Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Glee - Season 2 Review

US Airdate: September 21st 2010-May 24th 2011

For the second year at McKinley High, the gang go through their usual quest for popularity but can the success really keep a coming for the series?

New York, New York: I have a confession to make. For anyone who’s been reading my blogs over the last several months, you’ll have noticed that I’m not near as damning towards the series second season as many other critics have been but that doesn’t automatically mean that the show has been perfect either in it’s second run, even if I have enjoyed a lot of the second year.

Let’s get the negative stuff out of the way first. While this show is fantastic and hardly in a minority, some of the pacing for the second season has definitely been a problem for the show, in particular with the multitude of relationships that have dominated the entire 22 episodes of the show.

Rachel and Finn are supposed to be the lynchpin relationship of the season but contrary to Ryan Murphy’s promises, they actually spent more time apart than together and even when they were a couple, there weren’t as riveting as they could’ve been. I think with these two, it’s a case of the show putting their leading characters together and not really knowing what to do with them.

When they’re apart as well, there’s a terrible attempt of Finn and Quinn rekindling their relationship and something of a wasted reunion between Rachel and Jesse in the final three episodes as well. Similarly, the writers keep telling us to ship Brittany and Santana as a couple but instead we’re lumbered with the dullest relationship in the series run – Brittany and Artie and despite being a good looking guy, newcomer Sam had difficulties sustaining relationships with either Quinn and Santana for two thirds of the series.

Even when they decide to pair him with Mercedes in the finale, its a case of being too late and let’s not get into the mess with Will and Emma (and Holly and Carl) or else I really will want to tear my hair out. Heck, even the somewhat odd pairing with Puck and Lauren loses it’s appeal long before the finale kicked in.

In fact the only romantic pairings that actually seemed to work this year were the savagely underused Mike and Tina and of course, Kurt’s relationship with Blaine, even if it’s a little rushed to an extent. I’m beginning to think that with this show, the friendships – Rachel/Kurt/Mercedes, Quinn/Santana/Brittany and Will/Beiste were the only times when the writers really got the interactions more finely tuned.

However, I think the biggest issue for me with this series is the show’s continuous insistence of making the Glee kids into outsiders. I can understand the thematic relevance for it but at this point, I’m bored to tears of the slushie facials and it’s also beginning to lose it’s credibility as well. Plus for the most part, the likes of Puck and Will really don’t have much to do and the writers over exaggerate Brittany’s stupidity as well.

Similarly, Sue’s continued machinations against the gang and Will really got old this series. In fact, the only times in which I’ve actually enjoyed Sue have been when she’s shown either compassion to Kurt or when she lost her sister Jean in the penultimate episode of the season. Other than that (and despite Jane Lynch being on fine form), I have actually grown a little tired with the character.

As for the positives of the series, well there were some. Kurt’s gay bullying/meeting Blaine/transferring to Dalton/coming back to McKinley might not be that radical to watch on repeats but it certainly helped cement Chris Colfer’s abilities as an actor and gave the character the much needed depth that he had been sorely lacking from the first year.

More riveting however was Santana’s storyline. I’m not entirely sure if Santana needed to be revealed as gay (I think it did seem more likely that she was bisexual) but this was definitely Naya Rivera’s year to shine and considering the amount of stuff the writers threw at her to play with, it’s amazing that she knocked it out of the park every time. I just hope that Santana and Brittany are an end game though, couple wise.

Another great element of the show was expanding the character. It was nice to see Karofsky given more depth and Lauren did have her plus point as did Becky but the newcomers in Sam, Beiste and Blaine is where the season worked at it’s best too. Plus even Gwyneth Paltrow as flighty Holly Holiday and John Stamos as Emma’s short lived husband Carl went down a treat too, though Sunshine could’ve been used a little better and Figgins has to be the worst principal known to man. How someone that incompetent is running a school is beyond me.

As the music itself – okay, not gonna lie, the show did rely too much on themed episodes and current chart stuff (please never subject us to Justin Bieber again) but considering that some of those themes hinged on religion, binge drinking, sexuality, identity, Christmas and gossip, I’m actually forgiving of it. Plus, we did get an interesting take on a cult classic and an episode dedicated to Fleetwood Mac should be seen as a good thing.

In terms of the Glee club furthering in success, I’m hoping that their loss in Nationals during the finale will teach them a valuable. Then again, if it doesn’t, I’m pretty sure that Santana will teach Rachel a valuable lesson, Lima Heights style and also more original songs to. We need another “Trouty Mouth” and “My Cup”

EXTRAS: Actually there’s an impressive bunch of stuff here. You’ve got the usual array of bloopers, deleted scenes, commentaries and interviews. There’s a look around the set with Cory Monteith, filming in New York, a featurette on Brittany, making of The Rocky Horror episode to name but a few.


2x01: Audition = 8/10, 2x02: Brittany/Britney = 8/10,
2x03: Grilled Cheesus = 9/10, 2x04: Duets = 9/10,
2x05: The Rocky Horror Glee Show = 7/10, 2x06: Never Been Kissed = 9/10,
2x07: The Substitute = 7/10, 2x08: Furt = 8/10,
2x09: Special Education = 9/10, 2x10: A Very Glee Christmas = 9/10,
2x11: The Sue Sylvester Shuffle = 8/10, 2x12: Silly Love Songs = 9/10,
2x13: Comeback = 6/10, 2x14: Blame It On The Alcohol = 7/10,
2x15: Sexy = 10/10, 2x16: Original Song = 9/10,
2x17: A Night Of Neglect = 6/10, 2x18: Born This Way = 9/10,
2x19: Rumours = 9/10, 2x20: Prom Queen = 8/10,
2x21: Funeral = 9/10, 2x22: New York = 8/10.

Season 2 is currently available on DVD.

No comments: