Confession: I’m a HUGE Gleek. It’s out there. Now, I’m going to tell you why.
The first time I tried to watch Glee, I got about 20 minutes into it before turning it off. Despite what a musical fan I am, it was just way too “weird” for me. But, being that I love watching TV, and I had nothing else to catch up on, I decided to try it again. And DAMN am I happy that I did! This has easily become one of my favourite shows, and has legitimately, added to the level of my happiness over the past 3 years.
The awesomeness of this show lies in multiple levels:
1. Strange, unique, loveable characters – That first time that I watched Glee, I think the character that turned me off the most was Rachel. She was too intense, she talked too fast, took herself too seriously, and was generally way too over-the-top. My impressions of her haven’t changed a bit. The difference is, that instead of scaring me away, these are the things about her that make me love her. Just like all of my friends, she has a quirky personality, there are things about her that drive me nuts, but they’re things totally essential to her personality. Instead of keeping these aspects of their personality subtle, they exaggerate them, bring them right up in your face, and make you accept them for exactly the way they are. Take ‘em or leave’em. Their exaggerated quirks make them unique, not just within the show, but in the realm of TV shows in general. Of course, at the same time, the characters are relatable, at least enough that we can connect with them, and keep in the “zone” of the show.
2. Singing and dancing, every week – fuckin’ awesome. I can’t even tell you how absurdly happy singing and dancing makes me – either watching it, or performing it. I was playing piano and dancing at the age of 5 – I grew up on stage, I grew up with music. There is nothing more amazing than the adrenaline rush of performing. It is really a high, and I feel like I’m in that moment with them, every time they sing and dance. Not to mention the incredibly powerful effect that music and dance has on my emotions – I get completely absorbed by them, and since the music always fits the mood of the show, it helps enhance my emotional connection with what’s happening. Them being sad can make me cry, and them being happy can send me over the moon. I have often found myself dancing in my seat, a huge grin on my face, and all my troubles forgotten. Smart people those writers, they know what they’re doing.
Something for everyone – First off, their music selections are all over the place. I must admit that in the past couple of seasons they’ve moved a lot more towards top 40s pop music, and I wish that they had more variety; I had always liked the aspect of being introduced to new music through the show. Anyways, despite that fact, I feel that they cover a decent musical range. My entire family watches the show together, and despite the generational difference, my parents and I can all enjoy. Their “themed” shows follow this trend too. There was a Madonna one – which my parents could particularly appreciate since they are old enough to get all the costume ridiculousness etc., the Rocky Horror one – which I admit I couldn’t relate to, since I have never seen it, the old-time Christmas special – again, which my parents could particularly appreciate (although I could too, as I love all the old-shtuff), the Britney Spears episode – a good one for me, plus my personal favourite – THE GRINCH. I grew up watching How the Grinch stole Christmas every year. I can practically recite the damn thing. So when Glee did a Grinch themed Christmas episode in season 2, I nearly died of excitement. I was literally dancing and twirling around my apartment with the largest smile on my face afterwards. My roommates thought I was nuts. I was on cloud 9. Next suggestion – spice girl theme! seriously. I’d die.
Awareness of important social issues – Unfortunately, here I don’t like that they’ve made this too forced. The integration of prominent social issues used to fit much more flowingly into the script. Now, you can see their conscious effort to bring these issues to light in almost every episode. But here’s the bottom line – at least they’re doing it. They knew that they were causing talk through the character of Kurt. If they could have that much influence, especially on that younger generation, through one character, why not use their influence to bring more issues up, to generate more discussion? So far they’ve covered: homosexuality, transgendered people, domestic abuse, mental and physical disabilities, teenage pregnancy, racism…not to mention just the fact that each character is a “weirdo” in his/her own way, exactly the type of person that would be bullied/excluded at school. The world, high school especially, is full of people who will victimize anyone who has something obviously “different” about them. By bringing problems to light, it starts discussion, raises awareness and provides insight – since ignorance breeds hatred, this is a key to solving the issue. TV can “brainwash” us to believe all kinds of things, about our weight or our worth…why not use that power for good? I really respect the writers for recognizing their influence, and using it in a positive, proactive manner, despite what criticisms they could get. Takes a lot of balls.
Promotion of the arts – I was such a band nerd in high school. And I was in choir. And the musical. Like I said before – singing and dancing = my life. Luckily, being a girl, it’s always been acceptable for me to do these things. Also, in my school, at least while I was there, there was no shame in being part of these activities. In a lot of places, especially for guys, it’s considered “gay” to like music/dance/theatre. Unfortunately, the people with those mentality are also the people that think it’s “gay” to watch Glee. But the show has gained so much support, that maybe those voices can be drowned out, and their minds changed. Since Glee started, there’s been a national show-choir competition started up here in Canada.
So the moral of the story? Glee is amazing, inspiring, uplifting.
A die-hard Gleek