Saturday, October 30, 2010

IT WAS GREAT WHEN IT ALL BEGAN



I would like...if I may...to take you on a strange journey. It began two years ago, when I watched the pilot for a new series called Glee. I laughed, I cried, I couldn't shut the hell up about it. Fast forward to present day, where Mr. Schue and the kids from New Directions have just presented us with their take on The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Just like one of Will's drippy voiceovers, I have to ask: How did we get here?



Well, babies...don't you panic. I'm a huge fan of Rocky Horror, and have been since high school. In fact, my friends and I actually considered suggesting we do it for our senior class play. Reality of course set in, and we kept our mouths shut. Luckily for us now though, all we have to do is travel to Glee's William McKinley High School - a place utterly devoid of reality.



I learned how to suspend my disbelief with this show a while back - I honestly feel like you have to do so in order to really enjoy it. They've gone in some pretty outrageous directions in only a season and some change, and I stopped trying to imagine these characters as real people. This is why it didn't seem like too much of a stretch to have the gang take on RHPS, in my opinion.

And to get this out of the way right now - I liked "The Rocky Horror Glee Show" a lot more than I didn't. But I'm the first one to give a dramatic eye roll at the absurd censorship of some of the included songs. Why can one say the word 'transvestite' on FOX, but not 'transsexual'? Why aren't we allowed to say 'heavy petting', but less than a few breaths later sing-scream 'I need action'? And not to put too fine a point on it, but...'pelvic thrust' was OK'd by Standards & Practices. C'mon.



The reaction most people have is that a production with such sexually-charged material would have to be edited to make it to television, and I agree to a certain extent. But why tone down the sexual content of words while simultaneously flaunting - visually, and definitely not abysmally - sins o' the flesh? Again, I'm not complaining - I welcome as much shirtlessness as Glee wants to throw my way (check out Square Hippie's excellent screen cap rundown of all the skin-showin' scenes from this episode).


Male nudity aside, every time they broke into one of the Rocky Horror numbers, I simply couldn't stop myself from smiling. It was certainly a loving tribute to the greatest cult film of the ages. But by the "Time Warp" finale, I had already made my assessment. "The Rocky Horror Glee Show" would have been better as a TV special, rather than a regular episode in the season. While season one's "The Power of Madonna" actually moved storylines forward, this one was more of a fun, seasonal outing. Is it a good episode of Glee? Not really. Is it a fantastic, albeit novelty Halloween treat? Absolutely.

But getting back to my earlier thought. The fact is that the tone of Glee has been permanently altered since the pilot, and that is something I will always lament. The heart and soul of the show was swiftly eradicated when FOX realized they had a hit on their hands. While it's still a show I enjoy 80% of the time, it's definitely not the same one I rallied to support in its humble beginnings.



My optimism remains, however! The musical numbers continue to be solid, and if I have to sit through a few preachy, saccharine sentiments every episode, I can deal with that. I'll always have my copy of the uncut, unaired pilot for when I want to remember the way things could have been. But for right now, I just want to think of how happy it made me to see/hear Santana's lips singing "Science Fiction /Double Feature". Happy All Hallows' Eve Eve, everyone!

1 comment:

maybeimamazed02 said...

I hate hate hated this episode. And I know a big part of this was Fox's ridic double standards, and not the writers, but: if you have to sanitize Rocky Horror, DON'T DO ROCKY HORROR.

Sorry, just can't get over the fact that a girl played Frank N. Furter. Not okay.

I feel the same way you do about Glee--and I actually read the pilot script in 2008, before Sue Sylvester was even a character. I really supported it at first, when yes, it was silly, but there were some really nice plot and character moments in each episode. Now it's just a farce with occasionally decent music.

And for the love of God, they need to stop the "tribute" episodes. It just feels like pandering. Except for Heather Morris' kickass moves and "Toxic," the Britney ep was absolute shit.

/endrant