Back in September 2009 I was being tested for a sleeping disorder (I have sleep apnea! fun!) and while the nurse was plugging me up to a million wires and putting this disgusting stuff in my hair I was watching this relatively unknown show called Glee. And it was amazing and fun and SINGING! ALL OF THE SINGING! The first episode had premiered back in May, and my sister was telling me about it because Matthew Morrison stars in it, and we were obsessed with him– he was the original Link Larkin in Broadway’s Hairspray. I was also a huge Lea Michelle fan from her days in Spring Awakening. Needless to say, this show was going to be good. And it was……until it wasn’t.
The first half of the season had spunk and heart and relatively good story lines. Yeah, the writing was a bit shaky and there was no real depth to the characters. But we had the rest of the season! It could only get better from there. OR SO I THOUGHT. I’ve been avoiding writing this post because I can’t really pinpoint what it is exactly that I dislike about the show; it is mainly just a lot of smaller things. But let’s begin with, to me, the biggest disappointment of the show in what I call Why I dislike Glee, Part 1: Character arcs and character/plot development.
I completely understand how the Glee kids find Rachel annoying. But, I mean, COME ON. We are going into the third season and they are still major hating on her. At the beginning it was because she was shallow and stole/hogged the spotlight and was a diva, but in my mind her character has changed…somewhat. She is still an attention hog (she sent a girl to a fracking crack house because she was jealous) but she has become less selfish, even if it is minor. And they still treat her like crap. Finn throws her emotions around, always pitting her against Quinn. I could understand them hating her for the entire first season but seriously, they like her for about ten minutes at the end of an episode and then are back to hating her. Ryan and Marissa’s relationships lasted longer than the Glee club’s friendship with Rachel, and that’s saying something.
Along with that, the other characters are just as shallow as they make Rachel out to be. I would even argue that Mercedes is more of a diva than Rachel. I see that she is upset Rachel gets a lot/the majority of the solos in the first season, but that has changed. Mercedes has been given a lot more spotlight recently and 1) does not seem appreciative at all and 2) still whines about Rachel getting everything. What about Tina? What about Quinn? What have they gotten in terms of solos? Why not give them more than a few bars in a group song? (I really, really dislike Mercedes.)
But even more than Mercedes, I hate, loath, and despise everything that Lauren Zizes is. If I could actually kill a television character, I would choose her- no thought about it no questions asked. She is a horrible, horrible character. I know she is supposed to be on the “evil” side, maybe even a softer villain than Sue. But that does not excuse what she really is: a bully. There is no other way to describe her. She is a bully. And for a group of kids who are constantly being picked on by others, being called losers, etc. they sure are quick to let someone in that continuously feeds into the hate, gossip, and bullying of the Glee club. She starts fights and disagreements, she enables Mercedes to be a diva (and charges her for it), and completely humiliates Quinn. I teach high school students and sadly, I have come across bullying in my own classroom. It was terrible and I saw my own student cry and shut down in class, which only propelled the teasing. Everything Lauren does, I have seen a small form of and the fact that she is supposed to be…helping Puck? Yeah. Right. [And I believe that most of this applies to Santana as well.]
I think most of the adult characters are simply astonishing, and not in a good or positive way. As previously stated, I am a teacher. I’ve been training for the past five years about what to and what not to do in the classroom. We would actually have discussions in my seminar classes about how terrible Will is, and how he would have been fired (if not taken away by the cops) by now. Yes, he does some redeeming things like helping Emma start to recognize/treat her disorder but I just don’t think he is right to be the Glee club sponsor/teacher. For as much “good” as he does, he does far more bad. And Sue is the villain of the show, I get it, and while she has quite a few funny moments, I just don’t even understand how she gets away with saying over half the stuff she says. Yes, I know, this is a television show and there are going to be unrealistic elements and I should just get over it, but Sue is mean. Although she does pleasantly surprise me through her relationship with her sister, and she has shown moments of sincerity and general niceness, so I am definitely willing to give her that.
The other characters who have not been mentioned here I don’t really have too much trouble liking. I’m on the fence about Kurt (please stop screaming at me) because yes, he has had difficulties with people accepting his sexuality, but Kurt is relatively mean to a large majority of people. I’m not saying you should change who you are to please others, and I’m not saying that Kurt should stop being who he is [though what I’m about to say is going to be misinterpreted/attacked by someone I’m sure] but Kurt throws his sexuality in people’s faces, and then gets mad when they don’t immediately love him regardless. Take the prom episode. I was pretty shocked at the results of prom king/queen, and yes, that was horrible. But when getting ready, Kurt wore an outfit that clearly made Blain uncomfortable. He didn’t care- he wanted shock, he wanted wow, and he wanted to be bold. Again, you shouldn’t change who you are to please others, but for Kurt getting mad about others apparently shoving God or religion in his face (like when his father was in the hospital) the same can be said about Kurt shoving issues such as homosexuality and whatnot in other characters’ faces.
As far as plot development, let’s first look at Quinn. She spends the whole first season pregnant and then gives away the baby and then acts like nothing ever happened. Yeah, she references the pregnancy thing here and there, but for building up such a huge story line, even bringing in Idina Menzel (don’t worry- we will come back to her in a later post) to actually adopt the baby, it kind of just fizzled out. Rather upsetting really. There is no way Quinn is that fine after being ridiculed and teased so much whilst pregnant.
Quite a few plot lines last for four or five episodes, but everything sort of drops off. I don’t feel like there has been much continuity. (If you disagree, compare plot lines, continuity, and character development of season one of The O.C. to season one of Glee.) Actually, the only story to have any sort of arc and continuity would be Kurt’s story line and honestly, that has been done to death. I mean, the poor kid cried in almost every episode. Rightfully so, but they’ve focused on one story arc so much that it has lost its luster for me. Time for something new and fresh. My Twitter friend Heather (find her here) agrees with me. She said, “I think the idea of Glee is cool–following a HS glee club that nobody thought could make it as they defied odds, etc. However, there is SUCH a huge focus on the music that there’s not much time left for character development, which does little for plot development as well. If characters can’t grow, neither can the story. What’s left is a flat image of flat characters that sing. And it’s good singing, but if there were no songs, the show would tank.” And I completely agree with her. If there was no music, I would not watch Glee. At all. In fact, that is really the only reason I’ve stuck around (though, to be honest, I’ve never finished the last two episodes of season two).
Overall, Heather has done a nice job at summarizing part one of my posts about Glee. I do really, really like the music which makes it hard to stop watching Glee (therefore making me feel like a hypocrite for watching it). But like I said, without the music I would have stopped watching a long time ago.
I look forward to your comments, but please keep it civil. We may have differing opinions but that is no need to be nasty. And keep a lookout for post two coming soon!