Hello newly hot Mike Chang, and hello to all you Gleeks! If the season two premiere is any indication, we're in for a great year. The opening sequence, which incorporated winking responses to real-life rumors as well as critical jabs at the show (Jacob to Will: "When exactly did you ink your sponsorship with Land's End?"), was was laugh-out-loud funny and a positive sign that there will be no sophomore slump for Glee. That said, Jacob’s point about Will rapping also applies to the New Directions kids. Yeah, I enjoyed "Empire State of Mind"—more on that in a minute—but generally speaking, these kids aren't exactly channeling Jay-Z or Nicki Minaj. Their forays into serious hip-hop just feel awkward.
But let's focus on the positives! Did I mention how hot Mike Chang was tonight? (Dear Mike, I’d like you to dance for me. Preferably in that unzipped hoodie. Love, Tim. Oh and it’s nice to finally hear your voice. I’m not sure you’ve really spoken in any of Glee's previous 22 episodes.) And my new Glee crush wasn't the only high note: The entire episode was witty and packed with ah-mazing musical performances (hello Sunshine!). In fact, I'd say it was one of the best hours Glee has ever done.
That's a relief, considering that I went into the season premiere concerned that the show's already large cast of characters was about to get bigger. But it turns out things got even tastier with all that fresh meat. Let's run through the four new faces spotted around McKinley High (and how they interacted with our series regulars):
Coach Beiste (Dot-Marie Jones): I am obsessed with this character. I mean, her name is pronounced "beast." It’s too good. But I loved that they actually didn’t just turn her into a copycat of Sue—Beiste is actually quite sensitive. She is also possibly decked out in Ken Tanaka’s old clothes.
Fresh off her much-deserved Emmy win, Jane Lynch was simply perfection as Sue -- "Shoulda gone along with the poop cookies." -- and it was a stroke of genius by the producers to give her a new nemesis to play with, especially one that can match her brutality (albeit with a slightly softer center).
Sunshine Corazon (Charice): The other major newcomer tonight was that Oprah-endorsed nugget of soul. Charice/Sunshine's voice is insane, especially considering she’s about the size of a lawn gnome and dresses like a Harajuku girl (although I do always love the addition of a nice beret). And just like Beiste's arrival brought out the beast in Sue, so too did Sunshine's debut provide a focus for the crazy machinations of our fair Rachel Berry, and that, in turn, shone a spotlight on Lea Michele's undeniable skills. Girl was absolutely bitch-tastic in this episode -- sending the brand-new exchange student to a crack house? -- and then surprisingly touching at the end (and that’s hard to do while wearing socks with loafers).
Dustin Goolsby (Cheyenne Jackson): A teeny cameo, but certainly an amusing one, with the dishy 30 Rock star stepping in as Vocal Adrenaline’s new coach. Poached again, Schu! Looking forward to more from that dude.
Next: A burning question for Puck: "I've never had any balls in my mouth. Have you?"