Glee: Join the club

I am really glad that GLEE is on the air, and that Fox has picked up the back nine, giving it a full season of 22 episodes. 

cast of Glee

Glee cast

GLEE is generating a lot of buzz and good ratings (last week’s episode ruled the demos in teens, adults, men and women for the 9 o’clock hour), but there also seems to be a lot of confusion about what the show is. People who have never seen an episode have dismissed it as a riff on the HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL tween flicks. Um, no. Although GLEE is set in high school and there is singing, the execution is entirely different. The stories are raunchy, and touch on the ugliness of real high school issues like the dark side of popularity,  and sexual and religious identity. Sure, the cast looks politically correct (Name another show that features a guy using a wheelchair, as well as ethnic minorities), but the way they are treated is so not PC. Artie’s (Kevin McHale) wheelchair was wedged into a portable toilet by “pranksters.” And there is a real undertone of sadness and resignation to Finn and Quinn’s pregnancy storyline. Both kids are genuinely frightened that they have ruined their once-promising lives already. (This is especially poignant in Finn’s case, since he’s…well, watch it and find out.) 
I thought this week’s episode, in which cool kids Finn (Cory Monteith) and Quinn (Dianna Agron) were knocked to the bottom of the social totem pole, was a microcosm of the show and the way it is perceived. When Finn was known solely as the quarterback of the football team, he was hailed as a god. (It didn’t matter that the squad was bloody terrible.) But when his involvement with glee club was exposed, suddenly he was branded as less than manly, and subjected to sexual slurs and assaulted with slushies by ignorant people who feel threatened by glee club. Look at the online hate directed at GLEE and its fans — a lot of it is childish slurs about the imagined sexual preferences of its devotees. Maybe the whole world really is high school… 

If you watch GLEE, you will quickly grasp that the storylines are much edgier and the characters far more complex than any Disney flick. From a distance, Quinn appears to be the archetypal bitchy blonde head cheerleader, but once you get to know her, Agron shows you how complex Quinn really  is. And there are plenty of wholly original characters, such as Rachel (Broadway’s Lea Michele), the social pariah with the improbable diva complex. Or Noah “Puck” Puckerman, whose mohawked troglodyte footballer persona hides a sensitive, vulnerable soul that longs to express his Jewishness as much as Rachel does. Mark Salling’s rendition of “Sweet Caroline” was probably better than Neil Diamond himself, and will make you forget every drunken karaoke-bar abomination of it you’ve ever heard. And then there is the sublime Sue Sylvester (played with diamond-hard precision by Jane Lynch), the nutjob cheerleader coach who has only the most tenuous grasp on reality. Lynch imbues each syllable she utters with so much concentrated contempt, that I half expect my TV to melt as she redefines deadpan hilarity. I hope Lynch is clearing a spot on her mantel for that eventual Emmy win…
And, oh yeah — there are songs! Real, Licensed, recognizable hits performed by polished talents. This week, in addition to the young prodigies, Will (Matthew Morrison) busted a move like Young MC, and guidance counselor Emma (HEROES’ Jayma Mays) finally got to strut her vocal stuff!
I could have watched all night… 

4 thoughts on “Glee: Join the club

    • Hi Joe,
      I don’t care for Mob-related dramas, so I stopped watching GH years ago, although I have on-line buddies who alert me when Denise Alexander is on, so I watch on those days. My new addiction is reality TV (Amazing Race, Top Chef, Project Runway) and cable dramas – Weeds and Rescue Me.
      Can’t wait to catch up more with you!


  1. Hi Joe! Just found your SOW site and this blog! Am green with envy, as you may recall me as the friend from high school with the worst soap opera watching addiction! I’ll be following you going forward, glad to have found you and to see you seem to be doing very well.

    Donna (Lynch) Prime

    PS As a gift to an old Middle Hope pal, how bout a shout out to the great Denise Alexander on her 70th birthday this Nov. 11th?


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