Wednesday, April 28, 2010


It's weird to see so many TV bloggers and critics earnestly evaluating the Glee back nine saying things like "all the songs don't give the story and characters room to breathe." I mean, I suppose if it's your job and you're obligated to say things about every episode, you have to say things like, "I don't think the character moments landed here" or "This story didn't really make any sense."

But what I don't understand is how anyone has any expectation that Glee is capable of things like coherent, believable stories and character motivations that you can track logically and invest in emotionally. The series has never done that. Supposedly the pilot was solid but even that got butchered before it hit the air. If you follow me on Twitter, you know I've belabored the point that Glee's stories and characters were never good in numerous tweets. But the reason I feel so strongly about it, the reason I feel compelled to repeat it every time someone says something like "too much songs, not enough story," is that Glee made me feel that strongly. Basically, I enjoy the show now, but I also feel like it was constantly betraying me until I learned not to trust it.

Like a lot of Gleeks, I did musical theater in high school, so I've always wanted to like Glee. And when I started watching it, and tried to take the story and the world and the characters seriously, I was constantly insulted by the most idiotic, unbelievable plot contrivances imaginable. Schue's wife and Quinn, in particular, were made into irredeemably loathsome shrews so extreme that we could not feel sympathy for Mr. Schue and Finn, we could only write them off as hopeless morons. The only sensible conclusion is that everybody on the show is a joke. (Jayma Mays getting hilariously engaged for no reason to the poor coach she couldn't stand was supposed to make us hate her too, right? Good.) Not to mention the repetitive stories that would have us believe that the existence of Glee club -- the very premise of the show -- was at stake every single week. It's fine once in a while, but schmuck bait like that loses its impact fast. I'm pretty sure Glee club is not going to be permanently disbanded three episodes into the series, so let's move on to some other plots, please.

Glee basically trained me in every possible way to not care about anything you would normally take seriously about a show. I hung on for the musical numbers and Sue -- not just the best things about the show, but many weeks the only things about the show that were remotely watchable at all. I went through a period of episodes where Stephanie watched the show without me and I literally fast forwarded everything but songs and Sue, and didn't feel like I missed much. So if they're OD'ing on those things now, I don't really mind. There's nothing else on offer there, so let's load up on songs and Sue and enjoy them until we can't anymore. If they're shortchanging their stories, which never made any sense, great. I can enjoy the stories more now because we're done with the horrible baby secrets and Schue is divorcing, so they are actually better, but it's also because I've learned not to ever take anything in them seriously at all.

And you know what? Between the show's changes to lean more on its popular elements, and the adjustments in my own expectations, I quite enjoy the show now. They're playing to their strengths, and even discovering new ones (Brittany and Santana especially, and I was surprised how much I enjoyed Kurt last night). But taking it seriously (or asking for more of what the show does worst) is a recipe for disappointment, and I feel like people who want it more like the first half of the season were watching a different show than I was. The time to complain that the show is bad has passed. If you're still with it after all it's done, I would think you'd have made peace with it.


crystal! said...

oh, i am with you. i just want less lame, auto tuned songs of lame and more people having fun and singing and being silly. finn also, needs to stop "purposefully walking" in every song he sings. i have grown to hate him completely.

Kenneth Sepeti said...

what's a glee