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Glee: Season 3 - Asian F (Review)

Glee, Asian F

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

THUS far, Season 3 of Glee continues to be as hit and miss as its predecessor. But Thursday’s Sky 1 episode, Asian F bucked the trend by consistently being of a very high quality.

And the reason for this, I suspect, is its decision to focus on some of the more supporting characters among the ensemble, and most notably Harry Shum Jr.‘s Mike Chang.

With his future in the Glee club under threat because of his dad’s disappointment over him getting an A- in a science paper (the Asian F of the title), there was plenty of opportunity for some soul searching and character revelation. Shum grasped the opportunity to shine with both hands.

A lone dance sequence in which he battled his demons, juxtaposing his dad’s views with those of his girlfriend Tina (Jenna Ushkowitz), was beautifully played and quite touching… as was the latter scene with his mum, who pledged her support for Mike’s decision to follow his dreams rather than his father’s ambitions. The tiny moment where he began to teach his mum a few steps was almost tear-jerking.

Better still, Shum’s hitherto untapped singing talent was unleashed during his ambition for West Side Story, which succeeded in delivering one of those head-rush moments that Glee did so well during its first season.

It was great to get to find out more about Mike.

Likewise, Jayma Mays’ phobia-laden Emma was afforded some reasoning behind her behaviour as Will (Matthew Morrison) invited her parents around and discovered how ginger-fixated they were.

Admittedly, Glee‘s continued emphasis on conformity and discrimination was again pushed to the fore in a somewhat exaggerated fashion, but at least it afforded Mays and Morrison some tender moments together.

Less successful was the revived rivalry between Amber Riley’s Mercedes and Lea Michele’s Rachel, which has become a bit old. Yes, both girls can sing; yes, Rachel got her own way, and yes, Mercedes’ decision to quit New Directions in favour of a rival Glee club could pose some interesting questions.

But how many times do we have to see Rachel storm down a corridor or spew insecurities in spite of her immense talent?

Thank heavens, then, for Heather Morris’ Brittany, whose super-sexed up performance of Beyonce’s Run The World (Girls) brought the house down and had men hot under the collar.

While Morrison’s admittedly high pitched cover of Coldplay’s Fix You also ensured that all the emotions simmering throughout the episode came to a suitably passionate finale for another show-stopping moment.

Asian F therefore provided a potent reminder of just how enjoyable Glee can be when treating its cast like equals and giving every single person a moment of their own under the spotlight. Long may that continue…