Wednesday, October 7, 2009

To discuss reasons why Glee isn't all that and a bag of flamboyant singers

There are a few things you aren't allowed to bash within social media conversations:
1) Mental retardation
2) The Holocaust, unless it's an Anne Frank joke
3) Glee

I bashed Glee, the new Fox series about a high school glee club full of whores, losers and jocks, on a Tweet last week.

Almost immediately, some of my real-life friends defended the show, as if saying Glee is garbage is akin to saying Mother Theresa is a Slutty McSlutterson.

I'm all for people having their own opinion, but saying Glee is fantastic is just bewildering. Hey, I want this show to be good, but it's not.

Instead of letting Fox give you propaganda, I decided to write a counterargument. So, here are reasons why Glee is more overrated than winning American Idol.

It's unrealistic:
  1. The show is based on the premise it is uncool to be in glee club. Considering the wild success of American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance and High School Musical, among others, are we really supposed to believe kids are still ostracized the same way now about singing in a glee club they would've been a few decades ago?
  2. Cory Monteith, who plays high school senior Finn, is 27 years old in real life. Matthew Morrison, who plays Will, the glee club adviser, is just three years older. It's just one of many examples of the adults and students all looking like they are about the same age.
  3. Finn is led to believe he knocked up his abstinent girlfriend, Quinn (Finn/Quinn as names is another reason, really), by sperm floating through hot tub water. So we're supposed to feel bad the guy is dealing with the thought of being a teenage dad, and yet skip over the fact he is gullible enough to believe he has super sperm?
  4. The high school principal constantly says the school has no money, but the cheerleading team gets a massive budget, and they can decide to put on a full musical and hire a director on a whim.
  5. Everyone in the glee club has quit at least once, and Will, the adviser, barely seems to make it to practice, and yet not only does the group still think they can win competitions, but they have perfect harmonies when they sing, despite barely rehearsing and having little background experience.
It lacks believability
  1. The show producers decided to give the show a more polished feel, so the musical numbers-- the lifeblood of the show-- are lip synched. That's fine, but they are lip synched with all the accuracy and aplumb of Ashley Simpson on SNL. That gives it less of a "look at what these kids can do when they pull together" feel and more of a "look at what these studio singers can do after a few hours of sound mixing." Fox must think I'm Mr. Tuttle and the glee club is using a boombox underneath the risers*. (*Saved by the Bell reference. Please tell me you got it.)
  2. At one point, the club sings Salt-n-Pepa's "Push It," complete with jaw-dropping pelvic thrusts, during a school assembly. If this ever actually happened, the adviser would get fired and all the kids would be suspended. If the most popular girl in school, Quinn, is saying she's a conservative Christian, then you'd have to think there's a big Bible Belt movement in the town, and they'd flip out knowing kids were singing "Push It." Even though the principal later gives them an approved list of songs to sing, they still practice whatever they want.
  3. Although it was entertaining, the football team did the Beyonce "Single Ladies" dance during their game. While that could be overlooked, what can't be overlooked is that the producers evidently have no idea how football works. They would have had a bunch of delay of game/illegal motion penalties, and beyond that, this team is supposed to be horrible and they were only down 6-0 at the end of the game?
  4. The glee club decides to hire another adviser on their own, and somehow raise thousands of dollars in a single car wash to do it. That's one nice school system that lets a club secretly hire their own adviser, especially a bigoted, sexist one.
  5. Kristin Chenoweth was a guest star whose character was a former glee club star back when she and Will went to school; she since has become a slutty drunk. In perhaps the biggest aggravation of all, her character was allowed to: enroll in school to finish her degree (not night school. regular high school), give kids alcohol during the school day with little repercussion, and sleep with high school football players, all so the glee club could have a new leading lady that so obviously would not work out.
And there are weird story lines/production decisions
  1. Finn and Rachel, the main Glee girl, are supposed to be in a "will they or won't they" thing, Finn and Quinn are dealing with her pregnancy, Will's wife is pretending she's pregnant, Will and teacher Emma like each other but can't do anything about it, Will is fighting cheerleading coach Jane Lynch for money and power, Will wants to start his own a capella group, one of the Glee kids is gay and has to tell his dad, one of the Glee kids is in a wheelchair... it goes on and on. And that's just a few episodes in. For great lengths of time, the glee club isn't even mentioned. In Friday Night Lights, they barely play football, but the storylines are good enough you don't mind. Here, it's like a car engine without oil. And the little musical vignettes of characters singing randomly don't cut it, especially with its one of the girls singing "Bust Your Window Out Your Car" after throwing a rock through the gay guy's windshield-- I haven't seen something that staged since Kanye West told us Beyonce had the best music video.
  2. The funniest character, Jane Lynch's cheerleading coach, gets minimal screen time.
  3. The role model for the kids, Will, has, thus far, quit on the club, almost cheated on his pregnant wife (he thought she was pregnant at the time), brought in a singing ringer in a move that, if I was a high schooler, would make me feel incredibly insecure, and generally paid very little regard to actually building up a glee club.
  4. In moments that actually seem tender or sincere, the "bada bada bah" goofy a capella song snippets play to transition the scene, almost as if to say, "Hey, we almost got a little too realistic there." But, on the other hand, there are times when the show doesn't seem like it wants to be cartoonish and instead wants to show viewers, "High school is just like this!" It's High School Musical meets Dawson's Creek, except you want Dawson to murder everyone in the school.
  5. Quinn always, always, always wears her cheerleading uniform.
So, there you go-- feel free to debate. I was just getting overwhelmed with all of these TV promos exalting the show as musical Jesus.

Tonight, there's a new episode. Watch if you want. But don't say I didn't warn you.


Brandon Szuminsky said...

Yeah, well...your face. :)

(I cannot deny the factual basis for this blog post. Still, you can find problems with any show if you want to.)

Brandon Szuminsky said...

Also, you get bucho credit for clearly watching the show closely before criticizing it. And for giving me and Ramie a pseudo-shout out.

Andy said...

Brandon- Appreciate that, dude. You're right, any show can be criticized (well, except for The Wire, which clearly is amazing in all aspects). I just wanted this show to be better, and they could so easily improve it. Maybe by season 2. Cause you know there will be a season 2.

Dr Zibbs said...

And pretty soon Fat People will be #4.

Dr Zibbs said...

...so get your jokes in now.

Kellie said...

I've only been able to stomach about 10-15 minutes of one episode before I dry heaved and had to turn it off. It was horrible I thought. I don't understand all the hype over it. Ridic.

Amy xxoo said...

So.... you dont like the show then ? I've never seen it ( even though its shown here in Oz ) but seems like you have a maor problem with it.

You sound like my uncle - he's a biochemist/professional nerd and he cannot stand CSI. He finds all these little problems " That wouldnt happen! ", " Thats not how you test for that! ", " Those results would take longer! " because he's too close to the subject matter.

I'm gonna tell you the same thing i told him - ITS A TV SHOW. Relax dude.

BeckEye said...

I would like to offer a counter-argument to your counter-argument.

You suck.



Clairebear said...

Ok, I agree with everything you said here.
But I adore GLEE. *pokes tongue out*

And as for the people not being teased for glee club thing, I dont know about now days, but six years ago when I was in high school, my best friend and I were on the outer of social circles. Why? because we were music and drama kids. We performed at school events, and got laughed at for it. Jealousy is a curse, right? and this was after the idol phenomenon swept the aussie nation. Though, we did go to school in a really small town. Maybe its just small towns that hate Glee club type kids?

apart from that, true stuff.
And guess what?
GLEE is on!!

tee said...

All your points are spot on.

However, I have to admit I'm still a fan. I was hooked 10 mins into the preview special that aired over the summer. It was hilariously random and about song and dance, which already makes it a winner in my book.

That episode was the best to date; since then it became totally unfocused. There was less and less about the Glee Club and more and more about crappy character development.

Believability can be overlooked in my opinion. No one casts age appropriate actors except Disney channel and look at the caliber of talent they pump out on a regular basis. Plus, I never bought the "talented kids get teased" notion because growing up all the cool kids did drama and choir. True story.

The part that killed me was when they tried to make Quin a redeemable character, like, 3 episodes in. I'm supposed to feel bad for the atypical bitchy cheerleader who cheats on her boyfriend whom she's never given it up to and makes him believe he's the father of her just another statistic unborn baby because now we're supposed to see she's sad and insecure? Please.

Still, I hold out for the days that Glee harnesses its true potential. Here's to next season.

~Sheila~ said...

Now, I honestly like Glee. Well, not in the same way I like Grey's Anatomy or those other shows but I like it for the way the singing is. I know it isn't realistic but that is the same reason I liked the series "Pushing Daisies".

It's fiction.

You keep hatin, but if you were casted for that show...you'd love it!

P said...

I've always wanted to see this, as it seems the entire blogosphere raves about it.

This was a SLIGHTLY different viewpoint.

I guess with some of your points, you do have to suspend your belief a bit. But I do overthink things, so I guess I have had lots of similar thoughts about many programmes in the past...

Jenners said...

I hate to tell you this, Andy, but I feel you are totally missing the point. I don't think the show is supposed to be realistic or believable at all. It is ridiculous and I think it is supposed to be. It is supposed to be oversized and outrageous and silly like that. My personal favorite line so far this season: "Josh Groban loves a blowsy alchoholic."

And I just love Jane Lynch!

Little Ms Blogger said...

I really like the show, but I am not analyzing it like you have.

I watch it for the pure entertainment value and guess if I really analyzed its unbelievable plot, lip syncing and such, I may not like it either.

Jane Lynch has gotten some great air time lately.

That Kind of Girl said...

Like many of the other commenters, I 100% agree with your points (especially Quinn's cheer uniform! Come on!), but am still a fan of the show. After the first episode, I just accepted the fact that it takes place in a universe that looks like but does not in any other way even slightly resemble our own, and am allowing them to define the internal logic of that universe as they choose.

It kind of reminds me of the creators' other show, "Popular," in that respect: when you watch it for any sort of verisimilitude, it drives you friggin' batty. When you watch it for pretty people saying funny-mean things to each other and singing interesting covers of songs, it works pretty well.

It's also a great pleasure for those of us who love musical theatre but can't get into Idol-style reality shows.

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