The series premiere of Glee was hyped all over the Internet and all over Fox. Did it live up to its billing? We certainly think so.
The reasons why ought to shine through as we recap this pilot episode...
We start with an overview of William McKinley High School: it's owned by the jocks and the cheerleaders. The latter is coached by Sue Sylvestor, who utters the show's opening lines as she berates her team during cheerleading practice: "You think this is hard? Try being waterboarded. That's hard!"
We're then taken to the principal's office, where teacher Will Schuuester tells Principal Figgins that he wants to take over glee club. Figgins can't believe anyone would volunteer to do this, but he agrees... as long as Will himself shells out $60/month to keep it going. The school is on a tight budget and until the show choir can bring in the sort of money that the nationally-acclaimed cheerleaders do, someone has to pay to keep it in existence.
Will agrees, but also makes it clear to the viewers that money is tight at home.
This is a good time to detail Will's home life: he's married to his high school sweetheart, Terri. She works at a Bed, Bath & Beyond-type store and doesn't seem very supportive of Will's teaching dreams. She does seem supporting of Pottery Barn, though, as the couple fights at one point over her excessive spending there.
Back to the glee club: Will hangs up a sign-up sheet and gets the sort of response you'd expect; i.e. a small one. But those that do join certainly bring interesting personalities to the table...
- There's Mercedes, a confident (and not terrible) singer that compares herself to Beyonce. She has attitude and we love it!
- There's Kurt, a nerdy sophomore with a major flair for drama. Safe to say he isn't the most popular kid in school.
- There's Tina, who we don't learn much about in this episode, with the exception of a stutter every time she tries to talk.
- There's wheelchair-bound Arty, a frequent target of bullies.
- And there's star-in-the-making Rachel (Lea Michele). We mean that literally: she puts a gold star next to her name all the time because she yearns to be special and famous. Rachel makes daily MySpace videos in order to show off her talent and hopefully be discovered one day. You can imagine how this makes her look in the eyes of fellow students.
Will tries to make this ecelctic group into a success, as he needs to impress at regionals in order to keep it together. But something is clearly missing: a male star to support the talents of Rachel. As he searches for one, Will pulls a dirty trick:
He overhears quarterback Fin Hudson singing in the shower. Dude can seriously carry a tune! But how do you convince the school's star jock to join glee club? You plant drugs on him! See, Will had ran into a fired teacher earlier in the episode, who rattled on about his new career as a pot dealer. He even forced Will to take a free sample.
In a dastardly, funny move, Will proceeded to plan this sample in Finn's locker, someonw convincing him that joining the choir would help him avoid punishment for drug possession. Finn joins... and ends up loving it!
He receives flak from his football teammates, of course, but he and Rachel make a great team (even after he turns away her romantic advances because he's dating head cheerleader, and President of the Chastity Club, Quinn), as the glee club is really coming together. There's just one problem, near the end of the episode:
Terri tells Will she's pregnant. This is great news for the couple... but potentially disastrous news for the school. Will thinks he has to quit in order to make more money as an accountant. Fortunately, fellow teacher (and cute germaphobe) Emma talks him out of it. She shows Will a video of him performing at nationals with the school's 1993 show choir. Will admits that was the happiest he's ever been.
When he then talks in on the club singing its version of "Don't Stop Believing," it's clear Will cannot leave. The episode concludes with him giving his students instruction, obvious back in the glee club game!