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Why "Glee" Makes Me Sad

I like the dancing. I like the singing. A lot. It makes me lean forward in my seat.

But. My excitement over Glee is waning. Allow me summarize the plot and characters so far:

Will is a hip young high school who decides to bring the school's Glee Club back to its glory days (when he was a student). His wife, Terri, is currently faking a pregnancy because she is afraid telling Will the truth will result in him leaving.

Rachel is the star of the Glee Club. She threatens to leave when another member is given what she regards as her solo. She is picked on by the cheerleaders and has a crush on Finn.

Finn is the QB. He also loves to sing. He's a little bit afraid of how he'll be seen for his Glee Club involvement, but he's a good sort who genuinely wants to help out. His friendship with Rachel is not well-received by his girlfriend, Quinn, to whom he is highly committed.

Quinn is not only a cheerleader, but the president of the "Christ Crusaders" (aka Celibacy Club). She always wears a cross and although she and Finn haven't had sex, she is recently pregnant. She joined Glee Club as a way to keep tabs on Finn and spy for her cheerleading coach, Sue.

Sue is a coldhearted and jealous coach of a championship cheerleading team. She is determined to bring Will and his Glee Club down and reestablish herself as top dog at the school.

Emma is another teacher at the school. She is almost sickly sweet, with a fear of germs and a crush on Will. They often flirt, but she recently put an end to this, as he is married and she is dating the football coach. Things are slightly awkward but quite friendly between the two of them.

Kurt is a stereotypically geeky Glee Club member, who just came out to his father. His father handled it well, having known "since your third birthday, when you asked for a pair of sensible heels." He is also the newest (and most promising) football player - the kicker.

Puck is your classic jock. A little bit of a jerk, more than a little arrogant - he is Finn's best friend. What Finn doesn't know is that Puck is the father of Quinn's baby (because, as she puts it, "he got her drunk on wine spritzers, and she was feeling fat that day"). In his defense, Puck wants to be involved with the baby, but Quinn shuts him down.

Well, I think that's pretty much it. Oh yes, and Terri is hoping to secretly arrange for Quinn's baby to replace her non-existent one...

So why am I less than excited by this fascinating crew of characters?

a) all the girls are schmucks. Seriously - Emma is the closest thing to respectable, except for her hypochondria and dating a middle-aged man to try to get over her actual crush (it never works). The other Glee Club girls are decent as well - Tina and Mercedes - but they're clearly supporting roles. The men are all redeemable and engineered to make you like them. But the women are seriously lacking in moral depth and character.

b) the whole thing is so stereotypical and predictable. I suppose that most comedies are, but this show seems to be taking on too much plot for a straight-up comedy. I don't think it's set up well to straddle the comedy-drama line, especially when you factor in the singing and dancing.

c) I am really bothered by how they've primed Will and Emma for some sort of affair. Will has an imbecile of a wife and it's obvious that you're supposed to wish he was with Emma. If I had to choose one thing that bothers me most in pop-culture and the media today, it would be how lightly people treat monogamy and the longevity of relationships. Lifetime commitment isn't exactly portrayed as ideal, let alone possible.

d) in this last area, I'm not sure which bothers me more: the stereotyping of the Christian community (both Quinn and the principal are portrayed as Christians), or the reality that there is a subcommunity of Christianity that is like this caricature...both frustrate me immensely.

So is the spectacle of song and dance worth the pain of pitiful plot lines and cookie-cutter characters? I'll give it a few more episodes, but I'm leaning towards, "No."


Terra said…
good synopsis. I still love the music and dancing. and perhaps the falseness of it all too.

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