BY ALYSSA FISHER
In a world full of television shows featuring murder mysteries, self-absorbed doctors, and wild New Jersey natives, we are finally given something new to fill our Tuesday nights. Fox’s Glee is a spunky, light-hearted series that is the perfect blend of music, drama, and comedy.
All of the excitement surrounding Glee begins with Will Schuester, a sanguine and dreamy Spanish teacher, who – against all odds and a malicious cheerleading coach – attempts to save McKinley High’s Glee Club from obscurity, while helping a group of aspiring underdogs realize their true star potential. The show spins numerous plotlines, ranging anywhere from amusing topics to serious issues in today’s society. A teenage pregnancy, love triangles, the discovery of oneself, and the importance of finding your niche in life are all introduced. Each episode overflows with drama and humor, keeping the entertainment factor at its highest. There is never a dull moment, especially when you append the shear cattiness of other Glee Clubs and Sue Sylvester, the bizarre cheerleading coach, who are all willing to do whatever it takes to sabotage the McKinley Clubs efforts.
Glee is best described as a High School Musical for the older set. Yes, the characters tend to break out into song at any given moment, but that is what makes it different from any other television series out there. Through music, each character is able to express themselves and find who they truly are, and any teenager can relate to their stories. Rachel, an incredibly gifted singer, knows she’s a star, but her strong and distinctive personality makes her the target of torment. Kurt is an overly feminine male who is finally able to come to terms with his himself and express that he is gay. The drama only continues to get juicer when the football jock, Finn, joins Glee Club and finds a passion for singing. His malicious, popular cheerleader girlfriend Quinn soon accompanies him, and he finds out that he impregnated her. Glee provides a new twist on some typical character traits and plotlines by combining them all together in one show. It’s comparable to watching a more theatrical version of your own high school reality.
Although all of the episodes are guaranteed to be jam-packed with excitement, Glee’s main charm lies within the characters themselves. They are all lovable and have their own hilarious trademarks. No episode is complete without Sue Sylvester and her wacky attempts to tear down the Glee Club and shift all focus back onto her precious Cheerios. She is all about blackmailing, scheming, and using every humorous insult in the book to poke fun at Will Schuester’s adorable curly hair. The ditzy blond cheerleader, Brittany, is known for her unintelligent comments that cause you to kneel over in hysterics, such as when she seriously stated, “Sometimes I forget my middle name,” out of nowhere. Each character has memorable attributes just like this, and it adds something fresh to the already engaging series.
Glee’s music can only be described in one word: extraordinary. In competition and practices, the group uses their amazing pipes to belt out today’s most popular songs and some select oldies. Many of the covers they sing are higher on itunes’s top 200 songs than the originals themselves.
Glee is an all-around cheerful new series that deserves all of the positive attention is has received, including its Golden Globe for best musical/comedy television show. There has never been another show like this, and its charisma provides for great television that is here to stay.
BY ALEXANDRA LEVINSON
In the perpetually growing world of overrated and overacted television shows, Fox’s Glee prevails. Starring an amalgamation of Broadway theater teens, Glee combines aspects of comedy and drama, and coats that mixture with good-natured musicality. Yes, the show sounds like quite the uniquely compelling concept, but its ample fatal flaws leave Glee watchable at best.
At the root of all the hype, Glee’s plotlines are solidly mediocre. The foundation of a cliquey high school is shattered when enthusiastic and generic Spanish teacher, Will Schuester, re-establishes a glee club in a typical Midwestern school, McKinley High. Enthralled? Glee’s lack of innovation is brought to a new level when problems like love triangles and student/teacher relations are introduced. Attempting a commentary on social issues, Glee’s producers often incorporate more serious topics. Teenage pregnancy is an obvious point of conversation, as it is featured in shows such as The Secret Life of the American Teenager and Sixteen and Pregnant; to the surprise of none, this too is included in Glee. Not only is this issue a part of the ten-piece puzzle that is Glee’s plotline, but it is one of the many subjects that is glamorized or misconstrued during the show.
Each character in Glee is a caricature of what might have been an accurate portrayal of real humans (the unbelievable facade is only sabotaged by the exaggerated, clichéd acting). Glee club’s star is the talented and bullied Rachel Berry, who develops romantic feelings for Mr. Charisma, Will Schuester. The Gay Theater Geek, Kurt, is an overly feminine boyish character, whose devotion lies with theater and whose lust lies with the Stereotypical Jock. Stereotypical Jock, Finn, is made the hero when he impregnates his cheerleader girlfriend and doesn’t leave her, and again when he chooses art over sport. Quinn is Finn’s girlfriend: she is blonde, a cheerleader, and is also in the glee club; she and her boyfriend even have rhyming names!
The morbidly average plot of Glee leaves the show as monotonous, yet the poignant scent of bigotry wafts to the brains of the masses, rotting them to the core. The nature of the character Mercedes is seemingly innocent: she’s strong-willed and very talented. But without the mask of innocence that Glee imposes, Mercedes is yet another ill-portrayed stereotype. Sassy, independent, overweight, and diva-esque, Mercedes fits the television standard of a “soulful black woman”. Similarly, Glee’s slew of contrasting races and characteristics seems less like diversity, and more like the addition of “token” characters. Initially, Artie, a paraplegic boy in a wheelchair was advertised to be a major role in the show. Not only has Artie been absent from a large portion of episodes, but when he does appear he barely speaks, a curious act that defines Artie’s nature as solely “the kid in the wheelchair”.
As a lighthearted satire, poking fun at high school life, Glee has the potential to be great. Originally, even the executive producer, Ryan Murphy, possessed similar ideas for the show.
“There’s so much on the air right now about people with guns, or sci-fi, or lawyers running around. This is a different genre, there’s nothing like it on the air. Everything’s so dark in the world right now; it’s pure escapism,” Murphy said. But if Glee is intended to be a comedy, why is the only thing comical about it its corny acting? The hilarious base of the show is then supposed to have a serious social commentary, thickening the borders of the caricatures drawn out by Glee. This musical “dramedy” is acutely misguided and underdeveloped, with a pungent aftertaste of dogmatism.