Jules, over at Go Guilty Pleasures, and I get along great. We both like things that are funny, we both live in states where, bizarrely, you can’t pump your own gas, we both have had people reach our blogs because of searches related to chipmunks. Birds of a feather. But there is one thing we feel very differently about, and that is the TV show, Glee. We thought it might be good to have a little point/counterpoint on the show, and so today I invite you to read my side, go to her blog and read hers, and then think it over for yourself and then realize that I’m right.
Side note: before you accuse me of not knowing what I’m talking about, know that I watched the first season (wanted to know what the hype was about), barely making it to the end, and then watched a few more recent episodes to make sure it hadn’t improved. Also: Now, don’t get all “Oh, Jules is so adorable and she posts pictures of her dog and gave me a slap bracelet!” on me. We’ve had some good times together, right? Right. And even though I proposed this little point/counterpoint, I’ve decided it’s unfair, because Jules gets to be all upbeat and yay! and second husband! and singing! While I get to be Harumph and Stupid and Brain Dead and Listen To The Velvet Undergound, heathens! So, here we go: Why Glee Is Just So, So Awful.
1. It does bad things for good songs. Have you ever listened to music from Glee outside of the show? It’s the most anemic, soulless thing you can imagine. Music is so wonderful – it’s among the best things about life, about being human. Why would you want all of the life and joy and oomph and sexy and heart drained from your music? “Hey, if you like that Chicken Parmesan you’re going to love this lukewarm can of low-sodium chicken broth!” 2. It does bad things for bad songs. One of the big things promoters of the show mention is that it introduces people to music. First off, if someone has somehow never encountered this strangely pleasing phenomena of harmonious sounds linked together in catchy ways, this is like taking them to the public pool and saying, “Behold! The ocean!” Secondly, is that really our big concern? That kids aren’t getting enough exposure to Beyonce and Katy Perry and Salt-N-Pepa? Really? Because that “Shoulda Put A Ring On It” song really doesn’t need aid in dissemination (and that one was on possibly the single “best” episode).
3. It’s misogynistic. Stay with me, I’m getting serious for a moment. The female characters on the show all seem to be liars, betrayers, manipulators and shrews, if not a combination of all of those. The male characters tend to be good people, whose problems primarily stem from the treachery of females. Even the mean, ol’ football players are all good-hearted inside. Why was it necessary to take the female character with a stutter, but found her voice through singing – the purported moral of the show – and have it turn out that not only was she faking the stutter, but doing so was a betrayal of a male character? Tell me this is perpetuating positive things. 4. For a show that’s about promoting positivity, Producer Ryan Murphy seems pretty petty and vicious. His responses to artists to decline to allow their songs on his show are pretty well known, most notably when Kings Of Leon declined and his response was, “F–k you, Kings of Leon. You guys are self-centered assholes.” Ah, can’t you just feel the understanding and inclusiveness? Granted, their reply to Murphy matched his childishness, petulance and viciousness, but this was not an isolated incident. He also seems to absolutely lash out at anyone who belittles the show. Credit goes to him, truly, for making a show with a gay character to whom many teens have connected, but that doesn’t make him a nice guy,
5. It’s pretty hypocritical. Oh, it’s a show about it being okay to be an outsider? To be different and not part of the “cool” crowd? Is it? Oh, gosh, I must have the wrong show. We must be talking about Freaks & Geeks. I was thinking of the one about the football players and cheerleaders who engage in complex social drama against a backdrop of colorful types who occasionally get a, oh, let’s call it a “token” episode where they’re the focus. 6. It’s not a musical!!! I’m not a huge fan of musicals, but I appreciate them. I respect them. But this whole Moulin Rouge/Mamma Mia thing where you take songs that were already hits and sing them again? And have choppy choreography so you’re also not seeing actual dancing? THAT’S NOT A MUSICAL! THAT’S A KARAOKE MIX-TAPE THAT YOU’VE FILMED! Then, on Glee, they often drop even the pretense that they’re actually singing in the scene, so now it’s like showing up for this karaoke night and saying, “Hey, I brought this recording of me performing to go with the background music! Enjoy!” 7. Come on. Seriously. Seriously. Deep down, you know I’m right. Look in your heart. Come on. Think about music. Think about Aretha, and Bruce and The Black Keys. Think about The Rolling Stones and The White Stripes and Van Halen. Think about music. Then, think about this: