Glee Season 4 Premiere: 13 Quick Observations

Glee Season 4 PremiereFall screener season has arrived, and I’m stoked to report that I’ve now had a chance to view the Season 4 premiere of Glee. The good news? Those of you who’ve been fretting over the show’s new split focus between the adventures of the New Directions gang in Lima, OH, and its MVP graduate Rachel Berry in New York City, can channel your inner Whitney Houston and finally exhale.

Ryan Murphy & Co. have, at least in Episode 1, managed to beautifully balance these dueling locations in a way that never feels schizophrenic or jarring. Rachel’s life as a freshman at NYADA is filled with a pitch-perfect anxiety and tension you’d expect from a little fishie who’s just been dropped from a backyard pond into the Atlantic Ocean. And the power vaccuum left at McKinley after the exit of Rachel, Finn, Kurt, Mercedes, and Santana gives some of the show’s often-dormant supporting players some interesting new angles to play.

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Here are 13 observations I took home from watching the very, very good “The New Rachel”:

* Cassandra July (Kate Hudson) starts her humiliation of Rachel right in the cold open — and while it’s 98 percent arbitrary, it has to be said the wide-eyed New Directions vet calls attention to herself with a justified (but not entirely well-disguised) side-eye at her new teacher.

* Jacob Ben Israel is back to do his usual start-of-the-season exposition/meta-commentary on Gleek message-board chatter, and his video package ends with a burning question that might take all season to answer: “Who is the new Rachel?”

* Tina’s got a brand new “Make Change Forever” tattoo, and if you stare at those letters long enough, you might be able to grasp their significance.

* The season premiere also raises the important question: If you haven’t heard from your boyfriend for more than two months, is it okay to do a little bit of window-shopping?

* New Cheerio Kitty (Becca Tobin) immediately establishes her beeeotch cred by grilling visiting graduate Kurt about why he’s not already away at college, then dropping in this zinger: “I thought gay people were all successful overachievers.”

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* Smash isn’t the only network TV musical that’s slipping a little something extra into the smoothies of its visiting movie-star’s character.

* Melissa Benoist’s Marley is introduced with a backstory so heart-tugging, it’s kind of impossible not to root for her. That said, Rachel’s half of “New York State of Mind” is decidedly superior.

* NYADA’s “Round Room” is sooooooo pretty. But sometimes ugly things happen there.

* Lea Michele has never been more perfect as Rachel than in her delivery of the line, “I feel like I’m gonna throw up all the time.”

* Oh, and on a related note, Cassandra is introduced as kind of a one-note vicious harpie, but that doesn’t mean you won’t secretly kind of feel like Rachel deserves (just a tiny bit) and could benefit from (a lot) her barbaric teaching methods.

* Mike O’Malley once again uses seconds of screentime to brilliant (and tear-jerking effect) as TV Dad of the Year/Decade Burt Hummel.

* Kitty takes over from Santana as Head Cheerleader in Charge of Vicious Nicknames. Best one so far? Richie Poor.

* And finally, while I’m still not 100 percent certain Alex Newell can act, he definitely scores a big laugh with Unique’s response to her very first slushie. “Unique’s eyes! They’re on fire!” Oh girl, keep on keeping on with your unsinkable attitiude, mmmkaay?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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210 Comments
  1. Alexandra says:

    So odd to see the comments here. I always thought Finn/Cory was the weakest singer and actor, and I am glad for the break.

    • Inigo says:

      I can understand differing opinions about Cory’s voice – I love it for it’s soulfulness and emotion, but surprised anyone thinks he’s the weakest actor.

      • Aren says:

        Me 2. He is in a class above many on the show, IMO. He and Lea and Chris. Naya showed her potential s2. Dot, Jane, Jayma, Matthew are wonderful actors and accomplished too. The rest of the cast have their merits and some good performances but they don’t hold a candle to these I’ve mentioned. My opinion only. I love Cory’s voice. Some songs better than others, but, hey, Lea has sung a couple not so well either. She is the best singer on the show IMO. As someone said once, she is like a black dress, she goes with anyone. I love how Cory and Lea sound together. But I love how her voice sounds with any other person. Mark, Naya, Dianna, Darren, Jonathon, Idina, Chris and Matt. For me Heather is the weakest as vocalist. This is Glee a vast difference in characters, styles of music and voices, acting prowess. We all have our favorites which affect how biased we can be.

    • casey says:

      I agree he’s the weakest singer and I’d say he’s better than a lot of people on the show, though that isn’t exactly saying much, but I think he is overrated by a lot of the fandom. Aside from the scene in the finale he’s been calling it in for the past two seasons but ymmv

    • Mike says:

      Cory gets a bad break because his character is sometimes written as so dumb. But for the past 3 seasons, he has been constantly praised by the major TV critics whenever there was a pivotal Finn scene. The final Finchel scene in the car at the train station in Goodbye was called “one of the best scenes Glee has done” by a critic who has always been harsh about Glee’s failings. I personally think he is the most underrated actor in this cast.

  2. Jc says:

    No Finn or finchel = no interest!

  3. coln says:

    It sucks that Santana is not in the episode… I’ll be watching the 1st episode for Brittany. And I guess I am curious to see how Rachel is adapting to New York. And I need Sugar back on my screen!

  4. Nikki says:

    Screwing with Finchel fans yet again has lost them a loyal viewer. I have better things to do on Thursday evenings.

  5. Jared says:

    I am so freaking excited for the return of Glee I can’t even stand it! It’s gonna be so good!

  6. Siren says:

    I am not interest in a episode withput Finn

  7. Kayl says:

    No Finn o Finchel…No interest

  8. Reality Check says:

    This show is not all about Finchel. I’m glad we’re getting to explore new characters. This show could use a change of pace.

  9. enough says:

    Wow Finchel fans we get it but overloading every article is getting annoying. I like Finchel but you are are being whiny babies. IT IS FICTION.

    • Lorie says:

      They’re just being passionate, just as any of the overly-invested Glee fandom is. If Klaine or Brittana broke up for the fifth time, I think the internet will explode from the moaning and whining from their fanbase. And I’m sure the Glee overlords are just loving this reaction from the fans. They’ve got them by the b**** and they know it.

  10. Siren says:

    I want to see a Rachel more adult, but if Finn no is around i don´t have very expectation to see the episode.

  11. Bryn says:

    Well, I guess thanks for calling me a “whiny baby”, I guess, but I like a good story and breaking up Finn and Rachel AGAIN isn’t good storytelling.

  12. Ammico says:

    I think there are more creative things to do with Finn and Rachel than break them up every time the writers run out of ideas. It’s an insult to the characters we love and the actors we admire to suggest otherwise. Apart but together is a viable option but they’d rather stick to the uninventive and contrived triangles and angst. And no Finn for three eps is blasphemous!

  13. Siren says:

    lets see..What Brad and the writers think they’ve put on the screen and what audience see on the screen are two completely different things becuse the car scene was a BREAK UP scene. How Rachel think that she has a boyfriend? The only thing that I can think is that the writers like to torture Finchel Fans…..

  14. Lena says:

    2 comments:
    On Tina’s tattoo–doesn’t Make Change Forever” sound quite a bit like “Mike Chang Forever”?
    And newbie Marley’s “heart-tugging backstory”…On any other show would be fine, but it’s Glee, so it’s probably gonna be another PSA :/

    Can’t wait for the New York story though!

  15. Amy Fitzgibbon says:

    I will reserve judgement until I watch the show this season. These spoilers that are coming out of Season 4 do ave me concerned. I have watched Glee every episode since it began. Although I have been disappointed in some aspects of the show, I do realize it is for entertainment purposes. That being said, I do truly enjoy watching Lea Michele and Cory Monteith act as the characters of Rachel and Finn. Finchel is compelling to me primarily because of how the actors convey the idiosyncrasies of their characters. A littl bit of angst I can handle, a lot, I might not enjoy. I also appreciate the core characters who have been with the show the longest. It’s interesting and enjoyable to see these characters grow and face real life challenges. I also like happy middles AND endings! Meanwhile if there isn’t happy Finchel, together in love, then I’ll watch parts of Season three on repeat! ;)

    • I'm with Amy says:

      So much agreement with this post here!!! Lea and Cory just bring me joy when I watch the on my screen. For me, THEY are Glee.

  16. Tom Charles says:

    > but that doesn’t mean you won’t secretly kind of feel like Rachel deserves (just a tiny bit) and could benefit from (a lot) her barbaric teaching methods.

    just a tiny bit? She deserves EVERYTHING she gets and more, she’s been in dire need of an attitude adjustment for a LONG time

  17. Alissa says:

    Glee without Finchel is no Glee

  18. Siren says:

    No Finn in the premier, BIG mistake.
    Torturing Finchel Fans making us belive that Rachel doesn´t know the status of the relatioship with Finn, BIG mistake.
    Brody….. BIG mistake.
    No Finchel interaction…NO Words

    • Patt says:

      Well, to be fair, Cory was away filming his indie movie. And I supposed Finn’s storyline about being in the army had a lot to do with it. STILL, it’s very sad to find out that your favorite character is not in the first episode of the season. Very sad.

  19. murley says:

    wow. the review said the episode was very, very good. I foolishly thought that would mean the comments wouldn’t be filled with complaints and whining. I feel silly now. And, as per usual, a little embarrassed to be a part of this “fandom”.

  20. Sushi says:

    You Finchel fans are such dumb sheep. The reason why most shows wind up sucking is because of shippers. A show starts out great and finds it’s own creative footing. Then reviews show up, fans start becoming obsessed morons, and then creators get scared to try anything different. And then endless show articles online (even ones that don’t mention the sacred golden couple) get flooded with your moronic comments. “I only watch for Finn and Finchel. I’m going to watch on tumblr until they get back together” blah blah blah. STFU!!

    • harnold says:

      preach

    • Bobbie says:

      It’s not only the Finchel fans. LOL If the writers had Klaine or Brittana was breaking up for the fifth time, I don’t think the comment sections of Glee articles would be inundated with their complaints. I for one want more drama for other characters than Finchel. The writers should divide the angst and the conflict to other couples too. Let the rest of the fandom know what it feels like when the writers break off their OTP every season! Hah!

  21. DA says:

    Not a fan of ‘finchel’ so I would be much more content if they stayed apart, and didn’t make me watch them together. They are what a fastforward through.

  22. Amanda says:

    What about Finn? I really need some Finchel happy news.

  23. Jake says:

    haha i totally read Make Change Forever as Mike Chang Forever first then read it again and saw what it actually said.

  24. LJ says:

    I’m not that excited over Glee so far this year, not liking the Brody as a love interest thing at all, kind of cheapens the car scene in Good Bye, which was an amazing performance from Lea Michele and Cory Monteith. Plus always making her need a guy makes Rachel look a little weak, let her be single for a while! I am interested in Finn’s storyline though, and Santana’s I hope they both end up in NYC, I think it could be comedy gold to have Rachel, Kurt, Finn and Santana in NYC together.

  25. Lyn says:

    Aww that sucks, I love Finchel (as well as Klaine and Brittana) I hope Finn is back soon.

  26. Shel says:

    Slushies in the face. Why in the world would anyone want to transfer to this school?

  27. kimmie says:

    Not interested at 4×01 at all or any S4 episodes until Finn is back, beside Kate & Lea, nothing to excited about.

    Finchel do NOT need new love interest to drive the stories! There is enough material for Finchel to figure out in the new adult worlds beside new love interests. More break up on Finchel is going to drive the fans away! Enough of Finchel heart breaks already!

    • sky says:

      It is hard to see where RIB keep going to the break ups for the characters to drive a plot along. If these spoilers are true and the episodes coincide with what is said, then this is just a third go around or rehash of the writers same OLD plots. There are so many possibilities for Glee to go with stories for Finchel and Klaine and Britanna. But they seem to be in rut with creativity. I can understand Finn’s need for a mammoth breakthrough for his character to mature. Thus the secrecy about Finn’s story. But this story of Rachel hanging in the balance wondering and having another guy third party is a drag. Then the whole season 3 of tethering and soulmate and commitment to one another was a waste, IMO. With the recent spoilers from the Glee writers and the TV media forums this is just not interesting to me at all. Of course, we watch and see. Furthermore, McKinley seems to be carbon copies of previous characters who have left. It will be like watching reruns. Here it is 1 week til the first episode and my excitment has waned to nothing. I know that the RIB really like to stir the pot to get people ready for the show and make them wonder. But why give out this kind of spoilers when they have been done before.

  28. Pry says:

    Geez! Another Finchel break up? Until when? I’m tired of this. I just want Finchel back. And I’m not liking the way Glee is going in this season. I don’t think I’ll wacth this anymore.

  29. ktap says:

    All I’ve so far in the comments is hate. I’m just super excited that the new season starts next week. Yes there are moments that I hate about Glee but that’s what makes me love the show so much. I guess you just have to take the bad with the good when it come to being a fan of the show. I thing the bad parts are what really helps me to appreciate the good parts even more.

  30. Brooke says:

    While I am excited for Rachel to be in NYC and for Kurt to Join her (and Hopefully Finn and Santana later on).However Finn and Rachel are big part of what makes the show for me and I am not and Hopefully neither will Rachel be distracted by this shiny new toy they are trying so hard to sell the audience on. Especially since they have done this time before I mean you can keep a couple interesting without having a 3rd party in the mix, the ups and down of growing up and moving to a new city can even do that. Still I am not giving up on them because finchel is forever and their connection have been there since the beginning but that doesn’t mean that I like the way the start of the season is shaping for them or how they keep playing with the fans of this couple

  31. marley says:

    i love kurt and blaine but i know they will get back together in the end so i’m not worried.

  32. Ella says:

    Make Change Forever? Mike Chang Forever if there’s a typo? LOL.

  33. Shippers, stop ruining the reputations of all Gleeks and be mature for once in your lives. It doesn’t matter how good the show is, if Finchel or Brittana or Klaine aren’t together than it sucks. Grow up.

  34. J says:

    I’m excited for this episode!! I want to see Rachel vs Cassandra

  35. Kids, kids! Stop fighting in the comments. We all watch Glee because we love it. Aaand Make Change Forever = Mike Chang Forever! Love you Tina! :))))

  36. Anonimous says:

    God, is amazing how Ausiello is sooooo anti-Finchel. That Comment about doing some Window Shopping, when everyone knows that Rachel is still pining over Finn is just vicious! You suck Ausiello!

  37. Sil says:

    Personally, the newbies seem to be clones to Santana and Quinn where the new Rachel is similar to Rachel, how original and totally blah. I am not interested in anything about the New Directions if this is all that there will be. Haven’t seen the episode yet, I will give it a go. But if the spoilers are as stated, I won’t give a hoot about McKinley.

  38. Dee says:

    More Finn please…and Finchel. Thanks

  39. mlef says:

    I love my klaine! :) ♥ thank you

  40. Kaycee says:

    It’s disappointing that we wont see Finn until episode 4, and then we have to have yet ANOTHER Finchel break up. The hell? That’s moving backwards. New love interests for them? No thanks. I know there’s something special already with Finn and Rachel. I’ll wait for their reunion.

  41. carrie says:

    All I want to know is what is the story with Puck?They are introducing his half brother but I would prefer to see more or Mark Salling. I know he and some of the other characters won’t be in every episode but is it really too much to ask that we hear what ALL the graduate from New Directions are dong, and I can’t be the only one waiting,pray,dreaming of the moment when Rachel bumps in to Puck in NYC and Puckleberry lives once again? Right? They had this little thing called chemisrty that Finchel never had, and instead of this nonsense with mini Puck and mini Rachel I keep hearing about, let the fans just have the original Puckleberry back.

  42. Me says:

    I’m done with Glee. Yep I’m still commenting here because I feel the need to explain why.

    I’ve watched the show since the pilot, always loved it, always enjoyed it… sad times or happy times. But now I’m done with Glee because of the way Fox, the writers and media are promoting it. Because there is too many characters and if “you” think I’m gonna be interested because a new actor has a hot body and his character seems nice you’re wrong!
    I’m done with Glee because it focuses too much on couples and love drama (triangles and new love interested…) and doesn’t spend much time on the individual paths of the interesting characters. I’m already bored by all the “spoilers” I read.
    I’m done with Glee because… lack of continuity!
    I’m done with Glee because all the songs seem recent and “they forgot” there is a lot of oldies and goodies which deserve to be known by the young audience.
    I’m done with Glee because of its immature fandom who doesn’t understand the messages of tolerance and anti-bullying carried by Glee.
    I’m done with Glee because casting good-looking guys and girls doesn’t fit with the first message of the show and the most important reason of its success: being DIFFERENT is an added value and doesn’t mean you’re a loser. (You can’t relate to “top-models” because they’re not gonna fight for who they are and who they want to be.) Where are the underdogs?
    I’m done with Glee because some of their best actors are almost totally absent!
    I’m done with Glee because I miss the black humor of the first season.

    I’m done with Glee…
    Because it’s not fun anymore!

    • Aren says:

      Yessirree!!! I loved and still love Glee but my desire to stay with it is bygone. It isn’t the addiction that once was for me and my friends every Tuesday night. It became just me and even my kids and family have moved onto other interests. The basic elements of Glee season 1 are gone. The dark and quirky humor with a twist of satire was magical. Having the wit distributed by not only the adult characters to the youth of the show. I think that management or creative forces over the show have been mistified by the ever vocal young fans who have changed the course of the show to what it is now. Today’s music. No adult character involvement. More drama. More inane silly storylines. More PSAs. IMO, Glee has drifted way off course of its original facinating concept of Glee. I realize that the warped humor of some of its creators, giving false info to stir up Glee’s fandom, is just a sign that the show is run amuck. I just don’t give a ***** anymore. It’s on Thursdays and opposite a really good show. Huh, I wonder which one will win out. It makes me wonder if their getting big names like Kate Hudson and Sarah Jessica Parker is a make or break season for Glee. IMO, they better up their game. The cast like Cory and Dianna have other interests, movies to do for their careers to expand and excel. Lea is a household name where she can find other things to do. Jane is a wonderful actress. Matt could return to Broadway and be a hit and appreciated. Jayma has had roles in movies. Chris is a writer of books and movie. Darren has been on Broadway. I just am not impressed by the handling of Glee’s lackluster creativity and its promotions. I just wish the actors well for their futures.

  43. lesgrons says:

    I want Blaine and Brittany to be batgirl and robin. Not Finn.

  44. nore says:

    sorry but after reading all these finchel spoilers i totally refuse to watch the show and i get the feeling they are gonna lose alot of viewers this season because pretty much most fans are finchel viewers

  45. Brianna says:

    All these Finchel fans giving up is really just… Whatever for me, honestly Finchel’s (maybe, the writers seem to think it wasn’t clear enough) breakup was fantastic for me. Mainly because while I once shipped them, season 3 just ruined them for me and I started resenting them for the ridiculous amount of screen time they had, but also because it gave Finn a chance to try to redeem himself after his horrible actions (That Quinn scene at prom, outing Santana, etc.) and Rachel needs time alone, single(or with disciplining Quinn who’ll get her to be less crazy *Gets shot*), to regain an actual backbone and her former personality. But anyways, thanks Finchel for hopefully keeping the other couples more safe.

    Ugh I want my Samcedes, Tike, Klaine, Brittana, whatever Sugar-Rory are, Holly and that Latin teacher would be a strangely good ship… And like whatever I missed. Faberry and Puck and Finn forever alone :p Jk but really those first ones especially.

    I actually didn’t read all of the article because I realized I don’t want to be super spoiled but
    Mini versions of characters we already have? Not (very) interested, I’d prefer watching the old characters, they have plenty of things they could write. That Wade-Unique kid was interesting and all but we got his problem fixed and him all diva, don’t care about him now, now off.

    Hope Glee doesn’t screw the show up even more, but honestly they couldn’t handle their original big cast without ignoring most of them except for Finchel and maybe some others, how the heck can they handle even more? They don’t even understand the concept of continuity and Glee just seems… Unexciting now, I miss the first and second season. My snarky Sue with the funny-mean jokes, Will being someone other than the… I just don’t like him, the Klaine and Brittana scenes were more than just crumbs, less Finchel per episode because they were more… Honed, more about actual music, less forced, required, and routine, etc.

  46. P. Kothalkar says:

    The program began to suck once Karofsky left. 3rd grade actors and 5th grade storylines….

    Writers didnt know a winner when they had one!

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