Monday, May 3, 2010


I like Glee a lot.  It's sort of a scarier version of High School Musical, with half the program devoted to over-the-top MTV inspired music video sequences.  I know it's these sequences and the music that's enabled Glee to really break out — I mean, the Glee cast actual tours the country singing — but for me, what makes Glee stand out is the complete world it's created.  That's hard to do.  Very few creative enterprises succeed in creating a "world".  On TV, Mad Men does it.  Deadwood too.  And The SopranosCurb Your Enthusiasm and Entourage too.

So what's Glee's world like?  Nasty.  The world of the nightmare teenage high school years where no one ever feels like they fit in, even if they are super popular.  In Glee, the haves and have-nots duke it out.  Including the teachers.  And I love the teachers.  The hapless principal (and who hasn't experienced one of those).  The scary coach of the cheerleaders who's turned the high school into her empire because that's the only power she'll ever have (schools are full of those).  The counselor who's pretty nutty (Jayma Mays seems to be specializing in nutty).

Two of the creators of Glee worked on Nip/Tuck, and there is definitely the same wacky, edgy feel.  (Jessalyn Gilsig, who plays Terri, the crazy wife of the coach of the glee club, is also an alum).  Thus far, my only complaint is that the music sequences are just too predictably placed and too numerous.  I want to look forward to those, not groan, "Music sequence!".

So what's been the highlight?  Kristin Chenoweth.  I loved that singing duel between young, virginal Rachel and Chenoweth's alcoholic has-been April, both singing "Maybe This Time" ("The Rhodes Not Taken" episode).  You think high school is tough, kids?  Wait until you're a has-been and you're sucked dry of all hope.  You'll be longing for those frozen Slurpees.

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