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+.


Quinn is hot. Like her new look. And the change after Finn got away makes sense -- just like it makes sense her watching a Glee performance, spying like she and Rachel and Mercedes used to do at Vocal Adrenaline rehearsals (previews for next week suggest Quinn will get pressure from Rachel's mom to tone down her new look). Santana seemed a little weaker this episode (after last season) and looked genuinely hurt by being kicked out of Glee (well done!). To those who think there's too much Rachel, I would say Rachel's the star of the show, so of course she's featured, but this wasn't a Rachel-centric episode as many in the past. I think the show this season is going to be like "Wheel of Time" or "Game of Thrones" -- jumping from each character's story arc and any particular episode could have more or less of a specific character (with Rachel and Schuester still getting plenty of screen time each week).


I caught Brittany's Derp face! OMG it is hilarious and weird!! glad I am not the only one!


Blaine's version of Tom Jones: Yeeecccch. Too bland. Everything he sings (everything most of them sing) sounds exactly the same and has the same look. Naya Lopez (Santana) is impressive - good actress, good singer, good dancer. heather Morris (Britney) ditto. Underutilized. Kurt's and Rachel's revelation: Not realistic. I went to and worked at Juilliard and, trust me, it takes more than one event like this to wake up small town stars to reality. In fact, they would have been more likely to assert that they're better than the competition they just saw. And, speaking of Juilliard, how could these two have not done enough research to know that the 'lliard doesn't have a musical theater program? And why didn't Emma also mention a couple of the other liberal arts colleges with great music theater programs, like NYU or Williams? That's a bit like only naming Harvard for a kid interested in pre-med.


I'm a incredibly big Gleek, and from the small country I am always followed it by heart and was torn apart the direction season 2 was taking, the show was litterly imploding. This episode would've been a good one IF it was mid-season something but as BIG season opener it was : BORING. If they got to something interesting (Like the Piano on fire) suddenly the scene ended. It was a blur of scenens all mashed together that look great in a promo to attract people, but when actually seen in total pretty much sucked. I'm really really sad about it cause I love Glee so effin much. They should give the characters we have now more emotion before even thinking of adding new ones..


For those of you complaining that the episode was "boring", remember we have 21 more episodes of the friggin season!! It's called setting the bar, and if I remember correctly, one of things many of you were complaining about last season was the fact that they went "too big" or "over the top". I don't remember the "Pilot" or "Audition" being so exciting. This episode was basically for back story and setting up story lines for the rest of the season. I thought the premiere was awesome, just what I wanted. It was funny, emotion, and full of great music (my personal fav was Blaine's "It's Not Unsual"). Just relax, sit back, and enjoy the ride.


The season opener was good, as usual I'm never disappointed. I love this show, but it seems like everything is always centered around Rachel, Finn, Quinn and Kurt. I would like to see the other kids in Glee given a chance to shine. Mercedes is the only cast member who has not had a boyfiend. That guy they have for her looks boring, why not give her a cute fun-loving boyfriend, to make it more interesting. Overall, its a good start!


Agree with many - TOO MUCH Rachel! Besides that and considering it was the Season Premier, it was dissapointed, they've done other really awesome episodes, like w/GaGa, for example. As they say on Amer. Idol: Song Choice. Totally didn't get how those songs would "grab" people...and I'd like more Puck and love Quninn's transition but overall, could barely pay attention. Too bad.


I was disappointed with the opening show of the new season. The show was just kind of boring.


Loved this season opener! I think that it paved the way for many interesting story lines in the episodes to come! Thought the role of Harmony was absolutely perfect for Lindsay, as I was really curious to see how they would fit her into the show. Rachel and Kurt make such a great team :) Looking forward to seeing what's in store for them as well as the rest of the cast as the season unfolds.


God how i love to hate Sue!! The music numbers were fantastic, loved the songs. Blaine's number was dreamy.
I am very happy that Kurt and Rachel are such good friends now, they just go so well together, they compliment each other like true best friends should. Sugar was hilarious, i hope she brings trouble.
i kinda missed Karofsky, i really thought that at some point he will join glee club. the whole ep was great and set the stage for a number of great story lines, Queen looked crazy but hot, i just hope that when she will inevitably come back to her senses and go back to glee she will also bring along some spice, i hope she will never go to completely good catholic girl self.

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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.