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'Glee' recap: The New Rachel

Watch out now, "Glee" is all grown up! Season four kicked off tonight and picked up right where we left off. First, we find ourselves inside the dance studio of NYADA (New York Academy of the Dramatic Arts) where Miss Rachel Berry is literally getting her butt kicked by a Miss Cassandra "Cassie" July, geniusly played by Kate Hudson.

Cassie tears into Rachel within the first five minutes of the show. For the record, Ohio is worse than Iowa. It's like a turd that Michigan "can't quite pinch off," according to Cassie. Well, alrighty then!

Meanwhile, back in Lima, Ohio, New Directions is more popular than ever, thanks to winning finals. They are officially the coolest club at William McKinley High School. Say what?! And just to update you on everyone's relationship status: Tina and Mike, who's currently attending a dance school in Chicago, broke up. Boo!

Brittany, who is still at WHMS, and Santana, who is cheerleading at the University of Louisville, are still together. Yay! Although Brittany just realized that you cannot, in fact, make out via Skype. Ah, the trials and tribulations of a long-distance relationship! Blaine and Kurt, who works at the local cafe and is about to begin classes at community college, are also still together.

With the absence of their lead singer, the glee club kids have a singoff to determine who will be "the new Rachel." Naturally, "Glee" kicks off the season with the most popular song of the summer: "Call Me Maybe." My vote for the new Rachel is Blaine. He has the vocal prowess and the star power. And he has bow ties. How can you not love a guy with bow ties?!

Back in New York, the real Rachel is having a tough time adjusting to life in the Big Apple. She misses her friends and Finn, of course. While performing her moisturizing routine in the co-ed dorms at 3 a.m., she stumbles across Brody, a junior at NYADA. He's cute and he can sing. So here's my me, maybe? If I were Rachel, I'd choose this guy over Finn, no doubt. But that's just me.

At William McKinley, the glee kids are hanging out with the jocks, which includes Kitty, the "new Quinn Fabray," but, you know, without the teenage pregnancy and whatnot, as Coach Sue (who had a baby girl named Robin over the summer) so eloquently put it. Apparently, the more things change, the more they stay the same. And everyone is making fun of the lunch lady because she's obese. Really classy, New Directions, I thought you were better than that.

To replace the members they lost, New Directions holds auditions for new members. Jake, Puck's half-brother (unbeknownst to Puck), tries out and he's actually pretty good (and good looking, too). I suppose the apple did not fall too far from the tree in this case. Mr. Schu cuts him off during his song, however, and Junior Puck catches major attitude. Marley, who is actually the lunch lady's daughter, sings "New York State of Mind" during her audition.

Interestingly enough, Rachel is singing the same song at the same time at NYADA. I see what you did there, Ryan Murphy, how clever of you. Perhaps Marley is the new Rachel?

And just went the real Rachel thinks she can’t take it anymore (her roomie is a hussy, her dance teacher hates her and she misses everybody), there’s Kurt to the rescue! Basically, Blaine gave him a pep talk, in the form of song and dance, of course, and encouraged his beau to pursue his dreams and move to New York.

So Burt, Kurt’s dad, drops him off at the airport and they share quite the sentimental moment that even has me tearing up. Ugh, I hate goodbyes! But, this means that BFFs Kurt and Rachel are reunited once again.

We end the first episode with Marley leading New Directions with Adele's “Chasing Pavements.” Personally, I think “Glee” should do more Adele. Their “Rumour Has It/Someone Like You” mashup from next season is still one of my personal favorites.

And there you have the first episode of season four. I'm not sure how I feel about the switching back and forth between New York and Ohio, but I'm interested in seeing what happens. And is it just me, or do the new characters appear to be carbon copies of their predecessors (Marley=Rachel; Kitty=Quinn; Jake=Puck...but at least they're related!).

Next week: Britney 2.0. I’ve heard a lot about Rachel and Brody's dance moves during “Oops!...I Did it Again.” I have a feeling this is going to be a good one!

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