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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