6.2.10

Glee

I promised one of the previous post's doubting friends to watch three episodes of Glee before dismissing it out of hand. They have been watched, and dismiss it I can't. Glee is great! Even the NME likes it, although they are delusional if they think the show will play 'deserving' British indie bands like Arctic Monkeys or Friendly Fires...

First. The jokes are killer. Glee can be as subversive and filthy as Arrested Development, and the fact that it looks like Disney's High School Musical only gives the funnies an extra element of surprise. I mean: when Rachel is disappointed that she doesn't have a gag reflex, and Emma tells her that she'll be thankful for that when she's older... They didn't just make that joke, did they? They DID make that joke! OMGWTFLOL!!!

The songs add an extra level of I-can't-believe-this-is-happening... no other word for it: glee. A new jack swing barbershop quartet called Acafellas? Genius! An Aretha-sized kiss-off anthem called 'I bust the window out yo car'? Sublime! Will rapping Kanye's 'Thru The Wire'? Why not! Anything goes. The crazier the better.

And actually, its not just about the surreal spectacle. There is a consistent thematic undercurrent pushing the insanity along -- about putting the spiritual before the temporal, self-expression before compromise, dreams before reality. That's something Arrested Development didn't manage to get to grips with, preferring to stick with the age-old dysfunctional family theme.

All that said, Glee has problems. On the song front: lose the acoustic guitar ballads please. You're not gonna manage to emote with them. Trust. Glee's songs work only when they are gleeful. Doing the heartfelt stuff with words is always the better option.

But there is something more worrying. Glee's cast of misfits is the proposed centre of the show, and yet the main characters are all gorgeous white straight people. There is a incongruity there. The show is only pretending to break American TV norms. It needs to be braver and put the black, asian, hispanic, gay, disabled and overweight centre stage. It may well do so. I've only watched three episodes. So far, it's SO GOOD!

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