It is no wonder that a bright, sunny, funny and joy-filled television show like “Glee” would find an audience in these trying times. With out of control Government spending, giant oil spills and our own national economic woes all at the forefront of people’s minds, we all need a little bit of weekly escape-even if it is for only an hour.
It is amazing, as well, the incredible cross section of people that actually enjoy watching this show. It is a hard TV show to explain but to the hardcore “Gleeks” (“geeky” fans of “Glee”) everything in the world of “Glee” makes perfect sense. We even think that all High School Glee Clubs have access to orchestral arrangements, full choirs (hello “Like a Prayer”) and sundry back-up dancers at a moment’s notice.
But although I am a hardcore “Gleek” myself, there are always things that can be improved upon. So here is my list of the top ten best (and worst) things about the first season of “Glee.”
The “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” Football Team Dance Routine
When Kurt joined the football team as the star kicker he taught the macho players the entire “Single Ladies” dance routine as a form of exercise. As the team was close to losing another game, they decided to perform the dance on the field to confuse the other team. It worked and the team won the game. Yes, it’s utterly ludicrous. Yes, it would never happen. But it was utterly hilarious and inspired.
Kurt Comes Out to His Dad
While “Glee” can sometimes lack grounded realism in some of their subplots, the story of Kurt coming out to his dad was done with incredible sensitivity and heart. Most good parents would never turn their back on their children for being gay and it was great to see such a fine example of good parenting on Prime Time television.
Creating an Episode Devoted to One Artist (Madonna)
This hugely hyped “Glee” episode lived up to every expectation any Madonna or “Glee” fan could ask have wanted. You can even see students dressed up as a number of the Material Girl’s many personas as Rachel and Finn walk down the hall singing their “Borderline/Open Your Heart” mash up. Let’s hope “Glee” does more theme episodes but no more than one a year so it remains an exciting concept for viewers.
Guest Star Kristen Chenowith as April Rhodes
In the two episodes where she was featured Emmy winning actress Kristen Chenowith stole the show with her vocal performances (her sultry “One Less Bell to Answer” was a high point of the season) and impeccable comic timing. Let’s hope April hops back in her Pinto for another visit to McKinley High.
The Discovery of Sue Sylvester-a Villain to Rival Darth Vader in Greatness
If I were to write down every brilliant line Sue Sylvester has uttered this season my hand would fall off. She is simply one of the most inspired villains television has ever seen and her track suits are, as she would say, “outstanding.” And that’s how Sue sees it.
Brittany, the Airheaded Cheerleading Cheerio, and Her Classic One-Liners
“Dolphins are just gay sharks.” “I think my cat has been reading my diary.” Such are the thoughts of the slutty, airheaded Cheerio cheerleader named Brittany. She may not say much but when she does it’s always memorable.
Exposing Young People to Standards from Performers Like Burt Bacharach in the Episode “Home”
Although many people may have thought the episode called “Home” (which featured a number of standards and Burt Bacharach songs) was out of touch with the hip, youthful vibe of the show, I have to disagree. “Glee” is about shining a spotlight on all music that brings people joy and there is a beauty to classic vocal standards that young people might just start to like if they are exposed to it.
It must also be fun for the cast to be able to perform songs that aren’t just always classic rock or plucked from the Top 40. And we don’t want them (or the creators) burning out on this show so it can stay on the air for many, many seasons to come. They are already signed up for seasons 2 and 3 so the weekly doses of happy will continue for at least that long.
Cutting Classic Songs Short in Episodes (Examples: “Like a Prayer” and Journey’s “Faithfully”)
I realize that “Glee” is only an hour long so they have very tight timelines for song routines and story-telling but some things are just sacrilege. And by cutting short songs such as “Like a Prayer” and “Faithfully” it takes away from the storytelling power that they themselves possess.
At least the full length versions are always available on iTunes. Perhaps it’s because of the “teaser” nature of many of the songs that can helps explain why I download all of them? Maybe those guys at Fox aren’t so dumb after all?
The Under-Utilization of Mercedes and Kurt in Songs and Story-Lines
Sue Sylvester summed it up best when she asked Kurt and Mercedes this simple question. “Why on Earth don’t you two have your own show on Bravo yet?” While this is a jab at Bravo’s love of spotlighting brassy women and the gay men who adore them, it also speaks volumes about the fact that these two actors could carry their own show. They are sort of the Jack and Karen of “Glee.” And on a personal note, give Kurt a real boyfriend. It’s not 1990 anymore. Gay kids do have boyfriends in High School now.
We Want More Becky!
Becky the Cheerio is played by 19 year old Lauren Potter, a Southern California actress who has Down Syndrome and really was a cheerleader in High School. Her plucky portrayal of the ever chipper Becky is a delight and her comic timing is impeccable.
She also gives Sue Sylvester a slightly two-dimensional edge as we learned via Becky that Sue grew up with her own “handi-capable” (Sue’s words) Down Syndrome. There are kids with Down Syndrome in countless schools all across this country and they should, quite frankly, have someone like Lauren Potter representing them with juicier story lines and more cheerleading.