Glee Report Card: The First Time

I loved Tuesday night’s episode of Glee. Let me repeat that: I loved Tuesday night’s episode of Glee. I can’t remember the last time the show was consistent enough to delight me this much. And it wasn’t just the music, though that was pretty great. (Hello, it’s West Side Story.) It’s the way these characters finally felt like actual human beings. But before I get too gushy, let’s break it down song by song.

“Tonight”
Performed by Rachel and Blaine
From the musical West Side Story

With all the impressive performances later in the episode, “Tonight” looks a little weak in retrospect. On the other hand, it was another great showcase for Lea Michele and Darren Criss—both of whom are undeniable standouts. I know Mercedes gets all pissy when it’s the Rachel and Blaine show, but I would totally watch that. And I guess I kind of already am. The only thing that bothered me was that Blaine had to refer to his script. Uh, these are Stephen Sondheim lyrics. What kind of a gay man are you?

Grade: B+

“Uptown Girl”
Performed by Sebastian and the Warblers
Originally performed by Billy Joel

A word on Sebastian, the new gay on Glee: I adore him. Yeah, yeah, Kurt and Blaine are cute together, but they needed some tension, and Sebastian is frankly a lot more like the guys I knew in high school. (Read: slutty.) That having been said, I didn’t think his introduction via “Uptown Girl” was all that successful, because the song itself was kind of flat. Great voices, yes, just nothing special without a star like Blaine. Oh, and is it just me, or have the Warblers somehow gotten even whiter?

Grade: B

“A Boy Like That”
Performed by Santana and Rachel
From the musical West Side Story

OK, brace yourself, because I’m about to get mad effusive with my praise. “A Boy Like That” was the most excited Glee has made me since the pilot. Aside from the fact that Santana and Rachel are perfect in their West Side Story roles, I loved the way the song cut to Sebastian’s attempt at seducing Blaine. It was such a seamless marriage of musical theater and television, the kind of union I’ve been itching to see for far too long. If Glee were this good every week, I’d be—forgive me—a Gleek.

Grade: A+

“A Boy Like That (Reprise)”
Performed by Santana and Rachel
From the musical West Side Story

Though not technically a reprise, the two parts of “A Boy Like That” were broken up by way too much story to lump them together. And the second half just wasn’t as dynamic as the first, so I couldn’t let it drag the grade down. Again, love the casting—I would kill to see a production of West Side Story with Naya Rivera and Lea Michele. Without Sebastian’s unsubtle flirtation, though, I wasn’t quite as excited this go-around. Although, good on Glee for finishing the song, I guess?

Grade: B

“America”
Performed by the cast of West Side Story
From the musical West Side Story

Hey, turns out Artie is an awesome director. (I guess the cast helps a little.) I’ve always been a fan of “America,” so I might be biased, but this was just really fun. It was a great way to show all the Glee kids in their West Side Story roles without devoting too much screentime to the show itself. And I love that Emma acknowledged the artistic choice Artie had made, so that I didn’t have to sit there and say, “Hey, that’s not how they do it in the real musical!” Oh, and the little moments of Mike seeing his mom and Kurt seeing Sebastian? This is A-level stuff.

Grade: A

“One Hand, One Heart”
Performed by Rachel and Blaine
From the musical West Side Story

Ugh, feelings. Forgive me, but the final scene between our primary couples was seriously moving. Because Blaine and Kurt had argued in the episode, and because both had shown flaws and considerable backbone, I felt like the moment was earned. The same goes for Rachel and Finn, who acted like an actual couple instead of two characters who paired up because the plot required it. Guys, I’m still reeling from the fact that I sincerely loved an episode of Glee this much. Oh, and uh, the singing was great, too.

Grade: A

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