By Tom Gliatto Paul Chi Marisa Laudadio
May 25, 2009 12:00 PM

FOX, Tuesday, May 19, 9 p.m. ET |



FOX, in a gambit that could be regarded as thinking outside the box or just being out of its mind, is airing the hour-long pilot of this new series from Nip/Tuck creator Ryan Murphy—then not rolling out further episodes until fall. Well, autumn can’t come soon enough. Glee is cause for happiness: It’s as if the teen-dreamboat fantasy of High School Musical spent too much time in homeroom sitting next to the subversively cool School of Rock. The show is an upbeat charmer with a little snark.

Newcomer Matthew Morrison—who did a brilliant send-up of ‘N Sync in Lisa Kudrow’s little-seen Marci X—plays Will Schuester. He’s a high school Spanish teacher trying to revive the glee club, but things aren’t promising. It’s hard to come up with a sensitive or even logical staging of the Guys and Dolls classic “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat” when your lead vocalist is in a wheelchair. Schuester’s strongest and most ruthless singer is Rachel (Lea Michele). Her every thought fueled by stardom, she downloads daily YouTube videos of herself singing from Les Miz. At last, a show for the Susan Boyles of the world! You know who you are.