As a fan but not a connoisseur of musicals, I really enjoyed Glee when it debuted. It was a fun show about the weird kids in high school that didn’t always fit in with everyone else but always had high aspirations. Most of them endured extensive bullying due to their interest in the Glee club.
At a theoretical level, the show is fantastic in its societal commentary. Bullying is a terribly relevant thing in American culture, and high school has long been known for being the toughest years of a kid’s life, especially for a kid that may not exactly fit in. Arts programs across the country have also been in danger for the past few years in the light of the economic downturn. Season one of Glee dealt with a teen pregnancy, as well as embracing teen’s sexuality and purpose in life. In these aspects, Glee’s relevancy succeeds with flying colors.
My main beef with Glee is its over-exaggeration of most plot lines and under-exaggeration of character qualities. In season 2, Puckerman was MIA for 3 episodes. We soon found out that Puck was sent to a juvenile detention center for stealing an ATM. Being the archetypal “bad boy”, it’s understandable where the storyline emerged from, but after softening him up so much during the first season, this act simply seemed out of character. The writers could have written in a family emergency, a minor ailment, or any number of different reasonings, but the one that they chose was one aiming for dramatics and hence fell flat on its face.
Sue Sylvester has long been acknowledged as a saving grace of this show. However, her vengeance against the Glee Club is worn out. Each new episode features the same plot line: “This week on Glee, Sue Sylvester tries to destroy the Glee Club!” I’m amazed at how these tired storylines continue to be produced, as they are often not even innovative in their rebirth. On another vein, the writers continuously rewrite the story of the Glee Club losing a member. Whether it’s to the Cheerios or because they aren’t being recognized by Mr. Schu in the group dynamic, it seems that each episode deals with the trials and tribulations of a different Glee member wanting just a little bit more attention. We get that its high school and friendships and relationships are tested, but this just makes the entire Glee Club seem flaky. If you ever want to write your own episode of Glee, having these two elements will be more than enough in order to be successful.
In terms of character qualities, each character is purely one-dimensional. Put Kurt and Rachel together in a scene, and you know exactly what result you’ll get. The same goes for most of the other characters, which makes big storylines of depth and growth harder to accomplish. As seasons go on, characters are attempting to evolve, but are often brought right back to the one defining quality that they possess. In some ways, it’s ok. People are who they are and they don’t tend to fluctuate much throughout life. And that’s great. But characters on this show struggle in showing different sides and are often kept in their stereotypical placement with no room for growth and evolution.
Glee, being the vehicle that it is, uses its power to make certain societal statements. Season 2 featured an episode on teen drinking, which had its heart in the right place. But while I watched that episode, I couldn’t help but think, “that’s not how it happens…” And I guess I can’t speak for every other person in the world, but I think it portrays an extreme over-exaggeration of the way things play out. Honestly, who drinks on a weeknight and comes to school hungover in the morning? That might happen in college, but I don’t remember that happening in high school. Kids are dumb, but you’ve got to give them more credit than that.
I think Glee gets away with a lot of this because of its cultural relevancy. The show is remarkable in portraying gay teenagers as well as those with big dreams. It hits a number of other demographics, which is where it finds much of its audience. I still maintain that the show is not in the least bit a great show, but I do admire the strides it takes in portraying underrepresented minorities. It’s not the type of show I would recommend to anyone, but I’m not saying it’s horrible either. It’s simply something that I watch week-to-week even though it makes me angry half of the time. And so I won’t leave you with parting words about needing to see this show or how amazing it is, because then I would be lying. But I will say that if you’re looking for a fun, quirky, sometimes irritating, but mostly enjoyable comedy then this show is perfect for you. If not then I’ll throw a slushie in your face. :)