If it wasn’t the tip-of-the-hat to Kanye West’s “Gold Digger” that made the “Glee” season premiere hilarious and exciting, or the celibacy club balloon dry humping, then it was the episode’s consistently accurate homage to life as an outcast. For almost anyone who endured four years on the outside looking in on the popular circles of the high school social system (or vice versa), “Glee” is a resonating anthem of overcoming fear and opposition — jazz hands included.
After a successful pilot in May, “Glee” returns on the fall lineup of shows on Fox. With a slew of overly stereotypical yet inspirational characters, the show attempts to zoom in on an underrepresented extracurricular club, in a similar vein as the 1980 musical film “Fame.”
Every character, though satirical to the point of blatancy, relates directly to the same social clichés within high school students as well as faculty: the musical theater geek, the nerd in the wheelchair, the flamboyant male diva, the cute jock — the list goes on. Each actor chosen to fill these roles seems to be molded to near perfection. Broadway veterans Lea Michele and Matthew Morrison bring a particular theatrical essence to their characters; Rachel, the ingénue wannabe and Will, the teacher who heads up Glee club. Purposefully drawn from the Great White Way to star in “Glee,” these two actors stand at the forefront of the show, blurring the lines between live theater and recorded television. The transition works.
However, the pressing concern with the show is if it has the sustaining fiber to remain a prevalent prime-time contender as other shows begin this season.
Viewers may already notice glimpses of predictability within the plot structure. A side-plot involving Will, his wife Terry (Jessalyn Gilsig), and their possibility of having a child was quickly trampled. “I knew it” and “I told you so” moments could easily accompany the baby news revealed in the episode. Similar thematic elements were scattered through the episode.
If weaker plotlines and archetypal circumstances continue to drive the show, “Glee” is sure to be a hit for a few episodes before falling in the same category as shows like “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” — clamoring plot twist after plot twist in desperate attempts to retain ratings and viewers.
It’s hard to say that “Glee” is a bad show. It’s not. But at this stage in the game, without a stronger foundation, the show could easily fall into redundancy. In the words of leading lady Rachel Barry, “We’re gonna give them what they want.” The cast of “Glee” has a few episodes to continue doing just that. Otherwise, it’s curtains for this brief fever dream.