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Glee – Recap & Review – The Purple Piano Project

photo: fox
The Purple Piano Project

Original Air Date: Sep 20, 2011

Alyssa Silva – Sr Reviewer

It’s been a pretty tumultuous hiatus for gleeks everywhere. From Chord Overstreet’s sudden axing, to Ryan Murphy’s foot-in-mouth comments about graduating students, to the (much-needed) hiring of new writers. A return to core characters and a return to basics was the theme of the day whenever the cast was interviewed about Season Three, but considering the vast ensemble of members that make up Glee what does this really mean?

Did the season premiere salvage my hope that Glee could return to the show that I first fell in love with, or did it just inspire similar frustrations leftover from last season?

The first minute informed us of who the seniors were:

Seniors – Finn, Rachel, Kurt, Mike, Brittany, Santana
Juniors – Artie, Tina

The status of Puck and Quinn are so far unknown, though I think Puck was a senior too. Unless his aversion to class has resulted in him being held back. I would also like to alert everyone to my immense dissatisfaction with the lack of Noah Puckerman in this episode. He’s shown character development throughout the two seasons and while Mike and Tina should get their share in the spotlight, I think Puck deserves his time too.

(Yes he is one of my favorite characters, alongside Rachel and Santana)

In any case Mr Schue is determined to bring glory to McKinley High’s Glee Club. Putting their puny twelfth place Nationals trophy next to the enormous first place trophies they’ve secured at Sectionals and Regionals, Will implements a Purple Piano Project to help them recruit three new members. Quinn’s MIA, Sam has moved to another state which means Mercedes is now dating a football player named Marcus, and Lauren dumped Puck (that girl must be trippin’!). The idea is to break into song whenever they see a piano, and let the beat point them towards people of similar ilk. This leads to Sugar Motta, who apparently has self-diagnosed Asperger’s, trying out with a truly hilarious and horrendous audition. Will then struggles to tell Sugar no, making me want to shake him. Rachel is right Mr Schue – if you want to win, you don’t need people like Sugar holding you back.


This was the best part of the entire episode for me, seeing Kurt and Rachel map out their mutual ambition to make it big on Broadway and support each other when they suffer humiliation at the NYADA mixer. I liked how both of them realized that despite how talented they were in the bubble of McKinley, there were literally others out there who were more talented and with more in-utero credits padding out their application forms. That scene in the car with the two of the bawling their eyes out before Kurt delivered pep talk that had me squeezing my pillow in commiserating gratitude, and Rachel telling Kurt that he was going to make it out of Lima just like her? Perfection. Focusing on core characters should be handled exactly like this, because the long-term narrative that has developed the friendship between the two has been natural and organic. If nothing else, I would completely watch a spin-off starring these two, Blaine and Puck.


C’mon, we all knew Blaine was going to make it to McKinley sooner rather than later. The relationship between Blaine and Kurt continues to go from strength to strength and I’m happy that Blaine’s ditched his Warbler’s blazer for adorable bow ties polo shirts and rolled up pants.


For those who haven’t read my previous Glee reviews, I am not a fan of this relationship. I was at the beginning, but I simply do not enjoy the effect Finn has on Rachel (read this for further clarification), and am now happily ensconced in my love for Puckleberry. The only thing I could pick up on on the so-called Glee power couple was that Finn still isn’t sure what he wants to do with his life. Juxtapose this against Rachel’s carefully mapped out plan to win a Tony by twenty-five. I felt in New York that these two have put an expiration date on their relationship, and I’m sticking by that assertion.


I admit I full on laughed when Quinn walked in with her new hair and very tasteful Ryan Seacrest tattoo. I am so not buying this fit of rebellion, especially considering the longing look she was giving her former Glee Club at the end of the episode. I would have bought this charade at the start of Season Two, considering she had just given up her baby, and if she hadn’t been so focused on winning Prom Queen at the backend of last season. Until she reverts back to the Quinn I know and can sort of tolerate, I will continue to giggle as she smokes cigarettes under the bleachers with the apropos titled “Skanks”.


I admit I was shocked when Will banned Santana from Glee after she artfully maneuvered the Cheerios to setting that piano ablaze (technically, Quinn did it but oh well). I thought Santana was going to choose Glee when Sue asked her which side she was on, but Santana wouldn’t be Santana if she didn’t play both sides. I love how manipulative and deceitful Ms Lopez is, and if anyone should have self-diagnosed Asperger’s it would be this Cheerio. Santana has one of the stronger female vocals of the group, in my opinion, so I wonder how they will replace her.

Sue, the Congressional Candidate

Sue’s thirst to destroy Will, and by extension Glee, has morphed into a platform promise to get rid of the Arts in public schools in favor of upping literacy and numeracy stats. And she’s gaining in the polls.

Overall it felt like Glee was re-airing an alternate version of its Pilot episode. The characters, though we know who they are more or less, felt like they were being introduced to us again for the first time. There was no preachy message, no underlying theme. Everything – especially the songs – fit organically into the story. So for now I’m giving a tentative yes to Glee salvaging my hopes, but I’m still wary. You never know with Ryan Murphy at the helm.

The Songs

The great

You Can’t Stop the Beat – Infectious! Full of energy! Beautiful solo by Lea Michele at the start! Rachel’s dress! Although if you listen to the full-length version, I’m curious as to why the NAACP would help either Kurt or Artie…

The good

We Got the Beat – This one gets into your head, whether you want it to or not. Liked Rachel, Santana and Brittany taking lead.

It’s Not Unusual – Darren Criss can do no wrong. Most times. This was one of those times. The Cheerios twirling around him, and the way he moved, made this a stand-out audition piece.

The okay

Ding Dong The Witch is Dead – It was good, but I felt it lacked energy for some reason.

Anything Goes/Anything You Can Do – That Harmony girl scares me. Also I don’t care how long you think you can hold your note, Rachel Berry will hold it longer.

What did you think of the premiere? Was it a good starting point? Does it feel like a return to basics? What were your favorite and least favorite parts? Give me your TwoCents below.

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