SOUND OFF: GLEE's Big Brother
The answer to the question we have been waiting eight weeks to be answered finally arrived last night on GLEE: Quinn is still standing - well, more or less. And, she's singing, too! Duetting on Elton John's ear-worm 80s up-tempo classic with similarly wheelchair bound Artie (Kevin McHale), Quinn (Dianna Agron) acted as last night's GLEE's moral figurehead of the hour, while guest star Matt Bomer provided some serious skills in the dramatic and musical fronts in the form of two tremendous duets with brother Blaine (Darren Criss). Besides Blaine's big brother and Quinn's quick recovery from her potentially fatal crash on the mid-season finale back in February, GLEE's "Big Brother" return showed GLEE back in fine form and remaining as outrageous, outlandish, hilarious, spontaneously brilliant and always invigorating as always and how we have come to expect it to be over the course of the uneven three seasons of the series so far. The winning streak continues, and the uniformly strong Season Three barrels on and cements its place as the show's strongest season overall so far. If this episode didn't have enough implicit excitement in evidence already, Bomer and Criss covered one of the biggest songs of 2012 by taking on Australian rising star Gotye's hypnotic pop anthem "Somebody That I Used To Know" in dual-bro mode - instantly becoming an of-the-moment GLEE cultural meta-musical mini-masterpiece to stand proudly with Lea Michele and Jonathan Groff's reinvention of Adele's "Rolling In The Deep" and Michele and Menzel's reworking of Lady Gaga's "Poker Face" from previous seasons. GLEE tells stories in a wholly unique way, and, in moments like this, we are reminded why it will remain appointment TV for fans of musical storytelling as long as it remains as relevant, pertinent and surprisingly profound as it often is - more often than not, as we have seen throughout this season. While hot button, water cooler entertainment of the freshest and hottest manner it may not always be anymore, GLEE is a well-oiled machine that fans can rely on to deliver what they want - and, given the proposed revolutionary Season Four concept devised by series mastermind Ryan Murphy, GLEE may reclaim its place as the most must-see show on TV once again. As it is, roughly sixty episodes in, it remains consistently surprising and uniformly entertaining, anyway - perhaps not even halfway through what we can predict its eventual total episode tally may be. But, before Season Four in September, let's discuss the first of the back 8 episodes of GLEE Season Three.
Somebody That We Used To Know
Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch) to Cooper Anderson (Matt Bomer): "If Alan Menken isn't personally writing you a fairy tale musical at this very moment, I will hunt him down and beat him senseless with a cudgel, because you, sir, are a Disney prince." And, that pretty much says it all! Adding to the unbelievably impressive assortment of guest stars on GLEE thus far - Kristin Chenoweth, Idina Menzel, Neil Patrick Harris, Cheyenne Jackson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ricky Martin and Carol Burnett among them - Matt Bomer is yet another fabulous member of the colorful and delightful cast of characters on GLEE - quirks and all. Written by Michael Hitchcock and directed by Eric Stoltz - with the latter becoming an outstanding asset to the GLEE universe - the return of GLEE was a plot-packed episode that also managed to contain some superb musical performances. On the dramatic front, Sue Sylvester learned the gender of her child - a girl - as well as the fact that her child may be developmentally challenged. Will (Matthew Morrison) and Emma (Jayma Mays)'s relationship continues to improve and blossom post-matrimony, while Rachel and Finn (Cory Monteith) face yet another challenge with the proposition of a pool business in California with Puck (Mark Salling) post-graduation. The newfound kinship between Quinn and Artie perhaps may give way to some romantic sparks in future episodes, but "Big Brother" was largely concerned with reestablishing the preexisting circumstances for the denouement of the season coming in the next seven episodes.
Besides Quinn and Artie's rollicking rendition of the 80s Elton John pop/rock staple "I'm Still Standing", they also collaborated on a fun and frothy theme-park-set "Up, Up, Up", originally introduced by the Givers. On the duet front, last night's GLEE also gave us another notable throwback jam done dually (and duly) - Criss and Bomer's full-force and faithfully sung (if slightly over-tweaked in post-production) Duran Duran throwback, "Hungry Like The Wolf", complete with some seriously woof-worthy vocals and choreography pulled off with aplomb by the pair. Additionally, Criss's athletic and angry performance of Christina Aguilera's empowerment anthem "Fighter" directed at his selfish big bro climaxed in a visually impressive display encompassing absinthe-tinged lighting and a wall of LCD screens depicting Cooper Anderson (as he is named) at his most smarmy and smug - a striking scene. After all, if Sue Sylvester is a fervent fan, that says a lot about an individual - even if it allowed her an amusing opportunity to provide background vocals on "Hungry Like The Wolf" - although it seems clear from the show's final moments that this is not the last we have seen of Cooper. Yet, how to top the scintillating Gotye duet?
Cooper to Blaine: "You'll even do Broadway!" "Even though it's dead?" "You'll resurrect it!" - and, maybe, as it reinvents the musical for a new generation, in some significant ways GLEE is doing just that - and bringing a new audience to the world of Broadway - each and every week. So, what's up next week now that GLEE has finally returned in full force? Get out your platforms and polyester because it is disco night - "Saturday Night GLEE-ver" to be exact!