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The Much-Anticipated Epic GLEE Post

WARNING, TBA READERS!

If you are not a fan of Glee, feel free to skip this post and move along OR to tell me why you don’t like Glee. I always love a good debate.

Before I get started, let me say that I am 40 years old and a full-blown “gleek”. I am not sure what the fan demographics are for this show, but I feel as if I may not necessarily represent the general population of “gleeks”. Or, maybe age doesn't matter. Maybe a "gleek" is a "gleek" is a "gleek".

That said…here it goes.

I never was in a glee club in school. I did manage to hold mine own as an alto in our school’s middle school choir and then for one year of choir in high school. After that I turned to playing softball and other extracurricular activities. My only foray into acting/musical theatre came playing a “munchkin” in our middle school’s production of Wizard of Oz. I loved going to school plays and musicals and supporting my friends. I even managed to run the spotlight for a jazz ensemble once or twice. Back in the day, I was deathly afraid to perform in front of others. I managed to let stage fright rule me for years – even into late 20s, but that is for another post entry.

My love for theatre has always been strong. Being so close to Philadelphia, NYC and DC over the past 10 years has afforded me many opportunities to take day trips to the city to catch shows on Broadway and other productions. My favorite contemporary (aka “new”) musical is Wicked. I saw it about 4 months after it opened on Broadway with the original cast. Rent follows as a close second for favorite musical. I have a slight (who am I kidding?) obsession with Idina Menzel. Again, that’s for another post entry.

With regard to the “Broadway Standards”, I must say that Les Miserables, Chicago and Phantom of the Opera are my top three. Other favorites include: In the Heights and Avenue Q. I also loved the smaller productions off-Broadway, including Hedwig & the Angry Inch and Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue.

So this back story leads me to…GLEE, the best new show on TV this season.

I find that people either are OBSESSED with the show or they ABHOR the show. It polarizes people. I find that people who love Glee tend to also love musical theatre, but not always. Many of those who love Glee also often identify with the feeling of being an “outcast” or a geek/nerd during their school years (and maybe even today). I think the one thing that Glee does well is portray an ensemble of characters that remind us of us.  Whether it is the classic overachiever (Rachel), the jock (Finn), the cheerleader (Quinn), the ditz, the loner, etc., Glee captures the essence of these classic stereotypes and portrays them in a way that its fans can truly connect to.  I think some of us see a bit of ourselves in each of the characters.

I also think that some of the storylines/issues that Glee tackles are timely and timeless. I particularly loved the surprise scene where Kurt’s father defends him to Finn. It was refreshing and touching. In a show where “camp” isn’t a place you go to in the summer, these more serious scenes catch us off-guard and make me love the show even more. While the initial episodes of Season One will remain among my favorites, subsequent episodes still manage to balance camp and cheesiness with some serious messages.

OK – so I’ve managed to write five paragraphs about Glee so far and NOT mention the music. As a professed theatre junkie, I was caught “hook-line-and-sinker” when this show debuted. Any show where its characters spontaneously break out into full-blown show tunes and dance numbers is fine by me. I confess that I own the entire catalog of Glee soundtracks and I have watched most of the musical scenes from Season One more times than I care to admit. I also bought the Glee Season One Pass on iTunes so that each new episode is immediately downloaded to my iTunes library after it airs. Of the musical numbers, I find that I am drawn to the ones that Lea Michele (Rachel) performs. I also love Chris Colfer’s (Kurt) and Matthew Morrison’s (Mr. Schuester) numbers. Who am I kidding?  I love ‘em all!

Favorite episodes include:

  • when Rachel realizes that Shelby (Idina Menzel) is her mother (“Funny Girl”)
  • when Kurt joins the football team to impress his father (“All the Single Ladies”)
  • the Lady Gaga Episode (“Bad Romance”)
  • Journey to Regionals when Finn tells Rachel he loves her (All of the Journey tunes)

It has been great to see the characters evolve over the first season. I went back to watch the pilot episode and it was interesting revisiting the characters as they were first introduced.  The show’s guest stars were refreshing and often surprising. Who knew they’d have Josh Groban and Olivia Newton John make guest appearances?! Neil Patrick Harris was brilliant! I love every second that Kristin Chenoweth is on the screen. I must confess that I think Idina Menzel was completely underused in her role as Shelby. However, I am quite biased when it comes to all things Menzel.  Her version of “Funny Girl” was perfection. And, I still am trying to wrap my head around why they chose “Poker Face” as the Rachel/Shelby duet. It kind of freaked me out even though it sounded great.

Wait! There’s more. What a great stroke of genius is Sue Sylvester? I have adored Jane Lynch since her days in the Christopher Guest movies – particularly “Best in Show”.  Sue Sylvester’s character is abrasive and completely inappropriate most of the time. Her ongoing feud with Will Schuester is classic. I admit I was slightly disturbed by Mr. S’s seduction of Sue Sylvester in that one episode, though. When we see glimpses of Sue’s humanity it reaffirms that even most outwardly hateful/mean people are human in the end.  The same can be said for all of the characters, I suppose. For every stereotype represented in this show, the ultimate lesson is that we all are more alike than different.  This message is both compelling and honest. It’s why I love Glee so much….aside from the fact that it has given me license to belt out show tunes in my most unlikely of places.

So, TBA Readers who are also full-blown GLEEKS, what say you?

I would love to see where you guys are from so be sure enter the following in the comments’ “name section” – (name) from (city/state or country).

 

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