Monday, December 13, 2010

I'm Gleeful for Glee

by Evelyn David

I'm not a teenager. Heck, at this point, even my kids aren't teenagers. So what is it about Glee, the must-see TV show that has me glued to my DVR each week, humming top-40 hits that would be otherwise completely unknown to me, and scanning YouTube for videos of this ragtag group of fictional high schoolers? Yep, I've been bitten by the Glee Bug.

I was late to the party. I didn't tune in until my daughter moved home after college and immediately revised the family DVR taping schedule. Sure, the Barefoot Contessa of cooking fame is still on the list, but she's been supplanted in my affections by Glee, a weekly musical about high school outcasts who burst into song at the drop of a pencil.

It reminds me of those old Judy Garland/Mickey Rooney musicals of the 1940s, where a group of kids with marvelous voices all lived on the same block and were forever breaking into song or chirping, "let's put on a show." In those movies, unlike the television show of today, you didn't see the full orchestra playing backup. Here, a fun part of the conceit of Glee is that they show the professional musicians walking the halls of this high school to immediately back up any student who starts warbling. And Bob Fosse would swoon over the choreography on the show. In an interview I watched of the making of the show, it's also one of the inside jokes that the best dancer of the group is the actor who is playing the part of a paralyzed teenager and confined to a wheelchair.

But for all the over-the-top humor, improbable plot lines, and subtle teasing of pop culture and its stars, the show has also shown a sharp insight into the concerns, interests, fears, and desires of today's adolescents. Bullying, teen pregnancy, sexual orientation, the show has dealt squarely with all of these topics and more. It's a modern day morality play – but with a hip-hop beat.

And as an added bonus, watching Glee lets me share something special with my daughter, an avid fan. It's a doorway into her world, into a world that on the surface I have outgrown. It makes me feel younger, "with it" (which by using that phrase, automatically banishes me from the cool kids table).

I don't know what will happen with Rachel, Finn, and the rest of the gang, but I'll be checking in each week to find out.

How about you? Do you watch Glee? Why?

Marian, the Northern half of Evelyn David

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  1. I love Glee. I may not always catch it when it airs, but I can pick up missed episodes on hulu. I have no idea why I like it, but I do. My teenage son thinks the show and his mother are weird, but I have always loved musicals.

  2. Thanks Angela for stopping by. I too have always loved musicals, so I guess it's no surprise that I'm enjoying Glee which has a nice mix of current and retro songs.

    Happy Holidays!
    Marian aka the Northern half of Evelyn David

  3. Huge Glee fan also. My children are past the high school days as well. It just makes me happy...that's all! Great singing, great dancing, great entertainment!!!

  4. You're right. It's just simply great entertainment!

    Thanks for stopping by.


  5. I watched it more during the first season and now I think it conflicts with something else I watch so I haven't seen too many episodes. I'm a sucker for the "let's put on a show" aspect of it as well and the scripts do tackle some big topics. It's amazing that it puts these two aspects together so well. I'm with you, Marian, on having something to watch with the kid(s), though; it's nice when you enjoy the same things. Maggie

  6. I was one of those kids. I was a Gleek. We called it choir and chamber singers. Choir was my home, my safe place to express myself and feel a part of something bigger.

    I still keep in touch with most of the choir and even though it may be several years before we see each other we pick up where we left off without skipping a beat.

    I think the TV show Glee gives us all a safe place to share and talk about the difficult and wonderful things in life. My 12 year old saw the episode where Kurt was slammed into the lockers and it provided an opportunity to talk about bullying. It was painful to watch but necessary for all of us to start talking about what we can do to stop the bullying.

  7. I'm late to the show, but once I caught the Madonna episode, I've been hooked.

    The sad thing is that some of these students will be graduating this year, so we may not see them next season.

  8. I've caught a few episodes and enjoyed them. But I totally get watching whatever just so you can do it with your daughter. I do that with mine. I'll watch whatever just to spend time together. It's something at home we can do and now we have official-Movie Nights. We picked up matching PJ's for movie night too! Fun! From another Marian . . .

  9. Anjali, thanks for your thoughtful comment. You're right - That episode where Kurt was bullied was a terrific opportunity to talk about bullying.

    Dru - it will be interesting to see how the show handles the transition with new "students" entering the Glee Club. I'm glad though that the producers recognize that actors "age" out of certain roles.

    Marian -- LOVE the idea of matching pajamas!!! Enjoy and thanks for stopping by.

    Marian, the Northern half of Evelyn David

  10. I haven't seen it, but I sure hear a lot about it! Maybe one of these days when they do a Def Leppard tribute, I'll turn it on! ;-)

  11. I like it too though I don't watch it regularly, not DVR or TIVO so have to make choices. I'll probably rent the DVD's, lots more fun to watch that way anyway.


  12. I'm a Gleek. And it's the only show on TV that has the stupid, magical power to make me cry! See me sobbing when Curt's dad got sick. Or married Finn's mom. Sometimes I sing along (I can't believe I'm confessing all of this.)

    Evelyn - you're sooo right about the way Glee is reminiscent of the '30s and '40s musicals, the 'my dad has a barn' kids.

    Whatever they're doing, I love it and hope those kids never graduate.

  13. Thanks Rochelle. I agree that the scenes where Kurt's father was sick were powerful.

    Gleeks forever :-)

    Marian, the Northern half of Evelyn David