Monday, 13 June 2011

Gleefully With Glee

You know what annoys me? The answer to that is, I admit, a long and perhaps whiny list of things, but right now one of the things that is currently annoying me is the recap that happens in the intro of every Glee episode. The problem I have with it is that the voiceover inevitably says "and that's what you missed on Glee!"  Well, no, I didn't. See, the reason I know what happened is because I watched the previous episodes. If it's for the benefit of people tuning in for the first time, why bother? Any actual plot-continuity and character-motive was thrown out halfway through season 1 and anyone who switched on the TV now could happily watch any of season 2 as a standalone, since almost every episode manages to completely ignore things that happened in the past - one character was pregnant and gave her baby up for adoption to another character's biological mother (this is referenced again maybe once) while another wheelchair-bound character was magically given new technological legs in a schmaltzy Christmas episode and has never used them again since (even though they cost about $200,000 and were a present from the school football coach - I need to change career, stat).

In addition to this, many small things irritate me. The main character, Rachel Berry, has two mysteriously absent but apparently doting gay dads who have never been seen in two whole seasons except in one photo in the pilot episode; the song choice frequently serves to pump up the iTunes album's place on the charts rather than to further any particular scene, and most of the plots bring to mind a child ramming a square peg into a round hole over and over and over again with shiny-eyed determination.

Don't even get me started on Kurt. I like the actor who plays him - Chris Colfer - I do, even if he lets the wardrobe department do some awful things to him that even Tyra Banks would be horrified at, but I can't stand Kurt. As a character, he started out well - he came out as gay in a relatively positive way, he provided some excellent one-liners and he could be reliably counted upon for eye-rolling reaction shots during dramatic scenes. However, since Ryan Murphy, creator of Glee, has seen fit to turn Kurt into a mini-me, the character has become an insufferable, arrogant dillhole. It's like, as they say on the forums, Kurt is regarded as a Special Sexual Snowflake and can do no wrong.

Another character who annoys me immensely is Finn, the star quarterback and the lead male on most of the Glee clubs songs. He swings back and forwards between the main character Rachel Berry, and the pregnant girl mentioned above, both of whom swoon over him incessantly like he's the best thing to ever amble awkwardly down a hallway. His range of expressions encompass such delights as "Puzzled Now" and "Brooding Sadly", along with old favourites like "Forced Happiness". He only has about three, so in the space of an episode you'll be able to see these drift aimlessly past on the conveyor belt of his face.

And let''s not forget poor Mercedes, who has had virtually no plot concerning her since the Tater Tot revolution in the cafeteria that one time. If there is one thing I learned from Glee, it was that fat people like to eat. Or was it that black people like potatoes, or that gay men like Marc Jacobs? Maybe it was that breaking out into song as you duet with your blink-and-you'll-miss-it romantic partner for the week, whilst twirling around each other in the only dance move you apparently know how to do, is a totally normal occurrence? Wait, it must have been that a high school Spanish teacher who manages a Glee Club is able to use problems and issues from his own personal life appropriately to teach his kids valuable lessons about morals. Right? I don't know. Glee tries to teach me a lot. But like a crazy old uncle, you can never be sure how much it had to drink before it sat down next to you., and therefore how much of the waffle they're talking they really believe themselves.

You might think from all this that I don't like Glee. That wouldn't be strictly true. I do like it on some levels. I enjoy the rare moments of actual comedy. I enjoy some of the songs and will admit to having them not only in my ipod, but in a playlist (that is commitment for you, right there). I love the fact that when Brittany said one line in season 1 about sleeping with Santana,  the audience response was so overwhelmingly positive that the writers actually began to explore that storyline properly instead of making it a gesture to the stereotypical male fantasy. But more and more I find myself watching in horror as yet another song I love is crushed under the deadly weight of autotune, and as yet another character's entire previous life is erased and carefully re-edited to fit the current situation.

It's sad, so sad. Why can't we talk it over? It always seems to me, that Glee seems to be the hardest word.


  1. I have no glee about glee. I have a personal dislike it of it for reasons that have little to do with the show - I perceive it to be a twee variant on the highschool musical thing, please correct me if I'm wrong..

    No, my reasons are much more childish and petulant..

    A radio presenter on a breakfast show I endure daily so that I know what's happening on the roads etc is a big Glee fan. A self-professed Gleek in fact.

    Her co-presenter is a chatty blokeybloke, and a sci-fi fan.

    Therefore when he alluded to an episode of Lost, and also Back to the Future, only for aforementioned Gleek to comment that she's never seen either, and doesent like all that "far-fetched geeky scifi unreal rubbish" anyway...

    I was rendered agog. Clearly she her high-brow viewage of this gritty highschool drama puts her above we sci-fi geeks with her dark gleekery.


    *breathes*.. Thank you... I'm done lol

    oh.. but about the "previously on.." thing.. I think Lost is probably an exception to that normal irritant as mostly had you missed but one episode of that series you would end up going "wtf?! EH?!" at the recap :D

  2. I *love* about 28% of Glee, am annoyed by maybe 17% and am largely indifferent about the other 65%.

    Key things in each category would be
    * Emma. Oh, Emma. I could watch a spinoff of you being cute and quirky for hours.
    * Sue, for she is awesomesauce.
    * In particular, the content with Sue, her sister and Becky feels very real and unforced.
    * Santana - like Servalan, she is evil but sexy.
    * The gags - there's about 3 or 4 an episode which are brilliant, usually delivered by Kurt or Brit.
    * The Warblers.

    * Some of the songs, when they (very occasionally) murder something I actually liked.
    * When it gets preachy about sexuality or religion, it usually manages to attempt to be right on but actually be more offensive somehow - see a lot of the handling of Kurt, Santana & bi invisibility, the religious stuff when Kurt's dad died (although his referencing Russell's Teapot and the FSM was nice). Incidentally, see Community for some wonderful commentary on having a group which is very deliberatley set up to be racially and religiously diverse.
    * Rachel.
    * The fact that Mercedes is so completely wasted and shoved in so many stereotypical directions it's impossible to know which thing to be angry about first.
    * The fact that Tina went from one-dimensional to having zero dimensions for A SEASON AND A HALF.

    * All the remaining music, except maybe the mashups from the first season.
    * Mr Schue 98% of the time.
    * Finn's love triangle nonsense.

  3. Firstly, Kate - who doesn't like Back To The Future? That's madness! I admit I only watched the first season of Lost and then gave up, but Lost wasn't a patch on Marty McFly and A CAR THAT TRAVELS THROUGH TIME. Seriously. Tch. Next she'll be saying she's never seen Terminator because she doesn't like robots or something. Who is this dangerous lunatic? ;)

    Tom - I would have agreed with you regarding Emma until about the 12th episode, and then it all went to hell in a badly woven handbasket after that. Sure, she's fit, but she does have those giant baby deer eyes, looming at you out of the shadows. Cute, yet a little frightening.
    I'm also in total agreement with much else above, but in particular the lack of Tina. She started out with so much promise, and now I find I know more about Mike Chang who has barely said a handful of words EVER than I do about someone who was prepped as one of the main group characters in the pilot. Shame.