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Another thing I take issue with is the facile, broad, borderline offensive way they approach the "issues" these characters have. In a recent episode, the kid in the wheelchair gets told about a procedure that could possibly fix his spine and allow him to pursue his ultimate dream of dancing. After a few scenes the show seems to suggest that he did the procedure and they have him leap out of his chair and do an elaborate dance number in the middle of a shopping mall. Obviously, the bait and switch comes, and that was merely a dream sequence. I guess that scene was supposed to feel cathartic, but I came away from it feeling deeply offended at the nonchalance the writers and creators have when dealing with this character's very real situation. There are many other examples of this approach (the one girl's pregnancy, the other girl's search for her mother). I'd like to note that I do know the names of these characters, but the writing of the show generally does not allow any person on screen a life beyond his or her basic archetype, so naming them almost seems beside the point.
The thing I have the biggest problem with is the tone this show takes. I have no problem with the notion of a show with a sunny attitude towards life and all its problems and complexity. The issue I take is when a show grazes over the "problems and complexity" part and jumps straight to the sunny attitude. If this show didn't present people that would appear to have real life problems; if it didn't pretend to address serious issues in an attempt to create the facade of depth; if it was merely a show about young kids with big dreams singing in the school's glee club, I could get behind it and appreciate its positive outlook. The creators made a conscious decision to address things like teenage pregnancy, sexual identity and other real life concerns, only to fail to actually address any of them with any thoughtfulness or care. Thus, the show's happy tone feels like it hasn't been earned and ultimately comes out feeling forced and delusional. In order to "smile though your heart is aching", you have to understand the ache.
With the combination of dreary times and warm weather "Glee" is just what the doctor ordered! Was the plot amazing? Not according to what we're used to. Shows these days seem to continually descend in to a deeper and deeper spiral of darkness. Don't get me wrong, I love it! Prickly characters are called "love-to-hate" for good reason, but there's a reason there is more than one category on the food pyramid. "Glee" is the perfect answer to a well- rounded entertainment diet.
At the very least "Glee" has set itself up to be a showcase for amazing talent including Lea Michele who rightfully earned a name for herself on Broadway with the hit "Spring Awakening" as Rachel Berry and newcomer Cory Monteith as Finn Hudson who may not be as talented as Michele, but was perfectly cast for the part. He does exactly what he's supposed to do which is to keep up with and support Michele who will send chills down your spine.
"Glee" seems like a familiar tale "The football player wants to sing and the unpopular girl also wants to sing!" but when was the last time we really saw this? Okay... disregard "High School Musical." This isn't "HSM." This is "HSM" done right--with real talent--and not actually a musical. The songs are all time-tested and well loved familiar tunes, i.e. Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" and the show isn't designed around the songs or for the songs like a musical... you'll know what I mean when you see it!
*Synopsis* A bright eyed and optimistic teacher, Will Schuester (played by Matthew Morrison) decides to revamp the Glee club. He dreams of making it something truly great around which the school can come together. From where we, the audience stand, he came into a glee club already filled with tremendous talent including Rachel Berry who dreams of fame and carving a niche for herself, but what was missing was a strong male lead. To do this Will (nefariously) recruits the star football player who finds himself right at home. *End Synopsis*
There may be moments in the pilot where the not-instant-fan may consider "I'll bet this moment was meant to make me laugh out loud... but I'm not," but I say to you that is not what this show is about. It's about the average... the conceivable, but if you and the people around you just wanted to sing and were good at it too. Most importantly it's a showcase just meant to keep you smiling.
Even if characters were to, in the course of time in the sometimes unpredictable television world, jump into bed with each other or perform a murder, I take comfort in the feeling this show will not be about that. It will be about happy entertainment with an "I wish I could buy the world a Coke" attitude.
Because this show does not have the (ironically) familiar twists, dips, flips, turns and drama other shows offer, I feel the logical grade to assign this show would have to be a B- for being somewhat "undeveloped" by modern standards. (Nobody has been abused to speak of yet.) However, despite the undeniable likelihood this show will never be listed in my top five, even for the year, I can pretty much guarantee it will be the show which I most look forward to watching out of any other. For this reason, "Glee" gets an A+ in my heart and I hope to form a "Glee" club of my own taking place Tuesday nights on my living room couch.
Glee is certainly a welcome summer booster shot of summer fun.
I was all set to love it, in fact. I love musicals and I love a good soapy high school drama--or so I thought I did, before this show began.
This is the show who taught me who I am, by teaching me whom I am not.
I am not a Gleeker. I am not somebody who can get behind a show which represents students surviving some of the most difficult things any student can ever face unscathed because of some innate self-confidence.
I am not all right with treating racism as though it is something which can be solved with a few choice solos and some rad fashion.
I am not okay with acting as though a young girl can survive through to her sophomore year of high school with utterly no friends her own age just because she has a supportive environment at home.
I am not so great with the idea of an episode dedicated to girlpower focusing on Madonna songs, when Madonna is the one female singer who made a career out of prancing around half-naked onstage and "reinventing" herself so that it was impossible to figure out who she actually was ever. I am not all right with the fact that even this episode concentrated mainly on the men's interpretations of events.
Rachel chooses not to have sex not because she does not WANT to, but because she wants to hold onto her virginity. Finn sleeps with a girl who clearly views her body as just one more thing for her to leverage to earn the popularity and success she wishes for. He has no problem with this, apparently, or at least none that would prevent him from sleeping with her. Will almost has sex, but when his partner of choice decides not to go there with him he switches into condescending "Daddy" mode almost immediately. Even this episode winds up being about the men "wising up" to how difficult the women students have it in this society, not the women actually rising up and DOING something about it.
Most of these episodes are about raising difficult issues but not doing anything about it. Discussing issues without taking action is kinda the foundation behind the feminist movement--and is also the reason that said movement failed.
Also, none of the women on this show ever talk to one another except to tear each other down or talk about boys. That makes this show entirely sexist, according to Inga Muscio...and I tend to agree with her.
I believe strongly that Lea Michele has a solid career ahead of her.
I just hope she finds something worthy of her talents. Ditto Kurt.
Nobody gets through their teenage years unscathed. The answer however is not "expressing yourself" in the sense of skipping down hallways singing other people's lyrics at the top of your lungs...it's figuring out who YOU are, what YOU need to say and who you need to say it to.
It is also learning the boundaries necessary to learn to say these things in private, rather than making your entire life a battle for others to decipher what you are actually trying to say versus what others have prepped you to say for a competition.
Express yourself, fine...but do the world a favor, please, and think about what you have to say and why first?
The only real reason why any other episode after pilot was considered "good" was because it wasn't as bad compared to the previous episode aired. Character development was thrown out the window. "Canon" couples have no basis (i.e. just paired because they're the main characters, paired because the series needs more couples, etc.). Rivalries spring up without a legitimate reason, except to add the needed drama and to have a main antagonist. The humor degenerated with each passing episode-- more of an attempt at crude humor that shows that the script writers were just trying too hard.
The sectionals finale was a big disappointment. Instead of setting up for an actual battle between Glee clubs, the competitors were ridiculous rather than challenging. The Jane Adams girls were great in their performance, no doubt, and they could have been made into tough competitors. But adding in kids from the school of the deaf is an example of failed comedy. The final blow was when both of these schools ever did was consent to copying Schuester's set list, and that the judges didn't really give a crap/know about how to professionally judge this competition-- not that there was any. Where's the anticipation in that?
Only highlight for season two is probably the guest stars. Otherwise, Glee's not that different from, let's say, the Disney channel-- unless you're into the dramatized Kids' Bop kind of stuff. Great singers, bad story (or lack thereof).
The lead characters from the adviser to the historically unpopular glee club members are genuinely engaging and attractive, albeit even as occasional subjects of hyperbole.
Our family found it hard to resist the show's charm. From teenagers to parents we were hooked and are anxious for more.
It will be challenging to keep up the level of production demonstrated in the pilot episode, but if Glee manages, Fox will have a truly great hit on its hands.
Lea Michele deserves special mention for her clear, powerful voice and high energy whether moving or standing still. As a sophomore desperate for fame she's credible and her dream doesn't seem impossible when you hear her sing.
First the good. I find the actors to be wonderful (note: I am saying actors, not characters.) With the exception of Finn, whom I've heard most accurately described as sounding like a synthesized Cher, they have some wonderful singers and I am no small fan of Broadway style acting and singing. Lea Michele as Rachel is a shining star among the cast- I will give her that. Although I am bound to begrudge the casting crew for trying to pass off obviously twenty-somethings as high schoolers, I can gladly suspend some amount of disbelief if it buys us better talent.
The music is also tremendous- amazing quality period, not just for a TV show. The range of songs has been great, but I'm slipping in my first problem here: how in the world are they passing off these booty songs in high school settings? The Bootylicious number wouldn't have made it anywhere near a school-sponsored club, and Mr. Schuester singing Bust a Move to his students was reaaallly uncomfortable to watch.
Those quibbles aside, what drags the show down is an entire slate of unlikeable characters and a terribly written story. The only character that you can root for is the villain, Sue, because she is so completely evil and doesn't try to fool us by being all wishy-washy about it. Rachel, the diva is so gratingly annoying, you cannot celebrate the talent she rightly possesses. Finn may be a victim of Quinn's lies, but even when he thinks he's the father of her child, he still pursues Rachel and makes no effort to support the baby. Quinn cheats on her boyfriend and then traps him in a responsibility he does not own. Puck is the worst written character of the series, having completely different personalities and arcs from episode to episode. Kurt is manipulative and catty, and no, his sexual orientation shouldn't act as a free pass for mean spiritedness. Even the background characters display more unappealing traits than good.
But that is nothing, NOTHING compared the poor, poor job they did with the adult triangle. Basically, the writers set out to make Terri the biggest witch they could so everyone could say "aww, it's okay" when Will Schuester would eventually cheat on her with Emma, the school counselor. Only it's not okay. And I really don't appreciate feeling manipulated into a situation where I am supposed to condone cheating. Yeah, Terri's self-absorbed and more than a little dim, but guess what? She's his wife. And maybe, like she said, if he didn't always go off soaking up Emma's adoration to punch up his ego (and don't even try to kid yourself that it was all innocent) she wouldn't have been gone to such extremes to keep from losing him. And for all of Emma's doe-eyed Bambiness, she is going after a married man!
So underneath all the feel-good songs and passionate glances and cute gleefulness that is Glee, here is the heart of the show: it's okay to do really horrible things to other people if it makes you feel better for the time being. Because isn't feeling good now just way better than having to have all those icky feelings that come with deep, meaningful relationships? Wow, that's a message for the generations to come.
It is no surprise that this show arises from the same writer for "Popular" . . . that short-lived and underrated second-tier network series with a similar setting. What is surprising is how well they integrate the music with the story line. What keeps it from being saccharine is the self-awareness and not-even-close-to-subtle wink to the camera that "yes, we are manipulating your feelings from high school." It is remarkably effective. At the same time it is a parody, it still connects us to that time when we all felt like the outcasts in High School. And make us feel like we could have had a voice if we only had a glee club like this one.
The characters are hilarious, and obviously a masterful fusion of great acting and clever writing. They are over the top, extreme, and purposefully cliché. Whenever any of the characters gets a section of internal dialogue in the show, it usually leaves me breathless with laughter.
The music is brilliant. Kudos to Fox for their continued clever use of iTunes that they started with American Idol. The cast covers songs from all genres and are unerringly original and 100% fun. I'm seriously impressed with all members of the cast. (Especially as it becomes apparent that ALL of the cast can sing, as Emma revealed in last week's episode). It makes me wish fervently that there had been a glee club in my high school.
So the plot is lacking...I really can't bring myself to care.
Season 1 Glee was so new and and fun and funny because it was something we had never really seen before on television. Network executives probably scoffed at the idea that a campy musical television drama/comedy would make any money, but Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and Ian Brennan(along with others, of course) got the ball rolling. What resulted was one of the most successful and critically acclaimed series of the year.Glee was so revolutionary in terms of television presence as well as music sales and chart-topping songs, and no other show could boast that. I was a broke, miserable college student back then and this was one of the few shows that actually made me laugh and had me bopping my head to the beat of poppy, overrated mainstreams songs. The cast was exceptional not because they were experienced actors or anything (apart from the fabulous Jane Lynch), but they were fresh-faced, talented young people. Glee hit the jackpot with the amount of beauty and talent with the female cast. Male cast, not so much. They were adequate, and talented to a certain degree, but with none of the well-roundedness and charisma that practically radiates from Lea Michele, Jenna Ushkowitz, Dianna Agron, or Heather Morris. This show addressed a lot of issues, especially in regards to homosexuality, and I appreciated that. Season 1 was golden.
Then Season 2 happened. And it sort of just seemed... there. Like the 3 overworked writers finally realized that they had a hit on their hands and had to scramble to put together a somewhat coherent plot, which they did. But not before destroying almost all the characterization of a lot of key characters from Season 1. They were juggling plot lines for 14 leads, so of course mistakes were going to be made. There were people who shined (Santana, Brittany, Kurt, Rachel), but then there were the people who were ignored (Tina, Mercedes, Mike). The second season was full of hit-and-miss moments that were bearable, but made fans like me just that much more indifferent.
And then there was the debacle that was Season 3, which suffered from lower ratings, media criticism and backlash, and fan abandonment. And I can't defend the show, but I can defend the actors. Because there are legitimate fans of the cast but not the show. I know I will definitely follow Lea Michele's and Dianna Agron's careers after this is canceled (which it most likely will be). It's the writers and producers who have dropped the ball, and boy have they dropped it hard. Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk clearly have moved on to create American Horror Story (a successful and intriguing show in its own right), and, like the divorced dad who sometimes stops in on important holidays and birthdays to drop off money or mediocre gifts, pay little attention to the tempest of suck that goes on in the writers' room. And Season 3, to reflect that, was a storm of mediocrity. The show is a reflection of the clumsy and crossing-the-line offensiveness that you get when you throw newbie/untalented/plain lazy writers who clearly did not do their homework in a room together. It's like they got together, watched Mean Girls, pigged out on popcorn and hot dogs, and then in the last few minutes just passed around a piece of paper titled "Write whatever the hell you want" and called it a script. Can't blame the actors for all those rumors about wanting to leave, this is a sinking ship, no iceberg required.
Anyway, I digress. Glee Season 3 further destroyed all of the characterization of Golden Age Glee (is it too early to use that term? I don't think it can get any worse...) and plunged itself into the pits of hell. This was not the show that made my day a little brighter on those horrible exam nights (along with HIMYM). It takes a special kind of misguided ignorance to write "I Kissed a Girl" or "The First Time", among others. This time around, the misses overwhelmed the hits, and for this fan, I'm sorry, but you lost me. I'm actually kind of sad that I wasted this much time on Season 3, but I'm more dismayed that a show with so much potential and so many talented cast members was marred by terrible writing and producing. It's a damn shame.
Overall, though, I have really enjoyed watching this show and at times I have found myself getting quite involved with the characters and their journeys - however I wouldn't recommend it for the cynical amongst us - you might find it quite tiresome...
I was reluctant to watch "Glee" because I'm not particularly into musical theater. I finally checked it out and it's become something of a guilty pleasure. It's a good show, well-made and entertaining. I can see how the program is popular. I imagine it would be a hit with younger demographics (mostly female?). Audiences can relate to the high school experience (fitting in, stress, dating and relationships, the usual). Younger viewers might find the show inspirational at times. "Glee" showcases a less glamorous crowd than shows like "Gossip Girl" or "The O.C." before it, and the crazy story lines are less heavy on drama. Overall, the show is pretty family-friendly, although there are sexual references.
Another attraction of the show is its music. Each episode is peppered with musical numbers performed by the cast. Singing, dancing, the works. They cover pop hits of yesterday and today. The writers sneak these numbers into the script in two ways: when the glee club is rehearsing or performing a routine and when a character is singing out his or her emotions. In the case of the latter, the singing does not "occur" within the reality of the show; it's used to emphasize the feelings inside the character. The show attempts to avoid the old method of spontaneously breaking out in song.
The cast members are all talented singers (to varying degrees) and many are accomplished musical theater performers. The performances are all great, with the singers belting it out and rocking the house. I can see fans of "American Idol" liking "Glee". TV viewers are really into vocalization nowadays. Personally I could do without some of the singing. I know that's the gimmick of the show, but I think it slows down the plot and I tend to be more interested in the story. But I can't deny that the performances are impressive.
The show is not "realistic", but I don't think it strives to be. It's silly sugar-coated escapism. In the "Glee" universe, endings tend to be happy and people learn valuable lessons. There's angst and tension, but no real heavy tragedy or anything. It's a more light-hearted show. And the show is pretty silly. Not to be mistaken for realism. (Teachers forming a boy band? Football players dancing on the field to Beyoncé?) Any character in the show can prove to be a singing and dancing dynamo. Each passing episode seems to expose another student or faculty member as a musical talent.
And all of the characters are given interesting quirks and background stories, just for fun. There's Rachel, the aspiring star, busy showcasing her vocal talent on MySpace, raised by a gay couple and ridiculed by the pom-pom crowd. There's the guidance counselor with her extreme germaphobia and OCD-like obsession with cleaning things. The crazy wife, desperate to get pregnant and always thinking of her own interests. The cheerleading coach (played superbly by Jane Lynch), who constantly exercises and claims, among other things, to have been in the special forces. One student runs a pool-cleaning business so he can seduce mothers.
The premise of "Glee" is this: A Spanish teacher takes over the high school glee club and wants to return it to its past prestige. He assembles a small but talented group of social outcasts. Then there's the football star who harbors a secret passion for singing. When he joins the club, he has his feet in opposite ends of the high school caste system: the jocks and the geeks. (Breaking down barriers...) Lynch plays the villain, the cheerleading coach unwilling to share the spotlight (or school funding) with an upstart music club. Meanwhile, there's romantic tension between faculty members (one a married man!) and between the football player (dating a cheerleader) and one of the glee "losers".
The show is not really my style and some of the jokes are only so-so, but "Glee" is entertaining nonetheless. Jane Lynch's sly wit is easily the funniest part, but there's also the show-stopping musical numbers and all that feel-good stuff about teenagers overcoming adolescent pressures. The show also keeps you interested in the subplots (love triangles, romances, scandals, etc.) and makes you pull for the good guys and root against the bad guys. It's wild, like a small-town cousin of "The O.C.", with singing. Sure, it paints a sunnier (and crazier, and more theatrical) portrait of modern teenage life and the world outside, but it's good clean fun and it makes you feel good inside. It's not very deep, but it targets the sentimentality in its viewers. I'm surprised how much I've warmed up to the show.
When the students break out into song,nearly every 5 minutes,it gives me goosebumps and makes me cringe,especially if there's someone else watching. I have to leave the room. I cant believe what I'm watching really. From my recollection,there was and episode in which the main lead character proves his love for his lady friend, while Sugababes "About you now" is playing,we're suppose to assume that this loves is going to last forever,and that were really suppose to like this guy for doing it. Thats OK. Next episode, nearly 5 minutes into it,he cheats on her straight away with another woman. And it has a comedic element to it?! what the hell? WHY the hell would he do that? and we're still suppose to like this guy? so basically the ending of the last episode lied to us? their love wasn't pure at all? everything seems very forced, and fake, and proves this by throwing away what happened in the garbage and forgetting about it in the next episode. Makes you think, "do I really care??"
This show is all over the place,i don't know how anyone can watch it. This is a craze TV show, and its right up there with Twilight. Hopefully this will be forgotten about in 5 years when the shows ended.
The character are all massively unlikable and impossible to sympathise with, and the songs are so corny it makes me sick. They took songs I really like and butchered them mercilessly. Anyone who says it's getting kids to like older music, that's pure garbage - it's simply redoing them in a format which idiotic kids enjoy, with minimal referencing that originals ever existed. If a show ever wanted to get kids to be fans of older, classic rock and pop music, it would be about kids who enjoy older music in its original form (see Freaks and Geeks).
It's essentially just High School Musical on television. It's highly unimaginative, and extremely annoying to any self-respecting fan of real music. It is simply helping fat-cats stuff their pockets with cash from stupid tweens (and stupider adults) who are fans, and is yet another example of the fetid toilet that the commercial music industry has become.
The scourge is still upon us, music lovers. Hopefully people will come to their senses in coming years and give us something good once more. Alternatively we could have all actors, dancers, choreographers, writers and directors of Glee burnt at the stake to lift the curse on music and rid the world of their evil (just kidding.....)
Finn can't be fully blamed, since a prime feature of every show has his mentor, glee club coach Mr. Schuester in a zombie-like stupor while being verbally shredded by cheerleader coach Sue. The only person with any real power, Sue is the master of this universe. She is the puppet master who controls the fate of everyone from the school principal to the music played on the intercom.
The daring social commentaries turn out to be fluff pieces. A recent episode has the "kids" confronting the dark secret they hide from others. Artie is crippled for life in a wheel-chair, but the thing that haunts him is he wears glasses. Really? And Mr. Shuester's only hidden shame is his dimpled chin? What a Ken doll.
The best and worst part is the music. Everything is so over-produced that even the talented Lea Michele must have her voice photo-shopped to perfection through computerized auto-tuning that makes everyone sound the same. I wonder what anyone really sounds like. But not that much. If the school were vaporized in a nuclear (or is that nucular) holocaust I only hope no one misses class.
Don't get me wrong I watch this show and I more or less enjoy it (OK music/dancing/sometimes funny). BUT there are MAJOR flaws with it that make me give it one star. These are the bad plot lines and the rampant sexism.
Let's start with the set up. Each of these people cannot possibly exist in the real world. They are TOO extreme. Rachel is WAY too over the top. Finn is WAY too stupid. Britney is stupid but smart? What? That one girl PRETENDS to have a stutter? WTF!? These people would and should be in a mental institution. One song Mercedes did was about breaking a guys windows for not liking her! OK???? Insane much? Don't get me started on the insanity of that blond cheerleader that gets pregnant! She gives up the baby then wants her back? What? More insanity. The plot does not rely on sense making to move forward, just MANIPULATION! They twist you into believing these things. A character just does something so randomly and suddenly and you have to just BELIEVE them! What? The best shows are ones that have a sense making plot. That are believable. This show features people breaking into song and instruments just start playing from where??? Oh yes, we just have to BELIEVE this! OK if they just stuck with that I would say OK. But they are asking us to believe A LOT of crazy $#!t!!!
Now to the sexism. EVERY girl in this show wears skirts and dresses. What? Why? When I was in High School NO girl would wear a skirt or a dress UNLESS it was for a special occasion. When a girl wore a skirt or dress they would be asked "Why are you all dressed up?" It was so unusual! So why are all these girls wearing skirts/dresses EVERYDAY at school? Some have accused the FOX network of being run by conservatives. And some have gone further and accused them of being a government run station. It would fit since most republicans/religious people/Christians have the belief that women are not to wear pants. Some religions go to the extreme point of banning women from wearing pants! I've even heard of some restaurants that will refuse service if a woman is wearing pants. SEXIST!
These reasons are why it gets 1 star. It's like if you have a nice neighbor that is very quiet and organized but then you find out they are a child molester. They are now just pure evil. Who cares what they do? At the core they are rotten. So I don't care about the music and can't reward any effort this show makes to teach us "acceptance" when it can't accept pants on women. Sure sex sells, but these are supposed to be teenagers and most of the time the skirts are so short I can see their underwear! They are hypocrites! The ONLY girls that wear pants consistently are Mercedes and Lauren: the obese girls! Because "eww cover it up" right? What about acceptance!? No this show cares more about ratings! DISGUSTING!!!!