What I loved most about this show when it started in 2009 was that it poked fun at itself. On the heels of the High School Musical phenom, I had equated it to something like that – only Glee didn’t take themselves too seriously. The self deprecating humour was a fresh take on the relatively untapped genre. That first season was amazing and I was obsessed. The second season was still pretty good, and with the introduction of Blaine & the Warblers, it was a nice addition to the cast. I watched season 3, but at this point had become complacent about it. With the first two seasons, my friends and I would watch the episodes and listen to the songs over and over again, ad nauseum. Third season? Not so much. I watched because that’s what I always did: watched Glee. But I hadn’t quite put my finger on it on why I cared less and less each week.
This 4th season had started off promising, thinking that it would be split between Ohio & New York City but after that first episode or two in this current season, it has once again fallen into that lacklustre hole that seems to with more and more frequency. I know I’ve missed a few episodes and actually don’t seem to care too much that I did.
Take last night’s episode – “Girls (and Boys) on Film” – for example. (Slight spoiler warning, I guess) An episode dedicated to the music from movies sounds like something right up my alley. The fact that they were even mentioning Moulin Rouge, my all-time favourite movie, should have been equally exciting but what this former Gleek felt instead was dismay. “Come What May” is one of my favourite songs, and have been wanting to use it in my wedding for as long as I can remember. It’s by no means an unknown song, as I’m sure a lot of people also know about it and have used it, but I liked that it wasn’t mainstream….. until now. Now that it’s been “Glee-ified” and in the context of Kurt & Blaine and weddings, I feel like that’s the reason people will now think I like/chose this song. And then the whole boys vs girls movie music mash-up also sounded promising. Their mash-ups are often done exceptionally well but what did the girls sing? Material Girl and Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend … apparently the Marilyn Monroe version but they inserted some of the dialogue from Moulin Rouge too (“Talk to me, Harry Zidler!“, “Everything’s going so well!“) Weird. Technically both songs were used in the movie so that, plus Come What May – I feel like the writers were just watching the Baz Luhrmann movie and thought – let’s just use a bunch of these already existing songs from this movie! I did really like the harmonizing between Jake & Ryder for Unchained Melody, as contrived and ridiculous as that moment was.
And, okay, I know you’re supposed to suspend your disbelief for many points of the show but I had to laugh when Will pulls up in his car at Emma’s sister’s place to sing to her….. and then all the kids come filing into the driving – ON FOOT – while providing his back up. And c’mon, Emma. He’s been gone for a few months. You ran out on him at your wedding because you didn’t know him anymore?? How long have you known him before he went away for a few months?! Now you two are going to start from the beginning? OMFG. >_<
Not necessarily specific to this last episode, but overall the storylines seem to be getting tired and recycled. All the new cast members are virtually carbon-copy-casting of the original cast in terms of looks and personality. Snotty blonde cheerleader? Check. An insecure wallflower girl with a good voice? Check. Goofy, dopey jock kid? Check. A Puckerman? Check. Please. And then I get that the original cast is around and “growing up” but Rachel’s NYC life has basically no hint of what she once less than a year ago. Sure, they sang-explained it with a makeover with Sarah Jessica Parker early on in the season, but c’mon. And her pregnancy/drug-dealer/whatever plot is ridiculous. And don’t even get me started with Finn taking over “teaching” the Glee club while Schue’s away, and starts dressing exactly like him and kissing his fiancé?? Single white female, much? 0_o
This brings me back to my original point that what made Glee great in the beginning was that they were losers and outcasts – and embraced that. Not even the characters, but it was the WRITING that was so clever and witty with the jabs at themselves. THAT was what made it new and different. Now, with all the melodramatic plots I feel like I’m watching a musical version of Degrassi or something.