- Catch up on your Glee! You can read my “Music in Glee” review for episode 6 of season 2, “Never Been Kissed” here.
“I’m laughing at clouds / So dark up above / I’m singin’, singin’ in the rain /
You can stand under my umbrella”
In spite of all the mixed reviews/criticisms about Gwyneth Paltrow guest-starring on Glee, I’m of the pool of thought that it makes complete and total sense. The girl has stage origins, is a dynamite actress, and with the exception of maybe John Stamos as Carl, for the first time I felt as if a guest star was a welcome addition to the cast. I would not be disappointed to see Gwyneth’s character, Holly cast as a more regular recurring role.
The music this episode was really great all around. A good mix, between showcasing some Broadway and the stage to featuring pop. It just all felt really Glee all of a sudden. Not too much, not too little. Works with the plot and characters (I finally felt some character development for Will this time around). My only complaint if any is there was a little too much “stage show”. The mash-up of “Singin’ In The Rain” and “Umbrella” is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen on the show, but the effects should have been limited to just that number. I love the stage as much as the next girl (or guy), I just would like to see Glee not resort to too much of that and explore more in the arena of characters and story.
Choreography: Fun, entertaining, and is a refreshing change of pace from Will’s usual method of teaching
Realism: After the usual dull and boring Will spiel, New Directions needs some more fun and excitement. And kudos for leaving Rachel sulking in the background.
Song Choice for Characters: At first I was like…what? A substitute teacher singing Cee Lo Green’s “Forget You”? But that was before actually watching the episode and discovering Holly Holiday. A fun and slightly crazy sub fits right in at McKinley – and acts as a welcome refresher from Will for the kids (and Sue). Showing she’s still hip enough to bounce with the best of the kids totally works.
Highlight: Mercedes and Artie as a vocal duo again
Make ‘Em Laugh
Vocals: It’s been a while since we’ve heard a strictly Will / Matthew Morrison number, and this is quite a welcome back
Choreography: The best thing about it – and Mike Chang (Harry Shum, Jr.), with his comic and dancing skills, makes for the perfect companion for a number like this.
Realism: I’m a big Singin’ In The Rain fan myself (and of this song)…and while the set perfectly mimics the original in the “Make ‘Em Laugh” scene, not everybody in the audience is going to recognize that. Would have been a better homage to have more of a clear scene transition – maybe actually see Will sick, tossing and turning, so we get the idea he’s dreaming along with the movie.
Song Choice for Character: Not only is Will just plain sick but now, thanks to Rachel, he’s also worried sick about his glee clubbers leaving him for Ms. Holly Holiday. With “Make ‘Em Laugh”, not only is it Singin’ In The Rain, but it also serves as a great way for Will to express his insecurities, and that he wants to be the only one to make his kids “laugh”.
Highlight: Mike Chang (aren’t we glad they’re making this kid a regular)
Nowadays / Hot Honey Rag
Vocals: Even though we hear a lot out of Rachel, we all still love her voice, and paired with Gwyneth Paltrow’s, it’s a nice blend
Choreography: Loved it
Realism: Rachel gets to be more bouncy and perform a Broadway mash-up number…with a female teacher as much a triple-threat as she? It’s certainly very different from Will’s style, and I totally believe that Rachel would be eating that up.
Song Choice for Character: Both Lea and Gwyneth have origins on the stage, and you can really tell that it influences Rachel and Holly’s pep in this number. And since Rachel’s shown such disinterest in their new sub during the first half of the episode, it’s pretty cool for her to come around in the second half.
Highlight: I’m not a fan of glitz and sparks and frills…but you gotta admit, it works here (did you get a load of those guns?!)
Singin’ In The Rain / Umbrella
Vocals: An amazing combo of Will’s voice with Holly Holiday’s
Choreography: The elaborate set-up of rain and umbrella props paired with the already superb choreography makes it that much more awesome (the enjoyment the cast had with this number really shows)
Realism: A really great mash-up like this could have been worse – can you imagine Will and Holly really singing in actual rain? I’m just glad Ryan Murphy sticks to his guns with the realism aspect because something like that would have been so cheesy. But a stage performance is the perfect chance to show Will and Holly having some fun with the kids, and to really let loose with the effects.
Song Choice for Character: With Will’s love of Singin’ In The Rain and Holly Holiday’s (and the kids’) love of fun, it makes great sense to end the episode on this sort of combination-performance.
Highlight: You wouldn’t think a mash-up of theatre and Rihanna would work, but it so does. Between the lyrical word play and the beat, it makes for a pitch-perfect mash-up.
Your ears itching to give these songs another listen? Head on over to Glee The Music to hear your favorites from episode 7 of season 2, “The Substitute” again. Tune in, in next week for my “Music in Glee” review of episode 8 of season 2, “Furt”.
Image credit: Glee-France