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The fourth season of Glee is upon us. Half of New Directions has graduated so there will be a lot of familiar faces missing – oh, hang on, we’re starting with Rachel Berry in New York City. Gosh darn it, I thought we were past this!
Confession: I am so sick of Rachel and her voice. I was really excited to hear songs sung by other people this season. Nope, she’s still singing. We learn that Rachel is having a tough time at NYADA: her alcoholic dance teacher has nicknamed her after David Schwimmer. The dance teacher, Cassandra July, has decided to make Rachel’s life miserable. July decides to show the class (or just Rachel, since the rest of the class become her backup dancers) that she’s still got it, as she performs a mash-up of Lady Gaga’s “Americano” and Jennifer Lopez’s “Dance Again.” Wow. Hudson is on fire. Since her hair was in her face during some of the more advanced dance moves, I have to assume that she had a dance double, but still, wow.
Here’s what you missed over the summer: Tina and Mike Chang broke up because of the strains of a long-distance relationship (he’s at college); Sue Sylvester gave birth to her daughter, Robin, who looks to be a couple of months old (how fast was that pregnancy? She only started looking for sperm donors last February); a mean girl named Kitty is the new head Cheerio; the glee club is suddenly cool after winning Nationals; Kurt awaits the start of community college classes while he works at the local coffee place; and Wade Unique Adams (the fabulous drag queen from another school at Nationals) is now a student at McKinley.
The episode is called “The New Rachel,” so the other remaining members try to figure out who will become the new Rachel, a.k.a. the only person to get any flippin’ solos. In the mean time, the club holds auditions to fill all just one of the open spots left by the graduating students. There’s a tough young man with a buzz cut and a hoodie who won’t give his last name. In the most obvious twist ever, it’s Puckerman’s little brother. His attitude keeps him from becoming a member (but he’ll totally be back). Marley Rose, the poor daughter of the obese lunch lady, sings “New York State of Mind,” which is cut with scenes of Rachel singing the same song at NYADA. So Marley must be the new Rachel (is this season dumbed down, or am I just a genius?) Naturally, she makes it in.
Speaking of Rachel, she meets a buff guy named Brody in NYADA’s coed bathroom. Hello, new love interest. She now refers to Finn as her boyfriend, not fiancé, and mentions that they haven’t spoken in two months (he’s in the army, I forgot about that). This Brody fellow is supportive and, as he points out, straight. Later in the episode, Brody gives her a speech about how’s she’s a new person here in New York (double meaning to “The New Rachel!”) She’s kind of looking like a new Rachel; she has ombre hair and wears eyeliner now. How metropolitan.
The glee club seems to forget what they’re all about when they tell Wade that he can’t dress as Unique during school, and they join Kitty the Cheerio and a couple of football players as they make fun of the obese lunch lady. Marley nearly bails on he club when she hears the fat jokes, but New Directions see the error in their ways, apologize, and offer her lead vocals in the episode-ending “Chasing Pavements” by Adele at their after-school rehearsal (yep, she’s new Rachel). Order is restored to the McKinley popularity rankings and the new members of the glee club get slushied. Jake, a.k.a. Little Puck, walks into the rehearsal but walks out. Oh, he’ll be back. You can tell because Marley has been making the googly eyes of love at him.
Kurt, who’s been hanging around McKinley like that creepy guy who tries to relive his glory days, finally decides to move to NYC after pep talks from his dad and Blaine (Blaine’s pep talk was mostly a musical number of “It’s Time” by Imagine Dragons).
So New Directions lost at least eight members to graduation/the end of exchange programs and had plenty of students sign up for auditions, yet they only accepted one new member, Marley. Um, what? Sure, Jake Puckerman will show up soon enough, but what’s with the lack of members? If this is a way to give Rachel more singing time from New York, I will be so mad.