A Perfunctory Defense of ‘Glee’

To me, the interesting thing about Kurt, the “flamboyant gay character” is that, in some ways, his character is about the most real person on the show.

My online buddy Jaquandor wrote an evisceration of the TV show Glee recently:

I hate Glee. Hate it. Absolutely hate it. But I’ll say this: Glee sure is a fun show to hate. It’s total crap.

Virtually everything he says is absolutely, positively true. And (most of) it doesn’t matter to me one whit.

What do I hate about it? Well, the characters, for one. This is one of those shows that makes me constantly say to myself, “Nobody would ever act this way in real life!”

Well, no, but see, I see Glee as a musical. Musical theater, or movie musical, operetta, or even a Bollywood video. “Real life” isn’t the point.

In one episode, the Jane Lynch character played a sex tape or something like that made by the glee-club director over the school’s PA system. I don’t know if that was supposed to be funny, but someone does that in real life, and they’re almost certainly suspended from their job by the end of the day. Ugh.

Well, yes, but the Sue Sylvester character often gets her way, at least in the short run, by her bullying and intimidation.
That said, the schtick IS getting tired. Her character worked for me in Season 1, so the writers ramped it up, with the supervillains’ clique that included Will’s ex-wife?

I also hate how the show’s musical numbers are all the same: a person starts singing while everyone else sits around, staring at them in rapt amazement.

That is true, and that’s the show’s conceit. It’s the same kind of thing one saw in this scene in the movie 500 Days of Summer.

In any case, I’m happy that it isn’t always Finn and Rachel, with an occasional solo by Mercedes, but they’ve opened up to the rest of the cast.

I hate how the show constantly implies that only singers are musicians of any worth — no lip service at all is paid to the incredibly talented instrumentalists who are never seen rehearsing or practicing, and yet who provide perfect — and anonymous — accompaniments each week.

At least they’re on screen. Usually, movie musicians are invisible, some orchestra dubbed in later; the opening street scene in West Side Story immediately comes to mind. I’m happy these instrumentalists get any screen time at all. And given the fact that the school budget is often in peril, it’s amazing how many instrumentalists there can be, when necessary.

I hate the show’s reliance on cliche, from the flamboyant gay character to the way the season finale, set in New York City, opened with glittering shots of Times Square while the opening bars of Rhapsody in Blue played.

To me, the interesting thing about Kurt, the “flamboyant gay character” is that, in some ways, his character is about the most real person on the show, from dealing with school bullying to his father’s struggle with accepting his son’s sexual orientation. Last season, I said that Mike O’Malley deserved an Emmy for his portrayal as Kurt’s dad Burt.

I mentioned that there were a couple of gay college teens speaking at our Adult Education hour at church on June 5. They seemed to feel, and I tend to agree, that, in the main, Kurt’s portrayal by Chris Colfer, who, at 21, is closer to high school age than most of the cast, has been a net positive for other gay and questioning teens.

Ah, nuts. Haven’t seen the last episode this season yet. Good thing I LOVE Gershwin.

Glee is ghastly garbage!

It’s inconsistent, for sure.

(Why do we watch it? The Kid likes it.)

And I watch it, in part, because it is currently the ONLY show the Wife and I watch together. (We’ve recorded 30 Rock, but we haven’t seen an episode all season.) And that counts for something.

Oh, and my wife has several albums from Glee which she plays in the car. So my daughter knows Bust Your Windows and You Can’t Always Get What You Want from the Gleekified versions, not the originals, which I suppose is a problem in the short term.

Still, Glee has to be better than any number of reality shows that, just from their commercials, rot my brain.