When “Glee” was a brand-new show, an infant in the world of primetime television, it was fresh. It was fun. But most of all, it wasn’t the over-the-top show it has become. Now in its third season of singing and dancing to show tunes and chart toppers, “Glee” lacks that particular magic that propelled it to the top of the ratings and into the hearts of middle school students everywhere. It has become the annoying 11-year-old boy with a mop top who thinks he can get away with anything — everyone in the room just tunes him out and silently prays that he grows out of his awkward phase soon.
Season Three Premiere
Tuesdays at 8 p.m.
“Glee” has potential. There are two great numbers in the season premiere — one is a fabulous mash-up of “Anything Goes” and “Anything You Can Do” and the other is the ever-stirring, ever-inspiring “You Can’t Stop the Beat.” These two songs comprise the only worthwhile moments through the show’s 45-minute duration. The mash-up is performed by non-Glee Club members and features the lovely Lindsay Pearce (“The Glee Project”) as Harmony, Rachel Berry’s (Lea Michele) pseudo-doppelganger. She shines on stage with a group of new faces and rocks the number as much as it can be rocked, shocking Rachel and Kurt (Chris Colfer) into realizing they are not, in fact, the greatest thing to hit musical theater since Oscar Hammerstein II.
“You Can’t Stop the Beat” is the last song in the show. If a little heavy-handed, it’s an extremely appropriate commentary on the continued bullying experienced by the members of New Directions. Rachel uses this song as a club-wide rallying cry after the heartless — albeit foreseen — sabotage of their attempt to recruit new club members by none other than Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch, “Party Down”) and the Cheerios.
But here’s the thing: Nobody can stop the beat of “Glee” until it has been bled dry of any and all possible opportunities for making lots of American dollars (see “Glee: The 3D Concert Movie”). As long as there are Gleeks, there will be an opportunity for the writers and producers to make more money. In the meantime, we will have to watch as the show forces nonsensical plotlines that seemingly appear out of nowhere — like Sue’s race for a seat in Ohio’s government and Kurt’s sudden interest in becoming president of the senior class. There are issues — usually petty and dumb and caused by Sue Sylvester — that result in unnecessary problems, which are, of course, solved a few episodes later by even dumber things like “expressing yourself through song” and Mr. Schuester (Matthew Morrison). The show needs a renaissance and it needs one quickly — the format is becoming dull and the viewers are getting bored.
While the two good musical numbers saved the show from total dumb-plot meltdown, “Glee” has a long way to go if it expects viewership to increase, let alone stay steady. The writers need to find a way to freshen up the plot and get out of the realm of over-the-top, sellout-style television before people realize they are wasting a perfectly good evening watching “Glee” when they could be clipping their toenails or something equally better than staring at adults solving trivial high school problems for 45 minutes. God help them.