Glee! 1.01 – The Pilot

"Always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom!"

While we cool our heels waiting for season 3, I thought a rewatch of the whole series this summer would be fun. Especially the way I have planned for us. First, there is a Glee Bingo Card, and we’ll be taking drinks every time one of the card items appear. Don’t worry, I don’t have anything like “when Rachel wears something terrible,” or “Sue says something mean” – we’d be trashed in the first five minutes. Second, there will be a featured cocktail of the night, recipe included, and I’ll be [drinking like a fish] sipping along with you.

Without further ado, tonight’s featured cocktail is The Fresh Start

(Right click on the image to save and/or print recipe)


We have our first introduction to Coach Sue Sylvester as a cheerleader falls off a complicated pyramid: “You think that’s hard? Try being waterboarded, that’s hard!”

A dapper young man, Kurt Hummel, is surrounded by a group of toughs as a teacher walks by and waves hello. “Making new friends?” The teacher moves on. The toughs grab Kurt, who shrieks, “Wait! This is from Marc Jacobs’ new collection!” They let him take off his smashing jacket, one boy holds it for him, and then they toss him in the dumpster.

The school day drones on, the teacher from earlier is Mr. Schuester, que enseña español. He is unfulfilled, as are his students. Honey, we all are. [Obligatory drink.] In the music room, a hateful gay stereotype fondles the chest of one of his singing students, as a young Barbra Streisand devotee spies on them. She is Rachel, and she is going to get what she wants. And she wants Sandy, the hateful gay stereotype, gone.

Lunch break in the teacher’s lounge, more introductions. An adorable big-eyed ginger gal makes goo goo eyes at Mr. Schue, while a big mook of a man in polyester short pants and shin socks does the same to her. Mr. Schue looks at nothing, because he is still unfulfilled.

Coach Sue saunters in with coffee for everyone. See, the school cut the coffee budget because she needed a nutritionist for her champion cheerleaders, the Cheerios. The red head, Emma, gives her grief about it. Sue replies with a steely gaze, “Your resentment…is delicious.” Hateful Sue is one of my most favorite things about season one. I drink to your memory, Evil Sue.

Will learns that Sandy was fired. That means the Glee Club needs a new leader. Oh, to be the leader of the gleek squad! he thinks to himself, and then says out loud to Principal Figgins. He’s given the job, but he’ll have to pay $60 a month for supplies and costumes and work for free in detention. Sounds great! He lies in bed worrying about it while all shirtless and man-pelty. [Naughty Mr. Schue – DRINK!]

Time for auditions! Mercedes, the Sassy Black Girl that is required in most shows nowadays, belts out R.E.S.P.E.C.T. – she’s a little screamy on it, but has raw talent that could easily be molded. Kurt yawns out “Mr. Cellophane,” misses a few of the notes (I’m sorry, but he did,) hits that last long note, draws it out even longer, smooths his bangs, and wraps it up in a bow. Again, raw talent that can go places but isn’t quite there yet. Tina, the goth Asian, snarls out “I Kissed A Girl” and bangs her fists on her crotch, and lord, missy, what Butch bars have you been fighting in? Next time some chick with a flat top dares you to hold a lit cigar to your arm for screw rights, you can Just Say No.

Last, but never least, li’l Streisand rips out “On My Own” from Les Miz and mother scratching nails it. Like there was any doubt. She knows she did, too, and flounces out of the music room full of herself. Two bullies fling slushies in her face, stopping her in her tracks and rinsing that grin right off. (How have they not worked in a South Pacific reference for slushie facials? Am I letting my theater dork show? Lemme tuck that back in. And have a drink to ease my shame.)

Back story on Rachel: she turns in Chester the Molester Music Teacher, crying [Rachel cries: Life – DRINK!] as she recalls the horror. But she’s not anti-gay, oh, no, she has two gay dads. She doesn’t know who her mother is, nor which father is the sperm donor, because the two men, one black, the other white, mixed up their sperm so they could be surprised. I see. They loved her, knew she had the makings of a star and started her on tappa-tappa-tappa back when she was three. (I would have killed for a little tappa-tappa-tappa when I was young.)

Rachel makes daily videos of herself singing and posts them on MySpace (bless.) The Cheerios leave her horrible messages every time she does, just hateful, mean stuff. She’s all alone. “On my own,” you might sing. Passionately. (Clever song choice, writers.) She’s a tough cookie.

We cut to the first meeting of Glee Club where all the kids we’ve seen audition, plus a nerdly-esque paraplegic young man in a wheelchair, have made it and are working out the choreography to “Sit Down, You’re Rocking The Boat.” Two guesses as to who they’re singing it to, and the able-bodied kids don’t count. [Inappropriate song choice – DRINK!] Rachel is not. happy. about this. “There is nothing ironic about show choir!”

She’s only a sophomore, but she’s got big dreams, see? Dreams of the Big White Way with her name in lights, a marabou cape-let and a standing O, and nothing is going to stop her from getting it, Buster, not you, not anyone! So Mr. Schue can either up the ante on the choir kids, or she’s packing up her makeup case and hitching her wagon to another star.

Will’s bossy, shrewish wife Terri works at Sheets-n-Things. Will is so over-the-top earnest that it’s completely reasonable to imagine that he married this fishwife harridan with Farrah Faucett locks. Of course. Anyhoodle, she is not happy about Will taking on this new responsibility seeing as she is “already on [her] feet for four hours a day, three times a week!” I mean, is she expected to make her own supper like some kind of poor, working class person?

Will backs out of there, setting us up for his hen-pecked mindset of entrapment, when he runs into Sandy, who is fussing over toilet seat covers. First off, I don’t know a single, self-respecting gay man that would ever put a fuzzy toilet seat cover in their house. I digress. He explains how he lost his job and now sells medical-grade marijuana, the Football Coach being his top customer.

The next day at school, Will asks Sue to encourage the Cheerios to sign up for Glee. A flock of geese four states over are startled by the shriek of laughter from Lima, Ohio and take flight. Emma tells Will that he just needs to finagle a few popular kids into joining, and others will follow. What about the football kids?
They sign up! Well, Butt Lunch, Gaylord Weiner and Penis sign up. Heartbroken sigh, Mr. Schue is about to leave when he hears an angelic, breathy, untrained voice singing a power ballad in the Boys Shower. Of course he goes right on into the showers to stare at this naked, tall, brick wall of a sweet-faced boy, who is singing. [Naughty Mr. Schue – DRINK!]

(It’s a little pitchy, dawg.)

But how to get this sweet, muscular, dripping wet innocent to join Glee club? Will plants the dope Sandy gave him earlier in Finn’s locker. [DRINK!] Finn, who is honest and good and not that bright and loves his mother terribly and swore to never upset her when he saw how sad she was after his dad died, and again when the lawn man left her for the blond at the Pic-n-Save.

[I need to freshen my drink, hang on. There we go, my Sip was rattlin’.]

Flashback to Finn as a boy. His mother worked haaaard for the money, so haaaaaard for it honey! And Finn wants to treat her right. The guy from “Emerald Dreams” is spray painting their lawn; he’s the one that taught Finn to love singing. “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’” in particular.

It seems Mr. Schue has him by the figurative short hairs. Finn will join Glee Cub and not be in trouble. [DRINK!]

Cut to Glee Club where Finn’s doing his best Danny Zuko in a key slightly too high for him to hit the big ones just right. Rachel is singing “You’re the one that I want” in a way that sends off stalker tingles, shoving everyone out of her line of sight to the cuteness that is the New Boy. Speaking of, Kurt has also noticed Handsome McNaivewithShoulders and you know he’s hoping that an interest in musical theater speaks of being friendly with a certain Dorothy. Potential love triangle!

Back at Will’s house, he and Shrewi are putting together puzzles (I’m hoping they dropped acid beforehand because otherwise, oh my god, they know how to par-tay! Snore.) Shrewi has a spending problem, in that Will doesn’t make enough for her to spend in the manner to which she’s imagined she’s grown accustomed. Will needs to drop this Glee Club crap and start thinking about how he’s gonna keep her in glitter and glue guns, Mama has a craft room that needs a’fillin.

At school, Coach Ken Tanaka wants Emma, who wants Will, who just wants singers. And to be fulfilled. Emma signs up to be a chaperone for an upcoming Glee trip. Said Glee trip is hampering Finn’s football career (he’s QB1) since he’ll have to miss practice. His buddy, one of the dumpster toughs, asks him why he can’t make it. Finn: “My mom needs surgery. On her prostate.” Noah Puckerman is as stupid as he is muscular. Just how I like ’em.

Rachel tries to convince Finn that everyone expects them to become a couple, hint hint, but Broad Shoulder VonRuddyCheeks is already seeing someone, Quinn Fabray, head cheerleader and President of the, wait for it, Celibacy Club. (Cut to them dry humping. Aw, remember dry humping? One of the bright spots of high school. Biiiiiiig drink, but just because I can.)

The field trip is upon us – they’re off to see a glee club, the wonderful glee club of Carmel High, Vocal Adrenaline. On the way in, Will confesses feeling unfulfilled in his marriage, which gives Emma hope. The curtains drop, the crowd goes wild, and a real show choir tears the roof off the sucker. They are uh-may-zing, with back flips and great costumes, and laws, can they sing. Rehab, by Amy Winehouse, in fact. The gang collectively thinks, “Oh, shit.” Yeah, that Rocking the Boat number? Ain’t gonna cut it.

Back in town, Finn is outed (not that kind) and gets a dumpster toss for joining glee. Will comes home to a watery eyed Shrewi who tells him she’s pregnant. Will is happy (but come on, he looks trapped for good, now.) Oh, Shrewi is lying out of her ass. Will commits to quitting his job, the one thing that fulfills him, and everyone has a sad.

Emma doesn’t want him to leave (obvs) and asks him to talk to a counselor. Finn, who feels that the reason to be in Glee is gone, as Schue is leaving, is accosted by Rachel. Quinn and Santana smack her down for talking to a popular kid, but she perseveres. He has talent, he loves to sing, screw popularity, come back to glee! I mean, it’s in the name, Finn. [Double Entendre – DRINK! Hey, they’re not always sexy.]

Puck is glad Finn’s out of Homo Explosion and offers him a “gift.” It’s Artie, the boy in the wheelchair, who has been trapped in a porta potty. I’m pretty sure Finn registered for foot spray and iTunes gift cards, bro, but whatevs. Finn pulls Artie out and turns on the toughs. “We live in shit, we are shit, and we’ll be nothing but shit in Shitsville, population: us. How about you guys let me try and do something that might take me out of here?”

As Finn rolls Artie away, he sees none other than the Emerald Green lawn spray dude rocking out with his blond babe cheering him on. Don’t stop believing, Finn! (Hey, there’s a song they could use! I doubt they’ll use anything by Journey, though, they’re so la- what? They used nothing but Journey songs for the next four thousand episodes? I…see.)

Rachel has taken over Glee and is being a bossy bitch. Kurt stands around rolling his eyes while wearing a horrible color block sweater. [Bad Kurt fashion – DRINK!] Finn storms in with purity of heart and a desire to lead, telling Artie to get the jazz ensemble involved (I wonder if they have a free-form jazz marching band? That would just involve a lot of random wandering, though), puts Mercedes in charge of costumes (how offensive to Kurt!) and gives Rachel choreography. Tina gets to stand around and stammer until needed, I suppose.

Emma shows Will a video of him from the 1993 Nationals when they won, and because Will is unfulfilled, finally realizes what color his parachute is: GLEE COLOR. (Colors of the rainbow, natch.) He heads back to the music room to tell the kids that they’re gonna put on a show! But we’ve gotta have a great show, with a million laughs… and color… and a lot of lights to make it sparkle! And songs – wonderful songs! And after we get the people in that hall, we’ve gotta start em in laughing right away. Oh, can’t you just see it?

But the kids are too busy belting out “Don’t Stop Believing” (SEE, I KNEW IT WOULD BE A GOOD CHOICE. And then everything goes to BLACK. I hope you’re happy, Sopranos, for making us all think that will happen every time this song plays.) and all of a sudden the kids are magically good, no flat notes, no wobbles on the high notes, they have found their groove! Thanks, Journey! Say, it’s even in the name, guys. [DRINK!] This show has layers!

Rachel is overcome with happy, Artie nails the guitar riff, poor Kurt cannot dance (pay attention to the first half of the season, bless his heart, he just cannot move to pop tunes yet) and Coach Sue, Quinn, and Santana watch from the balcony, frowning with malice and discontent. Possibly some unfulfilled hopes. Puck stands in the back, frowning, or wishing? That sounds a lot like unfulfilled dreams to me, folks. We don’t know yet, but oh, Mr. Schue is filled, finally! Filled with the glory that is musical theater, and that sounds like every boy I crushed on in high school before I developed gaydar.

Drunken Thoughts: is this show problematic in places? Sure. But is it hilarious? Yes. Is it a fantastic satire? It promises to be (and don’t start thinking you’ll be unfulfilled, sugar plums, I’ll fill you up. With booze and jokes, you pervert. I’m not that tipsy.) and better yet, it will be. Broad strokes here, but honey babies, that’s just how musical theater is, but never forget: There is NOTHING ironic about show choir. Wink. I love you guys.  No, seriously.  I love you guys. [falls off bar stool*]

The stage has been set, folks! We’ll push on tomorrow, and every Wednesday through Friday. Cheers! [glug]

On to Showmance, epsiode 2!


*Hey, Don’t Judge Me does not encourage underaged drinking or binge drinking.