After an acclaimed first season the sophmore season of Fox’s smash hit was met with much criticism. While it was definitely a little uneven I don’t see why any gleek (what “Glee” fans are affectionately called) wouldn’t enjoy this season as well. For the most part it’s still the show we originally fell in love with.
One of its biggest missteps is there are too many theme episodes, such as the Britney Spears episode entitled “Britney/Brittany” or the “Rocky Horror Glee Show” episode, as well as a Justin Bieber themed episode. While fun, these episodes rarely succeed in advancing the plot and often result in the writers trying to make the characters and their story fit into the songs no matter how out-of-character it may be for a certain character. The theme episodes aren’t always bad though. The Fleetwood Mac episode “Rumours” was one of the best episodes of Season 2. It also featured one of my personal favorite musical performances, Naya Rivera (Santana) singing “Songbird.” Her heartfelt rendition made me melt. And despite them covering Lady Gaga in an entire episode in Season 1, their second stab at it, “Born This Way,” which confronted the character’s insecurities, was another of Season 2’s highlights.
One of the lowest points of the entire season has to be the post Super Bowl episode “The Sue Sylvester Shuffle.” After waiting two months for the show to return from its winter break you’re already pretty pumped for a new episode, but being that it was given the coveted spot after the Super Bowl you can’t help but expect that they have something pretty special in store. After all, this spot is used by networks to hopefully hook new viewers on a show, so they usually pull out the big guns for them. Unfortunately this episode was a near miss in every way. And while past networks have succeeded in boosting their viewership of a show after airing after the Super Bowl, “Glee” was not one of them. The episode did score a series high of nearly 27 Million viewers, but the following episode dropped back to normal. Honestly, the Britney Spears episode would have been a better post Super Bowl episode.
Another problem with Season 2 is that the popular character of gay teenager Kurt Hummel (played wonderfully by Chris Colfer) is attending another school for too many episodes. While I didn’t mind this so much at first, it’s not long before scenes of him at his new school and away from the students at McKinley come off as forced. Though some good does come from this. Despite feeling disjointed there are many great musical scenes with Dalton Academy’s musical choir, the Warblers, thanks to the undeniably talented and charming Darren Criss. His addition to the cast as Kurt’s love interest Blaine Anderson was one of the best things that could have happened to “Glee.” It’s no surprise after his rendition of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” (a cover which quickly became the most popular “Glee” single yet) in his first episode his popularity skyrocketed.
There are plenty of good things about the season. Besides the aforementioned Darren Criss, other highlights include characters who took a back seat during the first season being brought front and center. This includes one of my favorites, dim-witted cheerleader Brittany (Heather Morris). She wasn’t given much to do during Season 1 besides the occasional hilarious one-liner, but those of us wanting to know more about her were granted our wish with “Britney/Brittany,” the second episode of the season. Thankfully after this she was featured more prominently throughout the season. Another previously one-dimensional character, Santana Lopez (Naya Rivera), was upgraded to three-dimensional, thanks in large part to the storyline of her character coming to terms with her sexuality. One of the most interesting aspects of the season is the blossoming romance between best pals Santana and Brittany. Morris and Rivera have a great, relaxed chemistry and play off each other very well.
Dot Marie Jones was a very nice addition to the cast as the butch Coach Bieste. Jones is great and her character is given some very nice moments. Guest-star Gwyneth Paltrow is a lot of fun as substitute teacher Holly Holiday.
Still wonderful is Mike O' Malley as Burt Hummel, Kurt’s father. His character is honestly one of the best fathers on television. Sadly, Jane Lynch’s Sue Sylvester has become tiresome. I love Jane Lynch and found her wickedly hilarious during the first season, and Lynch is still fantastic. But the storyline of Sue trying to destroy the Glee club has really run its course and she often feels forced. The character is redeemed towards the end of the season with the episode “Funeral,” but we’ll have to wait and see where her character goes from here.
Overall, Season 2 of “Glee” isn’t perfect, but there are a lot of great episodes here (especially in the latter part of the season) mixed amongst the mediocre ones. The few shortcomings aren’t enough to deter me from being a “gleek.” Here’s hoping for a great Season 3.