Glee is back – but we can't say better than ever.
Try as the show might, the July 13th death of Cory Monteith at age 31 of a drug overdose left a dark cloud hanging over the Season Five premiere – no matter what the show's stars and produces were hoping we'd see.
While there will be a tissue-passing tribute to Monteith in two weeks, the premiere – and all the shiny, happy, borderline-delusional sneak peek ads leading up to it – completely glossed over the loss of him and his character, star quarterback-turned-singer Finn Hudson. And while the whole idea of the McKinley kids going back to business as usual just felt wrong to us, what else is a show like Glee supposed to do?
So, we'll humor them this week and next and assume the dark cloud will lift once they lay Finn to rest. Until then, the two-part premiere tackles the songs of the Beatles, and one big proposal.
Kurt & Blaine Get Engaged
This was cuter than cute. Yes, if there was any way to throw us a bone during dark times, it was with Kurt and Blaine getting back together. And not just that, they immediately took it to the next level by getting engaged. All Blaine's idea, of course.
It started off with a little courting in the courtyard by Blaine, which lead to Kurt acquiescing and singing the Beatles' "Got to Get You Into My Life," causing the two to finally reconcile – sealed with a kiss. And with that, Blaine was off and running.
He fittingly asked his fellow glee clubbers for a little "Help!" in taking things to the next level – creating the perfect proposal. To Blaine, that means enlisting not only New Directions, but his former Warblers and other rival glee clubs. Because this was "more than just a proposal, it's a cultural statement." And that's indeed true.
Blaine summed up the bold move by saying: "Our generation is at a turning point, people everywhere – except, like, Russia – are beginning to see that it doesn't matter who you are or where you're from or even what god you believe in, they're beginning to see we aren't all that different. And if we can get a bunch of cutthroat show choirs to stand by our side and unite in something, than anything is possible." Ah, to be young and wildly off-base. But, hey, it's a step, right?
And, of course, all the other glee clubs said yes.
But while it was supposed to be a surprise, Kurt was somehow clued in, and wasn't sure how he felt about the situation. On the car ride over to where he and Blaine first met – the boys' prep school, home of the Warblers – Kurt's father, Burt, gave him a pep talk, basically giving Kurt his blessing and telling him to follow his heart.
As the school doors opened and Blaine emerged amid a marching band, we got nervous that Kurt might say no. But as they walked through the halls greeting all the glee clubbers as rose petals rained down, Blaine sang a medley of "All You Need Is Love" and "(S)he Loves You" that would make anyone's heart melt. Only an ice queen could have denied him at this point.
And with that, Blaine got on one knee, pulled out a ring and proposed – and Kurt said yes! Ring, meet finger. We can't wait for the wedding.
Sue Becomes Principal, Artie Gets a New Girlfriend and Tina Gets a Prom Date
Ah, coach Sue Sylvester, right back where she least belongs: At the top of the McKinley High food chain. After stuffing Principal Figgins' office with a secret stash of "gay porn foot fetish" magazines, a signed fracking contract and an autographed copy of Hitler's "Mein Kampf" – genius – she's back in as interim principal while Figgins is demoted to janitor. This move prompts her to change her name to Sue Rodham Sylvester – "I had it legally changed as of this morning" – and threaten Will Schuester and rival coach Roz Washington. If both teams don't win a championship, everyone's out on their asses.
Speaking of tail, Artie does pretty well for himself. After a very brief courtship – filled with a first date at a carnival ("Drive My Car"), secret love notes and being ignored in the hallway ("You've Got to Hide Your Love Away") – he scores a girlfriend in cheerleader Kitty.
However, Tina isn't convinced it's the real deal. When she finds out the two of them are keeping their relationship on the DL, she blows their cover. But Kitty takes it all in stride, admitting she was afraid of losing her social status at first but now realizes Artie is the one for her. Still glum because she's single, Tina buries her sorrows at the Too Young to Be Bitter after-school club – pity party of one, please. That is, until some of the glee club boys, led by Blaine, perform "I Saw Her Standing There," evoking the Beatlemania days of yore, complete with shaggy hair, matching suits, screaming girls and black-and-white picture. In the end, Sam, Ryder and Blaine offer themselves up as prom dates, and she chooses Sam because he's the "least gay and least Asian." Sometimes it's good to switch things up.
Rachel Doesn't Get the Gig – Yet
Here's where things get sad.
Back in New York, Rachel gets turned down for a role in the Broadway musical "Funny Girl" because she's "too green." After learning the news, she somberly sings "Yesterday," which cuts like a knife when she utters the words: "Why he had to go I don't know, he wouldn't say. I did something wrong, now I long for yesterday." And all you can think about is how Monteith's real-life love Lea Michelle, who plays Rachel, must be heartbroken on the set of the show. Not to mention what will happen to the character of Rachel once her on-screen love is killed off.
Later, after she gets a job working at a diner with Santana, the weight of statements like, "that was before my world came crashing down," about the botched "Funny Girl" audition seem to have a double meaning. And even though she gives a rousing performance of "Hard Day's Night" while trying to overturn the decision of the execs (played by Twilight's Peter Facinelli and Ioan Gruffudd), who accidentally wind up at her table during lunch, it's hard to shake that dark cloud that hangs over the show.
On that note, tell us: What did you think of the Glee premiere?