Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Congrats, Rachel Berry, All is Forgiven: Glee, Three Years In...

I may be the last person I know who watches "Glee."
Tremendously popular during it's first season three years ago, the show has lost viewers steadily as it scrambles to maintain a fresh approach to human nature via the assorted contingents of a middle-American high school.
I suspect it has kept its core audience--kids, plus a few TV addled middle-agers like me whose kids are grown and therefore do not feel as threatened by the show's encouragement of teen sex, celebratory drinking and extreme use of hair gel.
Glee has also driven at high speed through many barriers with a panoply of gay characters. In fact, based on the actors and their actual, as well as pretend proclivities, the show has become a veritable smorgasbord of open-minded sexuality.
The original kids are nearing thirty about now and, for the most part, look it. Thank goodness most of them are graduating. While I have no idea whether certain characters will be followed once they leave the slushie-spattered halls of McKinley High, I am far less interested in the group which appears to be the heirs-apparent of Finn, Puck, Santana, Kurt and Quinn.
Yes, I know their names. Let those who are without sin (and aren't similarly addicted to Family Guy), cast the first stone.
The good news is that they finally won Nationals yesterday. The bad news is that I cried.
How could I not? A group of middle-aged students and a team of dysfunctional teachers with whom I've been growing old and have been following through identity crises of every type imaginable, finally achieved their goal.
From my recliner I have endured occasional horrifying episodes so bad that I had to peek through my fingers to survive (this year's Christmas show), immigration isues, the homeless becoming strippers, cougars in bathing suits, dread-locked home schoolers, Brtiney Spears, student-teacher sex, self-discovering lesbians, the fake handi-capped, OCD, sexual repression among the teaching staff as well as the student body, tough Jews with mohawks, cheerleaders who wear their uniforms every minute of every day, subverted authority, loss of virginity, politics, middle-aged pregnancy, domestic abuse, tiger fathers, adoption and then some...
How could I not get misty when the McKinley High Show Choir and their intense but sincere choir master won the coveted trophy? Fast forward to a scene in which it is made very clear, in slo-mo no less, that Mr. Schue is rewarded by finally getting laid and what's a viewer to do?
Not to mention my relief that Rachel finally made peace with classmates she'd been at odds with thanks to her single-minded, ego-driven ambition.
While the final episodes of the third season neatly salved over rivalries and resentments far more smoothly than it would ever realistically occur (Don't you feel just as crappy around miserable people from high school 40 year later?), it was nice to see conflict resolution by the lockers as well as the subsequent musical numbers.
And, yes, the show shamelessly whores around with the week's most popular I-tunes, enhances everyone's singing voices and advocates sexual exploration among the very young it also stood up for abused women (although Coach Beast could have wiped the floor with Cooter), illustrated (however superficially) the dangers of texting while driving, gave a prominent role to a lovely actress with Downs Syndrome (whose unspoken thoughts and fantasies were voiced by Helen Mirren) and gave a face to a youthful demographic that craves acceptance.
It also brought my attention to this song which I cannot seem to stop singing...
Good work, New Directions! See you next season!


  1. I haven't watched Glee since... episode 3... I don't know why, since I love musicals...
    But, I thank you for doing it for me :-) and also, I love that song - but I do prefer the original... XO

  2. I like that they had Bieste deal with the domestic violence because she IS so big and "powerful" shows that that type of thing doesn't matter. It's the emotions involved that often stop people from fighting back, whether they could or not. I'm a bit obsessed with GLEE though. LOL I'm a musical freak, so all the songs are great. Not all the issues are dealt with AWESOME-LY, but they are dealt with, and that's important for prime-time TV I think.

    And oh my..."somebody that I used to know" is great. I'm so happy they did that song.