I'm a guy, and I love Glee.
Yes, I know, it sounds a little weird. If stereotypes are to be followed, guys like me shouldn't be spotted watching a cheesy, feel-good bit that's full of song. Us guys singing like that? No way, dude. That's not how you go about things.
Actually, that's not the reason why I might not love, or at least appreciate, this show. I'd like to think I'm an open-minded person: although I'm no fan of gooey romances and eternal optimism, I can give it a try and then toss it if I don't like it. The funny thing is, I liked Glee a lot, from the very first scenes of the pilot. The funnier thing? It's totally the opposite of what I am.
Let's just say I'm not really the type who likes excessively happy things. I'd spare you the details, but in a nutshell, I'm not really a dark cloud, but I'm no burst of sunshine either. My television habits somehow reflect that. There's a reason why I watch Fringe, and not Pushing Daisies. I think I have an affinity for the darker side of things, for how they get away with it and how they get so close to messing things up for everyone. But I'm just cynical for the most part: in the end--and I guess it's inside all of us--we want the good ones to finish, and end everything with a smile.
Oddly, Glee connected to that side of me without getting on my nerves.
I'm sure you know that this series is a musical comedy. It's a high school glee club with personal problems and songs in between, stuff that we've seen elsewhere. I call it High School Musical dirtied up. (I didn't watch that because it was just too campy for my sensibilities.) The promos look like it's a precious piece of pure joy, something that overrides whatever grim storyline the show may present. Not exactly for me, right?
Yet, it hit just the right spots. It's high school life from the perspective of, as eternally evil Sue called it, the "sub-basement of the caste system" As someone who only dreamt of being with the popular group, I can certainly relate. And it's not wholly the "I can do this!" type: they are not afraid to fail, and yet there they are, still pushing, failing, pushing, failing, just like life for most of us, because we're not all the successful type who gets all the attention.
It's pretty much a satirical poke at all of those other series that split everyone into the popular ones and the unwanted ones. At last, someone breaks through all the fluff! For those who are looking for that shot of joy at the arm, this gives just that: an underdog-striving-for-better-pastures story. For everyone else, all flaws aside, it's as real as it can get. Nothing gets glossed over, or dramatized a tad too much.
More surprisingly, I like Glee despite the singing. No, I'm not saying they sing terribly. It's just that I'm not the sort of guy who likes shows where people suddenly burst out into song, and eventually, a grand production number. It's a big reason why I never watched High School Musical, or anything else along those lines. It's my cynicism, I guess. And yet you watch the show and when they do just that, you don't feel compelled to switch the channel. They pull together to do that song, and you feel glad they've gotten past their issues. You are on their side, whatever it takes. It also helps that they really sing well--their version of "Don't Stop Believin'" is still stuck in my head, months after I first heard it, because it's a well-crafted remake and you can really sing along with it.
Explaining Glee away is a futile effort: I'm sure someone else will describe the show in a completely different way in the days leading to its premiere. But let's just leave it at that. I call it a special experience. You call it whatever you like. Never mind what this may look like, but I'll say this again: I'm a guy, and I love Glee. And I am proud to be a gleek.