In May of 2009, the life of my wife and I changed with the early premiere of the show Glee on Fox. We were both intrigued for different reasons. Elizabeth liked the idea of a show about people in a singing group. I was more interested in yet another attempt to capture the genuine experience — I was happy to see that, unlike the original series of Beverly Hills, 90210, the teenagers on Glee are mostly actual teenagers. I also thought back to my time at Peddie and how I did not know much of the Glee club other than when they performed for the school.
In the last nearly three full seasons of the show, there has been a lot of drama and plenty of romance — more than I ever knew when I was in school, certainly. I suppose if high school on television were like high school in real life it would not be nearly as much fun to watch — no pot dealing teachers or vindictive cheerleading coaches come to mind when I think of my own high school experiences.
At the end of the day, for me, the essence of Glee has more to do with the great writing of the show, be it the clever naming of the characters or the fact that the show has a good mixture of comedy and drama — a good balance of scenes that make you smile with the more worrisome scenes along with, of course, the kind of suspense that keeps you wondering what is going to happen next.
A good show, I think, has not just good characters but more sinister characters that are there to be a thorn in the sides of the good characters. Glee has wicked characters — not many, but the few that are on the show are extremely wicked. The character Sue Sylvester, the cheerleading coach, tries from the beginning of the show to destroy the Glee club. Even characters that are meant to be good have streaks of bad to them — Will Schuester’s wife, for example, fakes a pregnancy to get him to stay with her and be more serious about their relationship.
I suppose I would be remiss to not mention the music, of which there is much in Glee. I think of the music on Glee like a throwback to the better days of music channel MTV when it was more about playing music videos and less about Snooki. Much like classic music videos, the songs of Glee are recorded by the cast in a studio before it is used on the show. I enjoy the selection of songs used on the show although there have been a number of occasions when my wife and I have looked at each other during a song and both asked, “What song is this?”
I will conclude by mentioning that the show has a somewhat limited life unless it takes the Degrassi approach and brings in new students every season — it has not happened yet but it well could next year.