By Jessie De Luca
How do you locate a crowd of Gleeks on the night of the big return of “Glee” to the airwaves? Step one: Spot an imposing, blown-up screen. Step two: Follow the smell of fresh popcorn. Final step: Listen for the sound of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” being sung enthusiastically (yet profoundly out of tune) by a crowd 500 strong.
Just such a combination of things occurred on Tuesday night (April 13) on Columbia University’s main campus, where a crowd of Gleeks huddled together on the marble steps of Low Library to enjoy the long-awaited premiere of the new season of “Glee.”
The enthusiastic crowd was not disappointed. As the screen lit up, the crowd fell silent. It proceeded to “Eeeww” collectively at the idea of Sue and the headmaster engaging in “sexual congress,” laugh at Finn’s confusion about dating Rachael and then “Aww” in unison when she ran off crying after their sudden breakup. Blankets were then wrapped a little tighter at the unpleasant reminder of the competition the glee club has yet to face and the sudden, unexplained appearance of Jesse, the cocky lead singer from rival Adrenaline. Despite wondering aloud at the sincerity of his emotions, the audience instantly chimed in with Jesse and Rachael’s breathtaking performance of Lionel Ritchie’s “Hello.” The Gleeks were quickly distracted by the interesting developments in Mr. Schuester’s love life and they cheered along as he and Emma got busy on the couch. There was huge round of applause when Idina Menzel’s appearance as the coach of Adrenaline. And the line of the night when to Schuester after his unexpected second romantic couch-conquest: “I’m kinda a mess.” Ya think?
But before the chilly temperature became unbearable, Rachael’s undying quest for true love and psychotic tendencies captured the crowd. It roared with laughter when she exclaimed “I carry a rape whistle.” More bursts of laughter ensued as Sue’s rendition of Madonna’s “Vogue” leaped onto the screen. The audience marveled at her interpretation of the pop diva and the humor of her lyrics.
Though the frosty spring evening forced many of the Gleeks indoors as soon as the credits rolled, the energy of the episode and the excitement shared among the show’s devotees was more than enough to keep the heat up. Gleeks are a special breed of fan: Enthusiastic, passionate and sometimes crazy enough to sit outside to watch their favorite show on a giant screen.