So spoke Community's Jeff Winger, weeping from his efforts to enjoy Glee, the Fox musical-comedy-drama mega-hit. As usual, I laughed very hard during Community, with complete sympathy and affection for its splendid cast of zany misfits. But THAT line made me laugh till I cried. Because I completely agreed with Jeff.
I TRIED. I tried so bloody hard. I really wanted to like this show. Know some things about me first, they might be relevant: I'm a guy. I'm straight. And I ADORE musicals, comedies, and musical comedies. It's just GLEE I can't abide.
I think it's called 'Glee' because 'Despicable Me' was already taken. Not very Gleeful. Try Hateful, hollow, and horrifying.
Executive producer and show-runner Ryan Murphy told Rolling Stone '[Glee is] four acts of darkness and two acts of sweetness'. Did my PVR cut off the last two acts? Where was the sweetness? I think he means the wearyingly repetitive slushies-thrown-in-faces gag. Slushies are sweet, right? I think Murphy may have some trouble identifying sweetness: these characters are too deeply cynical to be high-schoolers. And why are they so unattractive? I know, I know, subjective impressions of physical appearance aside: the men are doe-eyed, 'aw, shucks' goofball victims or total douche-hats, and the women are manipulative, evil shrews or crazier than shit-house rats. It's off-putting! I'd rather hang out with Sil from 'Species' than any girl on Glee. Who WAS I supposed to identify with or, god forbid, LIKE?
Now, to be fair, I remember the emotions were real-esque once when the gay kid's dad subverted my expectations by not freaking when his son came out. That actually seemed like a GENUINE moment of human feeling. And I'm told that when Will's horrible wife revealed she wasn't pregnant and had been stringing him along his reaction was VERY realistic, with shades of domestic abuse. Well, coin a phrase, duh! Screw a guy over in the most primitive possible way and watch the laughs keep on comin'!
It turns out people don't like discovering they've been lied to. Take me, for instance. Glee's pilot sold me on a premise: high school schlubs make good in glee club. Yay! Sounds like fine fare, musical comedy fun. I RAVED about that pilot. I looked FORWARD to it. I ENCOURAGED people to check it out when it returned. Then I let it slap my face for 10 episodes until I gave up.
There was no character development. No plot. Just miserable, auto-tuned, stereotypes unable to connect with my life experiences as an uncaring universe heaps torment and humiliation upon them. Whee!
'Glee' pretends to care about humanity, the pain of growing up, and the blight of high school, but I cannot feel its tacky happy endings. "Freaks and Geeks" was painful to watch, too, but at least it seemed more honest. I actually cared about THOSE characters and when bad things happened to them, I felt bad for them. That's how drama's supposed to work. I think. Or is there some way to loathe everything the characters stand for and just enjoy the juiciness as they stab each other? It worries me how many viewers are probably doing just that. Glee oozes with all the shallow, soul-soiling unpleasantness of reality TV only somebody HAD TO MAKE THIS UP!
I know you love it. Plenty of people that I love, love 'Glee'. And now NPH and Joss Whedon are going to be stopping by, too. I LOVE THEM!
Sigh. I really wish I could start believin' again.
But I have the feeling Glee will continue to leave me as cold as a slushy and as heartless at that new ass-banjo Jesse St. James. Here's hoping!