I will never forget watching last season's finale with a group of friends and strangers, and our communal gasp as Lea Michelle opened the curtain at sectionals with "Don't Rain on My Parade." I have been addicted to Glee since the show's pilot episode came out a year ago. Singing along with the soundtrack (that I ran out to purchase the day it was released), Glee has put me and fellow viewers back into a high school state-of-mind. The shocking part: this time we like it!
With the arrival of last week's season premiere, this dedicated Gleek was disappointed. All of my joys from last season's finale were dismantled in the first 15 minutes. And what happened to the actual singing -- minus auto-tune? After gritting my teeth through an episode more packed with plot changes than the final season of Buffy, I was skeptical that Jane Lynch's Vogue video could bring me an extra boost of energy for the drive home.
My reaction when it started? FIERCE!
However, my fellow viewers expressed discomfort and disgust. What was going on? This was surely not the cheerleader coach from Sue's Corner. Where did this change coming from? And what caused this massive shift in our cold-hearted villain?
Questions unanswered, I soon joined my fellow viewers in apprehension and shock. The director pulled all the people of color from the extended Glee cast and dressed them in tight-fitting suits for the video. If Madonna, queen of appropriation, had incorporated voguing after being inspired by the Legendary Willi Ninja, what was going on in the minds of the Glee team?
When the second episode aired this week, I was surprised by some decent answers to these questions. Kurt and Mercedes teaming up for the Black + Gay = Culture moment brought it all back Willi in a way that I never expected. Recognizing the characters' histories, and a subtle nod to both Lynch's queerness and a Black, gay
male culture, the characters in the background had a voice that was clearly lacking from last season.
Sue's costumes and her embrace of an empowered Madonna in Vogue were firmly supported by the stream of Madonna-praise that poured from the coach's mouth. In fact, this praise poured so readily that I wondered if the writers had been mining tween fan sites. With lines like, "Simply saying her name makes me feel powerful" and the constant soundtrack of greatest hits, this episode was truly a tribute to the legendary Madonna.
Besides renewing Madonna's place on my drive-to-work playlist, this episode recharged my excitement to see what the Glee Crew brings next.