Two Guys, a Girl and a TV Set

Three college friends out in the world, filling the void with television…and loving it.

Acafellas (Glee – S1:E3)

Posted by Mr. Feeny on September 16, 2009

“So misfits and spazheads and cripples can make it too. That’s great. What’s your point?” – Dakota Stanley, choreographer

The Acafellas

The Acafellas

Another solid episode of Glee, though I did prefer the previous two. This one’s rhythm seemed out of sync (and I don’t mean the dancing…that was quite good). It just seemed like a lot of story elements moved too quickly and were rushed. Most noticeably, four male teachers find out they have great singing voices, rehearse a cappella numbers and perform at a local club all before the half-hour break? It turns out that the “Acafellas” were just a one episode storyline, but it had the feel of being something permanent. I’m glad its not. As much as I enjoy hearing Matthew Morrison, it added way too much excess to the fluff. We can only handle one singing group! Clearly, that’s all Schuester can handle as well.

The group also created a random entry for macho Puck to enter the world of singing. Wasn’t he just the one insulting his teammate for joining Glee? Now he’s in an all-male singing group? That came out of left field. Plus, there are now no students that we’ve met who don’t sing. So where’s the opposition?

The best part about the Acafellas (besides the singing itself) was the special guest appearance by Josh Groban. Now, the writers had two choices with the acclaimed singer. They could make it a straight guest appearance, where Josh plays himself and acts like himself. Or, they could challenge your expectations. And of course, that’s what they did, with hilarious results as he served a restraining order to Sandy Ryerson (Stephen Tobolowsky). And who knew clean-cut Josh Groban had a fancy for drunken 50-something mothers? You gotta love guest stars acting out of their element.

I prefer bullet points when reviewing an episode, so here are some other odds and ends:

  • I have mixed feelings on the pace of this show. Sometimes it seems like they get from Point A to Point B much too quickly. When did they learn the steps? And doesn’t there need to be more development? But on the other hand, they’re going to be performing several songs every week. We can’t watch the rehearsals for each one without it getting dull. So you just have to insert your own transitions. At least there are no montages…voiceovers, yes, but montages, no.
  • The supporting cast definitely leaves something to be desired. As I’ve mentioned, I like Morrison and Michele a lot. Lynch’s biting insults are so unexpectedly vicious and sincere that you can’t help but laugh. And Jayma Mays as Emma the guidance counselor does a great job showing tenderness despite her neurotic behavior. But the rest of the kids and adults? Pretty blah. Great voices, though.
  • More on Lynch’s insults. Apparently, she told People that the original scripts have even more inappropriate comments and humor. They always end up cutting several of her racier lines. If this is what they leave in…what could they possibly take out?
  • For the record...I LOVE Victor Garbers outfit. I want the whole ensemble.

    For the record...I LOVE Victor Garber's outfit. I want the whole ensemble.

    Hopefully today’s roster of guest stars continues each week. Victor Garber (Legally Blond, Eli StoneSweeney Todd on Broadway) and Debra Monk (Curtains on Broadway) were introduced as Morrison’s parents, so they should be back singing in the future. But in addition to Groban, they got Tony winner John Lloyd Young (Jersey Boys on Broadway) to play one of the teachers, thus giving him a shining solo in the Acafellas number. The more name-singers they get the happier I’ll be.

  • Once again, the writers abandoned the “natural song” idea as Mercedes randomly broke into song in the parking lot. I was worried, until they ended it with a chop cut back to reality, showing that it was a daydream. I think that’s fine once and a while. Not far-fetched for a musical person to envision singing. And Amber Riley has a wonderful voice, especially on held notes.
  • The cinematography of Glee is one of its most appealing aspects. Bright colors, quick shots and even filming subtleties. For instance, when Emma is cheering wildly for the Acafellas — clearly because of Schuester — his wife is in a blurred shot in the background reacting. Never focused in on her, but you could tell what she was thinking.
  • I do hope soon they stop the threat of someone leaving Glee Club. Hopefully after their revelation that anyone can do anything they put their mind too, they’ll have the confidence to continue. But even those who exude confidence have doubts welling up inside, as we found out in Kurt’s confession to Mercedes.

Episode Grade: B-

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