I have seen the new “Glee.” It’s a lot like the old “Glee.” And I don’t necessarily mean old as in that loveable band of weirdos and misfits we met way back in 2009. I mean old as in, gosh, this all seems so familiar. Sure, Rachel is in New York. Sure, the New Directions audition for replacements. Sure, many of our favorites faces are absent and many new faces are introduced. But the more things change the more they stay the same. “Glee” continues its “Glee” ways in more ways than one – it shows its teeth while celebrating its heart in both exhilarating and excruciating ways.
But first, about those new members. The reason this Season 4 premiere feels so familiar is because the new characters feel so familiar. Like, really, really familiar. Like, I’m not even kidding.
- We have a new Quinn, Kitty (like, she’s actually called “my new Quinn”).
- We have a new Puck, Jake (like, his last name is actually Puckerman).
- We have a new Finn, Brody (like, he is actually introduced to us while singing in the shower).
- And, of course, we have a new Rachel, Marley (like, she actually sings a split-screen duet with the old Rachel).
I’m sure this is by design. There’s a reason so many sequels get made. People like the familiar and the familiar makes money. To wit, we have a cast of new characters that doesn’t – at least initially – feel all that new. Do they all work as Version 2.0s? Well, for those of us old enough to remember having to spend long nights at Kinkos to finish school papers, the lesson is clear. The copy is never as good as the original.
That said, in spite of myself, I find myself liking at very least The New Rachel, Marley. Call me a sucker for the underdog of underdogs. Plus girl can sing. And I, too, always had a soft spot for the poor, maligned lunch ladies.
But on to what you care about. The Spoilers. (And that, my Gleeks, is your spoiler warning.)
What can Klainers expect? No kissing. But we do get a lovely Klaine moment which effectively ends all Klaine moments for the foreseeable future. Nothing like the power of song to convince your boyfriend he should move far, far away from you. How about the Brittana Army? No kissing, clearly, as Santana is in this episode by name only. But we do get a Brittany mention of her girlfriend at the very least and discussion of how hard it is to make out over Skype. Because “you can’t really scissor over web cam.” Sure, it’s a nice call back to their first discussion of scissoring, but can we get real for a mili-second? Lesbians don’t really scissor, at least all that much. Too much delicate weight distribution and careful balance is involved. Back me up, ladies. But then, this is a show from Ryan Murphy, so I guess we’re lucky he’s even in the ballpark when it comes to some of the things lesbians actually do in bed. Also there’s also no Quinn, so Faberry Nation will need to keep reading fanfic at least one week longer.
But back to the episode. A little song, a little dance, a little Slushie in your pants (assuming some dripped down from your face). It’s the “Glee” we know and sometimes love and sometimes really, really hate with a few new faces and all the same issues. Being the loveable outsider is hard, but ultimately fulfilling. Following your dreams is hard, but ultimately fulfilling. What makes you different is hard, but ultimately fulfilling. And your new dance instructor is a hard-ass alcoholic bitch, but ultimately your triumph over her will be fulfilling.
But at least we can be happy for the little things. And the best little thing in the Season 4 premiere is that there is absolutely, positively, miraculously no Finn. He’s in the Army, and a grateful nation thanks him for his service.