Friday, November 12, 2010

Welcome Back, Glee...

...Well, it's not exactly "back" since the writing is still shit, the acting is nearly unstomachable and the whole gay angle is handled only slightly better than one of the episodes on an Alan Ball TV show where the gay character(s) deliver the most awful, holier-than-thou sermon this side of a papal mass. Considering the hot mess the show was when I gave up on it last season, and how much anger I had towards it for wasting both its potential and my time week after week, I never thought I would be able to take anything it did seriously ever again. And, judging by the reaction this season from even the most hardcore Gleetards, the show's novelty was beginning to wear off quickly. But, out of nowhere, the show went back to its roots with this performance from a new cast member:

Wow, that was surprisingly refreshing. My biggest complaint with Glee towards the end of the run of episodes I watched was that they weren't even bothering to do anything to make the songs their own. In the beginning, especially in the pilot episode with 'Rehab' and 'Don't Stop Believin',' Glee wasn't afraid to interpret the songs in new and original ways. By the end of the first run, however, the show was falling prey to its own hype and started cranking out those songs to suck as much money out of buyers as they could. Some of the songs were so terrible they sounded like someone bought a karaoke tape, pressed play, let Lea Michelle sing shriek over everyone and then called it a day ('Bad Romance,' I'm looking at you). Apparently this has only gotten worse this season, especially with the jukebox musical/theme episodes. But this rendition of 'Teenage Dream' is absolutely stunning. What I love most about the arrangement is that it's stripped down to an acapella core yet the song's emotion, which Katy Perry emotes so vividly over the electropop-ness of the original, loses none of its power or urgency.

And the person who I think should be credited mostly for the success of this rendition is Glee newcomer Darren Criss. As you can see, I'm clearly in love with him and will stop at nothing until he's mine. Apparently, the University of Michigan graduate (two hours away from me!) is famous for something called A Very Potter Musical, which made it's way online earlier this year. I tried watching it but it made very little sense to me as I haven't read a Harry Potter book since Bill Clinton was president. Anyways, on the show, Darren plays Blaine, Kurt's new gay buddy who is there solely to provide support and tell Kurt to stand up for himself. In other words, the character's a total snoozefest and didn't give Darren much to play with in his first appearance. But that hardly matters when your debut musical performance is something as amazing as his version of 'Teenage Dream.' His husky voice is in definite contrast to Katy's light and airy vocals on the original but he manages to keep the song sexy in his own way. Just by emphasizing the wrong word, the lyric, "I'ma get your heart racing in my skin tight jeans/I'll be your teenage dream tonight," could have become an epic disaster but he actually turns it into a sly, subtle invitation that makes it even hotter. Speaking of hotness, I also love the way that, like Kurt/Chris Colfer, Darren isn't one of those generic, plastic-looking gays that seem to populate shows of this nature and, unlike Kurt/Chris Colfer, he has his own brand of sexiness that can't be reproduced. It appears that many others out there agree with me as he has instantly become the most buzzed about new cast member since, I don't know, ever and there are even talks about making him a series regular. Seems like a good idea at this point since his song is currently at #1 on the iTunes chart, sodomizing the other songs from the episode, and is on track to be the highest charting single from Glee since 'Don't Stop Believin'.' I'm sure once Glee gets their hands on Darren they will ruin him like they have every other aspect of the show but let's just enjoy him in all his glory for the moment.

1 comment:

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