Obsession. Everyone’s had one at a certain time or another. Sometimes obsessions are more like phases. Even though I’ve had my fair share of music obsessions (Josh Groban –> Michael Buble –> JERSEY BOYS —> JONAS BROTHERS) My focus tonight will be on my TV obsession: GLEE.
Throughout my life, I’ve had some TV show “hooks,” and GLEE has been a prominent TV “hook” in my life. What’s a TV hook? Basically a show that I’ve followed since episode 1. I’ve given up a few on these hooks, but GLEE gets the honor of being one of the few that I’ve dedicatedly followed since it’s pilot preview in the summer of ’08.
For those who don’t know what GLEE’s about… let me fill you in. Basically, to boil it down to a sentence: The show’s premise is about a group of high school students who usually wouldn’t unite (athletes, math whiz, singer/dancers, etc.) and joining them together through their love of music.
GLEE’s success to grabbing my attention since day one is simple: If a show has a good story, it’s off to a good start. What constitutes as a good story? 1) It has to have conflict. DUH! No conflict. No story. GLEE’s main conflict is that the club’s not the hottest commodity on school, so they deal with the day to day struggle of trying to fit in the jungle that is high school. 2) It has to have a protagonist’s journey. In this case Will Shuester, the GLEE club leader is trying to prove that the arts matter, and that there is a place in school for the club. To prove that, he has to take his students on a journey through the regular quest of a normal glee club (aka Sectionals, Regionals, then Nationals). 3) It must have a three arch fold. Exposition, Climax, Resolution. Us GLEEks know that we’ve seen all those elements on their journey. We’ve gotten to them in the beginnings of the club, we’ve seen their climax at competitions, and the resolutions of what happens to the club at the end of a season. So, to those who think GLEE sucks… KEEP READING….
Now, even though GLEE had an impressive 19 noms at the Emmys, there are some flaws with the show, I’ll admit. Flaw 1) The over assertion of throwing in sex. In the first season, one of the main character’s gets pregnant… a recent episode dealt with the issue of “how to cool down” when you’re about to “burst” during a hot and heavy make out session… and let’s face it… those Glee clubbers make out a lot. Plus, is it me… or do they not stay with a person consistently? Will was married… then had Emma… then lost her… made out with the rival glee club’s coach, kissed the football coach… WTF? It’s a normal issue that relationships are sometimes not healthy… but I mean, Come on. Children watch the show. Flaw 2) Cinematography: Now, shooting my short film this past weekend… I realized how hard cinematography can be… but, their use of shaky cams, pans, jibs… constantly shot after shot makes the show very difficult to watch. It really eliminates the willful “suspension” of disbelief. 3) Vocals: Now, yes, I love the GLEE music and I have two of their albums… but sometimes I’ll hear a song and I’m like “WTF? They really ruined a perfectly good song! The octave was taken WAY down or too high… They screamed the note instead of belted, or the two songs in a “mash-up” didn’t quite work out so well. But, every time I get like this… I always say, “Stephanie… you’re not a record producer, you can’t sing worth crap, you’ve never worked with a singer, so you can’t critique like that!” GLEE may have its flaws just like every other show, but there is a secret weapon they have that other shows don’t…
GLEE’s ability to discuss REAL issues happening everyday. Take Kurt for example… long before the slew of suicides resulting form bullying… He’s had to deal with slushies getting thrown in his face, teasing of his wardrobe, getting ridiculed about being on the football team, basically the kid didn’t have such an easy life. He’s still struggling with allowing people to accept who he is. But seeing how hurt he is, shows the audience that no matter who you are… if you ever feel alone or put down by others.. YOU’RE NOT ALONE.
How about relationships in general like I mentioned? Will’s gone through some pretty tough things. Finn, the leading quarterback, is currently dealing with the idea of his mom dating after a period of mourning her husband’s death, and Quinn has had problems with her “baby daddy.” Nevertheless… even if we’re involved with someone or not. We’ve all dealt with the struggle of just wanting to find that ONE person who we confide in when the times are rough, hold when we’re feeling extremely happy, and smile at just for no reason, other than that we’re in love. There’s a lot more that GLEE’s discussed over its first and now-continuing second season, but what’s so magical about GLEE to me is that I’ve developed my own GLEEk community.
I’ll talk GLEE to my co-workers, my friends, and my family. Never has a show been this widespread for me. Just last week… I never stopped hearing about the GLEE version of “TEENAGE DREAM.” It seemed like that was what everyone was talking about. When a show is able to have a string of number one iTunes hit, songs that have hit the hot 100 Billboard chart, a slew of Emmy noms, and Golden Globe noms. It’s more than just a TV show for me. It’s a community. A Gleek Community.