Yesterday I read that Javier Bardem will potentially be guest-starring on GLEE next season. He’s one in a growing list of celeb fans of the show who’ve either lobbied to be cast, been suggested by fan groups to Glee it up (a la Betty White on SNL) or just talked about while we all stand around the platinum-encrusted water cooler of discussion known as Industry Gossip.
During the first part of this past season, I was a HUGE “Gleek,” as the show’s rabid fans have been called, watching every week, DVR’ing, and re-watching, loving the show’s spiky mix of over-the-top pop, heartstring-tugging, and bitchy, witty one-liners. Any show that—in its first episode—cites Guys and Dolls and Beyonce, has a character use the word “irony,” and has its band of misfit characters harmonize Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” (far and away Journey’s best single and one of my all-time favorite songs) was destined for quick cancellation—but I loved it.
The second half of the season didn’t wow me as much as I’d hoped: theme episodes seemed a little too pre-determined; song choices (and performances—a Funky Bunch riff?) felt a little uninspired. There even seemed to be a dearth of really good and cutting Sue Sylvester material, almost as if the little show about high school outcasts felt somehow threatened by the mature mean girl on the set and sought to put her back in her (supporting actress) place for a little while. That said, when the show was good, it was really good: it even got me to appreciate Idina Menzel.
Which leads me to my next point: what really worked for me in the final few eps, more often than not, were the guest-stars. Jonathan Groff, Lea Michelle’s Spring Awakening co-star, played the wonderfully named Jesse St. James with just the right amount of teen drama queen aloofness; Kristin Chenoweth returned as boozy April Rhodes; and best of all, Neil Patrick Harris played the bitter Bryan Ryan, falsetto-battling with Schuester in one of the best performances of the season. Harris would probably make a perfect Mr. Schu if he wasn’t already on a hit show, and if GLEE didn’t seem to need the glee coach to break into silly play-that-funky-music-white-boy-isms every so often (which Matthew Morrison, bless his Broadway-by-way-of-suburban-Cali soul, does so, um, energetically.)
So, in honor of the impending arrival of Bardem and the cute coupla appearances by Pink Lady Sandy (oops, I meant Olivia Newton-John), I’m making my picks for eventual GLEE guest stars: