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Glee First Season Report Card: B+

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Glee concluded one of the most buzzed-about first seasons in TV history this past Tuesday.

But while series creator Ryan Murphy is already giving away some fall spoilers and storylines, let's pause for a moment and look back at the wonderful season that was, via the latest edition of a TV Fanatic Report Card...

Best character: Sue Sylvester. Incredibly, she was NOT included among Murphy's original pitch. It wasn't until a Fox executive recommended a villain for the show that producers came up with Jane Lynch's quip-making cheerleader coach. Can you imagine Glee without her? Perish the thought!

Worst character: Terri Schuester. The series realized what a mess it made of this individual when it aired the final nine episodes of the season, shoving Will's unbalanced ex far to the side. But we last saw her flirting with Finn, implying that she'll still be around next year. That's fine, as long as they write Terri with more humanity and less, well, crazy.

Puck and Will

Best song: It's hard to not choose "Don't Stop Believing" because it set the tone for the season, but my favorite Glee music selection was "Somebody to Love." It made great use of everyone in New Directions.

Best performance: "Single Ladies." A football team breaking it down to Beyonce, during a game in which Kurt kicked the game-winning extra point and connected with his father? Utter absurdity, truly entertaining, totally Glee.

Best use of guest stars: There were a lot to choose from. But with no offense toward Neil Patrick Harris, Josh Groban and others, Kristin Chenoweth will always have a special place in our heart. She's adorable, she can sing (can she ever!) and we felt for a character such as April Rhodes.

Hopes for 2010-2011: We'll expound on this below, but the show must become less preachy, less self-congratulatory. It doesn't need to hit us over the head each week with some important message, especially when so many have been so similar (we get it, Kurt is struggling with how to be different and his dad supports him as best he can). Also: fewer pregnancies, more Jesse St. James and a chance for Will and Emma to be a real couple.

Overall grade: B+. An original concept, incredible songs, great acting. But this is still a TV show and its inconsistent storytelling must be addressed. Why did Jesse turn on Rachel? Why did Shelby shoot down the idea of one daughter (Rachel) and then jump so high at the chance for another that she legally adopted a baby? Often, Glee focused so much on its Message of the Week that it ignored basic character development and storyline logic.

Instead of trying to write layered individuals and tell stories from multiple perspectives, it too often fell back on the basic concept of underdog outcasts conquering all. Case in point, via Theatricality: Kurt's crush on Finn and subsequent actions were absolutely over-the-line and inappropriate. Finn was right to lash out at him - but then the show tossed the word "faggy" into Finn's mouth and twisted this storyline around to put Kurt in the right.

Glee has already created a set of characters we love. It can be a bit more subtle in the future with them. Here's to hoping it focuses less on life lessons and more on general entertainment next year.

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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@GLEEK Haha. I enjoy the second half of Season 1 mostly because Ken was almost never there! Hahaha

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I agree, more JESSE ST JAMESS ! Weirdly enough , I think they should rethink what they did with the whole Terri Scheuster stuff. It kind of hurts that they're not a couple! I mean come on , Emma and Will? Seriously? It's just odd... I don't expect Terri & Will to be all married and starting a family but if they go on like this it'll be so .. hopeless ! I really hope they're getting to a point here with keeping Terri. As for the worst character, I have to agree. It was KEN. Just horrible!!! As for all the other Gleeks, I can't wait for the whole summer to watch GLEE!

Shrimpie

I really think that the jessie storyline ended too abruptly. Face it, jesse and rachel have more chemistry than rachel and finn. Maybe he can apologize to her in a huge way next season for egging her lol.

Maggieh10

I don't think Jesse's storyline ended well. I'm excited for the Original Song episode if it ever comes.

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And worst character is not Terri, for me it's Ken Tanaka.

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I think I agree with most of you. The first 13 episodes of Glee were the bomb! I never get tired of watching them over and over again. The most boring episode for me was episode 16. But the rest was awesome. And YES! I think Rachel deserves to be with Jesse. Maybe because Jonathan and Lea are great together. They should promote Jonathan to become a regular. I hope Ryan Murphy reads this and realizes that most Gleeks would want a return of Jesse St James. And to me, the best use of guest stars: Jonathan Groff! When he performed Bohemian Rhapsody, he was AMAZING!
I'm just hoping that Jesse actually has a heart. I was shocked when he just started being mean to the New Directions. Didn't he learn anything in episode 15 & 16? Haha. Whatever. I WANT JESSE BACK! And more Mike Chang too. And I think Brittany, Matt and Mike are there just for the dancing. I hope they can sing too.

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wow- i totally disagree with all of this. NPH was the best guest star because Home ruined April Rhodes for us, and Terri, while bad, totally killed it in Funk. i honestly dont care about will and emma being a couple, i've loved emma recently being all strong willed and stuff. what i don agree with is more jesse! he's weirdly attractive, rite? and Bohemian Rhapsody was the BOMB!

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Great review as usual. Yours is the only one that I religiously read. You understood and highlighted what made this show work, and pointed out what didn't make this show work. I think the grade you gave was just right, which is not bad at all for a freshman show that dared to succeed where others have repeatedly failed. I also observed that the show's strengths seem to come from the front 13 episodes, while a lot of the weaknesses and inconsistencies were largely in the back nine episodes. And though the back nine were equally fun to watch, I felt that there were elements in the front 13 that got lost or were underutilized. I particularly missed how each episode of the first half of the season tried to beat everybody to the punch, and how it didn't go the usual road and managed to subvert tropes. I hope the creators/writers draw more from the front 13 than the back nine, and bring back New Directions to the forefront again. The club in its entirety is as much of a star/main character as its individual members.

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Thank you for your hopes for next season and your straightforward comments overall regarding the "important message" and how it often gets in the way of character development. I hope the writer/producers are hearing that as they plan out next year (although I'm worried based on the spoilers and hints for next year quoted from a TV Guide interview). Both Sue and Kurt weren't in the original plans but they both sure do stand out! The songs selected and performed, and especially the range of material, is what, for me, makes it easy to overlook the important message part and not just tune in the next week but look forward to each coming episode. And Rachel's my favorite character for how bad she wants it and how self-centered she is in a benign way while being annoying to everyone (like putting microphones all over the room and preparing a report) ... and, for all of that, she IS so talented (as a character, I mean, but only because she is as Lea Michele) that you can't not want her to succeed (did you see how she smiled when Will said "Everybody voted for Rachel -- including Rachel" ... but could anyone else have called the meeting in the green room and led?). In real life I've never known anyone who would put a gold star after their name when they sign it, but it all works for me on TV anyways!

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AMEN on more Jesse St. James!!! In fact, if you can permanently pair him up with Rachel instead of Finn, that would be just awesome! Jonathan Groff and Lea Michele's chemistry is just off the charts, and it's a shame if Glee doesn't capitalize on it. Their so great to watch and listen to together. Make Jon Groff a regular already!!! I have high hopes that Jesse will return. The fact that you mentioned it wasn't explained why Jesse all of a sudden turned on Rachel, I think that will be explained by next season, as evidenced by the looks they were giving each other in the Season Finale. And maybe it's just me, but I think some of the lyrics of Bohemian Rhapsody is actually aimed towards how Jesse felt which explains the angst in his face and looking towards Rachel whilst he was singing. Anyway, I'm looking forward to a great season 2. Shows usually go through a "sophomore slump" hope it's not the same case for Glee.

Glee Quotes

Beiste: Dr. Jones said the new end of world date is September 27, 2014
Brittany: That gives us like two whole years of giving love and brutal honesty to everyone we know.

Will: I hate to say it but I think as long as you keep being yourself, your life is probably going to be a constant string of 'don't belongs'.
Unique: I know. I should probably start getting used to it.
Will: No, no. You should never get used to it. All great changes come from people who refused to get used to what was accepted but wasn't right. Slavery, gay rights, New Coke.

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