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Glee: Happy Days Are Here Again!

We are now four episodes into the new season of Glee, and, while Season Two has started a little rough, things are looking up! Sue Sylvester has once again been relegated to her role as supporting comic relief, Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, and Madonna are wonderfully absent, and Kristen Chenoweth is in every single epi—Oh wait. Well, two out of three ain’t bad.

In any case, let’s review. Last week we were invited to watch as a practicing homosexual was converted to Christianity! Okay, okay, that’s not exactly what happened. While the conversation about faith the occurred in last week’s episode was pretty universally Judeo-Christian, and though Kurt’s final relenting to prayer was a little contrived and, frankly, a bit unexpected for Glee, if one imagines that Kurt isn’t giving in to a specific religion so much as recognizing that the help of friends, however presented, is a welcome support, the episode was pretty heartwarming. I’m like a freakin’ waterworks when it comes to Kurt and his dad, and Chris Colfer does an amazing job of crying just enough to make me feel bad without making me want to hit him. And though I’d been waiting the whole episode for someone to sing “Losing My Religion” by REM (and hilariously fitting that it was Finn, who had recently developed a single-member cult around his Grilled Cheesus finally debunked at the end of the episode, sang this song), the way in which Corey Montheim sang it, echoing Michael Stipe but not quite capturing his 90s angst), left me a little disappointed. I knew Glee could do better.

But let’s move on to the Duets episode, which had to be the best episode this season. I was initially very skeptical—yet another themed episode with no plot, it seemed—but this one quickly redeemed itself. Finn and Rachel as the new power couple of the Glee Club, working in collaboration to get the team to Nationals is wonderfully adorable, and I’m thoroughly enjoying that the writers are giving Michael Chen (heretofore known as “Other Asian”) something to do beyond dancing, while acknowledging that he’s not much of a singer (nothing auto-tune can’t fix, am I right, Glee?). The blossoming romance between New Guy With The Weird Mouth and Quinn is expected, but, given that the joy of Glee is that each character has a redeemable quality except Shuester’s wife, it’s wonderful to see a thoroughly un-Regina-George side of Quinn. However, this episode totally and utterly redeemed the last three iffy episodes when Rachel approached Kurt, who had done a solo duet a la Julie Andrews because his homosexuality ostracisized him, and asked him to sing the most spot-on rendition of the “Get Happy”/”Happy Days Are Here Again” mash-up in the style of Babs and Judy, saying, “There are twelve people who love you just for being who you are.” Glee has once again become the show about the group of misfit adolescents singing their way into their places in the sun.

This is the original version of that duet. Rachel was totally channeling some serious Barbra.

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