The second season of Glee premiered last month, catching up with New Directions after their loss at Regionals.
To help make sense of it all, we have a panel of musical theater and pop culture buffs—Meghan Brown, Patrick Burns, and Kevin Fallon—to provide their takes on how realistic the show feels, how well the romances develop, and of course, how good the musical numbers are.
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They weigh in on this week's show, in which the members of New Directions pair up to practice for a duet assignment.
Patrick Burns (writer, composer, and star of the original one-man-musical, From Foster Care to Fabulous): Whenever Glee starts with Will Schuester setting out the guidelines for a competition, you can bet on a good episode. This means the gang will be guided by healthy competition and teen angst for an hour, and that is exactly what should drive a high school glee club.
Each song fit exactly where it was meant to. Santana & Mercedes sound incredible together. Kurt plays a jazzy gender-bender all the time anyway, so the idea of a number from Victor, Victoria is perfect (and of course, he pulled it off flawlessly)! But the most impressive number of the evening was Quinn and Sam singing "Lucky." It was sweet and romantic. Their sounds blend beautifully and we can't help but watch them. Rachel and Finn's bad song could have been more extreme and blatant as a deliberately bad song. I wanted to laugh at them and didn't get the chance.
Kevin Fallon (writer and producer for The Atlantic's Culture channel): Duet week finally spiced Glee up with new pairings (Mercedes and Santana's rousing "River Deep, Mountain High;" Sam and Quinn's would-be-nauseating-if-not-so-infectious charm in "Lucky"), and added some flavor to a coupling that was in danger of going stale (cough Rachel and Finn).
But the most important duet that Glee finally pulled off was the tonal balance of comedy and drama, something that was in total discord during last week's heavy handed after-school special on religion. Kurt's frustration over the stigma that accompanies his crushes; Quinn's struggle to rebuild her image; Artie and Brittany's heartbreaking fling: each plot point was more natural than in last week's subtlety—and comedy—deficient episode. The dialogue was more believable and the actors seemed more at ease, making their delivery more poignant, and, when needed, hilarious. Kurt's triumphant "Le Jazz Hot," a simultaneous celebration and lament of his individuality, was far more moving and rousing than any of last week's manipulative numbers.