Wednesday, September 21, 2011

TV: Glee - 3.01 The Purple Piano Project (Review)

Episode: 3.01 "The Purple Piano Project"
Network: Fox
Airdate: September 20, 2011
Writer: Brad Falchuk
Director: Eric Stoltz
Description: It's fall and that means back to school for the students and faculty at McKinley High. The New Directions clan returns after a devastating loss at Nationals, so Mr. Schuester assigns a project to get them back on track. Meanwhile, Sue Sylvester starts her congressional campaign.

For the premiere of season 3 of GLEE, change is the name of the game. The glee club is down three members: Trouty mouth Sam moved away, Lauren Zizes quit and broke up with Puck, and no one had heard from Quinn for months. Mercedes has a new boyfriend and Mr. Schuester (Matthew Morrison) is now living together with Emma. Then Quinn Fabray (Dianna Agron) shows up at school with new hair (pink!), a nose ring, a new tattoo (of Ryan Seacrest), a new attitude and a new group of friends called The Skanks.

Yet with all this change, some things stay the same. Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch) needed a hook for her struggling campaign and found it after destroying a purple piano and getting praise from a fellow teacher, the arts in schools must die! And just like that Sue vs Will round three begins.

Sue makes Becky and Santana co-captains of the Cheerios and starts to drive a wedge between Santana and the glee club that quickly becomes a chasm when Mr. Schue blames Santana for the purple piano bursting into flames thanks to the Cheerios and bans her from New Directions.

Kurt and Rachel Berry (Lea Michele) begin the journey to their Broadway dreams by going to a mixer for NYADA (New York Academy of Dramatic Arts) and get a shock to their system by the performances of the other attendees. After a good cry in the car, this leads them to look towards expanding their horizons, with Kurt deciding to run for school president and Rachel seeking to star in the next school musical.

And the drive for new members starts with Mr. Schue's idea of planting three purple pianos throughout the school and directing the glee club to burst into song when they come upon one of these pianos with the hopes that these performances would help attract the type of person that cannot help but sing.

Last season their attempts attracted the interest of Sam and Sunshine (who Rachel drove away by directing her to a crack house), but this year the New Directions was not as lucky only getting one audition by the girl that cannot sing a tune, Sugar Motta. However, the newly transfered Blaine Anderson (Darren Criss) joins by the end of the episode.


The songs are still the highlights of GLEE and the episode makes good use of the entire school with New Directions performing "We Got the Beat" in the school cafeteria, Kurt and Rachel performing "Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead!" in the auditorium and Blaine's solo of "It's Not Unusual" in the courtyard. Throw in a mash-up of "Anything Goes" and "Anything You Can Do" at the NYADA mixer and a Rachel Berry-led "You Can't Stop the Beat" to cap off the episode and GLEE has itself a great musical start to the new season.

Coming off a slightly subdued finish for Sue in season 2 it is nice to see the show get her back to what makes her so deliciously entertaining - trying to take down Will Schuester.

I was also worried that taking Blaine away from Dalton Academy and the Warblers would mean a diminishing role in musical performances but to get a solo right out of the shoot in season 3 gives a good sign for the rest of the season.


I do wonder if the new assertive Will Schuester that showed up in this episode will be sticking around because it just did not feel right, at times it was like he was yelling and ordering around the glee club in a way that was reminiscent of the advice Jessie St. James gave last season when New Directions was heading to Nationals.

And what of Quinn? Mr. Schue's hard stance on Santana should carry to Quinn if she tries to rejoin the club right? It was her cigarette that finally put the purple piano ablaze.

Either way, it is clear that GLEE is hitting the ground running with season 3 and with the high bar the first two seasons set, that can only mean viewers are in for many more memorable moments this season.

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