My first contact with Glee was with the ‘Don’t stop believing’ episode, which I found out later was the pilot. Glee appears to have the right components, the bunch of gorgeous kids + flawless music = a ‘dramatic enough’ story = perfection (especially for people as easily impressed by ‘happy stuff!)
Glee, now airing its second season, is the music club (stage named new Directions) led my Mr Will Schuester (Matthew Morrisson) and set in the fictional McKinley High school. Created by best friends Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk (Nip/Tuck) and Ian Brenan, the plot revolves around Mr. Schuester accepting to head the Glee club which he belonged to during his time at McKinley High. Using students from diverse backgrounds, opposite (and sometimes opposing) personalities, his dream is to restore the club to its former glory. In my mind, New Directions have two aims
- win the ever elusive ‘regionals’
- try to stay one step ahead (many times without success though) of the nastiest and according to Mr Schuester, “the most evil person in the world”, coach of the cheerleaders Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch).
Commissioned by FOX, Glee is a fun, quirky, and easy-to-watch show where the music spills in to everything; from the football field to the home wares store where Terri Schuester (Will’s ex-wife) works, even to the dentists! It’s safe to say Glee is music, and music is Glee; it doesn’t strive to teach any lessons, or ‘save the world’.
The show debuted on the 19th of May 2009 in the United States with 9.62million viewers; E4 bought the rights to broadcast in the United Kingdom a little while after. I’ll digress a bit and say I cannot wait for the day we’ll be able to tell exactly how many people consume what media and at what times in Nigeria. Of course that needs to happen before knowing how many people watch a particular program et al.
Back to Glee, New Directions has performed songs from way back, and they give a good dose of today’s music too. From Aretha Franklin’s ‘Respect’, ‘Hello, goodbye’ by the Beatles, Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’, Pink’s ‘Raise your glass’, to ‘Telephone’ by Gaga and Beyoncé, they have rocked just every hit song, averaging about eight songs per hour-long show. In the words of reality judges, “they take songs, make them their own, and make you vote them into the next round”!
Dubbed as ‘High School Musical for adults’, I must confess that as much as I like Glee, it does have some elements of absurdity. Without being a spoiler, what school has students lining up to be thrown into a refuse collector, even in the worst cases of bullying? Then how about Quinn Fabray (Diana Agron) telling Finn (Cory Monteith) she’s pregnant for him when they NEVER slept together? And he believed it? In the 21st century? And the clincher, Quinn finding out the sex of her baby in the sixth week? Haba! I would have thought miracles like that were the exclusive preserve of Africa Magic!
I would give Glee a 7 especially because of Sue Sylvester; she makes every episode worthwhile with her sarcasm. Also because the music, even though unbelievable most of the time, is great and most importantly, even though the show is stereotypical in a lot of ways, it portrays teenagers for who they are: imperfect, curious, mood swinging beings. That’s commendable.
Taking it up to a 10 for me would include allowing the other members of New Directions lead some songs (except the show is an indirect remake of the erstwhile Beyoncé’s Destiny’s Child or Scherzinger’s Pussycat Dolls), remove some of the unbelievable melodrama, reduce the raunchiness (the episode that touched on oral sex was a no-no for the audience they target), and let them win the regionals already! And even if they don’t do all these, it’s Glee, we’d still watch it!
- ‘Glee’s Winter Finale to End with a ‘Huge Cliffhanger’ (buddytv.com)
- In Case You Missed It: GLEE’s Amber Riley Sings “I Will Always Love You” (livelyindepthmusicent.com)