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Glee Round Table: "The New Rachel"

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And... we're off!

Glee Season 4 premiered last Thursday with a long visit to New York and the introduction of several new characters. What did we like best and worst about "The New Rachel?"

TV Fanatic staff members Leigh Raines and Miranda Wicker are joined for this edition of the Round Table by reader Suzanne Davis (follow her on Twitter!) as they discuss Rachel's New York state of mind, along with her possible replacements at William McKinley High. Read on and then sound off below...

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What was your favorite scene from the premiere?
Leigh: I love when Kurt surprised Rachel when she was finally breaking down in NYC. I got teary eyed at seeing those two reunited at the fountain in Central Park.

Miranda: The Burt/Kurt scene in the car at the airport. Burt's the best TV dad in the history of TV dads and any time I can get a scene with the two of them, it'll be my favorite.

Suzanne: My favorite scene was also Kurt and his dad at the airport, if by "favorite" you mean "one that had me sobbing like a baby." I might cry now just thinking about it. There's something about sending a kid off - whether it's my kid to preschool or an imaginary character on an extremely unrealistic musical TV show - that punches me right in the emotions.

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What was your favorite performance?
Leigh: Oh, hands down Kate Hudson's "Americano/Dance Again" mash up. I was awestruck. She was insanely perfect.

Miranda: Blaine singing "It's Time" by the Imagine Dragons. One, who doesn't want to go to a school where the entire courtyard can randomly burst into song and dance?!? And, two, I just love Blaine.

Suzanne: "Call Me Maybe." I'm a sucker for an overplayed pop song.

Continuing with the theme of favorites, who's your favorite new character?
Leigh: Hmmm, undecided but I'm intrigued by mini-Puckerman. I had a feeling it was him right from the get-go when he wouldn't give his last name.

Miranda: I like Marley. She's so unassuming and genuine, but she's also got some moxie. I'm hopeful that the writers will do great things with her.

Suzanne: Cassandra July is my favorite, even though she's a little bit ridiculous. I mean, she might be the most shallow and uninteresting character ever written into the show (or maybe that's New Quinn?) but Kate Hudson is just so pretty.

Should the "New Rachel" be one of the existing cast members or a newcomer?
Leigh: Personally, I thought it should've been Tina. Attitude aside, her voice blew everyone else away.

Miranda: See my love of all things Blaine. Even his bowties and sweaters. I was happy with Artie's "choice." He's got charisma the others don't have.

Suzanne: I actually hope they don't create a New Rachel. I'd love to see Britney get more performances and the new girl is a great soloist, but I think the way Rachel dominated almost every episode was dragging the show down a little. Let's have EVERYONE be super dramatic and flouncy.

Do you think the show will be able to sustain both the high school AND New York story lines?
Leigh: The jury is still out, but here's hoping! As long as the newer characters are able told hold their own and can transition well in with the old McKinley crew, there is definitely hope.

Miranda: My favorite parts were the New York scenes, so part of me hopes they slowly ditch the high school. But then it wouldn't be Glee, so I'm hopeful they'll be able to pull this off.

Suzanne: I hope so! Although they only have to do it for, what, one more year? before everyone graduates. Once the school isn't there to physically relate all the characters to each other I think they will have a problem keeping it going. Remember what happened to Saved By The Bell?

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Oh this episode. I dont know. Loved it, didn't love it. So torn. So all over the place. I love anytime I hear Imagine Dragons, having it sung by the gorgeous Blaine? Cherry on top of the musical sundae. I love the part of high school that they bring that shows what is really happening, kids are mean. Let's not forget that and jump just to a show abut the harshness of the Big Apple. I teared up at Kurt & Rachel. But I honestly find the whole thing with Rachel to be a bit..predictable. Of course she was going to not be the "IT" thing in NYC. And of course her teacher hates her. And of course she's going to stand out. And of course she's going to find a crooner who moisturizes to be flirty with until she drops Finn (or Finn drops her). OF COURSE. Where's the juice?! I don't know about the episode. Over all something was missing. The sassy comebacks of Santana? The dances of Mike? The relationships that make the show dynamic? Something.

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Haven't seen episode two yet, but I missed Mercedes and Santana in the first show. Will they make appearances or are they done? How about Quinn? Mike? All done? Did they decide to ditch Rory in favor of Unique? Not my favorite idea. I didn't like Alex on Glee Project and don't like him here.... and no, it's not because he's transsexual/drag queen, or whatever you want to label him; I don't like the personality that came out in the Project. Damien won and so did Samuel, not Alex, but I will still be a die hard fan, and give Alex a chance to win me over. You can't deny he's got an amazing voice.

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I thought is was good. season 1 is still the best as of now. Jake,s Never Say Never was beautiful. New characters Jake and Marley are interesting and fun. Kitty is a clone and boring. New York with Kurt and Rachel will be my favorite. Brody is ok but as a mentor.

Amie

1. Kurt and Rachel at the fountain hugging it out! So glad these two will be together in NY. 2. Call Me Maybe - it was funny to see how badly everyone thought they were the New Rachel. 3. Nobody at this point - Puck 2.0 is no way near the real Puck, Marley is ok and fine but she kind of just there, Cassandra is also ok, but really do we need another Sue? 4. Ok, on the one hand I would give the New Rachel title to Tina who is the only one left apart from Artie, who was there when Glee club just started, so she definitvely did deserve it, given we saw so little of her in the PAST TWO SEASONS. On the other hand, I don't think they should have a New Rachel, otherwise it going to be the same problems all over again. 5. I hope so.

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One thing I LOVED about Marley that I hadn't realised I hated about Rachel until just now, was the fact that she smiles as she sings... Rachel always looked so pained.

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I loved the parts of Marley. my heart broke for her when her mom tries to make her fit in and is willing to hide in the background and i was so happy she stood up for her mother. That brought tears to my eyes when she goes "you don't know about her [...] she's my mom". Also when Rachel broke down and cried while she was on the phone with Kurt.

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honestly I've been following glee since season 1. it was awesome back then, I love every bit of it, then the second seasons and the third seasons came crashing down. I convince myself that season 3 will be the last glee episode I watch, but after watching the first episode of season 4, i have to admit, the series still have hopes. I love the new characters. let just hope and cross our finger the writer don't screw up this time around.

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After the premiere, it looks like Glee is okay with not showing everyone every episode. They'll reference so you know they're still around, but they don't need to include them, which I think is the best way to deal with a cast that big. I thought it would be a disaster this season, but I think they'll play it right if they keep doing things this way.

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I preferred to watch the New York scenes over the high school scenes. The New York setting is new and different; this is what Glee needed to step it up. The problem I think it will now encounter is what happens when you juxtapose something old (high school) with something new (post-high school); a contention between moving forward but holding onto the past. I think the show needs to move on with Kurt.

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Hands down Jake/Jacob Artist "Never Say Never" Hands down again Jake Puckerman and then Marley who is sweet as pie. No one should be the new Rachel...they should all get a chance. I think they can continue with the dual locations as long as everyone is tied together somehow. Plus they need to spend some time with the audience trying to get to know and fall in love with the new characters.