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Scott D. Pierce
Scott D. Pierce writes about television for the Salt Lake Tribune. Vice president of the Television Critics Associationn, he's covered TV in Utah since 1990.

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The "Glee" cast.
Thursday on Utah TV: “Glee” is dazed and confused

Gee, I remember when I used to love Glee (8 p.m., Fox/Ch. 13). It was so much fun, so energetic, so aspirational, so entertaining.

There is the occasional flash of that in tonight’s fourth-season premiere. Occasional.

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And there are some fun musical numbers, although the auto-tuning has gotten completely out of control for some of the less talented singers. (I’m a fan of Heather Morris, but c’mon!)

But this show has pretty much completely lost the spark that made it so much fun to begin with.

As you no doubt know by now, "Glee" is bifurcated this season. We have Rachel (Lea Michelle) in New York City; back in Lima, Ohio, they’re searching for "The New Rachel" (the episode’s title) to join the glee club. Either of those shows might be good; together, it just seems awkward.

And "might be good" is being kind. What we get in this episode is not so much new characters as a collection of cliches. And that includes everyone from Kate Hudson as Rachel’s dance teacher to Jacob Artist as Puck’s (Mark Salling) half brother.

As a matter of fact, instead of adding new characters, producer Ryan Murphy & Co. seem to simply plug different actors into the same holes left by departed characters.

And then there are the things that defy sanity. Like Sue Sylvester’s newborn baby. (C’mon! I love Jane Lynch, but she’s 52.) Or the fact that the writers either ignore the fact that Kurt’s (Chris Colfer) father, Burt (Mike O’Malley), was elected to Congress - or they forgot.

Granted, "Glee" is supposed to be about entertainment. But, seriously, you can’t have somebody keep track of the continuity?

Ah, well. I’ll always love that first season of "Glee."

Elsewhere on TV ...

College football (5:30 p.m., ESPN): Rutgers at South Florida

NFL (6 p.m., NFL Network): Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers

Wipeout (7 p.m., ABC/Ch. 4): Contestants face the Cactus Chaos and the Spin Psycho.

America’s Got Talent (7 p.m., NBC/Ch. 5): Justin Bieber performs; a winner is revealed in the season finale.

The X Factor (7 p.m., Fox/Ch. 13): Auditions continue.

High school football (7 p.m., Ch. 14): Kearns at Riverton

Women’s college soccer (7 p.m., BYUtv): Cal Poly at BYU

Project Runway (7, 8:30 and 11 p.m., Lifetime): The contestants have to create their own fabric designs.

Big Brother (8 p.m., CBS/Ch. 2): The head of household competition.

The Next (8 p.m., CW/Ch. 30): Four contestants from Dallas perform.

Sullivan & Son (8 and 10 p.m., TBS): Steve represents Hank in court.

Great Performances at the Met (10 p.m., PBS/Ch. 7): "The Ring" continues as Siegfried slays a dragon and takes the ring before crossing the magic fire to awaken Brünnhilde.

Wilfred (11 p.m., FX): Wilfred derails Jenna and Drew’s wedding.

Louie (11:30 p.m., FX): Louie starts a quest.

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