Wednesday, May 27, 2009


I think the best show about teenagers I've ever seen is the BBC show Skins. Skins is a mixture of wild and funny adventures grounded in realism that allows its cast of colorful characters to live dramatic and interesting lives without descending into the melodramatic cliches.

Glee, on the other hand, just loves those melodramatic cliches. Okay, "loves" is a strong word. Maybe it's more like stupid television cliches (STC) about teens are Glee's no good boyfriend. The show would like to get away from them and they even break up for a while but, sure enough, you see them out at McDonalds together a week later. STC is saying that Glee has to pay cause he forgot his wallet while he slaps Glee on the ass a little too hard saying, "You know you love it."

Glee has an interesting cast of character actors that play the adults who, as is usual in shows that focus on teens, range from apathetic to utterly moronic. Jane Lynch, a gifted comic actress you've seen in movies like 40 Year Old Virgin, is especially good as a cheer coach who manages to make drinking a health shake funny. She clashes with Spanish teacher Will Shuester (Matthew Morrison) who wants to take over the Glee Club after its current teacher gets a little too friendly with a student. Will is driven by his own memories of high school in the 90s when, if his memories are accurate, the entirety of high school life revolved around the wondrous and magical world of show choir.

As for the kids themselves, as I mentioned yesterday, the only one I really liked was Rachel, played by Lea Michelle. She's a very smart girl who's also a gifted singer and is a perfect addition for the Glee Club. Her problem is that she knows all this and doesn't feel any constraint in constantly talking about how wonderful she is. Lea Michelle manages to take this annoying, self-absorbed girl who desperately needs to get over herself and make her someone interesting and fun to watch.

There are other kids in the club but the only other one you find out anything about (though all the characters would eventually get the spotlight on them) is Finn Hudson. The first thing I noticed about him is that the actor who plays him, Cory Monteith, could only be a high school sophomore if he'd been held back for the last ten years. Sure enough, he's 26, only four years younger than the man playing his teacher. One thing I liked about Skins was that they actually used real teenagers to play their teenage characters. Casting someone who's too old be a college senior as a high school sophomore is distracting and, if the show turns out to be a hit, will only become more distracting when his hairline starts to recede.

Anyway, Finn is a football star who, along with his fellow players, enjoys bullying the weaker kids. You know right off the bat though that he's a little different when he allows one kid to take off his expensive new coat before he gets tossed into the dumpster. Shuester hears Finn sing and plants drugs on him so he can blackmail the guy into joining Glee Club. Seriously.

That, at least, wasn't a common cliche of teen shows, unlike several other instances that caused this show to lose me as a fan. People in shows like this often start talking in melodramatic speeches that no human being on the face of the Earth has ever actually said. There's a point where Finn, having been enlightened by the spiritually healing powers of Glee Club, releases a kid in a wheelchair being tormented by his fellow bullies, "because he's a loser." Finn then launches into a monologue that I think lasted for twenty minutes even if the clock said it was less than two about how we're all losers which was stupid. Rachel also goes on at one point about how she really wants to accomplish something. Even Will Shuester gets in on the fun as he talks at length about how he wants to do something that makes him happy rather than take a better paying job cause after all wouldn't he want his child to do something that made him happy and OH GOD PLEASE MAKE IT STOP AAAHHHHH!!!!!

And that's why I don't like Glee. The show could improve and the things I don't like about it could be removed but I don't expect them to do this because a lot of people in the television business think that cliche filled monologues about melancholy teenage existence are high art. Oh well, we still have Gossip Girl, right?

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