We found ourselves kinda stunned by what happened on television last night. No, not that Republican congressman Joe Wilson heckled the president of the United States during his address to the joint session on Congress—seriously? “You lie?” This isn’t a town hall meeting in South Carolina, buddy!—but that we really found ourselves falling in love with Glee. If you would have told us in May that we’d be legitimately excited to see where this series goes over the course of season one, we’re not sure we would have believed you. Perhaps the use of Don’t Stop Believin’ at the end of the pilot was more prescient than it first appeared.
As we wrote back then, despite possessing a plethora of excellent moving parts—the premise, the cast—the pilot episode of Glee was choppy, derivative and forced: too much like an Alexander Payne movie and too much like the long-forgotten—though not by us!—Miss Guided with Judy Greer but with too much preciousness to be sustainable beyond the pilot. However, in the first episode of the season, everything was on-point and focused, a complete turnaround from before. The situations and, most importantly, the characters, were given a chance to breath and exist. In the pilot, creator Ryan Murphy didn’t just hijack Mr. Payne’s Middle American palette, but also his utter contempt for the characters he created. The students and teachers on Glee didn’t seem like human beings as much as they seemed like vessels to make jokes at their expense. Now, though, they’re more than just punch lines and excuses for choreographed dances; they’re human beings that people can empathize with. The derisive Payne sense of humor has been replaced by something more akin to 30 Rock: You’re laughing with them and not at them.
That Mr. Murphy also gets an epic performance out of Jane Lynch doesn’t hurt either. Ms. Lynch has long been one of the most talented comedic actresses working in Hollywood—we still think she could have gotten an Oscar nomination for Role Models—but on Glee she takes things to another level. Simply, she’s a riot on the show; Ms. Lynch’s screen-time-to-laugh-line ratio almost breaks down to 1-to-1. We can barely even think of something she said that wasn’t funny—our favorite: “That was the most offensive thing I’ve seen in twenty years of teaching, and that includes an elementary school production of Hair.”
We guess our now-love of Glee can be easily summed up with what teacher Will Schuster (Matthew Morrison) relayed to one of his students about glee club during the episode: “It was cool, we had fun and that is what glee is supposed to be about.” Glee isn’t about to replace oxygen, but it’s quite possibly the most fun we’ve had watching television in months. And, really, what’s wrong with that?