Monday, January 4

Glee Rant

This is your warning: if you are a die-hard Glee fan, you may be pissed at this post. Happy New Year.

Ok so here's the thing about Glee - I loved it. When the pilot came out in May, I thought it was the most incredibly unique, brilliant, talent packed show of the season - I watched the pilot itself five times. When it came back on in the fall, we (of course) Tivo'd every episode, all of which I watched more than once (and the musical scenes even more). I even made a list, tentatively to go on the blog, about the "Top 11 Reasons I Am In Love with Glee," which I've posted here:


11. The background music. I know it's a small thing, but it sets the mood for the show so much.
10. Vocal Adrenaline. Yes, I realize that they're the competition for the glorious New Directions Glee Club, but the two numbers we've seen from them have been impeccably choreographed and danced and had really interesting vocal arrangements. Don't tell me you don't love the partner work, because you know you fucking love the partner work.
9. Puck. YOWZA.
8. Any time Will Schuster sings. Or raps. Or dances.
7. Finn's awkwardness, and his short jeans (because he's poor! Such attention to detail!)
6. Emma. She is so cute, and so obsessive compulsive, and is the voice of reason on the show. She always talks Will into doing the right thing, but she's really messed up herself emotionally. For instance, she is a total germophobe, and is in love with a married man (I mean who can blame her? Schu is hot and his wife is craaaazy! But still, bad choice.) Plus, she is a hilarious guidance counselor. When talking to Rachel about bulemia: Rachel: "I guess I just don't have a gag reflex." Emma: "One day, when you're older, that'll turn out to be a gift." How true. Then, later, "Rachel, bulemia is a very messy, serious disease," "messy" being the more important aspect of the disease. Hilarious.
5. Mercedes and her big girl voice, especially when she busted the fuckin windows out of Kurt's car (no, CK, I don't care if you don't like this song). She starts the season with an assertion of her Beyonce-ness ("I AIN'T no Kelly Rowland") and then proves it. She doesn't get too many solos, the first being in Showmance when she is the soul to Schuster's rap in "Gold Digger," but when she does she BRINGS IT.
4. Any time Sue Sylvester speaks. Jane Lynch deserves an Oscar. Yes, I know the Oscars are for movies.
3. Kurt Hummel and the football team dancing to Single Ladies.
2. Rachel Berry and the joy she clearly has every time she sings. Every time I replay "Don't Stop Believin'," I watch for the moment when she turns to Finn, absolute, pure happiness spread across her face, and sings to him about how "everybody wants a thrill." That's not acting, that's just Lea Michele being absolutely in love with what she's doing, and that's beautiful.
1. Every song they sing in practice, performance, tryouts, or as expressions of their teenage angst."

Ok, so I still believe everything in that list, but here's the thing - the show's gotten stagnant. It has. And that makes me very, very angry. Look, the show has all the potential in the world - it's an interesting idea, it's got a great cast, and it's got a bunch of good, solid characters who could potentially be taken in interesting directions. But the writers don't rely on what they have. They don't rely on their characters being interesting enough to drive the show; instead they use stupid, over-done, over-dramatic bullshit plot points that make people go "OHMYGAWD I NEED TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!!" rather than just letting the show move organically from one conflict to the next.

Example: Schuster was in a shitty marriage; Terry was already a fucking nut. And she was a nut who was actually pretty fun to watch. Then they had to go and make her pretend to be pregnant. Why? Who does that? Nobody - it's unrealistic, it doesn't give Schuster enough credit as a character, and frankly it's condescending to the audience. Why is it condescending to the audience? Because it says, "You, audience member, are not clever enough to watch Schuster go through some sort of realistic realization that he has fallen out of love with his wife, so we have to push it in your face that the marriage is doomed. Not only that, but we also know that you're not going to pay attention to the show unless things are exploding around you every four seconds, so we have to make the characters do something RiDiCuLoUss to make sure you keep watching. Oh, and we've set it up so that Emma and Schu will end up together at the end of the season, and because you are a stupid television viewer, you're not going to be satisfied if, like in real life, things don't end up with the guy you want with the girl you want, so we're going to cater to what we think you want and make them kiss at the end of the last episode of the season. Now sit quietly while we shock and amaze you."

Same thing for Quinn being pregnant. Same thing for Puck being the father. Same thing for Emma getting engaged to Ken, and him leaving her at the alter! This shit didn't need to happen! You know what? People are interesting. That's why we watch shows about them and read books about them and gossip about them all the time. The writers set up great characters, then didn't let them grow and learn - they forced them to stay one-dimensional. Don't agree? Then why, WHY do they keep learning the same lessons over, and over, and over again? Yes, in real life, sometimes we need to hear things more than once to make a real change. But they learn packaged, 7th Heaven, neatly wrapped up lessons in one episode, then learn them AGAIN the next episode and AGAIN the episode after that. Finn decided at the end of the PILOT that he was going to do football and Glee, because they both made him happy. What a fucking cool thing for him to do, and what an interesting way for that character to define himself. Except, oh wait, every other episode he decides AGAIN whether or not doing Glee is worth losing his reputation. Also, I don't believe that there is a single high school in the United States that is full of enough unimaginative dicks that there are consistently going to be groups of the same people (THE JOCKS) making other groups of people (THE GLEE KIDS) miserable over and over again without getting fucking tired of it. How many times can they have the same conversations about how the Jocks hate them, and how many times can the Jocks throw slushies in peoples' faces? Get a new bit. And how many times can Schu suspect Sue of something, and how many times can she plot against Glee club? And, by the way, how many times can people tell Rachel how much they hate her and only like her because of her voice? HAVEN'T WE GOTTEN OVER THAT YET? Treat your characters with respect, Glee writers. Don't make them repeat themselves ad nauseam, actions or words.

Ok. So all that being said, there are a few things that I found truly lovely in this season of Glee. For one thing, as CK wrote about before, the episode where Kurt comes out - particularly in that beautiful moment with Mercedes - was really well done. Similarly poignant, Sue's scene with her developmentally challenged sister was really great. I also liked the interaction between Artie and Tina. These little things make the show for me so much more than the over-blown dramatic twists, because they're grounded, and they allow the characters to be more than paper dolls strapped into one character trait. But even though these lovely moments do happen, they're 1. overshadowed by the drama, and 2. pretty much forgotten about as soon as the episode is over. It's like a different writer does every episode - no character learns any lessons that stick, and things that should be consistent episode to episode - lingering feelings from one character to another, stuff like that - are often ignored once they're brought up. Nothing builds from one episode to another.

But again, some of the quirks in the show - like (in the pilot) when Finn is walking and there is timpani music playing in the background, and then he walks in front of the timpani players? That's interesting and cool - really do make it worth watching. And while we're being complementary, the singing is great; "Don't Rain on My Parade" was just superb. Lea Michele deserves every bit of praise she gets. And I can never say enough good things about Jane Lynch.

Yes, I know TV isn't supposed to be realistic. I love TV, and I support it not being exactly like real life. But honestly, give me smart TV - don't just give me shit that you think will thrill and titillate me. Bring Glee back to where it was in the beginning, and build off what was, originally, a really solid foundation.

Oh and here are some of my favorite musical clips. I had to.

Yeah Mercedes, you bust those windows.


Will is HOT. Emma and Rachel's reactions are totally understandable.

Just remarkable. Personally I stop watching after "Don't Rain on My Parade" because, I mean, you can't beat it.

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