And here’s what you missed on Glee…
There’s just some things you have to face head on, and at the start of season five, Glee does just that. Everyone knows that actor Cory Monteith tragically passed away after battling a drug addiction, but when Glee season 5 premiered no one knew how the show would handle the situation. It wasn’t just the tragedy of a life lost too early, but also the wholesome all american Finn, that America lost as well.
Glee: The Complete Fifth Season has just been released on DVD and watching The Quarterback, season three’s tribute to Cory and Finn, I couldn’t help but get caught up thinking about the memory of the young actor. His shadow looms large, on the fifth season and just as the series was finding a balance between the kids at McKinley High, it now had to find the right balance about dealing with an all too real death in a series where the main characters are known to break out into song at a moments notice.
It’s not an easy task, and even though there are some rough patches, I’m happy to say that Glee: The Fifth Season finally finds it’s footing by reuniting the original cast members in a new setting. When the season starts Rachel (Lea Michelle) is auditioning for a part in Funny Girl, Santana (Naya Rivera) booked a national commercial and Kurt (Chris Colfer) is finding his way through theater school. The three former classmates all live and work together, at a musical themed diner.
If that’s a bit too precious for your taste, back at McKinley Mr. Schuester (Matthew Morrison) is still molding New Directions and fighting off Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch). Tina (Jenna Ushkowitz) is finding her place as a senior and being more front and center while Blaine (Darren Criss) and Sam (Chord Overstreet) become BFF’s.
Many of the original cast who are no longer regulars also pop in from time to time and I have to say, I didn’t realize how much I loved Fondue For Two until it was gone. In fact, Brittany (Heather Morris), Mercedes (Amber Riley), Puck (Mark Salling), and Quinn (Dianna Agron) make welcome appearances back at their old alma matter.
But the real story of Glee season 5 is Rachel. She gets the lead in Funny Girl and with that a whole host of new problems. Santana is her understudy which sends Rachel into a spiral, Kurt is once again the middle man in their relationship. He eventually is forced into firing the two girls from the band he created Pamela Lansbury.
Here’s the thing with Glee, and the thing I tell people all time who raise an eyebrow at me when I say (maybe in a hushed tone) that I watch the show, you either have to turn it off or go with it. Personally, like with most shows, I tend to go for the ride and see where the journey takes me. This is the interesting thing about season 5 of Glee, the ride… It’s kind of all over the place. I’m not sure it’s a bad thing per se, it’s just interesting some of the choices that the writers and producers make.
Until most seasons of Glee, Nationals (the big musical competition) is in the middle of the season and not at the end like usual. Once that’s done, Blaine and Sam with Mercedes and Artie (Kevin McHale) head to New York, and McKinley high is pretty much history, with the exception of a random appearance by Will and Sue in New York for Rachel’s opening night. It was a little jarring, but to be honest, for me this is where the show really found it’s groove again. I’m not sure if it was the fact that most of the original cast was back together, but it seemed like at this point the characters were allowed to grow up a bit. In the beginning of the season, it seemed like there was a lot of forced drama, Rachel and Santana keep fighting about the same thing over and over. It seemed like it was done for the sake of having the characters do something for the plot and not something that the characters would actually do… At least not for five episodes.
The only thing that I didn’t like was that all the new characters were shuffled to the side and kind of left in the dust. Poor Marley (Melissa Benoist) had so little to do, I found myself looking for her in the group shots to see if she was still around. It’s too bad because if more time could have been spent with the new characters they might have resonated more. Alex Newell as Unique in particular had some amazing moments dealing with his characters sexual identity and being bullied in the school. However, he was given short thrift and it wasn’t fully fleshed out or developed.
It’s very difficult to give every character their due in such a huge cast, and with recurring guest stars like Adam Lambert, Kristin Chenoweth, Gwyneth Paltrow and Demi Lovato. I just wish there was a bit more balance.
It was a real kick to see Kristin Chenoweth back again and Adam Lambert was surprising appealing as “Starchild” a glam rocker in Kurt’s band. It was also nice to see so many openly gay characters being represented in a non-stereotypical way. One thing Glee does really well, is showcasing diversity as something to be appreciated and not shied away from.
Overall, even with bumps in the road, I think this season of Glee was really enjoyable. Honestly, once the show moved to New York, it really took off. The chemistry of the original cast is very solid and they play off each other really well. I think that diehard Gleeks and the casual viewer alike will find something appealing in this season.
Glee: The Fifth Season is out now on DVD!