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Glee’ Preview

Caitlin Ferraro | Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Last spring McKinley High’s New Directions glee club placed third at regionals, leaving them in the precarious position of being almost disbanded. But thanks to the usually villainous Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch) the glee club will be back in action tonight at 8 p.m. on FOX as the highly anticipated second season of “Glee” premieres.

Created and produced by Ryan Murphy, the devilish mastermind of “Nip/Tuck,” “Glee” has skyrocketed to success. The show’s popularity can be seen in its magazine covers, iTunes sales and sold out nationwide concert tour.

While some criticize the lack of a capella singing, the show’s success is undeniable. And so is the power of song. The plight of the misfit glee club and the teachers who love — and love to hate them — charts every emotion ranging from utter happiness to deep pain. While “Glee” is listed as a comedy at award shows — and even won a Golden Globe this year — there is no doubt it is full of dramatic storylines that resonate with viewers.

The ninth episode of last season, titled “Wheels,” was beautifully moving as it charted the difficulties Artie (Kevin McHale) faces while wheelchair bound, as well as Sue’s soft side towards her mentally handicapped sister. Paired with just the right song —”Proud Mary” — the message of acceptance becomes even stronger.

Another noteworthy performance occurred in episode 20, “Theatricality,” when Burt Hummel (Emmy-nominated Mike O’Malley) stands up for his openly gay son Kurt (Chris Colfer) when fellow glee clubber Finn (Cory Monteith) continuously uses a derogatory term.

“Glee” tackles many intense issues, but a great deal of the show is a comic rollercoaster. The humor is of a campy, oddball style that might not always mesh with a mainstream audience.

But if you can take the ridiculous plotlines with a grain of salt, you can enjoy the heart of “Glee” — its characters and their love for the performance arts. What other show could combine such intense issues with humor, song and dance and make it work? Somehow the formula Murphy created does just that.

Lea Michele is a standout star as stardom-obsessed Rachel Berry, but every young actor brings something unique to the stage. From Amber Riley’s powerhouse voice to Harry Shum Jr.’s out-of-this-world dance moves as Mike Chang, there is no stopping these kids. And of course nothing would be possible without Spanish teacher and glee club coach Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison).

Last season, “Glee” had some incredible guest stars from the world of Broadway. Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel, both notable for originating the lead roles in “Wicked,” had recurring and integral roles. And Neil Patrick Harris even won an Emmy for Best Guest Performance for his spot as Bryan Ryan, Mr. Schuester’s high school nemesis.

SPOILER ALERT: This season expects more stars as John Stamos (“Full House”) joins the cast as a dentist wooing guidance counselor Emma (Jayma Mays). Have mercy! Uncle Jesse is stopping by to get in on the “Glee” fun. Oscar-winning Javier Bardem is in talks to appear too. And in breaking news, another Oscar-winner, Gwyneth Paltrow, is rumored to appear as well as a love interest for Mr. Schuester for two episodes in November.

And of course there’s Britney. Britney Spears will guest star as herself in the season’s second episode, a one-hour Britney extravaganza. After the success of last season’s all-Madonna and all-Lady Gaga episodes, look for future episodes centering on a single singer or band.

There will of course be many more romantic entanglements this season. Will Kurt get a boyfriend? What are the ramifications of Quinn (Dianna Agron) and Puck (Mark Salling) giving up their baby? Will Finn and Rachel be a real couple after his “I love you?” And what will Emma do now that Will has promised he is not giving up on them?

And of course there is Sue. Just because she voted for New Directions to win regionals and convinced Principal Figgins (Iqbal Theba) to allow the glee club to continue singing does not mean she has turned nice. Expect more stinging comments from Sue about Schuester’s hair and diabolical plots to ruin the glee club. In other words, expect to keep learning how “Sue C’s it.”

If you have never tuned in to Glee, try giving it a chance this time around — if not for the powerful storylines, brilliant song and dance numbers and overall fabulousness, then for Lynch’s ridiculously great one-liners.

Take a slushie to the face at 8 p.m. tonight on FOX.