Review of GLEE episode 1.03 “Acafellas”
To quote Christina Aguilera, “And it keeps getting better.” This ep of GLEE brought so much more depth to the series that I think I need a pair of those bright orange floaties your mom made you wear when you were four. Why am I so giddy? Follow the jump and you’ll find out!
I thought long and hard about this review after watching last night’s ep. I wanted to boil down my love for GLEE to a very simple, honest statement and I think I’ve figured one out:
GLEE is one of the most honest portrayal of high schoolers I’ve ever seen on television. When the pilot aired way back in May, some media scrutinized it for its blatant use of stereotypes to make up the GLEE club members. I’m not going to argue that they are all stereotypical — the gothic asian, the dumb quarterback, the gay fashionista — but what I will argue is that they are effective. Stereotypes exist for a reason. There, I said it. Ryan Murphy and co. expertly explore why each stereotype exists and the things that they deal with. Kurt is the perfect example.
From the first second he came on screen (being thrown into the dumpster, Marc Jacobs and all), it was apparent that he liked boys. But they never really addressed it. He had funny effeminate lines (They’re going to throw fruit at us…and I JUST had a facial) and his outfits got more and more Project Runway with every scene. And then last night’s episode aired and suddenly we got a peek into the stereotypical gay character’s heart. Long story short: Mercedes falls for him, she approaches him about it and gets her heart broken and, in the end, Kurt finally comes out to. It was one of the most touching scenes I’ve seen in a while.
It’s like this with every character, too. Take Will for example. He was kind of an ass to the kids in this ep. After discovering he and a few of the other guys (read: a thumbless shop teacher, coach Tanaka, Howard from Sheets ‘n Things and Sandy, former Glee Club sponsor) really know how to harmonize, he forms the boy band, the Acafellas. This is a confidence builder thing for Will and he has a lot of fun doing it, but he ignores the kids in the process.
Will’s father (played by the FABULOUS Victor Garber) served as a kind of catalyst for this when he admits to Will that he never had the guts to go to law school and become a lawyer. And there’s the theme of the episode — confidence and guts. The writers beat you over the head with it, seriously. We decided that this ep would make an excellent drinking game: one drink every time they say “confidence” and two for dropping the word “guts”. But this is a minor complaint on my part because GLEE as a whole is about confidence. It’s about finding your place in the world and being good at something. Just feeling good.
While Will is on Glee-hiatus, Rachel (prodded by the weird-sisters-of-a-trio cheerios) pursues Dakota Stanley, the hottest show choir choreographer in the midwest. After a Sue and the Cheerios-powered carwash, the club hires him and what follows is a hilarious and spot-on reference to Bring It On (the actual film — not the stupid-ass DVD sequels). After taking a hefty amount of insults (Mercedes is only allowed to consume coffee and Artie is cut because he isn’t trying hard enough to walk), the group realizes that what makes them special is that they are different. They don’t have to be exactly like Vocal Adrenaline (the rival Glee Club) to win.
The musical numbers in this ep were as diverse as New Directions themselves. Will and his Acafellas put on two performances, one which involved them singing “I Wanna Sex You Up” at a PTA meeting. Mercedes, after Kurt lies and says he’s in love with Rachel to avoid the gay issue, has a daydream sequence that involved her singing “Bust Your Windows” and the gang goes to watch another Vocal Adrenaline rehersal and this time the wonder team sings “Mercy.” Amber Riley really steals away the ep with her rendition of “Bust Your Windows” — the dance moves are sassy and her voice could probably knock down walls.
LAST THOUGHTS: I really liked how the writers introduced Puck’s ability to sing. He wants to pick up cougars. He’s over high school girls and now focuses his time on moms. HILARIOUS. Also, seeing him shirtless isn’t awful, either. Is it just me or is Quinn beginning to actually enjoy Glee? She seemed pretty upset with Coach Sylvester (Jane Lynch) in the end…I guess time will tell. And poor little Kurt has a crush on Finn. When Mercedes asks him who he’s in love with, the camera flashes to him for merely a second before Rachel comes into view. Perhaps a little Brokeback Musical is in the works? Fingers crossed.
NEXT WEEK: Rach sings “Taking Chances” by Celine Dion. I will most likely pee my pants. Also, Kurt joins the football team. Ew.
Stay GLEEful everyone!