Greene Screenings: The Glee (Haters) Club

By Rebecca Greene
To say that I HATE Fox’s wildly popular musical comedy-drama Glee would be exactly on par with my sentiments. So much so, that if I were in high school, I would definitely start a "Glee Haters Club" (and by extension, I’d probably be President, unless my best friend wanted to be President, and then I guess I’d settle for Treasurer or at the very least Recording Secretary – omg, do you think that would look good enough on my college apps!?).

The unfortunate thing about how I feel is that the rest of the world, except christwire.org (bookmark it!) and self-proclaimed Gleegots (as in Glee bigots) who have never actually seen the show - seems to love Glee. Even rival network NBC, subscribing to high school-like "cool by association" behavior, featured Glee on last Thursday night’s episode of The Office when Erin and Gabe invite the office over for a Glee viewing party.

Look, I get it; on it’s shiny exterior Glee has a lot to like about it, but that new show smell wore off a long time ago for me. Below is an accounting of the show’s positive and negative qualities as I see them. Bottom Line: Glee is in the Red.

Positives

Concept: The original concept of Glee is it’s biggest asset by far. Greece, High School Musical - why not make a musical comedy TV show? Brilliant! Created in the vein of these highly successfully movie musicals, Glee carved for itself a cozy spot on the couches of privileged Teeny Boppers across America. Originally conceived as a film, Glee producers ultimately realized that it would work better as a TV show and Fox, home of American Idol, apparently picked it up within 15 hours of being received.

Music: In most episodes, the music featured on Glee is fresh and popular with a welcome twist. Thoroughly enjoyed this past week’s all-male rendition of Katie Perry’s "Teenage Dream." Also love the mash ups in which two songs are artfully blended together. Finally the vocals are pretty impressive, especially those of Rachel and Mercedes – even with all the auto tuning.

Jane Lynch: Ever since she moon-walked from behind the TV set in Role Models (that’s right, more so than The 40 Year Old Virgin), I’ve been a huge fan of Jane Lynch. As Sue Sylvester, she’s the deliciously evil tracksuit-wearing cheerleading coach of the Cheerios squad ("I empower my Cheerios to live in fear by creating an environment of irrational, random terror") and local news analyst with her own segment on family values ("I, for one, think intimacy has no place in a marriage").

Negatives

Themes: Glee deals with some pretty heavy themes: teenage pregnancy, homosexuality, drugs, cancer, bullying, you name it. But while these episodes are bold and admirable, the show teeters too comfortably between serious issues and pure inanity – making it almost irresponsible to take on the serious issues at all. Remember when Schuester’s wife (with no medical training whatsoever) became school nurse and gave out pseudoephedrine to students like it was candy? Or when one week Schue exploits the sexuality of his students with a staging of The Rocky Horror Picture Show in order to steal Emma from The Dentist after giving his word that he wouldn’t, only to teach the kids a valuable lesson the following week about not using images of Coach Bieste to "cool off" while making out? It’s hard to deny that Mr. Schuester, Coach Sylvester and Principal Figgins – the show’s primary educators – are all terrible role models, and because of this, their lessons fall flat.

Characters: Characters is too literary a term for what in Glee amounts to little more than stereotypes. You have the jock, the cripple, the sassy sista’, the homosexual, the JAP, the punk, the ditz, the popular girl, the Jew, the…fill in the blank. Relating to and rooting for these people is impossible given their flatness. By comparison Zach Morrison and Kelly Kapowski seem like wells of depth.

Acting: Is it me or does Matthew Morrison have the most annoying facial expressions?< When he smirks while dancing I get physically ill. Also, I’m pretty sure Cory Monteith is a robot; that or the guy never learned method acting. Never mind dancing. Finally, the acting-while-singing bits are super cheesy, especially with all the auto tuning.

At the end of the day, I know I’m in the minority and Glee’s popularity doesn’t seem to be waning. Worse, it’s even started to attract A-list Hollywood actors: Gwyneth Paltrow guest stars in next week’s "The Substitute" episode. Don’t ask me why.

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