldn’t accuse TLo or Ryan Murphy of being racist (more so than anyone else functioning in a racist society) because of who they cast and who they focus on in Glee, but it certainly goes toward promoting the kind of institutionally racist modes of thinking that permeates our society. That only stops when we are unafraid to examine the passive ways in which we engage in a racist society and decide to be mindful and critical of it, instead of bulking at the idea of being associated with vulgar and blatant displays of racism.

          • Anonymous

            This is my issue as well.  Everyone is quick to assure everyone else they are not racist (which I don’t think was the intent of the original comment here, even if it could have been more clearly stated) that the bigger issue is missed.  The main characters ARE all white – and while I don’t blame the writers from wanting to focus on them – as a non-white woman, raising a non-white child, while I believe I’m raising him to be color blind and accepting and compassionate, etc. etc. etc….I have to wonder what he thinks when he watches glee (and other shows) and sees no one who looks like him as a main character?  Again?  Stlll?

          • Anonymous

            This is my issue as well.  Everyone is quick to assure everyone else they are not racist (which I don’t think was the intent of the original comment here, even if it could have been more clearly stated) that the bigger issue is missed.  The main characters ARE all white – and while I don’t blame the writers from wanting to focus on them – as a non-white woman, raising a non-white child, while I believe I’m raising him to be color blind and accepting and compassionate, etc. etc. etc….I have to wonder what he thinks when he watches glee (and other shows) and sees no one who looks like him as a main character?  Again?  Stlll?

          • r0ckmypants

            Alex is neither gender-queer nor trans. He’s gay.

            • Terence Ng

              Thanks for clearing that up. I wasn’t aware of whether his gender expression was drag, trans identity, or gender queerness and whether he intended that to be part of his character if he got a spot in the show. The responses I heard from discussions mainly focused on that drag persona and how redundant it, and by extension Alex, would be to Mercedes.

            • Lori

              Alex is gay, Ryan White seems to be pushing him to perform in drag. He praised him most when he was in drag. And they ultimately edited it out because she died the week the show aired but he even chastised him for not performing “Valerie” dressed as Amy Winehouse.

            • http://www.facebook.com/gregg.clare Gregg Clare

              who is alex?

            • Lori

              Alex is gay, Ryan White seems to be pushing him to perform in drag. He praised him most when he was in drag. And they ultimately edited it out because she died the week the show aired but he even chastised him for not performing “Valerie” dressed as Amy Winehouse.

            • r0ckmypants

              Not at all, I’m pleasantly surpised that you even knew the term gender-queer. Not something I hear/see everyday outside a liberal arts college classroom.

          • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/RGWLBR3RZ5O2EFIDIG43IDKDVA ace

            i’ve been reading this blog for years and never commented, but I just wanted to thank you for your awesome post. i watched internet reaction to the glee project as the episodes were airing, and was pounding my head on my desk over comments like “we don’t need alex, we already have kurt and mercedes.”

            • Anonymous

              I totally agree!  This is such a difficult, heart wrenching issue and we MUST discuss it.  Thank you, Terence – you articulated the complexity better than I could ever hope to.

          • Anonymous

            I’m going to disagree with you about the Glee Project for one reason–yes, they have two white guys on Glee that should be doing more than enough to satisfy the handsome-white-guy quotient of the show. However, the show still completely lacks a straight, male love-interest type with a remarkable voice. Puck and Finn are mediocre singers, nowhere near the power-houses of Mercedes and Kurt, who already don’t get enough songs as it is. I think if you look at the weaknesses of the cast in the show, the bland handsome straight white guys are the thing that immediately stand out. Now, if there were a straight non-white leading man type up there that got brushed off for their race, I would be behind you 110%–as it is, I can definitely see what Ryan Murphy was getting at.

            That’s just in reference to the Glee Project in specific, I think your larger points about the lack of multiple characters of color in most ‘white’ TV shows, the difficulty in discussing racism in modern society, and lack of anti-racist analysis in most people’s daily lives are beautifully stated and very true, although I will add that I don’t think TLo are thoughtless about the ways they engage in a racist society, and they try to be conscious of the fact that the corners of that society they discuss–fashion and television–can be more backwards than anything.

            • Anonymous

              Do you hear what you are saying?  You seem to think that more white guys are needed because there is a lack of a straight male love interest type with a remarkable voice.  I would ask the question where is the black straight guy love interest, the black gay guy, the black gay girl (not counting Naya), the Asian gay guy and girl…etc.  Do you see where I am going with this?  In your world, something is wrong if every possible permutation of whitehood is not represented.  Yet, your mind narrows when considering the same possibilities for other races.  This is what Terence has so gallantly attempted to explain to you.  You are so damn privileged, you don’t even realize to what extent.  

            • Anonymous

              I’m sorry, did I say a “straight, white male love-interest type with a remarkable voice”? No, I did not. In fact, I said the exact opposite of that. (“Now, if there were a straight non-white leading man type up there that got brushed off for their race, I would be behind you 110%.”) I don’t understand your point about there needing to be every single permutation of GLBT character, either; pretty sure if the show added black gay and lesbian characters, Asian gay and lesbian characters, a hispanic gay male, there would just be a completely disproportionate number of gay people. Frankly, there are already two gay men and two lesbians with strong voices. What there is NOT is a handsome, straight, leading man type with a strong voice. I don’t give a fuck what his race is, and I made that explicit.

              And please. You don’t know me. Don’t accuse someone you have never seen nor met of white privilege. Not that I should have to bend the knee to your ad hominem, but I am hispanic, and you are a bit of a douche.

        • http://profiles.google.com/briarmoss11 Alexander Rich-Shea

          Gosh. I wonder why people could be calling you out for racism, or sizism, or transphobia, or ableism?! Could it ever possibly be because you are both white, cis-gendered, able-bodied, not fat people with all the privileges that come with that and therefore are not as equipped to see these issues as someone who experiences them personally on a daily basis?

          Nah. You’re too perfect for that. You go ahead and keep whitesplaining to the people of color why you aren’t racist and why they are such terrible people for even insinuating that you are.

          Ugh.

        • Anonymous

          In this show “the main characters” and “the white kids” are synonymous, so if you’re saying focus on the main characters that is the same thing as focusing on the white kids. It is a second leap to go from saying you advocate focusing on the white kids to claiming your reasoning for doing so is because you have an issue with the kids of color. Pointing out the first thing is not the same as accusing you of the second.

          I think you gave good reasons for focusing on these characters, but the fact remains that it sucks that the characters of color are so tertiary to the plot that the only way to avoid the show loosing focus is to push them further into the sidelines.

          • Anonymous

            Santana was pretty primary to the plot last year.

            God, I have got to stop defending Glee. I really don’t even like this show.

            • Anonymous

              So you’re saying that the main narrative thrust of last season would have been different without Santana discovering she’s maybe gay?

      • Eclectic Mayhem

        No, they’re advocating a focus on the seniors.  If the show survives another season the younger characters will have their time in the spotlight.

        • http://profiles.google.com/sara.e.munoz Sara Munoz

          Mike Chang is a senior.

          • http://profiles.google.com/ameliaheartsu Amelia Logan

            And Ryan Murphy has been promised to give Mike a lot more screen time and story this season.

            • http://profiles.google.com/sara.e.munoz Sara Munoz

              Ryan Murphy has said a LOT of things! :) Let’s hope he keeps his word because the boy needs to be more than an accessory. Who can dance.

      • Anonymous

        I think the problem is not only that the “main” characters are white, they’re also white-bread boring at this point. I stopped watching a whole season ago just because there wasn’t anything new or interesting going on there. I guess I’ll still check in to the recaps to see if anything exciting or interesting develops with this, but yeah…not sounding encouraging.

        • Anonymous

          I’m curious (and I ask this sincerely, no snark), what is it that you’d have the characters do?  What plots would you like to see?  I mean, it’s a comedy about a high school show choir trying to get to/win nationals. 

          • Anonymous

            You’re right, that wasn’t a very good critique of the show. There has never been a lack of “stuff” going on with the show’s main characters, and “white bread” really isn’t a good way to describe even the 4 leads. I guess my problem was really more with the bizarre writing of these characters and the way they reacted to the dramatic situations they were put in.  As you said, it is a comedy about a show choir, and one watches to be entertained… But despite all of the singing, dancing, and drama, I found myself bored, confused or even embarrassed by what was happening on screen, especially by the rote romantic fumblings. It wasn’t endearing, it was just cringe-worthy, and I often found the plots centering on some of the “minor” characters much more appealing. T. and Lo. have already discussed and covered this with much more skill. I just find there’s nothing there to enjoy any more because the plots are so darn terrible. To each his/her own though!

        • Terence Ng

          To be fair, it all does take place in Lima, Ohio, which is probably one of the best places in the midwest to get white-bread boring people.

          • Anonymous

            hahaha  – Lima? – there was just a HUGE murder case where a doctor was accused of killing his wife; because when there was a carbon monoxide leak and he had the “misfortune” of not dying though his wife did .  His former mother-in-law (whom the daughter seemed to have many issues with) pushed the prosecutor for years to get his to go after the doc.  Despite there being no proof that the death was anything but an accident all kinds of extraneous innuendo was used to convict the doctor.  His sons stand by him.

            The doctor’s new wife was ripped off by the bail bondman and has sued him twice trying to recoup the money he stole.   the NW’s first husband is a post-op transsexual and was slammed by the posters. 

            The former MIL is now fighting to get the money she wanted all along and cut out the two sons who stand by their father (and believe he is innocent of killing their mom.)

            Apparently this is a YAWN and boring  – because – ahem Terence, YOU could not POSSIBLY be guilty of PRE-judging anyone/any place. 

            • Terence Ng

              It was a joke, as I am from the midwest and perfectly well aware of its perception by the rest of the world. A local school teacher in our boring gridded out suburb murdered her husband with a hatchet, which is plenty interesting.

            • Anonymous

              Eurgh. I’m really uncomfortable with the mention of the “post-op transsexual” in this context, especially since I consider pre-op/post-op to be really offensive terms. It’s one thing to say “trans people exist in Lima too” as part of a suggestion that minorities/the queer community don’t just stop existing in places where they’re marginalized, but it’s something else entirely to say “Lima has all kinds of crazy shit too, like accused murderers and transsexuals.” Please remember that trans people are people too, and they even let us on the internet.

            • http://tigergray.blogspot.com/ Tiger Gray

              Of course I am trans and don’t find the terms auto-offensive, so once again we come to the point where we’re not a collective, despite having some similar experiences.

      • Anonymous

        No, they’re advocating focus on only the white, heterosexual, non-physically challenged, thin, pretty/handsome, middle class English-speaking, Judeo-Christian kids. (Please read the previous sentence with the intended sarcasm.) Give me a break.

        • http://www.facebook.com/mary.nease Mary Nease

          Kurt’s gay.

          • Anonymous

            Ooops! Right you are.

      • http://twitter.com/warontara Tara

        I almost sort of (KIND OF) know where you’re coming from, but the problem doesn’t lie with T-Lo. The main characters all happen to be whit on this show, as with most any network show, so how is that their fault for wanting the focus to be on the lead parts? I have some issues with the way Glee handles its minority characters, but would never blame the people blogging about the show for that.

        • Terence Ng

          The “fault”, which, due to being such a heavy word, is going to open up a whole new can of trigger, knee-jerk, defensive “I’m not a racist” worms, is that they’re either not recognizing it, or not calling it out. Plenty of people don’t recognize institutionalized racism; if it wasn’t institutionalized racism, it would most likely be blatant racism, which is easily identifiable. Likewise, plenty of people don’t recognize the casual role they and everyone else play in an inherently racist society. 

          They’re also afraid to accept the idea that they and everyone else are racist, because they’ve been told all their lives that “racists” are people who do things like lynching black people, calling Asians “Chinamen”, or burning crosses.

          If that was all that racism was and, subsequently, what racists do, then we really wouldn’t have a race problem in this country. The other side of racism is assumptive and nearly invisible, and it makes all of us racists by affecting how we perceive what is and isn’t normal. It’s modes of thinking that seem innocent enough: Assuming that a new show is open to everyone when its entire cast is white and it’s part of a long line of shows with predominantly white casts. It’s stock photography that gives you plenty of white men in business suits when you search for stock images of a “CEO” and you never giving it a second thought. It’s never lending thought to the idea that “nude” color is actually only really “nude” for someone who’s white; Band-Aids are “skin colored”, but for whose skin? Etc. etc.

          Racism (and you can also say the same for sexism, homophobia, and transphobia) is NOT just about violence and vitriol. It’s also (and I imagine for the majority of decent people, only) about passivity and normativity: what we are trained to believe, continue to believe, and pass on in our work, our conversations, our children, or other contributions to society.

          Everyone needs to stop being afraid of the “R”-word and become comfortable with examining their own racial privilege, and then be unafraid to call it out and be mindful of it (and in case you’re wondering, that also applies to me). Otherwise, we’ll keep promoting these nearly-invisible assumptions about white-centralism in society without ever knowing it and there will continue to be predominantly white casts in shows, in movies, in books, etc., with scant minorities, which will reinforce to the next viewer/watcher/reader that this is the norm, and so on and so forth. If we can’t even point it out, how will be know to reject it?

        • Terence Ng

          The “fault”, which, due to being such a heavy word, is going to open up a whole new can of trigger, knee-jerk, defensive “I’m not a racist” worms, is that they’re either not recognizing it, or not calling it out. Plenty of people don’t recognize institutionalized racism; if it wasn’t institutionalized racism, it would most likely be blatant racism, which is easily identifiable. Likewise, plenty of people don’t recognize the casual role they and everyone else play in an inherently racist society. 

          They’re also afraid to accept the idea that they and everyone else are racist, because they’ve been told all their lives that “racists” are people who do things like lynching black people, calling Asians “Chinamen”, or burning crosses.

          If that was all that racism was and, subsequently, what racists do, then we really wouldn’t have a race problem in this country. The other side of racism is assumptive and nearly invisible, and it makes all of us racists by affecting how we perceive what is and isn’t normal. It’s modes of thinking that seem innocent enough: Assuming that a new show is open to everyone when its entire cast is white and it’s part of a long line of shows with predominantly white casts. It’s stock photography that gives you plenty of white men in business suits when you search for stock images of a “CEO” and you never giving it a second thought. It’s never lending thought to the idea that “nude” color is actually only really “nude” for someone who’s white; Band-Aids are “skin colored”, but for whose skin? Etc. etc.

          Racism (and you can also say the same for sexism, homophobia, and transphobia) is NOT just about violence and vitriol. It’s also (and I imagine for the majority of decent people, only) about passivity and normativity: what we are trained to believe, continue to believe, and pass on in our work, our conversations, our children, or other contributions to society.

          Everyone needs to stop being afraid of the “R”-word and become comfortable with examining their own racial privilege, and then be unafraid to call it out and be mindful of it (and in case you’re wondering, that also applies to me). Otherwise, we’ll keep promoting these nearly-invisible assumptions about white-centralism in society without ever knowing it and there will continue to be predominantly white casts in shows, in movies, in books, etc., with scant minorities, which will reinforce to the next viewer/watcher/reader that this is the norm, and so on and so forth. If we can’t even point it out, how will be know to reject it?

          • http://www.tomandorenzo.com Tom and Lorenzo

            ” The “fault”, which, due to being such a heavy word, is going to
            open up a whole new can of trigger, knee-jerk, defensive “I’m not a
            racist” worms, is that they’re either not recognizing it, or not calling
            it out.”

            And this is exactly what we’re talking about. Last season, we had to deal with weekly accusations of transphobia, fatphobia, racism, and prejudice against lesbians and the physically challenged because we “failed to call it out.” These are short reviews of what we did or didn’t like in an episode. They’re not checklists of tolerance that need to be checked off in order to satisfy whatever grievances a particular viewer has.

            In other words: point out whatever issues you have with this show, but the very second you turn it around on US for not making the exact same points you want to make is when we get annoyed and when we reserve the right to point out just how offensive such a thing is to us.

          • http://www.tomandorenzo.com Tom and Lorenzo

            ” The “fault”, which, due to being such a heavy word, is going to
            open up a whole new can of trigger, knee-jerk, defensive “I’m not a
            racist” worms, is that they’re either not recognizing it, or not calling
            it out.”

            And this is exactly what we’re talking about. Last season, we had to deal with weekly accusations of transphobia, fatphobia, racism, and prejudice against lesbians and the physically challenged because we “failed to call it out.” These are short reviews of what we did or didn’t like in an episode. They’re not checklists of tolerance that need to be checked off in order to satisfy whatever grievances a particular viewer has.

            In other words: point out whatever issues you have with this show, but the very second you turn it around on US for not making the exact same points you want to make is when we get annoyed and when we reserve the right to point out just how offensive such a thing is to us.

            • Terence Ng

              That’s a good point, and it’s my fault that I didn’t see those accusations in the comments during your past reviews. So perhaps you had already stated your points and that comment was an old issue you had resolved/said enough about.

              In that context, I can understand your response to that poster.

            • Leslie Streeter

              Tlo – I feel your pain having to waste time dealing with this. I’m a professional newspaper columnist who gets daily accusations of being “phobic” of every darned thing ever, and I’m a black woman with an Afro. Have you guys noticed that it’s become the fashion, of late, to accuse other minorities of “isms”? And it’s ignorant. It should be very clear to everyone with a brain that you were talking about the four main seniors being focused on. They happen to be white. I’m sick of Rachel and Quinn, not because they are white but because I’m sick of them.
              Attaching any other meaning to what you wrote means that the poster has the issue. Could you be racist? Anyone can, me included. Is what you wrote racist? Oh, child, please.
              You shouldn’t take any more time with this. You guys rock.

            • Anonymous

              TLo’s post is certainly not racist AND this is NOT a waste of time!!  And they do rock!

            • Leslie Streeter

              I meant that I knew they weren’t racist and that it was a shame they had to waste time defending that.

            • Anonymous

              Agreed.  This is T Lo’s blog and they can review Glee however they see fit.  Those who feel they have so much to say about the show and are frustrated that T Lo does not write what they want to read should GET THEIR OWN BLOG.

          • http://twitter.com/NostalgiaOD NostalgiaOD

            You do realize you are nit-picking the shit out of a TV show about a high school Glee Club and two fashion bloggers, right?  If you want to play intellectual know it all take it Jezebel and Gawker, they’d be happy to debate every minute detail to death with you.

      • Anonymous

        No, they’re advocating focusing on the seniors.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1133424434 Maria McGarry

          That’s elderly discrimination! Oh, wait…..

      • http://profiles.google.com/ballinger.jl Jessica Ballinger

        No, they’re advocating on focusing on the seniors.  Next year they’ll focus on Santana, Tina, Artie, Mercedes, and whoever else is a senior.

    • Anonymous

      “Tlo said: Of all the storylines put into place last night, it was the idea planted in Kurt and Rachel’s head that they’re not such hot shit outside the walls of the choir room, let alone Lima, that has the best and most potential to pay off big by the end of the season.”

      Agreed. Because that IS reality when you’re in the arts and transitioning out of your tiny pond into a bigger one: Everyone you encounter from here on in was the best at their little school. Some people can make that adjustment and some can’t. And some were never meant too.

      But as for the rest of the episode, I was just happy to see a tap dance number, even if it was a simple one. I’m guessing they took a bunch of chorus kids who could dance, but didn’t know tap, so they choreographed that simple number based on that. But even simple tap, done chorus line style, is fun to watch (especially now that it is so rare.) It made me want to pull out my old tap shoes and annoy my downstairs neighbors.

      –GothamTomato

      • Eclectic Mayhem

        I’ve just started tap classes again after a five year gap.  It’s great to feel the muscle memory kicking in but – boy – am I rusty! Luckily I have no downstairs neighbours to bother as I clatter my way through unfamiliar steps.

      • Anonymous

        I am hoping there were a few real tappers in there–they did wings at the end.  (Now, whether they did them well enough to make the sound or not . . . .)  If you’re ever in NC, you can join in on my “old lady” class!

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=564839755 Jillian Liszewski

          One of the tappers was a real tapper, from So You Think You Can Dance.  Actually, I think one of the scags was from SYTYCD too…  I loved seeing the tap featured!

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GFMOZFM3WT3T56EZHVZFK7UXSI Ramon

      Britney remains a great character. Such great lines: “I think there’s pepperoni in my bra.” Santana: “Those are your nipples.” 

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GFMOZFM3WT3T56EZHVZFK7UXSI Ramon

      Britney remains a great character. Such great lines: “I think there’s pepperoni in my bra.” Santana: “Those are your nipples.” 

      • Anonymous

        I was still cracking up over that line this morning!

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5KDTLDJA7ZBCPDP6HV4FZMJDII Indigo

      I’ll miss Lauren, I hope she returns sometime. Probably nto as pucks girl though. She’s more interesting when she’s on her own and not so softhearted.

      Lindsay (from glee project) also did a great job in her number and I think would have been a more interesting character to do a 7 episode arc about, rather than *coughs* Samuel who is going to play….Puck’s Brother??

      • Sobaika Mirza

        I liked Lauren too, hope she comes back soon. She’s feisty and a better actress/has been lines than Mercedes.

      • Anonymous

        Have they said for sure he’ll be Puck’s brother?  I know it’s a member of his family…

        I agree, I really liked Lindsay last night.  The whole “competish” scene had me cracking up, with their little eager/borderline psychotic faces clutching their headshots in their hands, bumping each other out of the way to introduce themselves.  They were crazily adorable.

        • Leslie Streeter

          Their psychosis is what made them so awesome.

    • Lori

      I don’t think that’s what they’re doing at all and you obviously didn’ watch TGP.   The season opener is always an overture of what’s to come. 

      Ryan Murphy has made it clear the seniors will be graduating and the others stepping up plus the addition of the two TGP winners and the two semifinalists will add fresh blood also.  Lindsay Vonn, one of the two TGP runnerups, knocked it out of the park last night.  Watching her had to fill any TGP fan with pride.  Now I’m even more excited for the debut of Damian in episode four and to see Alex’s two episodes (Samuel creeps me out).

    • Anonymous

      You could see one of the Glee Project kids in the tap number.

      • http://twitter.com/warontara Tara

        You mean the lead girl singing? Didn’t she win that part?

        • Anonymous

          Yes, it was Lindsey. She played the lead, the ‘Gerber baby’ kid.

    • http://twitter.com/CestmoiLola CestmoiLola

      I agree. A housekeeping episode with not much whizz-bang to it. The only memorable part, for me, was Darren Criss and “It’s Not Unusual”. A good number that made me smile, because I could never envision that number being done by someone wearing a bow tie. The tight pants fit the ‘sex bomb’ image of the original, however. Anyway, I guess I’ll give the show a couple more episodes to prove itself. Otherwise, I’m just tuning in later to watch ‘Raising Hope’ which DOES make me laugh out loud. Cloris Leachman and Martha Plimpton are fantastic in that show!

      • Michelle Stulberger

        Carlton Banks anyone??  Bowties all the way!

    • http://twitter.com/karenwalsh Karen Walsh

      I just thought it was funny how quickly they did all the housekeeping to make sure we knew the status quo.  I even laughed out loud.  Not enough music last night, but I’m still invested enough in the characters to see where they are taking it.

    • Anonymous

      i liked the show & i am just happy its back. 

    • Anonymous

      That’s too bad about Hulu. I found it to be really helpful and enjoyable to be able to just click on your recap and whiz through the highlights without needing to watch the whole show. Overall, the show doesn’t speak to me, but I like many of the production numbers (large and small), and your recaps gave me just enough context for them.  Thanks for the effort, as always, boys!

      • Anonymous

        This exactly. Guess I’ll have to go search youtube before the clips get taken down.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jessica-TallGirl-Freeman/1043623567 Jessica TallGirl Freeman

      Well I’m not sad I missed it last night then.  

    • http://www.what-the-frock.com Dana WhatTheFrock

      I give last night’s episode a resounding “MEH.”

      I liked “We Got the Beat” and “It’s Not Unusual” but the remainder of the numbers left me cold. The Broadway number by those other kids was very well done, but I’d rather see the regulars perform, not a group of strangers. 

      Once again, Sue has been relegated to cartoony supervillain status. I hoped that, after Jean’s funeral, they’d find a way to make her just as acerbic, offbeat, and hilarious without being the main foil of Nude Erections. There is enough conflict within the Glee club; they don’t need her anymore. I think that a Sue/Schue friendship would be really entertaining and strange.

      I’m interested in seeing where they go with Quinn. Did anyone notice that Tina’s wardrobe was much less punk and much more cutesy/mod last night? I wonder if they did that to make her look different than Quinn.

      Other “housekeeping” type questions: How did Will and Emma’s relationship progress to cohabitating so quickly? And why/how are Santana and Brittany back on the Cheerios after quitting last year?

      • Anonymous

        I wondered the very same thing!  What was up with Will & Emma??  That was bizarre.  Thought the Quinn transformation was just strange esp when Santana & Brittany tried to talk her into coming back — is that easy just to “join” the Cheerios?  

        • Lori

          What’s bizarre about two adults in love deciding over a summer to fall in love.  And Quinn isn’t just any cheerleader, she was head cheerleader, she’s a great cheerleader, of course they want her back.

          • Terence Ng

            “She didn’t twirl just “a” baton! That baton was on FIRE!” :D

    • http://twitter.com/stardust462 Elizabeth O’Malley

      I agree with all your points, TLo. I do hope that Blaine continues to wear bow ties. Because bow ties are cool.

      Also, I wanted to share this with you. Last night a couple friends and I went to a movie theater to watch a free screening of the premiere. It was pretty funny to see all the teenagers in the front rows squee and go bonkers when certain characters showed up on screen and when Blaine told Kurt he was transferring to McKinley. But the best part was afterwards when we were standing in the hall, waiting for one of our friends to come out of the bathroom. A girl, no more than 16, walking by with her friends said, “I can’t believe they kicked her [assuming Santana] out of glee club. I can’t believe it. I’m LACTATING over this!” Once they were outside, my friends and I lost it.

      • glennethph

        Because bow ties are cool…

        Doctor Who!  And to be honest, Darren Criss was giving off  some serious hipster Matt Smith vibes with the tie and the glasses.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1179147626 Jeanne Mulcahey Bryant

      See, I was kinda annoyed by the “we don’t know how to explain how we’re getting from point A to point C so we’re going to skip B and just go there.”  As in: Shu and Emma in bed/living together and Mercedes and her new beau.

      • Leslie Streeter

        I was so mad about the Mercedes thing. It was like “You’ve been bitching about her having a boyfriend. Abracadabra, Asta la Pasta, here he is. Shut it now.”

    • aussiegal77

      Darren Criss’ “It’s Not Unusual” number had me bopping in my chair, I must admit. I enjoyed this ep and was happy to see them clear the decks =D  LOL moment for us was Rachel and Kurt crying in the car after their crushing reality check – that was hilarious =D

    • Anonymous

      So last night for us was a “take this off the DVR list” moment. After a total disaster of a season, to be once again faced with an array of uninterestingly stereotypical characters who have been stuffed neatly into boring pigeonholes (Kurt, in my view, is now the single most annoyingly boring gay stereotype on television–sad for a character who, in the first season, ripped my heart out), all tidily tucked into their character-arc grooves, was just too much to bear. The songs were uninspired and dull, Sue Sylvester is being set up for another preposterously character-wasting over-the-top Mission of Global Domination, and everyone else seems surprisingly old for highschoolers. I need that hour back, thanks. You guys watch all you want; I’ll follow the season through here.

      • Anonymous

        I watched a few minutes and then switched channels. I’ll just check TLo’s blog from now on.

    • http://profiles.google.com/mercbubble42 Jessica O’Connell

      Oh, but TLo, how ADORABLE was Darren doing “It’s Not Unusual?” I actually thought the music was pretty good last night and I laughed much more than I did during most of the 2nd season. I LOVED that they did “You Can’t Stop the Beat,” especially making it a bit of a ballad at first – very cool. And Darren doing the Bruce Springstein “Dancing in the Dark”/Carlton from Fresh Prince dance? Fantastic.

      • Anonymous

        Darren Criss doing that number is the first time I haven’t wanted to punch him.  I really liked that whole thing, cheerleader back up dancers and all.

      • Anonymous

        Darren Criss doing that number is the first time I haven’t wanted to punch him.  I really liked that whole thing, cheerleader back up dancers and all.

    • http://profiles.google.com/sara.e.munoz Sara Munoz

      At this point, I’m kind of relieved to not be able to watch on Hulu anymore. If I can’t watch, I can’t be disappointed. And it already sounds like I would be.

      Dumb move, GLEE & Hulu!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1539480086 Rachael Dickson

      I thought it was very Glee – you know, uneven character arcs and all. I liked some of hte musical numbers but frankly, none of them really stood out to me. I do look forward to seeing how many of the plotlines they’ve set up for the year will go. I particularly am interested in seeing Quinn as a bad girl!
      Did anyone else find it a little….questionable that they were using “You can’t stop the beat,” which is about how the progression and racial integration of society, to set forth a message that they couldn’t be stomped down after an episode of having food thrown in their face? I get the message – It’s got the underlying tone of “change change, everything changes” – but I question whether it was a good choice or not. No matter what issues the Glee clubbers have, the vast majority of them do not have to deal with racism at all, and much less /anything/ like was shown in Hairspray….it’s a very odd choice when you think about it.

      • Leslie Streeter

        Yeah, that was dumb, the use of that song. But at least they were smart enough to know the black girl had to get a solo.

      • Anonymous

        In terms of context to the plot, yes, it was an odd choice of song.  However, show choirs have been all over that song since the musical came out.  I was in a multi-ethnic show choir for years, and we frequently did it as our finale.  Maybe it’s just my history with the song, but I thought it made perfect sense for a high school show choir.

    • http://twitter.com/warontara Tara

      I was pretty underwhelmed last night…although I do understand why they needed to do a little housekeeping. I will keep watching the show in real time until there’s a show I like better int he same time slot, but Glee has slipped off my “Must See” list after last season and it will take a bit more than last night’s episode for it to come back. 

      I am holding out some hope that Santana will get a good storyline out of this whole “playing both sides of the fence” issue.And, god, Hulu costs money now? Ugh, I knew it was only a matter of time (they kept pushing the “premium membership!”), but that is still sad.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Emily-Smith/12431153 Emily Smith

      waaaah I’m so annoyed with Hulu!  Next wed it goes up so all paying does is let you see it a week earlier which is stoopid.

    • Anonymous

      I agree. I said in my own mini review that this opener felt like a middle of the pack, average episode. Not at all impressive. I’m really hoping for some consistency and I know that will be at the expense of the supporting cast unfortunately *sigh*. guess we can’t have it all. And Sue’s tirades have gotten less and less funny. Well at least Idina Menzel will be on next week so that’s reason enough to watch even if the episode sucks. And I’m looking forward to seeing what the rest of The Glee Project kids do. I’m glad Lindesy got the first crack because I personally thought she had the best voice on that show.

      I guess we’ll see how it all plays out. Just please let there be no repeats of the disaster of season 2.

      • Anonymous

        Speculation on a Idina Menzel/Diane Argon duet? Any takers?

    • Anonymous

      Can we please talk about how great the scene with Kurt and Rachel in Emma’s office? I loved the line about expecting Kurt and Rachel to start a relationship “because it’s the only dating combination the Glee club hasn’t tried”? And then when she pulled out the “Me and my Hag” pamphlet? Those throw-away jokes about the ridiculous high school guidance pamphlets kill me every time!

      • http://twitter.com/warontara Tara

        I agree! I did love it. It was nice to see Emma sort of being good at her job. (And sorry, I cannot BELIEVE Kurt and Rachel had no idea that Juliard doesn’t have a Musical Theatre program). 

        • Jody Lee

          Yeah, it’s right up there with the Cats tickets.  Never let reality intrude in the Gleeverse if you can get a cheap laugh out of it.

    • http://twitter.com/NC_Meg Megan

      I missed it last night and am mad at Hulu and Fox for putting it on Hulu Plus or Fox’s website until the 28th.

      But wait, Puck isn’t a senior? They can’t keep Mark Salling around forever, he doesn’t look quite 29 but he certainly doesn’t look like a high school junior. At all.

      • http://profiles.google.com/sara.e.munoz Sara Munoz

        I can almost believe it in his case, that he probably got held back once or twice (not because he’s dumb but because he’s a truant). But it is really a stretch to believe that all the rest of them were freshmen the first season of the show.

      • Anonymous

        Please, pretty please, keep Mark Salling around forever.

      • Anonymous

        Please, pretty please, keep Mark Salling around forever.

      • Anonymous

        Please, pretty please, keep Mark Salling around forever.

      • Anonymous

        OMG!  Please let Puck fail his junior year again and again.  That is my eye candy for the evening…….

      • Anonymous

        OMG!  Please let Puck fail his junior year again and again.  That is my eye candy for the evening…….

      • Anonymous

        Did they even mention if Puck is a Senior or Junior…I was wondering about that.  Maybe he is the age of a Senior but lacking enough credits?

    • MilaXX

      I was okay with the “housekeeping” done last night. Especially if it means better storylines in the long run. I’m even okay with preparing us for students graduating. Degrassi has managed to bring in freshmen and graduate seniors for years. Hopefully this means no more Gwynnie popping into town.

      • http://profiles.google.com/sara.e.munoz Sara Munoz

        Yeah, props to Degrassi. Although it must be said- with the old school cast- that Joey got held back in 8th(?) grade to keep him around a little longer… I am with you on the Gwynnie front. Sick. Of. Her.

    • Tamara Hogan

      Kurt’s offhand comment about the YouTube snark concerning Rachel and Finn’s kiss at Nationals - “Why is that T-rex eating that Jew?” – killed me DAID. As did the “Me and My Hag” pamphlet.

      A pox on Hulu!!! 

    • Anonymous

      I found last night believable which was my biggest gripe with the last season so all in all, I’m willing to call it a successful start.  They cut a lot of dead weight, cleared up some story points, showed some realistic interactions between the kids and set a lot of plots in motion.  

      Unfortunately, the most egregious examples of ‘dead weight’ are two of the shows initial break out stars: Sue and Shue and they don’t seem to be going anywhere. 

    • Anonymous

      I enjoyed last night’s episode. It was a bit like visiting with an old friend you haven’t seen in a while. Nothing really new or exciting, but comforting in that many of the things you like are still there.

      Also, as you point out, enough plot lines were put out there to keep the season moving. I the idea of Sue as a candidate. Lots of possibilities there (unrealistic and silly possibilities, but I don’t need realism in my Glee).

      • Anonymous

        The whole “Sue Running For Congress” storyline is a political ploy to get more attention to Funding for the Arts, seriously in danger all across the nation at a Federal and State level. Places are not only cutting funding but cutting drastisticly, and there is a public outcry that isn’t being heard what with Congress not being able to agree on anything these days.
        Arts programs being beneficial to education is absoutely true–kids taking arts programs have higher grades, concentrate more and are basically happier, not to mention what Mr. Shue said about less substance abuse. Culture has been pushed aside because somehow it isn’t as important as sports (I remember my HS days, the drama club had to sell candy bars to pay for costumes, but they would cancel classes for a pep rally) and its one of the most important things we can hold onto.

        • Anonymous

          Oh, that wasn’t lost on me. Nor was the notion of “whip the electorate into anger about things they didn’t know they were angry about.” I was just thinking that Sue will take this to a level that would never fly in real life, as her character does often in this show.

          (And I agree with the importance and benefit of the arts. My kids are heavily into drama, musical theater, piano, guitar, etc.)

    • http://profiles.google.com/dchockeyguy Trevor Burroughs

      interesting review, much of which I agree with. I found last night to be far more real that last season.  Santana sets a piano on fire, and instead of it being blown over, there’s *gasp* an actual repercussion for her.  Hurray.  The thing I’m hoping they focus on more this year, which was somewhat ignored last year, is Rachel and Kurt’s friendship. I think they make a lot of sense as friends.

      • Andrea

        Quinn set the piano on fire. it was her cigarette….

        • Marie Drucker

          I thought so… so why was Santana blamed, and why did Santana take the blame for it? (Somewhat rhetorical questions. In other words, I don’t expect anyone to know the answers … yet.)

          • http://profiles.google.com/ballinger.jl Jessica Ballinger

            Santana and the other Cheerios drenched the piano with lighter fluid.  Quinn flicked the cigarette that started the blaze, but I read the implication that the Cheerios would have done it anyway if she hadn’t.  Why else the lighter fluid?

          • http://twitter.com/warontara Tara

            I took it like they’d worked that out with her. Even though she’s not on the squad anymore, that kind of destructive activity would be right up her “bad girl” alley.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=719457376 Molly Adrianson

      I thought the best joke of the night was in the preview for next week “Teacher:What’s the capital of Ohio? Brittany: O!” Honestly, as completely over Rachel’s voice as I am, I think focus is entirely what this show needs. I am not sorry to see Sue return to villain form, that was her ROLE. If she became some Glee supporter she wouldn’t be Sue anymore. If from the get go she had been written more three dimensionally, than that would have been ideal, but she wasn’t. The writers made their weak, low-standard choices and now it is their collective responsibility to maintain those choices and bring the interest and style by other means than altering the characters. There is room to grow with new talent, not with already established characters. Kurt is the only one who is lacking some much needed and already established bitchiness. His flaws were what made him interesting. Bring them back!

      • Anonymous

        I loved the “O” line,too!

    • Anonymous

      Well I hope you are right Tlo cause I’ve enjoyed Glee. But I was bored by last night. I think the supporting cast is the more interesting part of the show. I like Puckerman, Santana, Brittany, Arty, Mercedes and Tina’s stories and characters more. Cheerleader, Quarterback, Gay-boy, and music-nerd are all a bit tired for me. And Ryan Murphy is striking me more and more like someone who’s responsible for the unevenness since he was so all over the place this summer with his comments. 

      Also they are filming it differently which is odd to my eye. The lighting and the sets are  different.

    • Anonymous

      Well I hope you are right Tlo cause I’ve enjoyed Glee. But I was bored by last night. I think the supporting cast is the more interesting part of the show. I like Puckerman, Santana, Brittany, Arty, Mercedes and Tina’s stories and characters more. Cheerleader, Quarterback, Gay-boy, and music-nerd are all a bit tired for me. And Ryan Murphy is striking me more and more like someone who’s responsible for the unevenness since he was so all over the place this summer with his comments. 

      Also they are filming it differently which is odd to my eye. The lighting and the sets are  different.

    • Terence Ng

      Okay, as my non-response comment on this post:

      I’m not sure I’m buying this “they need to reintroduce the same ideas again to set it all up” argument. They’ve been doing that from Season 2, Episode 1 and every episode afterward. Everyone knows the score. So it really just seems like more of the same thing over and over again, but this time, we’re trying to give it more significance because it’s the Season 3 premiere. It seems like we’re giving them a pass for doing what they always do, or even just making the grade, when what we should be supporting is writers working the kind of alchemy that good writers do when they manage to set the stage, remind the audience of the roots, AND demonstrate that they’ve got new ideas that will work for the show and interest the audience.

      And also, as an aside: Kids, I’ve been saying this show sucks long before it was cool to be disappointed in it. Ya’ll are just posers, working my corner. ;P #hipstergleehater

    • http://twitter.com/texasinafrica Laura Seay

      Yup, it was boring.  But the “Me and My Hag” brochure left me rolling on the floor.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GFMOZFM3WT3T56EZHVZFK7UXSI Ramon

      I loved Rachel singing the intro to “Can’t stop the Beat” slowly, and the expression in Mr. Shue’s face. Mathew Morrison might be annoying, but for being the original Link in “Hairspray,”  and Fabrizio in “The Light in the Piazza,” he is going to have to eat some babies for me to get mad at him.

    • Anonymous

      Personally I’d rather see the secondary regulars get more time musically, especially Mercedes, than new cast members, the guest star du jour, etc. It would be one thing if they had to split the time with new cast that won’t be graduating in the spring, but instead they bring in Sugar to butcher a song, Lindsay from Glee Project (though at least she was decent), etc. 

      I am a hypocrite and make exceptions to the above statement for people like Idina Menzel.

    • Marie Drucker

      At the risk of sounding like a actress posing as a project runway judge, I liked the episode. I would watch it again.

      I didn’t watch The Glee Project, nor did I hear many of the rumors circulating this summer, so I didn’t know what to expect and I don’t know what to expect. And I’m fine with that. I’m like Rachel (but without the voice): I just love a good musical. So her number with Kurt and the number with the tap-dancing kids made me smile. Back when I was a copy editor, I worked with someone from a small town who was once the smartest kid in his class… and then he left that bubble… and he never really could accept that he wasn’t going to be the smartest kid anymore. I thought that part of the Kurt-Rachel storyline felt real. 

      Overall, though, I thought the show lacked any sort of “glee” from the performers. Their performances (musical and otherwise) were all rote.

      It’s not an easy show to review. You have to do more than suspend some disbelief. Tom and Lorenzo said something about this once a long time ago… but I can’t remember what. Last season, perhaps, the show took itself too seriously. And it’s not a show that’s meant to take itself seriously.

    • Terence Ng

      “She didn’t twirl just “a” baton. That baton was on FIRE!”

    • Anonymous

      Hi Terence,
      I read this blog daily and I don’t understand why a ‘Glee’ post creates a dialogue about the relationship between culture and racism, when the fashion posts don’t evoke such a response. The fashion industry imposes and reflects ideas about wealth, celebrity, culture, race, sexuality and the body that are probably inimical to the creation of a healthily diverse society. I think most readers know that but, like me, want to look at something beautiful and enjoy Tom and Lorenzo’s intelligent and amusing commentary. I’m just trying to understand why Glee becomes the catalyst for a discussion of racism where other parts of the blog do not.

    • Anonymous

      Hi Terence,
      I read this blog daily and I don’t understand why a ‘Glee’ post creates a dialogue about the relationship between culture and racism, when the fashion posts don’t evoke such a response. The fashion industry imposes and reflects ideas about wealth, celebrity, culture, race, sexuality and the body that are probably inimical to the creation of a healthily diverse society. I think most readers know that but, like me, want to look at something beautiful and enjoy Tom and Lorenzo’s intelligent and amusing commentary. I’m just trying to understand why Glee becomes the catalyst for a discussion of racism where other parts of the blog do not.

      • http://twitter.com/DarthJaeda Jaeda Laurez

        Because most of us have had that high school experience. I may or may not have posted in a 20,000 dress on top of a cliff with a hot guy in some fashion editorial…but being “the black girl” in a predominately white school? All over that one. And I’m sure I’m not the only person who has their own experiences mirrored in some form or fashion in this way on TV. An editorial is a flat representation of a story, whereas a TV show about a universal experience, where you see the layers of their lives (or as noted, the lack of layers) unfold in a way that is far more in depth. Hence the concern that all the “ethnic” characters are being shuffled off to the side as mere diversity window dressing. Been there.

        • http://tigergray.blogspot.com/ Tiger Gray

          I agree that high school is a topic that tends to evoke high emotion. I was bullied terribly all through school and I had to quit watching Glee because Kurt’s story was just too much for me. 

    • Anonymous

      Hi Terence,
      I read this blog daily and I don’t understand why a ‘Glee’ post creates a dialogue about the relationship between culture and racism, when the fashion posts don’t evoke such a response. The fashion industry imposes and reflects ideas about wealth, celebrity, culture, race, sexuality and the body that are probably inimical to the creation of a healthily diverse society. I think most readers know that but, like me, want to look at something beautiful and enjoy Tom and Lorenzo’s intelligent and amusing commentary. I’m just trying to understand why Glee becomes the catalyst for a discussion of racism where other parts of the blog do not.

    • Anonymous

      So sad to use a stolen moment to check in on TLo’s account of last night and find a big discussion of race in America…
      Really, all I wanted was their list of the best lines – it always brings a smile, which is all I’m looking for on Glee (or TLo).
      Please bring it back, boys!

    • Anonymous

      So sad to use a stolen moment to check in on TLo’s account of last night and find a big discussion of race in America…
      Really, all I wanted was their list of the best lines – it always brings a smile, which is all I’m looking for on Glee (or TLo).
      Please bring it back, boys!

    • Anonymous

      I was bored by this episode. Jane Lynch was wasted, the songs were only so-so and the storylines all feel recycled. I’m hoping it will get better as the season goes on.

    • narita_rayna

      this show used to be so fun. i keep waiting for it to get funny again. for me, the only funny moment was the ‘me & my hag’ pamphlet.  thats it.  it’s so much more junior than it used to be.  im just not sure how much more i can watch. :(

    • narita_rayna

      this show used to be so fun. i keep waiting for it to get funny again. for me, the only funny moment was the ‘me & my hag’ pamphlet.  thats it.  it’s so much more junior than it used to be.  im just not sure how much more i can watch. :(

    • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/RGWLBR3RZ5O2EFIDIG43IDKDVA ace

      well said.

    • http://tigergray.blogspot.com/ Tiger Gray

      As for the race thing I am not going to get all hot under the collar until the seniors are people of color, trans, disabled whatever and then suspiciously they don’t receive the same focus the white seniors are now getting. As someone who can get very angry about the discrimination I myself experience, I still think it would be nice if we realized that going to bat over every single thing doesn’t exactly help attitudes evolve. I don’t think say, there should be a required trans character on every show ever. That isn’t the best way to end transphobia. It makes it worse, because it’s saying ok here’s your requirement you uppity queers now shut up, rather than a character being included naturally and given a similar treatment to every other character. Well anyway, I doubt that a discussion like this can go on in any internet forum and be of use, so I’ll just leave the thought at that, as half formed as it may be. I am growing increasingly disillusioned with the power of the internet as far as engaging and respectful discussions go as it is. That said, I would love it if the show got back to being more like what it was in the first season. It had an edge to it, a feeling that it really was off the beaten path a little, and the glitz and mainstreaming in later seasons have really ruined it for me. 

    • http://twitter.com/HotMessHousWife Sammi M

      I have a feeling I’ll be the lone voice of dissent here, but last night’s Glee was good! Best episode ever? No. A welcome return to form? Yes! I actually laughed out loud more than once, the musical numbers were fun, and it felt like there was a PURPOSE and that the story was moving forward. I esp. loved Rachel and Kurt getting that hard slap of reality – it felt a little more real. I have no problem with them focusing on the “Seniors” as long as we get the occasional witty line or moment from the “supporting cast”.

    • http://tigergray.blogspot.com/ Tiger Gray

      Also I want to point out that Rachel is Jewish. Not generally included in the construction of whiteness currently in place in America, in my experience. 

    • Anonymous

      I enjoy Glee and the only down time I have watching it is during the silly tirades of Sue. If her character were developed and not so sophomoric so to speak, I think it would improve the whole story line.  To me it’s like, oh no here is the grown woman acting younger than the kids themselves. Maybe that is the point of her character but to me it slows the show down to a crawl and I can’t wait for the story to get back to the kids and the other characters.

      Is it just me? Maybe.

    • Anonymous

      Dear TLo,could I make a request?  When you do next weeks recap, could you post a link to this weeks for those of us who have to wait 8days to see it?  I don’t want too many spoilers, and I like to read your commentary while the episode is still fresh in my mind.  I’d use your archives/search function, but your website takes FOREVER in internet explorer and the msn browser.
      Thank you,
      Derek

    • elzatelzabelz

      It was an ok episode. I guess I’m tired of the formula. The Sue character has become a caricature and I am OVER it. I don’t expect her to become a saint, but to think a middle aged woman is still solely focused on “taking down” a school group is ridiculous. I’m also over her henchperson, Becky. The scenes she’s in make me cringe because they’ve painted her so evil without a point. OVER it.  Same with Santana. Hasn’t she pulled the same schtick in basically every episode? I thought her character was growing last year. I LOVED Lindsay from the GLEE project and the scenes with Rachel, Kurt, and Blaine. LOVED those.

    • Anonymous

      Turnoffs: Matthew Morrison’s chest stubble. 
      Turnons: The Dayton, Ohio, number.

      The only line I laughed at was the Kent State one, and then I immediately felt bad for laughing because it was pretty morbid, even if that was 41 years ago.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1445460261 Courtney Bolt

      Where is my freaking Brittany and Santana? Can they please just have a spinoff with different writers and producers? They could be so much more interesting than they are, and I hate that I can see all the underused potential. They are the only reason I still pay any attention to this useless train wreck, and it seems like they’ll get even less time this season.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_CVS3WR5UNFUG2RV2FF444XO5D4 Kara

      Dear T-Lo,  Love you boys so much!  I just watched this episode on DVR and then came here (which I always do after every episode) just to see what you guys liked/didn’t and to see what your fans said… I was horrified to see that there’s a huge string of comments saying you’re racist.  :-(  That’s not what your comment section is for.  Ugh!  I’m sorry you guys have to deal with people like that. 

      In better comments:  What did you guys think of Lindsay who was a runner-up on the Glee Project?!?!  Did you guys watch that at all?

    • http://profiles.google.com/ballinger.jl Jessica Ballinger

      I have really high hopes for the show now that there’s an actual TEAM of writers, versus just the, what, three? people that have done everything up to this point.  

      Three things that spark my hopes:
      1 – As much as I love Santana, I like that she was kicked out of glee club for setting the piano on fire.  I mean, it sounds like a given, but in the season 1 or 2 world there would have been no consequences for her actions, outside of maybe an ineffective shaming speech from Will.

      2- They showed us that Quinn wants to come back to glee club, but they’re drawing it out.  In the past the writers have always been  too impatient or lazy to stretch out any plot points for more than an episode.

      3- The preview for next week’s episode shows what could be a logical use of a guest star.  If they do it properly, it could resolve a plot problem that’s really bugged me.  Quinn had a baby, gave her away, and to this point, that’s that.  She’s had no emotional response, no regrets, no evaluation of the decision or how it affected her life at all.  They’re setting us up for a (hopefully) more realistic portrait of giving away a child- maybe that’s part of what’s behind her (to a teenager’s eyes) massive identity shift.  AND, as much as Rachel’s mother regretted giving her up, it always struck me as wrong that she was willing to just take Quinn’s baby and run, without warning her about how Q may have different feelings down the line.  Unless she’s a totally heartless being, that’s pretty cold, and next week could give the whole situation a different feel.

      I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed.

    • http://twitter.com/adleredneko Aki

      Most pointless moment in the show? Blaine’s ridiculous and more or less unexplained transfer. Is anyone else tired of have this character and his saccharine, obsessive, co-dependent relationship with Kurt shoved down your throat, not to mention the excess of solos that basically pander to Darren Criss’ hordes of fangirls? There has to be a more interesting relationship option for someone who used to be as fierce and independent as Kurt. Plus it doesn’t help that I was completely over Blaine by mid-season last year… Here’s hoping that Kurt and Blaine completely self-destruct soon.

    • http://twitter.com/adleredneko Aki

      Most pointless moment in the show? Blaine’s ridiculous and more or less unexplained transfer. Is anyone else tired of have this character and his saccharine, obsessive, co-dependent relationship with Kurt shoved down your throat, not to mention the excess of solos that basically pander to Darren Criss’ hordes of fangirls? There has to be a more interesting relationship option for someone who used to be as fierce and independent as Kurt. Plus it doesn’t help that I was completely over Blaine by mid-season last year… Here’s hoping that Kurt and Blaine completely self-destruct soon.

    • Anonymous

      Wrong. Sorry. This show was a hit out the door…before critics had the opp to add their two sense. NO successful creative person will tell you to listen to critics. IF critics were such great creative forces – they would be successful script writers instead of just bitching about what creative minds pulled from the ether. Pandering to the critics or even the audience is the worse thing to do and a sure fire way to kill any life the show has. As for the seniors -they have become the least interesting, least entertaining characters on the show. This whole episode felt like a do-over. Wrong idea.

    • Anonymous

      God damn it Hulu, why can’t you still be free?

      I would consider paying for it if Glee wasn’t the only thing I’ve ever watched on it. 

    • http://toodles.yelp.com AWStevens

      One of my two all-time favorite Glee song renditions was in this ep.  I absolutely loved “The Wicked Witch Is Dead” number (my other favorite was the cover of Beck’s “Loser” by those working at The Gap at the Mall –you know who I’m talking about).

    • http://liptonrm.livejournal.com/ Lipton

      I am glad that they’re tightening up their storytelling. Having an actual writer’s room this season is already a huge improvement. I’m also glad to see Marti Noxon on staff, because if anyone can handle the balance that Glee needs to maintain to return to being a really good show it’s her.

      It was nice to see the plot and characters being shuffled into place. I think they set up quite a few really good character arcs for the season. However, I disagree about the music numbers, I thought the “Anything Goes/I Can Do Anything” medley was one of the best productions I’ve ever seen on Glee. It’s right up there with “4 Minutes,” which is the highest point (so far) on my Glee Awesome Productions scale.

      In closing: Will Schuester is a wuss. My high school choir director would slap him in the face and send him back to kindergarten where he belongs. Vocal performance was serious business at my high school with auditions that could make a grown person cry, which is why our choirs always won the trophies that our athletic teams wished they could have.

    • Anonymous

      “we think a tighter focus on those 4 main characters is what the show needs right now.”

      And this would be different from last year how?  Cuz, really, Kurt, Rachel, Finn and to a lesser extent Quinn have had the lion’s share of the focus.  They’ve had storylines outside of Glee-club, we’ve met their families, they have had more personality fleshed out than any of the other characters.  Kurt has probably had more screen time over the life of the show than Tina, Artie, Mercedes and Mike combined.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Micaela-Cannon/1465504041 Micaela Cannon

      You used to be able to watch the episodes on Fox online, can’t do that now either. Ugh.
      Also I feel like in previous seasons it was mentioned that Brit and Santana were seniors as well? I could be wrong though.

    • Anonymous

      I’m going to say it again. I’m a HUGE fan of this show, I enjoy going to theatre sometimes on a weekly basis and I do a lot of work in community theatre, and I was so grateful to see that Kurt and Rachel got knocked down a peg or two. Because that happens, you go from being the big fish in a little pond to being a tadpole in the ocean, and I think this show has created a heck of a lot of little divas out there.
      My biggest problem on this show is their protrayal of nearly all the female characters in this show, with the exception of Holly and Sunshine, maybe, who had a few shows but aren’t recurring characters. All of them have one of two characters: Bitchy or Stupid. When the new girl showed up, I was thrilled that maybe we’d get the College Courses Genius with a heart of gold. Then she started talking. Bitch. Can’t we get a class clown, some girl without any attitude and maybe even a brain in her head, a goth chick who has a 4.0, a jock, a Dear Abby sort, even a brainy nerd who can also sing, something? I really worry that not only is this show cranking out little divas, it’s giving little girls the WRONG idea. Either be a bitch, or stupid, or pretend to be either, and only worry about how you look. Not all girls have attitude. Someone may argue that Mercedes and Tina are really “fierce” but they really come across as bitchy at times.

    • Beth G

      I thought it was a snooze-fest.  Not sure I’m going to stick with it this year….

    • http://foodandwinehedonist.wordpress.com/ thefoodandwinehedonist

      I know the show is supposed to be the antithesis of other shows in terms of being representative of what’s out there.  But is it possible to replace Lauren Z with more female eye candy?  ALSO…. and I think TLo commented on this briefly last year, does Kurt always have to do standards or showtunes?  Isn’t there a Cher or Carly Simon song he could do? (Yes I know, he did Blackbird last year)

      I guess this is where I clarify that I’m the commenter formerly known as “Straight John”.  Changed my name to shamelessly plug my blog…  

    • Anonymous

      Given the current climate of television, any discussion of racism on the part of Glee is preposterous.  Find me ONE minority on ANY of the CBS sitcoms (How I Met Your Mother, Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men, etc. etc. etc).  JUST ONE!  That entire network would have you believe the whole world is white. Anything that Glee is doing, however pedantic and annoying, is light-years ahead of all of these shows.  Please drop it.  

    • Anonymous

      Given the current climate of television, any discussion of racism on the part of Glee is preposterous.  Find me ONE minority on ANY of the CBS sitcoms (How I Met Your Mother, Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men, etc. etc. etc).  JUST ONE!  That entire network would have you believe the whole world is white. Anything that Glee is doing, however pedantic and annoying, is light-years ahead of all of these shows.  Please drop it.  

    • http://phdoula.blogspot.com Rebecca

      Does anyone want to form a “Hulu club” of those of us who are watching 8 days later? I love the TLo recaps but I’m coming a week late to the comment party ;-)

      My extremely belated take:
      Briefly, not enough music, happy to see Blaine come to McKinley for my own selfish OMGBLAINE purposes, it was fun to see Kurt and Rachel get their comeuppance (as most talented high schoolers do eventually…)

      But while the episode was exactly as TLo called (repetitive, housekeeping, set up the same situations all over again), it didn’t give me hope for this season. Maybe nothing would have, the way season 2 fell apart. I’ll watch next week (for this week’s episode…yes I KNOW it already aired!!) but my threshold for quitting this show is getting lower and lower. This show has moved through approx. a thousand great ideas, characters, plots, and ways to be a smart, funny, enjoyable show and discarded EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM in some kind of ADD frenzy to get on to the NEXT great idea/theme episode/guest star. So TLo thinks they’re about to get focused…it could happen. Are they going to actually have the sense to focus on anything good, or are they going to wander down the same dead ends? The next time Sue flip-flops from good to evil, I’m out; I’ll fast forward to the musical numbers and any time Britney opens her mouth.