Thursday, 14 October 2010
Glee has gone from sharp and entertaining, to swinging wildly and occasionally striking, to actively horrifying me. There were a number of points last week when I was ready to break up, but then something great would happen and I would give it another chance. But the breaking point has come. Last week's Grilled Cheezus episode was the first that I turned off in the middle and had no desire to turn back on.
Glee has now been relegated to the reading of recaps on TWOP.
So what happened? What changed?
The first half of season one was brilliant. The show could have ended with the December episode, and it would be remembered for being a brilliant, entertaining and endearingly honest show about youth and fitting in. The songs weren't all mainstream shill, and they weren't used at the expense of plot.
That's the first thing that changed, when producers realized they could make millions from those damn tie-in soundtracks (I'll never forget one club that actually played the GLEE version of Don't Stop Believin' instead of the original). Suddenly our stars were leaping into song at every possible moment, and Sue Sylvester became a one woman joke factory for Will's lesbian hair (her words, not mine). And while the plot greatly suffered, the writers still had a fairly good grasp of their characters, of their desires, of the roots of their insecurities. (Except Will, who got more and more ridiculous).
The first episode that ACTIVELY PISSED ME OFF was when Finn temporarily moved in with Kurt. Kurt had been scheming and almost sexually harassing Finn for a number of episodes at that point, and yet when Finn finally loses it, Kurt is apparently the one with the moral high ground.
And that is the real turning point: when the show shifted from a tone of high camp, which made a lot of the character stupidity forgiveable, to a sort of self-seriousness that does not work at all when every one of your characters is a broad character. The show started to substitute random character traits for actual personality and depth (Sue has a mentally disabled sister, which explains...everything apparently?).
So then season two came along, and I was sucked in by all the summertime hype, enough to maybe give it a chance. But they did it. Three episodes, three writing decisions of absolute stupidity, and I was done.
1. Artie wants to be a football player. Finn helps him. Coach Beiste accepts. HOW MANY THINGS ARE WRONG HERE?!? First of all, what an awful, awful message to send to kids with any sort of developmental problems: you can literally do anything. You are born with a disadvantage, but that's ok, because CLEARLY EVERYONE WILL ALWAYS BEND OVER BACKWARD TO HELP YOU! Especially COMPETITIVE teams that want to WIN THINGS. And we had always been shown that Artie had quite well adapted to his disability, so now he wants to achieve the impossible? OFFENSIVE, SHOW!
2. The Britney episode. What an unqualified waste of time. There wasn't even the usual attempt to make the songs sort of relevant to the goings on in the teenager's lives, we were just treated to a bunch of SHOT-FOR-SHOT remakes of Britney music videos, which I tried so hard to avoid the first time around (as did so many). Why do these Broadway qualified singers need to be dumbing themselves down to sing the least musical songs in the world anyway? OFFENSIVE, SHOW!
3. The straw that broke the camel's back: singing 'religious songs' in a school sponsored activity. This is illegal, EVEN IN TEXAS. It's personally offensive to me both as a religious person, and as a defender of secular separation of church and state. The idea that someone found religion in a cheese sandwich is offensive and dumb (even for Finn), and that he would then force his new views on everyone else (and be allowed to do so in choir) is even more offensive. So well done on the double whammy, Glee, offending truly religious people and offending secularism and the legal principle of separation of church and state.
There are so many other things to carp on, but I've said my piece.
And just to be clear, Glee, it's not me. It's definitely you.