Wednesday, February 25, 2009


On Monday evening I had the privilege of watching the pilot for the upcoming Fox series, Glee. Created by Ryan Murphy of Nip/Tuck (a Parents Television Council favorite!) fame - this time he's taking on the world of high school Glee Clubs. As should be expected by now, he adds his signature snark and heart (in equal measure) to this musical comedy.

Let me start off by saying that I fell in love with Glee long before the actual "musical" numbers even started. I've never seen Popular, but I can tell that Ryan Murphy either had a fantastic time in high school...or it was a living hell from which he draws endless amounts of inspiration. Unlike Nip/Tuck, the world of Glee is a little more grounded in reality. A little. There aren't any flaming meth-heads falling out of windows or faux-lesbians getting shot in the face by nympho teenagers, but the reality of this show is definitely (and subtly) stylistically heightened. And it works very, very well.

The cast is downright perfect. When you can brag that you've got Jane Lynch in a supporting role ordering around cheerleaders, you know things are going to be a-okay. Spanish teacher Will Scheuster (Matthew Morrison) is the easy-on-the-eyes lead trying to re-capture his glory days (inspiring, not pathetic) by taking over the school's Glee Club...quite the rag-tag group. To make matters worse, all the school's money goes to fund the "Cheer-ios", led by the aforementioned magnificent Jane Lynch. OMG, will Mr. Scheuster's gang - known as "New Directions" make it to nationals? Of course! Will I still watch every week just to make sure? Without a doubt.

As not to reveal too much more (trust me, it unfolds perfectly), I'll skip a full summary of the episode. As a trade-off, here are some bullet-pointy thoughts:
  • The core group of students has a sassy black girl, an Asian lesbian, a wheelchair dork, a prissy gay, an insufferable girlie-girl and a sensitive jock. All the stereotypes work, don't worry!
  • "If you can't fold a fitted sheet, you can't work at Sheets-N-Things."
  • I will watch Jayma Mays in anything.
  • Imagine if High School Musical was real, bitchy and hilarious. And their musical numbers made sense.
  • Miley Cyrus' boy bitch Justin Gaston plays a jock and has no lines...the way the Gods intended.
  • The pilot's musical numbers include songs by KC & The Sunshine Band, Amy Winehouse and Journey.
  • "These days, being anonymous is worse than being poor."
  • I was almost in tears by the end.
Fox has already ordered 13 episodes, and is even giving it a post-American Idol time slot. This speaks volumes about their faith in the project, especially when you consider that other new series I might mention (cough, Dollhouse, cough) have already been sent to Friday nights. Where shows both good and bad go to die premature, unseen deaths.

Overall, Glee takes the well-worn thematic elements of high school and necessarily corrupts them. After all - once enough time has gone by, everyone tends to be remembered in a more exaggerated light. That's what makes the heightened reality so believable. We knew some of these people...their personalities just weren't as amplified back then.
The characters in this show have a passion not for what they do, but for who they are. This is the concept that the wit, edginess and bite clear the way for, without presenting it in a cutesy, "be yourself" kind of way. And yes, the musical numbers were so good I was short of breath. Can't wait for more, Mr. Murphy.

1 comment:

Eric said...

YAY! i love it! i will send this to ryan when i know it's ok that i showed it to you!