The rundown on Glee is this, the show hinges on firstly Will Schuester aka Mr. Schue who is a Spanish teacher and former high school stud and Glee club enthusiast. He has poofy hair, is married to the Devil (whose name is Terri and is currently faking a pregnancy), has a cringe-inducing tendency to rap and is having a flirty little thing with OCD-afflicted hygiene-obsessed school guidance counselor Emma (who doesn't even have a good trauma story to go along with her disorder, lame). Emma's engaged to Coach Tanaka in a horrible example of settling (and telling everyone you know you're settling - she refuses to tell her family and friends about their marriage) and chronic incompatibility.
Then of course the show has the kids in Glee Club who are typically, the outcasts. The star is Rachel Berry, this intense Tracy Flick character who's got a crazy set of pipes. She's got a huge heart-on for Finn, who is SO dumb, but so cute. He's also a little Schuester clone, because he thinks he's knocked up his girlfriend, cheerleader and president of the Celibacy Club Quinn Fabray (everyone on the show likes saying her full name) but actually she's up the duff with Finn's bff Puck's baby. Puck is total cougar-bait and a mohawked jerk but I love him. There are other kids in the Glee Club, obviously, but these are the main ones (more on that later).
So the show started as being about the club and how it's housing all these misfits and the struggle for Finn to join and how that clashes with his position as QB for the team. They try to play around with the whole school stereotypes thing. For the most part, it's pretty negligible (in my opinion) no matter how hard they push it. For one thing, the school team sucks! SO hard. I didn't go to American high school so I don't know how this works, but are you still popular as a jock if you are, in purely technical terms, losers? If I was part of a school with a team that sucked, I would not go about making those team players popular. Like, what would be the point?
Anyway, whatever, they're popular. The Glee kids, especially Rachel, are picked on and have no friends until they join the club and are forced to befriend each other. I'm being callous about it, but it's actually heartwarming how tight-knit and protective of each other they've become in the 8 episodes so far. So now they're friends and chummy, they can focus on SECTIONALS, the mythical pit stop on the road to REGIONALS, and winning those two things is obviously the answer to all of life's problems. Their practices aren't very realistic because they mostly just jam as if they haven't just gotten the music sheet (what do I know anyway, I can't even sing) and also Mr. Schuester raps. A lot. It's embarrassing.
But okay, the songs that they pick to sing are great! Some of my favourite Glee covers have been Rihanna's Take A Bow, Celine Dion's Taking Chances, Jazmine Sullivan's Bust Your Windows, a mash-up of Beyonce's Halo and Katrina & The Waves's Walking on Sunshine, just to name a few. It helps that the actors are mostly from music theatre or musical backgrounds, so they really bring it, vocally. Finn's a bit shaky and really can't dance (which is why I want Artie - who's in a wheelchair and in real life is part of a post-90's boyband - to have a miraculous recovery and take over as primo dancer) but he's usually a pretty good male lead. And they dance and wear matching costumes, it's great!
Now, I've kind of saved the BEST part of Glee because it is just pretty much the best reason to watch the show and that is Jane Lynch as Sue Sylvester. Sue is coach for the Cheerios, an award-winning, high-maintenance cheerleading team that sucks up all the school money. They send their dry cleaning to Europe. So when Glee comes along and is all like "Please Principal, can I 'ave some more" she isn't pleased. Sue wears only track suits (except in the recent episode, where she wears a SICK maroon zoot suit, like a champion), is incredibly offensive, has her own segment on the local news (Sue's Corner) and is of questionable gender and sexuality ("I never wanted kids. Don't have the time, don't have the uterus.") She has the best lines, she's bad ass and the villain you root for. This clip is a little heavy on dramatic music, but it's got some great Sue bits (I love the random terror bit):
So, to sum up. The reasons I love the show are:
- The Glee kids. Each and every one of them is a special, precious snowflake (except those two nameless football players nobody cares about). Despite them being pegged into neat high school stereotype boxes they're real characters and I am genuinely invested in how Quinn deals with her pregnancy, whether Puck and his secret heart will get emotionally vulnerable, whether Finn and Rachel can ever be together. The other slightly second-tier kids are great too and the show has dealt with them like when they dedicated a whole episode to one of the characters Kurt coming out to his dad and owning up to his identity. But they definitely need more stage time - singing and character wise.
- The songs! Example, Glee covering Queen's Somebody To Love:
- Sue Sylvester.
The things I need this show to work on:
- The stupid adults. Some of them are straight up vile, like Terri Schuester and her alcoholic, moronic sister (props to the actresses for doing their job well) and some of them have the pallor of corpses and also I think lack a little consistency, like Ken Tanaka who has gone from a sort-of-sweet man who guilted an unwilling woman into marrying him to a jealous, possessive, pathetic half-man who needs to grow a pair. Emma I loved in the beginning, but her part in the whole marriage debacle is wearing down my goodwill for her. Also, her serious obsession with Will, which he doesn't discourage. GROW UP, EVERYONE OVER THE AGE OF 18 ON GLEE. Also, again, Will's rapping. He did the Thong Song. THE THONG SONG. And Emma basically wet herself with excitement. That is not how adults are supposed to act!
- The unevenness in how each character is weighted. We have enough material to write short novels on the lives of Rachel, Quinn and Finn. At this point, I'm starting to get tired. I want more Mercedes, more Artie, more Kurt, a little more development for the Asian Stutterer whose name I can't even remember, maybe some names for the faceless dudes and more songs where more people get to sing. Also, more Puck even though the 8th episode was about him, just because I like him.
I'm looking forward to the rest of Glee and to a more thorough episode-by-episode examination for the rest of the season (which will hopefully be shorter than this thing, boy howdy). Before I sign off, I'd just like to add that Gabe Liedman has a really funny recap up of the 8th episode on Videogum so check that out.