Glee Season Premiere Review: They've Got the Beat!

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A return to basics. A focus on the core characters. The elimination of stunt casting and theme episodes and PSA-like messages of the week.

Ryan Murphy and company promised all of these improvements and more in the weeks leading up to the Glee season premiere, "The Purple Piano Project," and it's very safe to say: the show delivered. Big time.

Glee Season Three Photo

There was no agenda, be it related to sex or drugs or homosexuality. Instead, there was simply time spent with New Directions and the realistic problems many of them would face in real life. Best case in point: Rachel and Kurt.

Come on, TV Fanatics, admit it: who out there has not been in a similar situation to the one these two experienced when they walked in on that incredible group of talented teens? You reside within a bubble of your small town or high school, you excel at something among your peers and you have no idea that a gigantic world exists beyond those hallways.

Heck, I was a 6'0" Jewish kid who thought, in eighth grade, that my basketball jersey might one day be retired at Duke University. It's funny to think about now, and embarrassing to write, but it was legitimately dream-crushing at the time to realize just how my skills compared to many others out there. But at least Rachel and Kurt, following a good cry, aren't giving up.

I'll take a pep talk-giving, Senior Class President-running, happily and steadily-dating-Blaine Kurt Hummel any time over the whining victim this character morphed into last season. Well done, Glee.

Quinn, of course, has gone in the opposite direction. She isn't embracing her inner Gleek, she's rejecting it. Again, though, this happens all the time. High school students can't be expected to truly know who they are and many of them, girls especially, run with different crowds over the years. Does this seem sudden and drastic, considering the Quinn Fabray who only cared about winning prom queen just a few months earlier? Yes.

But Glee had to make some serious changes and is essentially admitting as much. I'm fine with that. Bring on the practically clean slate, I say.

Except when it comes to Will and Emma. It was startling to see these two as a full-fledged couple already, sleeping in the same bed and acting like everything Wemma fans always imagined they could be. I'm glad they're there, and really glad for Will's sake that Emma now knows what it feels like to be aroused, but it would have been nice to have watched their progress, instead of being thrown right into bed with them (especially when a certain body part of Will's wakes up early. TMI alert!).

Will's private region isn't the area I'm interested in, though. Let's focus instead on his spine. Who knew the guy had one?!? Firing Santana, disallowing Sugar from becoming a member, glitter-bombing Sue. Like the changes the show made to Kurt, all I can say is: bravo. I'll stop pining now for Holly Holiday to coach New Directions.

Rachel in the Choir Room

Fortunately, some characters remain the same. Brittany still thinks her nipples are piece of pepperoni, Santana is still a proud, straightforward diva, Sue is still... Sue. It had grown tiresome to watch her tear into Will and the club all the time, and her run for Congress even possesses it own hint of realism. No, not that a rapist could try to snag the position from prison.

But that many people out there really do look down on the arts and with the economy tanking across the nation, it's entirely conceivable that a platform to eliminate this program in public schools really could gain traction. I mean, Sue Sylvester on a state-wide stage? If she demands a dress code made of nothing but track suits, she might even get my vote.

Closing thoughts:

  • Shalom, blogosphere. As soon as I heard these opening words, I had a feeling we were in for a fun hour.
  • An early reference to the Comments section on blogs? Nice little nod to Internet critics of season two.
  • Kurt and Blaine watch The Bachelorette together. Anyone surprised?
  • What about toast? Bread's already been baked. I don't get why you need to cook it again. What would the odds have been on Becky uttering the funniest line of the night?
  • A perfect number of performances for an episode, each fitting snugly into ongoing storylines and each just so darn catchy. With the New Directions once again underdogs, no, we can't stop their beat. Why would we want to?

Finally, because it's been awhile, remember: we update our Glee quotes and Glee music section instantly, as soon as episodes conclude, every single week. Visit them now to be reminded of an outstanding season premiere and sound off: WHAT DID YOU THINK?


Editor Rating: 4.7 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.2 / 5.0 (389 Votes)

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


I am so sad. The first episode of the 3rd season was awful. It's getting to be one of those repetitive, "i can't get out of a rut because i've given away my creative edge" shows. Rachel and Kurt are becoming extremely annoying and Fin's "try hard to be cool, but i'm not" attitude is getting so tiring. Please. Try to make this show better. It's getting so frustrating.


I honestly must say that glee;s plot is just going round and round.
it's like I'm seeing season 1 three times all over again. it's like the plot's the same and the story goes round and round, not much new *sigh* these are the similarities I've observed in season 1 and 2:
1. Girls vs. Boys singing thingy
2. Finchel are together then breaks up then they return to each other every time the the series are near the season finale
3. Quinn and Finn
4. Guys quit football for glee then the next thing we know, they're back
4. And again, the three cheerios quits just for glee club and then the next thing we know they're back again. What's the point in quitting it if you're just going to join again??!!
5. You know everytime they sing during sectionals and regionals, the singer/s comes from the back and not the front stage. and they did this for like I don't know 3 times. (rachel, rachel & finn, quinn & sam) oh I wonder what's to see new in this season. The reason I'm only watching for are the guest stars, colfer, michelle, pearce and mcginty. and I was an ultimate gleek before


I loved the first episode, and i watched it online a few times cuz im so addicted but i could not stop rewinding and watching the last dance number when they zoom in on Brittanys face and she is cross eyed?? Why did they not re-shoot that? I could not stop laughing I loved it!! hahaha. Oh Glee how i love you!! :)


I am surprised at the number of comments about the premiere being boring. It's surprising because I didn't find myself bored at all in contrast to my reaction to many episodes of Season 2. I think they are back to basics. This episode gave me the same feeling I had when I watched the first season. A well structured episode after so many nonsensical tribute episodes. I loved how the songs fit the storyline, the appearance of Blaine at Mckinley (even if I must admit that his motive for the transfer is not one any responsible parent would accept unless there's more to it and we'll see that later in the season??? One can only hope!), the funny lines and the not so excessive drama (how can't you like Hummelberry?). I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks this Pearce girl's acting is somewhat lacking. I haven't watched The Glee Project (I have no taste for reality shows) so I this is the first thing I've seen of her and so far I didn't like her much. She has a great voice, yes, but she didn't convince me. I really loved the premiere. I really hope the entire season will be as (or more) entertaining as this first episode.


Must confess I was so happy with what was happening on Glee that I even tolerated that awful Harmony. That huge red mouth was distracting me from her terrible acting. As for the rest, it was a fun, fun, fun episode!


aww, it's sad that Lindsay Pearce, playing the amazing role of Harmony, wasn't recognized in this review. She was actually the only one that made me excited in glee's comeback season (you know, besides hummelberry). Not to forget her breathtaking performance of "Anything Goes" as they say, finally some one out-racheled rachel. most people are comparing lea and lindsay that they're almost the same because they're both Broadway bred and have powerful voices, but as a fan of both I can entirely say that they aren't. each has their own uniqueness :D
and I believe Lindsay would get recognized with her own personality and talent. it's too bad she will only appear for four episodes though, I wish Ryan Murphy would make her a regular cast together with Damian. #TeamLindsay #KeepLindsay


I hated this episode.


I'll keep watching, but let's be real: I'm still upset that Blaine just transferred schools like that! Sure, it's a TV show that often blurs the lines of reality, but if I were Blaine's parents, I'd ask him for a check to cover the amount of money they spent on Dalton Academy, only to have their son transfer schools for a boy and a singing competition. Just sayin.


@jewel -- I didn't think of things this way until reading your comments. This episode really was all about teamwork. Santana was kicked out for not being a part of the team, for, at best, divided loyalties. All she has to do to get back in is become part of the team (for the first time), to take some responsibility for being part of the team. I also think the arguments and competition are teammate kind of disagreements. It's a far cry and healthy for Mercedes to say, "There will be open auditions, right?" to Rachel, rather than the early episode where Rachel quit Glee to be the lead in "Cabaret" and the rest of the Glee club moaned about their "star" leaving them. And something Murphy has said in interviews, something he's stressed, is that to succeed takes more than talent, that it essentially takes that 4-D thing (drive, dedication, discipline, and desire) concerning their 12th place finish and why he could not have them winning, etc. What jumped out at me from the Rachel-Kurt sub plot was how that very thing was all laid out. Rachel and Kurt have talent, but these kids have been meeting every month since they were freshmen -- the message being that if Rachel and Kurt and the Glee club work that hard, then their talent might win out. Concerning Sugar, it did surprise me (amd I live in Ohio, meaning that unlike the McKinely High football program, the tradition started by Woody Hayes is that no boy gets cut from the football team, that if he wants to come and practice, knowing he's never going to play, the coach will not throw him off the team); but, Schuester did offer to work with her to where she could be a member of the team, but she exhibited another thing I've run into myself and maybe just about anybody has who's ever been part of putting a band together in any fashion from playing ouit to jamming in the garage, EGO, and the fact that her ego means she already has all the answers and, therefore, complete lack of teamwork.


Excuse me, PRIVATE property

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Glee Season 3 Episode 1 Quotes

Senior year is all about being the Cheerios top ho and modeling my fierceness after my numero uno Latina, Paul Abdul.


My mom still hasn't decided if I'm going to Harvard or Stanford.