04.19.13 | Kristen Washington
Today’s Staff Pick Blog comes from AFF Office Manager Kristen Washington. Kristen has been a GLEE fan from the beginning and has stuck with the show through its ups and downs, twists and turns, and the coming and going of cast members. Today she explains why the High School Musical is still relevant.
When the staff decided to write about their favorite TV pilots, I’m sure no one was surprised that I picked Glee (and if they were, they obviously haven’t heard me fangirl about the latest episode or furthermore heard my monthly High School Musical reference). Nowadays, Glee’s become less about the characters and more about the actors who play them, fandom, and controversial storylines about gay teens and school shootings. But, before all that, Glee was about something much simpler. A fun show about kids in a showchoir.
Will Schuester, played by Matthew Morrison, is an uninspired, rundown high school Spanish teacher, who takes over the school’s Glee Club determined to restore it to its former glory. Although the ragtag group is on the verge of collapse before it even properly takes off, it’s not for lack of talent.
Each character brings something unique to the table. You have Rachel with her gold stars and broadway ballads, Tina with an edgy rocker mentality, Kurt who is the definition of sass, wheelchair bound Artie, I-would-listen-to-you-sing-the-phonebook Mercedes, and finally, Finn, the clueless football player who’s had a secret love for singing since childhood (cue Journey’s Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’ sang by an 8 year old) but is skeptical of what his popular friends will think.
Like any high school television show, there are stereotypical teenage characters: the jock, the cheerleader, the nerd, the outcast, etc. And, spoiler alert, they don’t all get along with each other.
Show creator Ryan Murphy gives a good balance of quick comedic gems – pretty much anything that comes out of Jane Lynch’s mouth (“ You think this is hard? Try being water boarded, that’s hard!”), and sincere moments of story – Will’s dilemma with continuing to work at McKinley versus getting a job that financially allows him to support his growing family.
I also love that Murphy recognizes that this show wouldn’t be a hit with all audiences and took the opportunity to make fun of it before the cynics could (haters to the left). The comedic and sarcastic tone of the show is brilliant, a prime example is when Berry scolding her fellow teammates by telling them “there’s nothing ironic about show choir” after they’d just given the lead to Sit Down You’re Rocking The Boat to a kid in a wheelchair.
Rachel Berry is the voice of a generation founded on the principles that fame is an ultimate goal to have a successful life. In the era of ‘YouTube Famous’, and having your social status measured in views and likes and shares, Berry hits home with the line “Being anonymous is worst than being poor!” even though she apparently didn’t get the memo that MySpace was dead by 2009. Regardless of that, it captures the message of being seen and heard, preferably louder than the person next to you, to be taken seriously in this world.
Somewhere in between the realistic and unrealistic pursuit for fame and glory, Glee is the ultimate root-for-the-underdog, feel good story that literally had me at hello. The pilot successfully navigated this vulnerable new world of teenage dream, delusion and zeal needed to survive any high school hallway.
I’m so over trying to convince people why Glee is still a great show. It’s still funny, it still has good characters, it’s still has some kickass song covers that I have shamelessly downloaded to my iPod. But overall, Glee is downright fun. Just like it was always meant to be.
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