Thursday, September 17, 2009

Glee 1.03: "Acafellas"

“Oh please, my life is a disaster with no creative outlet other than writing my Desperate Housewives fan fiction.”


This week’s episode of Glee was all about characters finding confidence. It was a bit difficult to miss that, considering that the word “confidence” or “guts” was uttered in at least every other scene, but there it is. Will needs confidence to follow his dream of performing, Finn needs confidence to stick with Glee Club, Kurt needed confidence to admit the truth about himself to his peers, and Puck, well, he doesn’t really need confidence at all.

The episode begins with an awkward dinner between Will, Terri, and Terri’s parents. Will announces that he and Terri are expecting, which of course thrills Will’s parents and terrifies Terri. Will’s dad has a not so encouraging talk with his son, where he tells Will that being a good father “takes guts” and that Will has only six months to figure out if he has what it takes. Will takes another blow to the ego when Rachel, prodded by the new Cheerio members of the Glee Club, tells him they should hire a professional choreographer, because his choreography isn’t that great. Will responds by forming a boy band with some of his colleagues called “Acafellas.” He devotes more and more of his time to Acafellas and less and less to the Glee Club. “Acafellas” is where he can live out his fantasies of being a performer, even if it’s only a performance in a local sports bar. At first, it didn’t make sense to me that Will would give up on Glee Club after he sacrificed so much to keep it going, but I guess when you add up all the hits his ego had taken in the space of about 24 hours it makes more sense…kind of. I absolutely loved the music of Acafellas. They sang early 90’s hip-hop, and it was glorious. Songs like “This is How We Do It” and “Poison” brought back memories of elementary school talent shows. Don’t ask…

Finn is very upset that Will, who has been a mentor to him, has cut back on his involvement with Glee Club, and he’s not thrilled with Rachel for making that happen. It turns out that even if Finn isn’t the sharpest knife in the box when it comes to academics, he’s good at figuring out emotions. When Rachel was yelling at him over his insistence that they not hire a professional choreographer, Will correctly interprets her ire as being due to his kissing her in the auditorium and running away. Finn goes back to Will for more guidance on life in general, and Will tells him that he needs to have the confidence to keep performing. Finn ends up performing as part of Acafellas when two of the other members drop out.

The non-romance of Kurt and Mercedes was a somewhat interesting B story in this episode. Kurt was hanging out with Mercedes a lot and being nice to her, and with (once again) the prodding of the Cheerios, Mercedes thought that meant Kurt wanted to date her. Rachel and Tina tried to do a “gayvention” (great that Rachel is thinking about someone other than herself here), but Mercedes doesn’t listen to them. She is heartbroken when Kurt tells her he’s not interested. This leads to a rather ridiculous sequence where Mercedes throws a rock through the windshield of Kurt’s really awesome car. I also didn’t love the song Mercedes sung in this scene. It wasn’t anything I’ve ever heard before. So I’m loving 90’s hip-hop and not loving whatever modern R&B angry girl song Mercedes was singing. Does that mean I’m getting old? When Kurt finally tells the truth to Mercedes and says that he’s not interested because he’s gay, Mercedes is surprisingly understanding and supportive. She tells Kurt that he needs to have the confidence to acknowledge who he truly is.

Puck, as I mentioned before, needed no extra confidence. I really liked the added emphasis placed on his character in this episode. Puck is recruited by football coach Ken to sing with the Acafellas when they’re suffering a shortage of members. We finally get a little backstory on Puck through this plot, and it’s pretty funny. Turns out Puck has decided that high school girls aren’t good enough for him anymore, and he wants to go after Cougars. As a quick aside, anybody know if HIMYM is responsible for coining the term “Cougar,” or did they just use it later? I know the term figured heavily in that episode where Barney was trying to seduce Marshall’s law professor so Marshall would get a better grade. Anyway, Puck decides to join Acafellas when Ken promises him there will be plenty of moms to hit on at their PTA Meeting performance.

Finally, I have to say that Josh Groban, who had a fairly short guest cameo in this episode, was excellent. The Acafellas agree to do the PTA show because Sandy, a disgraced ex-teacher at the high school, tells them Josh Groban is going to be in town and that he can get Josh, who is looking for an opening act, to see their performance. Josh Groban is clearly a great sport about making fun of himself, because the performance was all caricature, first when he’s serving a restraining order on Sandy, and second when he’s hitting on Will’s mom. It’s always nice to see celebrities not take themselves too seriously.

Overall, I really enjoyed this episode, more than last week’s I think. There were a lot of great jokes, some of them pretty dirty, and some bizarre situations reminiscent of the wacky humor found in Pushing Daisies. My only hope is that, even though I loved the Acafellas, future episodes have full Glee Club numbers. “Don’t Stop Believin’” was amazing, and I want to see more of that.

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