Glee: 101 “Pilot”

Season 1 Episode 1
Airdate: May 19th, 2009

Porpoise of Life name: “The Battle Begins”
Issue of the Week: High school hierarchy

Hi. I’m Billie Green. I review episodes of Degrassi: The Next Generation. I have reviewed over 150 episodes of that Canadian soap opera to date. But I have grown tired as Degrassi has grown insane. I need another show to review. My life partner, Johnny, has Watership Down, but what do I have? Huh? What do I have? I’ve considered so many shows to review: The Noozles, Full House, Doug, iCarly, but they all didn’t have the interest to make me sit through an entire series worth of episodes to deliver my witty commentary. Then a magical musical comedy debuted on Fox last year. Glee is golden. I am looking forward to reviewing this series. I already reviewed “The Power of Madonna” and used that review to explain some of the characters, but I suppose I have to do that again, because this is the pilot episode and that’s what pilot episodes are for.

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Our introduction to Glee is from the cheerleading team. They’re doing dances and back flips and pyramids, oh my! But their scary looking coach yells “You think this is hard? Try being waterboarded. That’s hard!” That’s Sue Sylvester. And FYI: she has never been waterboarded herself, but has done it to others, and she very much knows their torment, which feeds her soul and has kept her alive for 500 years.

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A car drives down the street with its muffler dragging against the road. That’s supposed to tell us the driver is poor, but the car looks nice other than that, and you all you need to fix that problem is some duct tape. So that’s just telling us the driver is lazy. He is from Ohio, so of course he is lazy. And stupid! Ha ha. I admit I spent way too much time reading the licence plate to figure out if it was some code or something, but then I figured we only see it to tell us this show takes place in Ohio, the quintessential American state. I’m from Michigan, and I guess we’re supposed to have some rivalry with Ohio, but I think that only extends to college football, which I don’t really follow. Plus, I am from the Upper Peninsula, so I couldn’t even give a fuck about Michigan pride; I hate this state and everyone in it. I think Michigan and Ohio are more alike than anything else. We’re both in the Midwest and their economy sucks almost as much as ours!

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The driver is Will Schuester (nickname: Schue, even though Will is just as short). He is the Spanish teacher, but desires to be something more. Will admires the trophies of the old championship glee club.

The teachers hang out in the teacher’s lounge. By teacher’s, I mean Will teaches Spanish and the rest of them are staff. There’s Ken Tanaka, the football coach who likes Emma Pillsbury, the germphobic guidance counselor, who kind of likes Will, who is married. Then there is Sue, who hates them all. Sue brags about how successful her cheerleaders are. She was on Fox Sports and the teacher’s coffee has been cut from the budget to pay for a nutritionist for the cheerleaders. She’s THAT important.

Emma tells Will that the glee director has been fired. Someone needs to take over glee club.

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Will goes to the principal to ask to take over glee club. The principal says he can, but Will has to pay the $60 a month needed to fund glee club out of his own pocket. He doesn’t know how he and his amazing field of chest hair can keep the $60 secret from his wife.

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Will renames the glee club New Directions and hold try-outs. Some new kids audition, which is weird ’cause isn’t there already a glee club? I mean, where did the previous singers go? Oh well.

Mercedes sings “Respect” because she is a big black women, so it’s the law. She really wails at the end, which is a mistake because she’ll be forced to do that for the remainder of the series (the show totally acknowledges that too, which makes making fun of it very hard). Tina, the goth Asian, and her boyfriend, Artie, the wheelchair kid, also audition. Tina sings Kathy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl” and really gets into the song. It’s pretty clear Artie has not been able to satisfy her.

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Then there’s Rachel Berry.

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Rachel’s an odd duck. Her parents are an interracial gay couple who mixed their sperm together, so she doesn’t know which one is her biological dad. Ok, that was an Arrested Development joke, but more people watch Glee than have ever hear of AD, so they can get away with it. She’s very bubbly. You know how most people pretty much solidify their taste in music when they’re teens and hold on to those bands later in life? Well, Rachel did that in kindergarten. She really connected with Raffi in the 90s.

She’s also very unpopular. Puck throws (what I think is) a slurpee in her face. The glee kids get that a lot. It’s the over the top way the writers highlight how cruel high school is, also that Puck is a dick for picking on a girl. Normally bullying is segregated by gender. Well, at least Puck is an equal opportunity bully. He’s fair and we should applaud him for that.

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Rachel wants to be a star! She uploads videos of her singing to Myspace where the cheerleaders write mean things about her. This is the most realistic part of Glee, kids being mean on the internet. However, it is not realistic because it shows teenagers still using Myspace.

I don’t know why they mention Myspace so many times in this episode. Is it because Glee is on Fox, which is owned by the same company as Myspace, and the producers were ordered to? Or is it the producers pointing out what losers these kids are because no one uses Myspace anymore? I know they are in high school, but didn’t teens all migrate to Facebook when it opened up to people who weren’t in college? Either way, I have talked far too much about Myspace. Onward with the review!

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New Directions is assembled, but they are poopy. Rachel runs away from it all in shame. Will catches up with her on the bleachers and they have a heart to heart. Rachel says she is tired of being laughed at and wants glee to succeed because, as she says, “Being a part of something special makes you special, right?” That is so cheesy but Glee knows it’s a cheesy show and works it.

Will has to meet with the principal again. He wants to cancel glee because it is not worth the expense because it is not a success like the cheer team. Will makes a deal: if glee club makes it to regional’s they can stay. The principal agrees, but makes Will run detention for free as a compromise (in addition to funding the club himself). So Will has to take a rag tag bunch of losers from zero to champions or that is the end for all of them. Glee is like a Disney sports movie, only gay.

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Will goes to the store his wife works at and runs into the old glee club director, who was booted for coming on to a glee boy and now makes a living selling his medical marijuana. Will asks the old director for advice, but he just gives Will some weed. That’s good advice.

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Will’s next step is to go to Sue Sylvester’s office to ask her to let some cheerleaders join glee. The gay boy and the black girl aren’t enough dancing skill to make up for having the wheelchair kid. But Sue will not allow her cheerleaders to degrade themselves by joining glee, since the cheer team is at the top of the high school totem pole and glee club is in “the sub-basement.” If Glee were the internet, the glee club would be the furries.

Sue has a lot of cheer trophies. Impressive, but keep in mind that Sue is 500 years old only really earns one trophy every 40 years or so.

Will also speaks to Emma, who tells him to get a popular kid on glee club and other kids will follow. Emma and Will have some chemistry, but I don’t want to get into that in this review because this fucking thing is going to be long enough as it is.

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Finn needs a popular male lead. He goes to the football team, but they are the people who beat up glee people, they are not glee people. Will is frustrated until he hears singing in the locker room. He sneaks around to see Finn, a football player, singing in the shower. An older man sneaking up on a fit, younger man in the shower…yeah, you can come up with your own joke there. It’s too easy.

Will really, really needs Finn to make glee club work. So he plants the weed he received on Finn and blackmails him into joining glee club. Yeah, I would have predicted that Will would blackmail Finn into having sex with him, but that’s just how my mind works.

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We then learn Finn’s story. When Finn was a little lad, his single mother had a fling with the man from Emerald Grass, which is a…well…I don’t know what that. It appears to be a company that spray paints your lawn green because, living in a Great Lakes state, they don’t get much water. But then the Emerald Grass guy finds a new woman and Finn’s mom got so mad she threw a milk jug at him (boo! I love milk). It was at that age that Finn found his love of singing.

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At home, Will puts a puzzle together with his wife, Terri, who like my mother, is always spending money on junk and running up bills. And Will is like my dad because he is interested in another woman.

Why can’t we just be a family again!!!!

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Will, Emma and the glee kids go to see Vocal Adrenaline, the championship glee club that New Directions will have to compete with down the road. Rachel and Finn stand in line and talk about how they are glee club’s leads. You know, I think the reason the writers abandoned the Finn-Rachel romance was because to shoot the two of them together, they have to pan out the camera so far out you basically show Finn’s belly button. Dude is tall like a Sasquatch. It’s why I can never buy when Finn and Puck stare each other down like they are going to fight, ’cause, I mean, Puck is a tough looking dude, but Finn could, like, eat him. In one bite.

Anyway, Finn and Rachel talk about Finn’s girlfriend, who is the head cheerleader but also in the celibacy club, cause Glee is a wacky, unrealistic show. That will be a bigger deal in following episodes. The glee kids watch Vocal Adrenaline and are blown away by their amazing singing and dancing to “Rehab”. I don’t know why, I mean, New Directions will put on shows that elaborate at least twice an episode. But the team is still worried.

Finn had to skip football practice for glee club. He told his team he needed to be with his mom for her prostate surgery. But Puck, his teammate, later found out women do not have prostates. Well…some women do, I mean, you know, she just wouldn’t be his biological mother. Finn is punished when his team backs him against a wall and shoots paintballs at him. That would be horribly painful to anyone who isn’t Finn with his sexy, strong, broad chest. I must say, I prefer ladies, but I have to give Finn his due for being such a magnificent specimen of a man. It’s like how even if you’re not a basketball fan you can’t help but admire Lebron James’s skill.

Finn is a sexy beast.

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Will’s wife is pregnant. Will resigns from his teaching job because I guess he doesn’t need to work now that he is expecting baby. They plan to go on welfare or something.

Actually, it turns out Will is applying for a higher paying accountant job. Ok, that makes sense. This show is so zany but hard to make fun of. God damn it. I usually review Degrassi; I’m not used to a show with such tight writing. Will sings “Leaving on a Jet Plane” which signifies he is leaving, but not on a plane. He’s staying in the same town, he’ll just be taking a different route to his new job. The glee kids are sad to see him go, and Finn quits the club, since he had no reason to stay.

It looks like glee club is over before it began. Oh my!

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Finn renounces glee to Puck. Puck is so happy that he invited Finn to be the first person to tip over the port a-potty that Artie is trapped in. High school kids are so mean! However, Finn gains a conscious and releases him. Artie is grateful. His nose works just fine and he couldn’t bear the smell. Puck demands to know why Finn would help a loser like Artie. “We’re all losers,” says Finn. “Everyone in this school.” He then goes into a melodramatic speech blasting the cruelty of high school and announces he is rejoining glee, but will remain in football, saying “I’m doing both. Because you can’t win without me and neither can they.” Puck is put in his place! Finn rejoins glee club and the kids vow to fight on without Will.

Meanwhile, Emma shows Will a video she found of him in the 1993 glee team. This rekindles his love of glee and he takes back his resignation.

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Will comes back to see the kids put on a kickass rendition of “Don’t Stop Believin”, which should be our national anthem. I’ve written to my Congressman and Senators several times about this matter, to the point where my letters just get returned to me unopened. I’ve moved on to making phone calls, threatening ones over Tracfones so I can’t be traced. Sue and Puck watch the performance in anger, cause they are the bad guys and they have to see the heroes fighting on. Will is back on as the director, but the kids were able to put on this performance on their own, so they don’t really need him. But Will has returned just the same.

Grade: B

It’s an alright start I guess. The problem is, it’s a pilot so has to spend too much time setting up the story. And Glee is not a plot heavy show, or really even needs a plot to fill most 44 minute episodes. I really do like how much fun the show is when you know not to take anything anyone says too seriously. Everyone involved on the show does too. The actors are mostly Millennials and the writers are all Generation X, so Glee is into being ironic up the motherfucking ass.

Best Musical Number:

“Rehab” – Amy Whinehouse. Performed by Vocal Adrenaline

Kurt’s Best Outfit:

Glee episode 101