Recent episodes of Glee have lacked the uniquely endearing qualities found in the show’s first season.
But the post-Super Bowl episode, on the other hand, which aired immediately after the game on Sunday, boasted a multitude of attention grabbing tactics while still maintaining the original integrity and priorities of the show. Glee is finally reclaiming its former glory.
The episode immediately catches our eyes and ears with the opening cheerleading number seguing into Katy Perry’s “California Gurls,” featuring fiery hula hoops, bras, electric blue wigs and BMX racers.
“We put stuff in there understanding that there are a lot of dudes who watch the Super Bowl,” co-creator Brad Falchuk told Entertainment Weekly, in regard to the extravagance, “So it was making sure that the dudes who refuse to watch Glee are like, Wait a second!”
If Katy Perry, cheerleader look-a-likes, daredevil antics and pyrotechnics don’t capture the attention of brawny sports fans, I don’t know what will.
The exploitation of sex appeal is always an effective tactic, especially in this case. Given that Super Bowl ratings have continuously risen over the last five years, the coveted post-game show is fortunate to have a large and easily accessible audience.
Since this is the time to impress, co-creator Ryan Murphy went all out, making this episode the largest production yet, investing three to five million dollars to produce the episode.
As entertaining as the sexy pop number is, the show also returned to its acclaimed originality through a multitude of dumb blonde jokes from Brittany (Heather Morris), overcoming the odds of the high school hierarchy and of course the classically sadistic Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch).
In a perfect example of Sylvester’s cruel yet humorous antics, the blood-thirsty cheerleading coach uses sharp dialogue to convince Brittany to perform a dangerous stunt at the national cheerleading competition.
“If you don’t climb in that cannon, then that routine will be all boom boom and no pow, and that Brittany is so two thousand and late,” Sylvester says.
When school officials prove unwilling to put a student’s life at risk, Sue embarks on a screaming rampage cut to the tune of Mozart’s “O Fortuna.”
For self-proclaimed gleeks and new viewers alike, this act in itself is Glee perfection.
As entertaining as Sylvester’s suggestive and hysteric cheerleaders are, the show delves into deeper themes of discovering oneself against all odds.
For instance, lead football player and bully Karofsky (Max Adler) struggles to maintain his manliness and popularity as a cover for his true sexual orientation and desire to perform.
This just goes to show that Glee is more than a bunch of high school kids parading around while singing and dancing. The show delves into the deep emotional conflict that closeted gays face when small town societal expectations are against them.
In terms of musical performances, Rachel (Lea Michele) and Puck (Mark Salling) stand out. The two perform a beautifully harmonic rendition of Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now” in an effort to strip the critical football players of their ignorance and give them insight into the true workings of the glee club.
The combination of Puck’s deep and alluring vocals with Rachel’s angelically soft soprano allows the football players and the audience to get blissfully lost in the moment. But in the typical Glee fashion, chaos comically persists between the two opposing forces.
While “Need You Now” serves as a sweet and tender moment of chemistry, the “Thriller” and “Heads Will Roll” mash-up of classic Michael Jackson and new wave Yeah Yeah Yeahs served as a perfectly over-the-top crowd pleaser.
The a capella group and athletes put their differences aside and overcome adversity to perform an enthusiastic, extravagant, zombie-themed number.
In essence, this epic performance elevated the episode to new heights of outlandishness. The episode will likely rank among the finest of the season.
This beautifully crafted and perfectly elaborate episode touches on feelings of closeted homosexuality, the meaning of masculinity, following your true passion and so forth.
Though the idea of a peaceful co-existence between different cliques in high school is nice, a hierarchy will still always exist.
Still, Glee provides us with a much needed escapist opportunity to believe otherwise.