Last week I promised that I would update my review of Glee. It is only that
(misplaced?) sense of obligation that brings me back to my keyboard this morning.
The producers certainly know how to milk the addition of a guest star. Kristing Chenowith dominated the
episode with her acting and her musical numbers. That’s the good news.
The bad news? Her magnetism on screen simply magnified the absence of genuine star power in the
recurring cast. While some of them have glimmers of adolescent charm, none of them truly shine.
The characters continue to be drawn in sweeping outlines of the writers’ pens. None has any real dimension
in the evolving continuity of what is supposed to pass as plot.
In my struggle to find meaning in all of this, I have begun to sense that the chracter, theme, plot and
conflicts are nothing more than a framework for the performances. Perhaps I could enjoy this more if I could
make myself think of it as a variety show with intermissions of dialogue filled mush.
I have found seven high points in last night’s episode, however:
Kristin Chenowith’s first number
The sexily romantic Channel #5 commercial
Kristin Chenowith’s second number
The surprising sexy commercial for Edge women’s deodorant emphsizing a nicely formed male
The too brief shot of Mark Salling’s character exiting the shower
I want to become a big fan of Glee. I believe that adolescent dramas with a
touch of humor can be superb television. Take a special look, again, at My So Called
Life as a prime example. Truly good television series take a while to develop characters and
themes, so I don’t want to rush to judgement too soon. At this point, I’ll just take a look at (as I write
this) the most recent episode. I hope that Glee will be worth a later look on this website, perhaps
a look that will include a more wholehearted endorsement.
On the positive side, we have several noteworthy elements:
A gay adolescent, Kurt Hummel, bravely played by the superb Chris Colfer
A high school football quarterback, Finn Hudson (Cory Monteith), secure enough in his identity to stand up
against homophobes (something more than non-fictional Fox employees are willing to do)
An as always superb performance by Jane Lynch in her role as the wicked cheer leading coach
Clever choreography, some inventive writing and a touch of diversity in casting
However, at this point, those are not sufficient to score a standing ovation in my world. Let’s look at
some other elements of this episode that more than compensate for the strengths.
Gay Adolescent Portrayal
Kurt Hummel is not the typical gay high school student, although he may be what many people view as
typical. Most of us were not such good dancers in high school, and, if we were, we often tried to hide that
fact. Most of us were not so pretty, nor so short or weak. And most of us did not know at the age of
three that what we most wanted in the world was a “pair of comfortable heels.”
Don’t get me wrong, here. I do not hold a grudge that the producers chose to have the gay boy be a
stereotype. After all, even as a stereotype, he seems lovable enough. He’s kind, thoughtful and
amazingly talented. He’s also damned courageous.
But it looks like a fairly big high school. Can’t we have just one more gay boy who doesn’t meet the
stereotype? He doesn’t have to be a football star or a jock of any sort; just a normal, everyday teen.
Someone about whom real life gay junior and senior high school kids could say, “Yeah, that kid is a bit
Women Are Deceptive and Manipulative
There are five females of importance in the episode. One is Rachel Berry (Lea Michele) who is a
talented egotist. Compared to the other four, she is almost heroic. Her actions are only going to
destroy the glee club.
Terri, the wife of super teacher Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison) conspires with her friend to deceive the
unsuspecting teacher into believing that he is becoming a father. Meanwhile, Quinn Fabray (Diana Agron) is
working on her own ruse. She convinces apparently perfect in every way quarterback Finn Hudson that his
incident of clothed in the hot tub pre-premature ejaculation has impregnated her. I haven’t seen such
despicable women since the first season of 24, which I subsequently stopped watching for
that reason. Wait…wasn’t that a Fox show, too? Did Rupert Murdoch’s mother abuse him?
The final manipulative Femme Fatale is Sue Sylvester. I’ll give Glee a
pass on this one. She is the antagonist of the entire franchise. Without her there is no drama, and
Jane Lynch does everything with such panache` that she brings a much needed quirkiness to the female side
of the show.
Some Depth and More
Mark Salling’s character, Noah (Puck) Puckerman brings some hope of depth to the primarily flat “range” of
characters in Glee. In him we find the moral struggles that the others manage to
ignore. His battle with himself in trying to balance what is hurtful, what is truthful, what will keep his
lifelong friendship and what his price for violating that friendship (a cardinal straight rule) is the only thing
interesting about Glee beyond the welcome and too rare relief of campy humor.
Oh, wait! There is one more thing that is interesting. Salling, himself, in all his
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