Glee Season Four Shows Some Promise

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Glee Season Four Cast

Rachel Spang

Glee Season Four Cast

The thought of a musical television show centered around a high school glee club 4 years ago seemed silly and destined to fail. However, Glee became a cultural phenomenon, known and adored by fans worldwide. It opened the doors for other musical television shows, such as Smash and Nashville. However, with views and ratings dropping, some are wondering if Season Four, which began in mid-September and airs Thursdays at 9 pm ET on FOX, will live up to the hype over the show.

The first season, which is arguably the best yet, hooked viewers in with its honest portrayal of the high school experience­— minus the spontaneous bursts into song, of course. It became the non-sugar coated version of High School Musical that teenagers and adults alike could relate to. The view count peaked in mid-season two and steadily fell as the writing began to get sloppy and the word “continuity” seemed to be wiped out of the writer’s minds.

Guest stars such as Britney Spears and John Stamos created some interest, but the show didn’t have the old underdog heart that it had in the first season. Overall, Glee’s sophomore season was dull and mediocre compared to the first. Third season views fell to an all-time low, and for good reason. The quality of the show had gone down immensely.

According to creator and executive producer Ryan Murphy, he was trying to “go back to basics,” or to the old season one Glee. If this was his target, he did not hit the bullseye— not even close. The introduction of new characters thanks to Oxygen’s summer series The Glee Project did not assimilate well at all, adding unnecessary story lines while countless others had not been resolved. This left main characters who have been there since season one such as Brittany Pierce (Heather Morris) and Tina Cohen-Chang (Jenna Ushkowitz) in the background for most of the season, barely receiving any lines, story lines, or songs.

The disappointing third season left fans wondering if season four would renew their love for the musical television show or continue to fail in entertainment.
The fourth season kicked off in September with an episode entitled “The New Rachel.” The episode centers around the Glee club finding a new lead soloist, Rachel Berry (Lea Michele) adjusting to her new life at the fictional New York Academy for the Dramatic Arts, and the introduction of new characters Marley Rose (Melissa Benoist) and Jake Puckerman (Jacob Artist). The episode was a musical success, with great covers. Such covers were a duet on Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind” and a well-sung and performed cover of Imagine Dragon’s single “It’s Time” by Darren Criss, who plays Blaine Anderson in the show. The transitions between the Ohio and New York settings were surprisingly smooth. Overall, the pilot episode of season four was very well done and gave fans hope for the oncoming season.

The second and third episodes, entitled “Britney 2.0” and “Makeover” were not as well done as the first. For some reason, the writers thought it would be a good idea to do a second Britney Spears tribute, like they did in Season Two. The cast performed the songs as well as Britney Spears songs can be performed, but the episode was ultimately forgettable and disappointing. Despite a guest appearance by Sarah Jessica Parker and a surprisingly well done cover of Hole’s “Celebrity Skin”, “Makeover” was a filler episode without much substance. The fourth episode, entitled “The Break-Up,” was the best episode of the season so far in terms of music, writing, and acting. It was probably the most heartbreaking for fans as well, as the title of the episode basically gives away what happens to all of the couples on the show that fans have become attached to. The episode had excellent covers of No Doubt’s “Don’t Speak” and Coldplay’s “The Scientist,” and a very emotional cover of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream,” covered by Darren Criss. A month-long hiatus followed this episode.

The fifth episode, entitled “The Role You Were Born to Play,” started the two-episode arc of what the show is calling “Glease,” or the Glee performance of the musical Grease, their school musical of the year. The episode contained covers of the songs “Hopelessly Devoted to You” and “Born to Hand Jive” from the wildly popular musical. This episode also introduced The Glee Project 2’s winner Blake Jenner, acting as football player Ryder Lynn, who shows off his surprisingly good vocals in a cover of “Juke Box Hero”. The episode did its job by creating excitement and anticipation for the full musical to come.

While it is not close to the greatness of season one, Season Four shows some promise in the first few episodes. Though ratings have gone down from what they used to be, they are still pretty high in comparison to most other shows. The infamous television series will probably be picked up for at least a fifth and sixth season, if not even more. Even if the writing is not as good as it used to be, the show continues to have a large and loyal fan base that will continue to watch every episode through its ups and downs. Hopefully, they will not be disappointed as the rest of season four plays out.