Four mysterious misfits shake up McKinley High; plus, we grade the musical performances!

By Tim Stack
September 22, 2010 at 04:01 AM EDT
Adam Rose/Fox
S2 E1
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  • TV Show
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Hello newly hot Mike Chang, and hello to all you Gleeks! If the season two premiere is any indication, we’re in for a great year. The opening sequence, which incorporated winking responses to real-life rumors as well as critical jabs at the show (Jacob to Will: “When exactly did you ink your sponsorship with Land’s End?”), was was laugh-out-loud funny and a positive sign that there will be no sophomore slump for Glee. That said, Jacob’s point about Will rapping also applies to the New Directions kids. Yeah, I enjoyed “Empire State of Mind”—more on that in a minute—but generally speaking, these kids aren’t exactly channeling Jay-Z or Nicki Minaj. Their forays into serious hip-hop just feel awkward.

But let’s focus on the positives! Did I mention how hot Mike Chang was tonight? (Dear Mike, I’d like you to dance for me. Preferably in that unzipped hoodie. Love, Tim. Oh and it’s nice to finally hear your voice. I’m not sure you’ve really spoken in any of Glee‘s previous 22 episodes.) And my new Glee crush wasn’t the only high note: The entire episode was witty and packed with ah-mazing musical performances (hello Sunshine!). In fact, I’d say it was one of the best hours Glee has ever done.

That’s a relief, considering that I went into the season premiere concerned that the show’s already large cast of characters was about to get bigger. But it turns out things got even tastier with all that fresh meat. Let’s run through the four new faces spotted around McKinley High (and how they interacted with our series regulars):

Coach Beiste (Dot-Marie Jones): I am obsessed with this character. I mean, her name is pronounced “beast.” It’s too good. But I loved that they actually didn’t just turn her into a copycat of Sue—Beiste is actually quite sensitive. She is also possibly decked out in Ken Tanaka’s old clothes.

Fresh off her much-deserved Emmy win, Jane Lynch was simply perfection as Sue — “Shoulda gone along with the poop cookies.” — and it was a stroke of genius by the producers to give her a new nemesis to play with, especially one that can match her brutality (albeit with a  slightly softer center).

Sunshine Corazon (Charice): The other major newcomer tonight was that Oprah-endorsed nugget of soul. Charice/Sunshine’s voice is insane, especially considering she’s about the size of a lawn gnome and dresses like a Harajuku girl (although I do always love the addition of a nice beret). And just like Beiste’s arrival brought out the beast in Sue, so too did Sunshine’s debut provide a focus for the crazy machinations of our fair Rachel Berry, and that, in turn, shone a spotlight on Lea Michele’s undeniable skills. Girl was absolutely bitch-tastic in this episode — sending the brand-new exchange student to a crack house? — and then surprisingly touching at the end (and that’s hard to do while wearing socks with loafers).

Dustin Goolsby (Cheyenne Jackson): A teeny cameo, but certainly an amusing one, with the dishy 30 Rock star stepping in as Vocal Adrenaline’s new coach. Poached again, Schu! Looking forward to more from that dude.

Next: A burning question for Puck: “I’ve never had any balls in my mouth. Have you?”

Sam (Chord Overstreet): There’s a new dude on Glee, and he’s got Lisa Rinna lips! Sam also has the same fondness for singing in the shower as Finn. (BTW, Finn dropped some major lbs. over the summer. Anyone else notice that?) But even more distracting were the heavy gay overtones during Sam’s audition. Puck: “Dude your mouth is huge. How many tennis balls can you fit in there?” Sam: “I don’t know. I’ve never had any balls in my mouth. Have you?” Hello!

As for the rest of the episode…

I’m sad for Artie but I love that Mike and Tina met at “Asian camp” while teaching “tech-savvy” kids about the arts. Question: Do tech-savvy kids use flip phones like the lil dude who took a quick pic of Tina and Mike? I don’t think so. In any case, I can see what she sees in Mike! While knee socks, short-shorts, and an open hoodie do seem like a slightly inappropriate outfit for a camp music lesson, I’m not mad at it.

So while we’re talking about Mike, let’s address how much cuter he’s gotten, as well as his increased screentime: He was front and center in this episode with “Billionaire” being his best dance sequence. Sad, though, that Matt (aka Other Back-Up Dude) supposedly transferred schools; have we definitely seen the last of him?

No sight of Emma in this episode but I’m guessing that will change next week when we get our first peek at John Stamos (and Britney Spears!).

Now let’s talk musical numbers…

THE SONGS

“Empire State of Mind”

While I still have mixed emotions about Glee‘s dudes rapping — I just get the same embarrassed feelings I have at weddings when I watch awkward white dudes dance — this performance was spectacular. From the wardrobe (where can I get that shirt?!?) to the choreography (loved Santana, Brittany and Quinn workin’ the staircase railing), it was exhilarating. A

“Telephone”

I guarantee this sequence will play in any gay bar that has a TV monitor. And it will play on a loop. Also I believe Lea Michele broke a personal record for hair flips in this tiny sequence. But the shot of her singing over Charice’s face was high-larious. Sue interrupting and telling them to shut up was also brillz, but I sorta wanted them to finish the entire song. Is that wrong? A

“Billionaire”

It’s completely distracting watching Chord Overstreet sing with those giant lips, but this was still a really fun performance. Again, I feel uncomfortable with Artie rapping, but Mike Chang dancing up a storm and gyrating his body in all sorts of twisty ways provided much-needed distraction. A-

“Listen”

I wanted to stand up and cheer, but that seemed odd given that I was sitting alone in my office watching this episode. And Charice wasn’t even singing live! Holy tiny lady! And she was wearing a beret! It was just all too good! Even the reactions from the crowd were fantastic, especially Rachel’s attempt to hold it together. A+

“What I Did For Love”

Lea Michele sang the hell outta this song, and it was a great capper to this episode. It’s a testament to her skill as an actress and singer that Rachel was completely unlikable in this entire episode, and yet you totally felt for her by the end. Amazing. A

THE BEST LINES

“Mike tries to be into what I’m into—like his abs.” –Tina explaining to Artie why she’d chosen another guy

“Oh and Boobs McGee: You’re demoted to the bottom of the pyramid so when it collapses, your exploding sandbags will protect the squad from injury.” –Sue punishing Santana for her boob job

“Fashion has no gender.” –Kurt defending himself when Mercedes asked if he was wearing a “lady sweater”

“These seats are currently being occupied by my ghost friends.” –Sue bullying Coach Beiste

Jane Lynch, Lea Michele, and high school anxiety star in Fox’s campy musical.
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seasons
  • 6
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  • 05/19/09
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  • In Season
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