Now, even if Glee didn’t star two Broadway people I’m inordinately fond of (I’ve been on the Matthew Morrison train since 2005, when I saw him in The Light in the Piazza and fell in love) I’d probably have started in on watching it. I am that kind of person. I am fully aware of how utterly ridiculous it can be at times, but at the same time I think it’s doing things that other network shows wouldn’t necessarily do, and as such bringing things (as serious as gay teenager dynamics and as light-hearted as the occasional showtune) to an audience that might not otherwise get exposed to them as much.
Having the mid-season break makes sense for networky reasons, but it really does build the anticipation up. And by this point in the break, where it’s almost over, I really do start to feel a sense of withdrawal. I need my weekly dose of smartly arranged pop songs and fluff and the romantic drama I’ve never actually experienced in real life. So, in the spirit of this, and in anticipation for Sunday’s ridiculous-as-all-get-out Super Bowl episode, I present this list. As usual, I couldn’t narrow it down.
11. Jane Lynch as Sue Sylvester.
This one is all but obvious, given all the awards this woman has won. But I’ve always been fond of her, so seeing her be famous all of a sudden is sort of awesome. Even though you may hate Sue Sylvester, she’s the single funniest thing on Glee and her one-liners are priceless. The occasional times we see her relationship with her sister (and, though it’s not so much the case now, the beginning of her relationship with Becky) are redeeming. But not too redeeming, that wouldn’t be fun.
10. Asian love.
I was into Tina and Artie, don’t get me wrong. I sort of adore Artie a little, but the business with Tina and Mike just got too cute for words. (And if Artie really was blowing Tina off for video games, I say she made the right choice. That isn’t cool.) Tina and Mike may have their ups and downs, but they aren’t too annoyingly in-your-face about it (cough, cough, Finn and Rachel? Sweet Jesus) and they come out of it all right. I like that Mike is into Tina for who she is, and I like that they complement each other. And I loved their cover of “Sing!” from Chorus Line. Kind of awesome.
9. Actually, kind of just Tina in general.
I have loved Tina since the very beginning. Maybe it just started with my inability to allow myself to associate with the other female roles. I couldn’t allow myself to associate mentally with Rachel (though I do love me some Lea Michele) and Quinn was at first too perfect, then her problems were just so far from anything I’d ever experience ever; Mercedes was too sassy for me, Emma too neat-freaky, Terri too plain old freaky, Brittany too ditzy and Santana too bitchy. And I am incapable of watching something and not putting myself with at least one person, I’m not entirely sure why but it’s always been that way. So, sure, it started as a default thing, and a little bit of an “awesome, Jenna Ushkowitz was in Spring Awakening and I totally love the track of her as Ilse I found on YouTube” thing. Then it grew into an “aw, I sort of get being that awkward one in the corner that isn’t really the star of anything ever” thing. Then it grew into a “holy crap, I love the way you dress” thing (seriously. Her Gothic cheerleader outfit was sort of adorable, I do not even care what Artie thought of it, and that burgundy velvet coat she was sporting in the last song in the same episode was absolutely amazing). She’s just precious and underrated and I feel strangely proud of how she’s grown as a character.
8. Heather Morris as Brittany S. Pierce.
So I didn’t think much of Brittany at first. Then she danced a bit. Then she started dropping one-liners. Then the one-liners started making me just about roll on the floor laughing. Then they revealed she and Santana were totally friends with benefits. Then she danced some more. Then she and Artie started dating and I feel like they go better together than Artie and Tina did in a strange way (they’re what the other needs, instead of what the other theoretically wants, I guess?). Then the Rocky Horror episode rolled around and she was Columbia. (For whatever reason, I’ve always had a strange fondness for Columbia, and when I found out they were doing a Rocky Horror episode and cast it in my head, she was easily my choice. It’s sort of perfect.) I don’t know. Where once she was just good comedic relief, she’s now spilling comedic relief while being what I sort of think of as the Glee version of a whore with a heart of gold. She may be a ridiculous skank at times. But, darn it, she’s just adorable.
7. The occasional showtune.
Now, I don’t listen to pop music much, so most of the songs they cover on Glee are, if not entirely new, then at least somewhat new to me. I can safely say that I would not know a sort of disgusting amount of the songs as well were it not for Glee, and I thank them similarly for giving me a version of the song that I can listen to without feeling guilty (“Keep Holding On” anyone? I remember when I actually listened to Avril Lavigne seriously. And, aw, their cover of that song is amazing. “Bad Romance” too, because I love that all the girls get to tear that one up so fiercely). But my favorite of all time is when they bust out a showtune. I’m not really talking when Rachel does a theater ballad, although I love Lea doing theater ballads, but the moments, like Tina and Mike’s aforementioned “Sing!” or the completely nonsensical Will-sick-and-hallucinating “Make ‘Em Laugh” or the apparent Rachel/Mercedes “Take Me or Leave Me” that’s been announced as coming up soon. Because, really, c’est fantastique.
6. Chris Colfer as Kurt Hummel.
5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Guest stars of awesome.
Darren Criss as Blaine
He’s Harry Potter! He did “Teenage Dream” better than Katy Perry. He actually made me listen to “Hey Soul Sister” even though I hate that song deeply. He is so completely amazing with Kurt. (They just need to happen already.) What’s not to love?
Kristin Chenoweth as April Rhodes
Even though I sort of hate April, I love how amazingly Kristin plays her. And excuses for Kristin to bust out belting random anythings are always good, too.
Idina Menzel as Shelby Corcoran
I love Idina so so so much. I’m pretty sure the Glee people saw that internet people were saying “OMG IDINA SHOULD BE LEA’S BIRTH MOM” and decided to make it happen, and I’m happy that they did. Treating the whole world to Idina/Lea duets on both “I Dreamed a Dream” and, strangely, “Poker Face” was a brilliant move. And she managed to do the whole plotline without getting too painfully sappy, so I commend her on that.
Jonathan Groff as Jesse St. James
I could caps lock everything I have to say about Jonathan Groff because holy crap do I love that man. I do. He is honestly one of the sweetest actors I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting at the stage door, and he’s sort of an awesome performer, too. My single favorite thing about Jesse was the Jesse/Rachel botched non-sex scene, because it was amazingly awkward. That, and my mom and I spent the entire scene pointing out moments that could have been (probably weren’t, but could have) Spring references.
Neil Patrick Harris as Bryan Ryan
IN AN EPISODE DIRECTED BY THE LORD MY POP-CULTURAL GOD JOSS WHEDON, NO LESS. It was a tiny bit of a goofy nonsequitor of an episode, but the opportunity for Neil Patrick Harris and Matthew Morrison to epically duet on an Aerosmith song is pretty much the definition of awesome.
–your fangirl heroine.