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Glee: Too Much of a Good Thing

Let me just begin by saying that I am not one of those Glee fans. You know, the freakish “Gleeks” with the four Glee soundtracks on their iPods, who know all the cast members’ names and their previous musical theatre gigs, and who secretly write Puck/Quinn slash fiction for obscure pornographic websites. My love of Glee is a healthy and understandable passion for teary-eyed ballads by arrogant teenage divas and paraplegic nerds rapping like Jay-Z. The cool head I maintain during the show (yes, I cried when Quinn’s dad kicked her out and Finn’s mom said she could stay with them, and of course I broke down when Kurt’s dad defended him when Finn dropped the F-bomb, but who didn’t?) allows me to keep a good, critical eye on the show. And thus, for my first post to the Blogulator (hello, all), I’d like to rant a little bit about where this show is going in its second season. The first two episodes are really bringing me down, and here’s why: the fears I have for the show are being realized and I’m afraid it might jump the shark early in its career. The biggest faux pas (faux pases?) are the following:

1. There is just too much Sue Sylvester. Bear with me on this one, for I know it makes me a Glee blasphemer, but too much Sue Sylvester could easily ruin the show. Jane Lynch’s brand of comedy is hysterical, but not leading-lady worthy. And what makes Sue Sylvester so phenomenal is that the character usually has one scene in every episode in which everything she says is completely and totally hilarious, and then she will make herself scarce (sometimes for episodes at a time). What makes her great is that she always leaves us wanting more. “Give us just one more one-liner, Sue!” we shout. “Call him ‘Baby Face’, I beg you!” we scream. “Make a slightly offensive reference to racial minorities, please! I’ll even take a minor racial epithet!” we plead. However, when we she’s in every scene, making jokes in the same deadpan over and over again, it gets stale. And when we no longer want Sue Sylvester, she just becomes this overbearing, man-ish gym teacher who just tries way to hard. And thus something deep inside the soul of Glee putters out and dies. To find that the entire first episode revolved around Shu and Sue’s new-found pact was disconcerting. Glee may be offering us too much of a good thing to keep us watching but, like when one eats two dozen Krispy Kremes in one sitting, all that glazed goodness just becomes somewhat nauseating.

2. The creators are relying on too many themed, plot-less episodes riddled with cameos and rip-offs. Let me make myself clear: Glee’s Madonna episode was by far the pinnacle of the first season. The revelation that Sue Sylvester was a closeted Madonna fan whose world was crushed when a perm-gone-bad ruined her chances to mimic Madonna’s lustrous locks was sheer genius, and the shot-by-shot remake of Madonna’s “Vogue” music video featuring Sue Sylvester was a jewel of comedic enterprise. However, as is evidenced by the insanely boring “Lady Gaga” episode, performing a medley of songs by an iconic artist in the style of that same artist falls flat. Why would I want to see a bunch of teenagers attempt to be Lady Gaga when I can just watch videos of Lady Gaga being Lady Gaga? Thus, I was disappointed when the second episode of this season was a Britney Spears episode consisting of nothing but music video remakes written off as nitrous-oxide-induced hallucinations. And while I’m glad to see Brittany S. Pierce (Heather Morris) get a chance to show off her amazing dancing chops (she was a back-up dancer for Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies” promotional tour, you know) and to have Sue Sylvester back in her role as random supplier of absurdity, the episode left me feeling bored and flat. Glee is about auto-tuned adolescents singing about their feelings, and these artist-themed shows with these regurgitations of unimpressive music videos stray from the course toward awesomeness that this show was on.

All in all my remedies for these maladies (are you listening Glee writers?) involve a) more plot, b) more show tunes, and c) more Kristen Chenoweth. I wait with bated breath.

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  1. Blogger P. Arty | 6:54 PM |  

    Who is this Sam guy and how could he leave out a discussion of "Other Asian" (AKA the best dancer on the show)?

    P.S. My word verification word was "foodgest." What a great word. I can think of at least two awesome meanings.

  2. Blogger qualler | 11:06 PM |  

    Excellent first post, Smarmy Sam! I agree with you that Glee has waaaay too many tonal shifts, which I think rests in the fact that the main writers, Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuck, seem to have totally different visions for what the show should be, and the show shifts depending on which one of them is writing. And knowing Ryan Murphy, who took a good premise and good actors in Nip/Tuck and ran it far, far into the ground, I don't have great hopes for Glee's future, either. But I'm glad you are touching on the pop culture cornerstone that is Glee!

  3. Blogger DoktorPeace | 3:18 PM |  

    I want to compliment Sam and his quality writing, but, as resident Glee hater, I just can't this time. Blog about boobies next time and I'll drop some props.

  4. Blogger DoktorPeace | 3:18 PM |  

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Blogger chris | 1:47 PM |  

    Big ups to Sam for his first post! I will imagine I still watch this show by reading his recaps just like I do with Brigitte's posts and Gossip Girl.

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