Let me set the record straight once and for all – Glee has always been about the music! We have cared little for the characters and the outrageous plot lines or the person irritating cheerio coach and later principal Sue Sylvester in that particular week’s episode. Having just watched the two hour finale, to not just season six but the entire show, I feel in the right place to finally reflect on a excellent television show of the past few decades, but perhaps not quite the greatest.
My love affair with Glee started when Michelle’s dear friend Shabana, recommended I watch the show, primarily for the Show Choir tutor – Mr. William Michael Schuester. He had not just an amazing voice but was able to shake it on the dance floor. So in late 2009 and into early 2010 I was watching the first series to catch up with the output on E4. Most important to me was the fact the whole premise of the show was fun. It never took itself too seriously and even when plot lines went a little moody, there was always a quick segway into a usual comic music number. The stand out performances for me in that opening season were from Artie in the single episode Dream A Little Dream. They were Safety Dance and Dream A Little Dream. The Men In Hats number would remain my favourite until the start of season two.
I can appreciate the difficult job when the writers took up the reins of series two. How could they top the debut? The result was a slow start until the sixth episode. Many people may have given up at this point but I was keen to give the show the time it deserved. I knew better things would come along eventually. I was right, the introduction of The Dalton Warblers and in particular Blaine Anderson took Glee to new heights. They would remain at this peak for two good seasons. I tended to blog about Glee only when there was a performance worth highlighting or a particular plot point that deserved to be reviewed. However as I mentioned at the start of this post, music was key to everything. The characters were all larger than life, even Principal Figgins whom will always be a hero of mine!
Feeling a little underwhelmed having just watched the final eighty odd minutes of Glee. Although the ending was perfectly poignant, it felt rather rushed to get all the various strings of narrative tied together for a crowd pleasing conclusion. The cast and crew had plenty of fun in this sixth and final season, you could tell with some of the flamboyant song choices (even by Glee standards). My criticism of this limited run, will always be the desire to fill in too many stories into a definite amount of screen time. Never was any plot given the justice it so badly craved. Instead it felt like a brainstorm session gone into overdrive with nobody willing to take the decisive decision, so all ideas got thrown into the melting pot, with no care for how they might end up in the end product on the small screen.
Having said all of that, there were still moments of sheer magic. In episode three, entitled Jagged Little Tapestry there was the mashup performance of King’s “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” and Morissette’s “Head over Feet”. Let me underline that I have never been a fan of the mashup, particularly on Glee. (Personally these types of songs should be left in the hands of the experts, such as music television channel Q) Jane Hayward’s beautiful voice complemented the tender tone of Mason McCarthy to create the perfect balance for a contemporary love song. The show reminded me what a ground breaking album Alanis had released way back in 1995, with so many hit songs. I had to download Head over Feet again to remember how elegantly written and sung the song is, with lyrics such as “You Ask How My Day Was…”
Finding it difficult to summarize a show which I have watched religiously for the past six years, but that never quite got under my skin like Greek or Fringe. (I could go into the reasons why, but they are actually scattered across this blog under the tag glee. Feel free to have a rummage around!) Forty three odd minutes spent (usually) on a Sunday morning watching the latest happenings in a high school in Ohio, with larger than life academic staff and children with a multitude of issues for a multitude of reasons. Instead I am going to leave the final few words from articles I found online in the past few days. Firstly Daniel Martin in The Guardian, perhaps puts his finger directly on the button of what gave Glee it’s quintessential charm and why at times it was lost with moving the action to New York. Then from the eyes of a fan aged thirteen at the shows premiere, and still a teenager (just) as the show came to a close – Emily Zauzmer with her Ode To Glee from The Harvard Political Review.
Glee has added so extra spark to my life that the show in my eyes, will never be forgotten. Even if I am far from the demographic that should have registered any interest in the Fox show. Without Rachel Berry and Kurt Hummel, I would never have gone to watch Wicked in the West End for my 30th birthday. I would have never have discovered and re-discovered some awesome songs that may otherwise have been forgotten forever. The reality for me, as a fan of 1980s pop was watching Ryan Murphy and team re-work a classic and somehow get the song to fit into the plot. An easier job before they took the elementary option of themed weeks as if this was an episode of The X Factor. Perhaps that was the moment Glee lost some of it’s charm. For me, any show that can launch the career of beautiful Naya Rivera and multi talented Darren Criss (among many more) deserves all the accolades it achieved, even if only at the start. Now while many will put it down to a ‘fad’, I will forever associate the show with fun times I had, watching a comic book musical come to life each week on my television screen.