‘Glee’ brings joy in second season

By Kieran Layton



Tuesdays, 9 p.m.

Starring: Lea Michele, Cory… “Glee”


Tuesdays, 9 p.m.

Starring: Lea Michele, Cory Monteith

Creator: Ryan Murphy

Grade: A

About a year ago, I received a brightly colored DVD in the mail. The packaging suggested it was a show about high school kids — really super-happy high school kids.

And on some level, that’s what “Glee” is: a show about high school kids who are all so blithely unaware of awful things like genocide and the lack of jobs for recent college graduates that you can’t help but get a little gleeful after watching it.

Of course, there’s also the singing and dancing. And Sue Sylvester.

Now that America (and the rest of the world) has made the singing-and-dancing sensation of a show into one of the most unlikely hits of this year’s television season, only one question remains: Has it lived up to the hype?

The answer is unequivocally yes. Fixing what was slightly amiss in the pilot, amping up the energy and the humor with each episode and including some genuine heartfelt emotional content, “Glee” is a feel-good juggernaut, one that doesn’t seem to be releasing its grasp on the public anytime soon.

In the pilot, characters like Kurt and sassy Mercedes came across as archetypal supporting roles. By now, however, they practically steal the spotlight with some of the show’s best songs and subplots. The episode in which Kurt comes out to his father? Emmy worthy. Mercedes’ solo in the “Somebody to Love” number? Eat your heart out, Beyonce.

The guest roles have also been excellent, and they should be — “Glee” is practically built for surprise cameo appearances. Kristen Chenoweth had a hilarious boozy turn as April Rhodes, and it will be nice to see her pop up again in future episodes. Now — with Broadway juggernaut Idina Menzel and “Spring Awakening” star Jonathan Groff having extended guest roles — the producers have proved that they know how to keep the show interesting and varied, so audiences don’t tire of any one character too quickly.

At least they know that no one could ever tire of the malicious and bitingly sarcastic Sue Sylvester, acted to the very edge of over-the-top by Jane Lynch. Although she continues to be heartless in her quest to bring down the McKinley High School Glee Club and its perfectly coiffed director, Mr. Schuester (Matthew Morrison), she also exhibited a glimmer of humanity which no one thought she could possess. The scene where she visits her sister and reads to her was possibly the most unexpected tearjerker on television this year.

The issues that existed under the pilot’s surface have been mostly smoothed over, if not eliminated entirely. There are still times in any given episode when the dialogue becomes too cheesy, which is saying a lot because cheese and “Glee” go together perfectly.

Some numbers also totally miss their mark and head straight into Kidz Bop territory. “My Life Would Suck Without You,” I’m talking about you.

Still, even with its minor setbacks, “Glee” is one of the best hours of television you can watch during the week. And with the show just now returning after a three-month hiatus, there is no better time to get happy with a song, a dance and some Sue.