After the pilot for “Glee” premiered last May following Fox’s “American Idol,” many viewers were left longing for more. And after four painful months dragged on, the second episode of “Glee” finally aired on Sept. 9.
“Glee” is based on the lives of a group of students at William McKinley High School longing to fit in while doing something they love – performing. Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison) is a Spanish teacher yearning to find some meaning in his life. So he volunteers to revive the glee club, attempting to make it something all students will want to join. Despite his high hopes, only five students sign up, thinking they can avoid the social humiliation that is to come. However, this show abides by the typical caste system that usually occurs in high school, which means these kids do not have a chance at salvaging their reputations.
Part of the beauty of this show is that the actors in fact do their own vocal work. The show’s lead, Morrison, originally got his big break playing Link Larkin in the original Broadway production of “Hairspray” in 2002. Many of the show’s regulars, as well as the guest stars, all have a background in theater work. For example, actress Kristin Chenoweth of the original cast of “Wicked,” will guest star in episode four.
It also does not hurt that the hilarious and bold Jane Lynch (“Role Models”) plays Sue Sylvester, the cheerleading coach, who is in a constant battle with Mr. Schuester over which group is going to rule the school – the Cheerios (as she calls her squad) or the “island of misfit toys.”
In the pilot, after failing to gather a sufficient group for the glee club, Mr. Schuester attempts to recruit guys from the football team. He eventually cons the quarterback into joining, after hearing him sing in the shower after practice. Against his wishes, football star Finn Hudson (Cory Montieth) becomes the male lead for the confident and talented Rachel Berry, (Lea Michele) who lives and breathes Broadway. Michele played the original role of Wendla in the musical “Spring Awakening,” and has the ability to deliver chills to an audience with her powerful voice.
Under the name of “New Directions,” the group gets a rocky start, but soon falls into step together. However, conflict inevitably arises when Finn is harassed by his football buddies for skipping practice to fulfill his glee commitments. Finn quits the club, fearing it will ruin his reputation, but soon realizes that singing is what makes him truly happy. So, he decides to play football and be the male lead of glee.
While some may be skeptical about the show following Disney’s “High School Musical” concept too closely, “Glee” appeals to a more mature and diverse range of viewers. The musical score includes a balance between well-known Broadway songs and recent mainstream hits. The music is not overdone, allowing the actors to actually demonstrate how talented they are, aside from their great vocals and harmonizing. Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing,” Kanye West’s “Gold Digger” as well as Rihanna’s “Take A Bow” are all performed in the first two episodes.
Amidst all the hype for the pilot, the second episode of “Glee” lived up to its high expectations. It has proven itself through its extremely talented, reputable cast and the beloved concept of wanting to belong. The show roots for the underdog in all of us, which is definitely something relatable and uplifting. Glee club gives the students of William McKinley High a voice, and they are not afraid of using it to follow their dreams.
“Glee” airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. If you have missed any episodes, they are available for download on Fox.com.