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October 08, 2009

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Aaron

Not that there aren't bad moments, but I think that you're missing the point about the "given circumstances" of the world. The reason the rules keep shifting is because Ryan Murphy is playing around with theatrical conventions, in the same sense that Nip/Tuck uses hyper-artificial characters to comment on the increasingly plasticization of the US: i.e., not just bodies, but emotions, too.

What Glee *is* true to, so far, are the characters, and while the Acafellas episode you mentioned WAS particularly horrible, last night's "steroid" spoof was hilariously over-the-top. The mash-up songs that they were singing sort of represent the mash-up style of Glee, and of their brand of "theater"--anything goes.

99

I'm definitely willing to concede I'm missing the point, and I haven't checked out last night's episode yet. I did leave out that, other than Single Ladies, I do like their musical choices and the theatrical style. I just feel like the style overwhelms the stories.

Tony Adams

It's like Friday night lights for folks who were uber-geeks in high school. Only with worse writing.

99

Hey! I was an uber-geek in high school! And I would love a show that's as well-observed about the ins and outs of a high school chorus. The episode on getting the melody line on the Beatles medley would make riveting television.

Aaron

Oh, one thing to add: Friday Night Lights is a terrific show, set in a hyper-realistic mode. It's better written than everything else *on* network TV. You can't really compare it (especially its football scenes) with Glee's admittedly ludicrous moments. What I will concede is that Glee isn't nearly as comfortable in its own shoes--yet--as Ugly Betty and Desperate Housewives, two very stylized shows. (I'd include Pushing Daises, but it's gone now.)

I'm disappointed with Trauma because it's *failed* to follow in the FNL mode, going for Bullet-like flash scenes rather than character-driven substance, though there are glimmers, occasionally, of hope.

(OK, you caught me, I'm a TV junkie.)

99

Now that you're out, there's no going back.

Glee is young and may yet find its stride. In a way, because of the theatre connections and the general spirit, I want to support it. And I did like, at the end of the football episode, the coming out scene, which was genuine and well-done. Maybe I'll check in closer to the finale.

For my money, I'm still really into Lost. And Community just tickles me in all the right places. I skipped all the medical dramas. I figured they'd fight it out and the good one would survive, deathmatch-style and I'd check out the winner.

Tony Adams

I'm kidding.

But I really don't get the hype. I tried to sit through two episodes and couldn't make it though. And that's saying something. With two kids, anything live action is a welcome breath of fresh air.

It seems like they took bits and pieces from a bunch of successful shows and just thew them in.

It's kinda of like watching a play where the director has a bunch of ideas to toss around but doesn't really understand the script.

Mead

Love it or hate it, I'm impressed that you got all these responses within hours or posting your comments. I'm in agreement with you about Glee's dramaturgical failings. I am constantly nettled by Weeds for the same reason; both shows heedlessly toss aside their own "rules" for the sake of a fun trope they want to toy with or even just to get to a particular punch line.

And no, I don't these things are clever tweakings of convention. It's just a lack of rigor in the writing.

That much said: I never miss an episode of Glee or Weeds. Because they're fun. I just wish they were better. Weeds seems to have taken on more of an edge since Rolin Jones joined the writing team; maybe someone will bail out Glee before it's too late.

Moxie the Maven

I'm one or two episodes away from giving up on Glee. Would've stopped watching after the Single Ladies episode, but I keep hoping for improvement. I'm in total agreement that the writing is a major, major problem. The inconsistencies in tone are just as much of a problem as the whole world-of-the-show thing, though.

People keep telling me to watch Freaks & Geeks as an antidote to Glee. Emily Nussbaum, who I adore, is big on this, and says that the nerds of Glee's world are made into martyrs, while the kids on Freaks & Geeks have their own lives and can't be bothered to just mope about being unpopular. That jives a bit better with my experiences of being a nerdy show choir girl.

Tim

"It seems like they took bits and pieces from a bunch of successful shows and just thew them in."

Well, yeah.

But not in a bad way. I think the creators of Glee have made a very conscious choice to not concern themselves too much with maintaining consistent or realistic rules to their world. Instead they let the absurdities pile on, making them, at the same time, both a schmaltzy high school drama and a parody of a schmaltzy high school drama. They've made a world where it's just more fun to pastiche together a lot of pop culture & musical theatre references. And, yeah, it often falls apart dramaturgically, if you think about it too hard, but I'm soooo there for 44 minutes every week.


The obvious predecessor for Glee isn't Nip/Tuck, but Ryan Murphy's earlier show, the much awesome-er "Popular." By the second season, that show had found a vocabulary that was so heightened that you didn't care that the high school in the show was unlike any real high school ever. You were just willing to go along for the ride because it was fun and silly and campy and yet they stayed true to the essence of the characters. Glee has yet to entirely find its voice; for my money, the issue isn't that it's not realistic enough, but that the world of the show is still not quite pushed enough.

And Moxie, yes, whether you watch Glee or not, you should watch Freaks and Geeks. It's just a heartbreaking, awesome show.

isaac

I've never seen Glee. I heard a WNYC piece on the show and they played some of the "music" that's featured in it, and I can't stand that bullshit High School Musicalesque Disney television style of production (or singing for that matter). Like it gives me f*ing hives. So I have yet to watch it. In fact, having talked to other people who have seen it and verified that it does, in fact, feature lots of High School Musicalesque music production, I probably won't.

99

I've watched a bit of Freaks and Geeks and loved it. The point about the "freaks" in F&G being actual people with their own lives, not defined by being "freaks" or martyrs is right on. And, yep, Isaac, it's very much in the High School Musical vein.

@Tim: Maybe I'm missing the parody aspects, but they feel minor to me, in comparison to the actual teen drama of the show. (I admit to sometimes missing irony...which is probably one of the reasons I kind of eschew it.) Even in parody, though, some consistency is necessary, I think, particularly in terms of the rules of the world. I guess it does come down to how much flexibility you're willing to allow with that. I wish it would push the envelope a bit more, in terms of the absurdity. Even though I was undone by the tweeness of it, I thought Pushing Daisies did a better job of building a credible, fantastical world while managing to remain true to the rules they set up.

ICYNDICEY

I have tried to watch this show 5 TIMES and have NEVER been able to make it through and episode. The "kids" who all look between 24 and 30 years old are vapid, unfunny, pretentious...not precocious, pieces of shit! I HATE, HATE, HATE THIS SHOW!!! Its ONLY redeeming quality is Jane Lynch. God, give this talented, extremely funny and kinda sexy woman her own show already.

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I like the episode where Kurt joins the football team and dances single ladies too.

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Poor Glee

Glee was the best show on TV in the fall of '09. It had the perfect mix of black comedy, drama, and musical numbers. There was nothing else quite like it ever on TV. As a matter of fact, I HATED how Modern Family was getting so much attention and better ratings than Glee when they were up against each other in the same Wednesday 9/8c slot.

Then it came back in the spring of '10, moved to Tuesday 9/8c after American Idol, and the quality declined a bit but it was still very good. And it was more popular than ever before despite being up against Lost, which I always watched live while recording Glee. At that point, it was probably a tie between Lost and Modern Family for best show on TV.

Then came season two, with a move to an earlier 8/7c slot, and the writing was all over the place, but there were a number of amazing episodes (including "Original Song" which had the first Klaine kiss) in that season. At this point, Modern Family was hands-down the best show on TV, despite having a slightly weaker second season.

Now it's season three and Glee has tried to go back to season one-type storylines, but it's not working. The recent episode "Pot O' Gold" was Glee's all-time low. It had contrivance after contrivance after contrivance. Damian McGinty's new character Rory Flanagan was the episode's only saving grace. The leprechaun running joke between him and Brittany was one of the cutest things I have ever seen on any TV show or movie, but it was unfortunately included in the worst episode of Glee. Speaking of Brittany, whatever charm she had vanished quickly this season because the writers have given her actual dialogue rather than one-liners. Heather Morris is a terrible actress and it shows when you're giving her actual dialogue.

It's very sad to see how much Glee has fallen from the brilliance that was season one. You may have thought it sucked then, well it definitely sucks now. The sharp writing and natural flow of the story-lines is completely gone, at a point of no return. I won't be surprised if Glee gets nominated for Golden Globes again this year since they had incredible episodes earlier this year ("Sexy," "Original," "Born This Way") but I'll be shocked if they beat out Modern Family again for the third year in a row. The ratings will drop like a rock if Rachel, Finn, and Kurt do leave the show at the end of the year.

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