Did 'Glee' Do The Beatles Justice?
Did 'Glee' Do The Beatles Justice?
Linda Martindale
Linda Martindale
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
Glee often does one shot (or two shot) shout outs to artists which have been both successful and nothing more than pandering. The Madonna salute, which included a performance of "Vogue" by Sue, was one of the best shout outs I've ever seen to an artist. On the other hand, the salutes to Britney Spears fell flat with the action, the songs too similar to the originals and the use of costumes, much like Britney's, not suiting the age of the characters.

For two weeks, Glee has taken on the Beatles. The first week can be deemed an overall success as the music and story worked well together. From the opening notes of "Yesterday" through "Love, Love, Love" the show illustrates why the Beatles have survived their long history. I'm sure Paul and Ringo enjoyed the performances and John would be going "we're an icon."

Beatles the Early Years: "Love, Love, Love"

The first song, "Yesterday," is a Beatles classic which has been covered by so many artists that it is impossible to track. Rachel sings it after an audition that leaves her uncertain on her future not only in musical theater but in life. The song is a perfect reflection on plot as well as personal experience. Rachel has already found that her New York beau, Brody, is two-faced and seems to be heading back to a reunion with Finn. With the filming of this episode after Cory Monteith's death, the song must have been especially hard on Lea Michele and I commend not only her, but the cast as well, for the wonderful experience they gave the fans in making the show go on.

Another successful song from the season 5 premiere is "All You Need is Love." This song is filled with the message of the 1960s of loving everyone and that is so appropriate to the Kurt and Blaine storyline. They've come so far with not only being public about their sexual preferences  but also to admitting their love to one another. The use of the Vocal Adrenaline, Warblers, and Haverbrook School of the Deaf made this a celebration as these groups are their biggest competitors. And I had to wipe a tear from my eye as I realized that the site was where Kurt and Blaine met!

The song from the first Beatles episode that didn't work well is "I Saw Her Standing There.' Video of the Beatles original performances of this song are set on stage of the Ed Sullivan Show or Shea Stadium with screaming fans, primarily girls. The Glee performance did feature four guys dressed as the Beatles performing to lift the spirits of Tina. Unfortunately, 5 girls do not make a screaming mass and I felt disjointed. The football stadium during a pep rally would have worked better. Also, you must look the part and Sam certainly did not.

Beatles the Later Years: "Tina in the Sky with Diamonds"

The second Beatles' episode of Glee implies the psychedelic (experimental) years when the meanings of most of the Beatles' songs seemed to hide a secret. While except for a short shout out from Tina on "Revolution," Kurt stole the episode during the first eight minutes with the spirited rendition of "Get Back." The number of Beatles songs performed in this episode seems down from last week.

Kurt's "Get Back" is actually in the spirit and energy that I have always associated with this song. While he means to inspire Rachel, he ends up inspiring everyone in the room. The energy level is what this song needs and comes across as a performance that would make the Beatles proud.

Sam performs "Something" as we see him falling for the young school nurse. While the nurse looks too young for her job, she does fit in with this love affair. And this song actually works in this section of the story as the group moves toward the prom. Sam has always seemed more mature than the rest of the Glee club so his daydream is realistic and makes the ending more poignant.

While the introduction for "Here Comes the Sun" seems appropriate, the setting of the diner and watching the rise just didn't fit. The song is a celebration of life. While I guess we're supposed to see Santana as taking the step to get over Brittany, the new romance seems forced.

After four years, the cast of Glee have finally covered the Beatles. Overall, these episodes have been a success even though I don't think that a 'Carrie' prom is  keeping with the spirit of the later years of the Beatles.The first episode was definitely stronger but the songs in the second episode seemed more spirited. This may be due mainly to the change of musical styles but I think it comes from the color of both the performances and costumes. Also, they chose to completely ignore the song from which the second show took it's title. So as a salute, both episodes get a strong thumbs up making the original artists proud.

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(Image courtesy of FOX)