Glee Recap: Season 2 Premiere: Auditions
Well, I was excited about Monday night being Asian night on TV (specifically, Korean night), what with Grace Park and Daniel Dae Kim on the new Hawaii Five-0 and Margaret Cho on “Dancing with Stars,” but H50 seriously sucked (I gave up after 15 minutes) and from what I hear Maggie Cho is not long for Dancing. But no matter, because my dreams have come true: there is some serious Asian representation on Glee, my favorite show (well, I have to admit, right now my heart belongs to Mad Men, which is more amazing every week). Not only does Mike Chang, AKA Other Asian, have way more screen time and lines than usual this episode, he and Tina are now an item. Furthermore, Filipina YouTube singing sensation Charice Pempengco (pronounced by no less than Oprah the “Most Talented Girl in the World.”) is onboard as adorable exchange student Sunshine Corazon.
But let’s start from the beginning. Jacob Ben-Israel’s Jew News video blog catches us up on the Glee Club members’ summers (funny, I had never noticed the Hebrew call letters on his mike before—a genius touch). In a hilarious nod to TV critics and fan forums, he tells Will that Glee Club’s repertoire sounds like “a drag queen’s iPod.” Will defends his choices, claiming he tries to do “25% show tunes, 25% hip hop, 25% classic rock…” Jacob interrupts to sum it up: “100% gay.”
Moving on, Puck spent his pool money on a vasectomy and Quin claims to be less hormonal (although she grabs the mike from Jacob to redirect it back from Santana’s bosom). Jacob breaks the news that Tina and Mike, wafting together down the hall, are dating, to which Tina responds: “Because we’re both Asian? That’s racist.” Mike: “Totally racist.” (OMG, that TOTALLY happened to me when I was in high school. People assumed I’d have to marry the one Asian guy, or at least go to Prom with him. Like we were the only two giraffes on the Ark.) Anyway, back to Tina and Mike who walk off in a cloud of bliss, holding hands. Cue Artie rolling past, daggers in his eyes. What the heck happened that Tina and Artie over the summer?
In another hilarious bit, Jacob goes back to Will to tell him that the forums are begging Will to stop rapping. Will, clueless and hurt: The kids don’t like it when I rap?
But Kurt defends the Glee Club (and, by extension, Glee): it’s easy for people to drop their cottage cheese thighs onto the Barcaloungers and type disses in online forums but you know what’s hard? Standing up and singing.
And then, as always, the slushy has the last word. Damn, they have a lot of slushy concessions in that school.
The activity sign-up board is busy. The line of prospective Cheerios goes out the door (Sue claims they’ve been in line since end of July. The sign-up sheet says, in huge letters: NO FATTIES). But the New Directions’ sheet is empty.
In Principal Figgins’ office, budgets must be cut, “sacrifices must be made.” Same old same old. Except, what’s this? In the corner sits a mountain of a woman: Shannon Beiste, pronounced Beast (“it’s French”). Seems Ken Tanaka had a nervous breakdown over the summer (i.e. the producers decided they needed a better character. Let’s just hope they decided the same about Terri Schuester).
Sue Sylvester looks horrified: “A female football coach is like a male nurse: a sin against nature.”
Beiste comes right back at her with: “You’re all coffee and no omelet.” And: “that’s a steer with six teats and no oink.”
OMG. Out-Sylvestering Sue Sylvester. Awesome.
Sue looks ill. All she can do is mutter, “That doesn’t make any sense.”
Back in choir room, Will announces the bad news. There are no sign-ups for Glee Club, but without at least one they won’t have enough members to qualify for competition. (It seems that Matt, the white guy who never got any lines, has transferred to a new school, so now they have only eleven members).
Nationals are in New York this year (I smell big season finale!) and the kids really, really want to go. Since no one’s coming in to Glee Club they hatch a plan to get Glee Club out to the kids. Cue “Empire State of Mind” in the courtyard, with some awesome outfits and chainz that they, you know, just threw together. With their tiny, depleted budget. Plus the music’s way too overproduced for me. It doesn’t even sound like them singing half the time. I guess the producers didn’t listen to all the criticism about the overprocessed sound.
Anyway, it’s pretty great choreography, and at least two of the students seem to find it catchy. A perky little Asian girl (Charice as Sunshine Corazon) and a pretty blonde boy who looks totally like a boy band heartthrob. Of course we will meet these kids soon. But for now, with still no new prospects for Glee Club, the kids take matters into their own hands. Finn makes camo-pirate posters for the guys’ locker room (he got the idea from posters army recruiters were putting up at the daycare center).
And in an extremely self-referential bit, Finn overhears the new blonde boy belting in the shower. The scene is supposed to be funny, or… something, but isn’t all that great and arguably cheapens the original moment. All it does it make Finn seem like a has-been. Which, in a way, I guess he is. Still, this is a seriously questionable moment. Can you really quote your own material from just one season ago without making yourself into a joke?
Meanwhile, Rachel runs into the perky Asian girl in the bathroom and is her quintessential self, hilariously. “I couldn’t help noticing you admiring me yesterday in the courtyard,” is her opening line. So great. Then, when she gets no response, a perky: “Oh! You don’t speak English.” Yelling it: “You like me sing! You like me sing very much!”
Sweet smiley Sunshine Corazon speaks English perfectly fine. She walks away from Rachel unperturbed and starts singing “Telephone.” Her voice is spectacular, and Rachel joins in on the Beyonce part. Afterward, excited, she urges Sunshine to join ND, as they need more background singers to hum in the background with “wet, moved eyes while I sing the solos.” But wait, on second thought, Sunshine is TOO good. Auditions… “let me get back to you on that.”
Coach Beiste cuts everyone on the football team, determined to make everyone prove themselves afresh. Will and Sue gang up to bring her down, with juvenile tricks like ordering 25 pizzas for the locker room and denying her a seat in the teachers’ lounge (“Operation Mean Girl”).
Meanwhile we learn that Tina and Mike got together when they were fellow counselors at Asian Day Camp, teaching the arts to “tech-savvy” Asian youngsters. Which seems ignorant to me, because anyone who knows anything about Asian parents knows that they cram the arts down their kids’ throats. Go to any music camp—half the kids are Asian. Anyhoo, Tina likes the looks of Mike’s abs—who wouldn’t—and it seems Artie ignored her for weeks at a time for epic sessions of Halo so she has transferred her affections to the pretty Asian boy. Who can blame her? I never appreciated Artie’s macho act, despite the fact that it’s probably compensation for the wheelchair.
Finn convinces Sam (the pretty blonde showering boy) to show up at Glee and he sings a kick-ass “Billionaire” complete with guitar. At least, I think it was him. The whole thing was so produced it was ridiculous. Lip sync much?
Beiste stands up to Will and shows her humanity, and he is ashamed of himself. Artie wants to join the football team to win Tina back, but when Finn proposes this to Beiste she is enraged and cuts Finn from the team. A desperate Finn then tries out for Cheerios, trying to get back some status.
Quin reports Santana to Sue for getting a boob job (Sue gives Santana a classic yell-down) and is reinstated as head Cheerio, which she soooo relishes.
In a last ditch attempt, Sue gets Brittany to claim (on a little Cheerio doll) that the Beiste molested her, but Will gets her to tell the truth, which is that actually she wants to touch Beiste’s breasts. Nice touch. Of course free spirit Brittany, ever unencumbered by societal mores (being mostly ignorant of them), is in touch with the entirety of her polymorphously perverse sexual spectrum. Good for her!
No one shows at ND’s auditions. Rachel gave poor little Corazon the address to a crackhouse. And Sam doesn’t want to become a social pariah, especially since he’s taken Finn’s place as the new QB.
Tina and Mike report Rachel’s evil to Will (Rachel: How did you find out? Tina & Mike: The Asian community is very tight.), and he makes Rachel go apologize and ask her to audition again. Which she does, onstage, with a band and string section and full lighting design, of course. And a kick-ass version of “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” ”Listen” from Dreamgirls [thanks for the correction, KC!] that blows the ND away. Man, that’s a big voice from a tiny girl, and she has big stage presence too.
Next thing we know, we see Cheyenne Jackson in the hallway at Sunshine’s locker. He’s the new coach of Vocal Adrenaline (bye-bye Idina Menzel), and he has lured Sunshine away with a new condominium and a green card for her mother. Snap!
Everybody hates Rachel for putting her jealousy of Sunshine above the club and after a little hallway scene where she and Finn promise never to break up (somehow I was so rooting for them at the finale to last season, and now I’m restless… move on, kids!), she defends herself with a full-blown (and rather self-serving) version of “What I Did for Love.” By the way, this happens when she walks down the hall. Did Glee break a wall with this number? I don’t recall them breaking into song before, except in fantasy sequences. Every other time they’ve sung has been a performance. That’s why there are so many scenes in the choir room.
All in all an eventful but not fabulous episode. No sign of Emma. And some good new characters. I’m thrilled Glee is back! Read Glee Season 1 recaps here.
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Jacob to Will: “When did you ink that sponsorship deal with Land’s End?
Sue to teachers at next table: “Disperse. Leave the Danish.”
Puck to Sam: “Your mouth is huge. How many tennis balls can you fit into that mouth?”
Kurt to Mercedes: “Fashion has no gender.”
Rachel threatening Tina and Mike: “Your contributions to Glee Club will be even more insignificant than they are now.”
Classic Sue history: “Back when the Mexican-Americans sold Manhattan to George Washington for an up-skirt photo of Betsy Ross.”