Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Glee - Season 3 Review

US Airdate: September 20th 2011-May 22nd 2012

It’s year three and changes at McKinley High are imminent with our band of Gleeks.

Graduation Day: There comes a time in every teen show’s life when their main characters have to be taken out of the high school environment and this usually means the death of most teen shows as a regular. Unless, you’re Buffy and you’re actually interesting enough to keep audiences clamouring for more storylines in a post high school environment.

However, this is not necessarily Glee’s year for that. No, this is the year that focused on the last year of high school for half of our cast or mainly Kurt and Rachel’s fixation on getting into NYADA, Finn bouncing back and forth between deciding what he wants to do with his future as well as Quinn, Puck, Santana, Mike and Mercedes occasionally getting a look in as well in that regard.

Speaking of Mike – it’s about damn time the show gave him more to do than bust a move and have a relationship with Tina as three of the strongest episodes actually focused on the conflict that his dancing aspiration had with his parents. Harry Shum Jr actually is a solid actor when given something to do and this plot, while not compelling, managed to prove that one in a pinch.

Keeping with the troubles of high school, the biggest storyline of the third season was probably the writers finally outing Santana once and for all in arguably the show’s best episode but done in the worst way possible when Finn blurted out her sexuality in a rather heated moment. If ever there was a moment to loathe Finn truly as a character, it certainly was in this moment. Though he did manage to try and make things better in the episode after it.

Santana’s outing continued this show’s defiant streak of LGBT related storylines throughout the season and as a gay viewer, for the many faults this show may have, at least it’s shown a decent variety of storylines from a queer perspective. Santana and Brittany’s relationship still may need work and we definitely need to see more public displays of affections with them and Kurt and Blaine, but both of those relationships managed to trump nearly every other this season.

Other gay related storylines this season included a suicide storyline involving the also recently outed Dave Karofsky and while this was a character who became a hate figure in the second season, it was pretty damn hard not to sympathise with him this year after he attempted to end his own life following his classmates not responding well to him being gay.

It was definitely one of the third season’s most controversial of storylines and while a bit more time could’ve been focused on it (similarly with the domestic violence storyline with Beiste and her husband, Cooter), Max Adler did some spellbindingly excellent work in the few episodes he appeared this season.

Also on the gay spectrum was the arrival of Grant Gustin’s slimy Sebastian Smythe, a rich boy sleaze to whom as viewers, we didn’t have to feel an iota of sympathy towards. Having Sebastian trying to steal Blaine was one thing but having him actually blind his affections with a rock slushie was another. In some ways, Sebastian became one of my favourite characters because it was nice to have one gay character on this show who could be bad. I do hope if he returns for the show’s fourth year that Murphy and company retain Sebastian’s nastiness. Plus, we also finally got to meet Rachel’s dads for two episodes, Ricky Martin played a sexy Spanish teacher and Jonathan Groff reprised his role as Jesse once again.

Last but not least, there was also the brief introduction of Wade/Unique, the show’s first transgendered character and while Alex Newell isn’t exactly a good actor, the character was interesting enough. Well, more so than fellow Glee Project winner as Irish man Rory but not as much as the ones who ended up playing Joe and Harmony. And then there’s Sugar, who’s a ditzy ball of fun as well, despite being largely underused throughout the third season.

In terms of themes, we have the usual sets of Sectional/Regional/National episodes to contend with, tributes to Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Saturday Night Fever and West Side Story, a bizarre dream sequence courtesy of Tina and a rather old fashioned montage during this season’s Christmas episode as well as Will and Emma making a commitment to each, Sue becoming pregnant and gaining a rival in swim coach Roz, Sam being a stripper for an episode as well as Quinn being temporarily paralysed. While the writing and character motives have been hazy at best this season, it’s certainly not dull. It’s just for the upcoming fourth year, I do hope that better care is put into the continuity and stuff.

DVD Extras: An interesting selection of stuff including a music jukebox, Santana’s version of Santa Baby, two Sue related features, behind the scenes on the finale and the usual smattering of deleted scenes and bits.

Episode Ratings

3x01: The Purple Piano Project = 8/10, 3x02: I Am Unicorn = 7/10,
3x03: Asian F = 9/10, 3x04: Pot O’Gold = 6/10,
3x05: The First Time = 9/10, 3x06: Mash-Off = 10/10,
3x07: I Kissed A Girl = 7/10, 3x08: Hold On To Sixteen = 9/10,
3x09: Extraordinary Merry Christmas = 8/10, 3x10: Yes/No = 7/10,
3x11: Michael = 9/10, 3x12: The Spanish Teacher = 6/10,
3x13: Heart = 7/10, 3x14: On My Way = 9/10,
3x15: Big Brother = 7/10, 3x16: Saturday Night Glee-ver = 7/10,
3x17: Dance With Somebody = 6/10, 3x18: Choke = 8/10,
3x19: Prom-A-Saurus = 7/10, 3x20: Props = 8/10,
3x21: Nationals = 9/10, 3x22: Goodbye = 7/10

Glee Season 3 is currently available on DVD.

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