The season three premiere gives hope to critics who feared the show had lost its way
As season two of Glee concluded last May, writers—yours truly among them—griped about the state of their once-great little show. What began as a bitingly honest, yet cartoonishly fun look at a glee club's struggle to be taken seriously devolved into a cacophonous din of too many characters, tonal dissonance, and self-important heavy-handedness.
Now, after a summer of not-so-great "who's getting fired?" press, Glee finally returned last night. And, what do you know, it was kind of good! The premise was simple: The members of New Directions were excited for a new school year and set out to recruit new glee club members. Their method was an amusingly misguided initiative called the Purple Piano Project, in which they spontaneously burst into songs near various purple pianos scattered throughout the school in hopes of winning over classmates. This time, not only did they get Slushies thrown in their faces, but pasta, mashed potatoes, and green beans, too (food fight!), reestablishing them as the school's bottom-feeder underdogs.
It was a solidly entertaining episode that addressed many of the show's most glaring problems, giving hope to fans and critics who feared, after last season's creative meltdown, that the series could be running out of air. Here's why there's reason to believe it's still going strong:
It fixed the character problem
Wisely, the episode addressed the question that's caused sleepless nights all summer for many a Gleek who found out that the show's seniors would be graduating—possibly off the series—this spring: Who the hell is a senior? Glee has never before even made a passing reference to the age of its characters, so in the faux documentary opening—a clever recap-and-reintroduce-the-characters device the show also used to start last season—Tina Cohen-Chang clarified that both she and Artie are juniors, with the rest of the cast, seemingly, set for commencement. And with that, Tina may already have more lines this season than she did the entirety of the last one.