Glee is Joy

Last night's "preview" episode of the fall TV series Glee was awesome.

It was fun, was well-written, had some compelling characters, and was--yes--a little moving.

It's created by Ryan Murphy, who also brought us Nip/Tuck and Popular. Glee builds on a lot of the genius that was Popular, is savvy about high school power dynamics, both faculty and student.

If you never saw Popular, it was the show that developed Sara Rue, Tammy Lynn Michaels, Christopher Gorham, Leslie Bibb, and Wentworth Miller. It took place in a smallish high school where the rift between the haves and have-nots seemed irreperable until...the most popular girl's dad marries the most "non-conformist" girl's mom and the two mortal enemies are forced to share a house, a life, and worst of all--a bathroom.

Who didn't love Tammy Lynn Michaels's dastardly evil Glamazon cheerleader Nicole Julian, whose persecution of the less fortunate was as inspired as it was horrifying? Or Texan pageant queen Mary Cherry, whose slow murder of the English idiom was rivaled only by her enormous bee-stung lips and hypnotic eyes? And Lily Esposito (recently appeared in a "your butt called me" Blackberry commercial), whose impassioned activism for liberal causes encouraged her to briefly flirt with the liberal cause of lesbianism?

Popular was brilliant for its fearlessness and its willingness to upset the entire reality of its universe again and again. It was sincere and campy above all else. The mighty fell over and over, the meek inherited the earth (and had it taken from them a few episodes later). Bridges were burned and tentatively reconstructed, then burned again. It never failed to be enjoyable.

I have these same high hopes for Glee when it returns full-time in the fall.


  1. Hi,

    I loved the first two season of Nip and Tuck, and loved them, so positive in terms of gay issues. Then it degenerated into the most sexist, hateful, homophobic show on television except for Rescue Me.

    And Charles, you know I look up to you for your blog, so I won't hesitate to say I could barely watch the show.

    I love Waiting for Guffman which on one level satirizes the effeminate theatre director and embraces him at the same time with a refreshing amount of sweetness.

    This show immediately has the lecherous gay male chorus director, and the show tune gay kid, no complexity, which would be fine if they had interesting things to say about these Types (I don't think that all characters have to be fullyrounded three dimensional), but to do something originally funny with them.

  2. I was expecting very little, so I loved it! It's always nice to see a smart show with a lot of variations in tone. I feel like so many shows are one-note (no pun intended.) And did you notice all the ex-Heroes actors (the former Glee club leader, the mean wife, the guidance counselor...?)
    Now it's definitely on my DVR list for the fall...

  3. Steve, I didn't think the chorus director was lecherous--in fact, he was wrongly accused, I thought. Furthermore, he's not "out," doesn't self-identify as gay, etc. And the show plainly dealt with gay parenting.

    I guess the show wasn't merciful to anyone. The piously religious girl whose spiritually only extends to her panties but gleefully preys upon the weak, the scheming girlfriend with unrepentant kleptomania and an aversion to work, the dumb jock who had to look up whether or not women had prostates, the spirit-crushing gymnastics coach and the blase principal. I mean, very few characters were shown mercy. Why should it be different for the gay ones?

    Even the most sympathetic characters are ridiculous: the failed teacher and the OCD guidance counselor.

    The only generosities were extended to the Glee Clubbers, really. Their flaws are out and proud. And the gay kid--even while getting tossed into a trash can--has enough wherewithal to demand to take off his Marc Jacobs jacket before going in.

    I think only the cute talented jock gets off scot-free. That one just isn't fair.

  4. My partner and I both loved "Glee" as well, and we're looking forward to its return this fall. And "Popular" was a hoot (I'm still watching it on DVD).

  5. Yup, I'm in with Glee. So glad to be able to hear the amazing Lea Michele sing--if only I could hear her live again!
    And I agree with your point to Steve. The reason I think the jock guy got of scot free is because he has so much to overcome in real life as a performer--namely singing and dancing.

  6. I loved it and wasn't expecting to because Fox has put on some really shitty programming. The show never came across as homophobic to me. I doubt Jane Lynch would anyone near this show if that was the case. I thought every cliched "type" took a good drubbing in Glee, and that's the way it should be. That's part of equality.

  7. GLEE made me smile.

    I knew I had to watch the first episode when I saw Jane Lynch in the previews. She is hilarious-- loved her in 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN and ROLE MODELS---- also, excited that she is going to be in JULIE & JULIA.