Yes, I said it. I think there should be a support group for people who have watched every single episode and still can’t stand the show. It’s not so much that I hated it from the beginning; I rarely watch twelve or thirteen episodes of a show that I hate. It’s more of a long-term development over the past few months…something that has come into fruition as the show has declined. Maybe “declined” is too harsh a word – perhaps failed to live up to its potential?
I know the Gleetards are chomping at the bit to rip me apart for daring to speak ill of their baby. I will present a list of why this show drives me up the wall.
1. The characters rarely grow beyond the stereotypes presented to us in the pilot.
Occasionally, and rarely at that, the show will do something to combat the prejudicial, one-note characterizations that they set forth in the pilot. For instance, Mercedes is the angry, sassy African-American woman, but her father’s a dentist. There’s some real envelope-pushing for you, America. On the other hand, Curt is the gay high school student that practices Beyoncé dances in his room and can offer dermatological advice at the drop of a current season’s Marc Jacobs hat. He even played football for a few episodes…as a flamboyant caricature of a gay man. Heaven forbid we show a gay teen that plays sports. These simplistic and awkward cartoons of people pale in comparison to the truly realistic, nuanced characters presented on a show like LOST. Maybe the writers can focus on playing around with their formulaic characters in the second half of the season. So far it seems like a bitter, jaded version of High School Musical.
2. The leads are annoying, and one can’t even sing.
Lea Michele is amazing. Hands down, the woman can sing the crap out of anything put in front of her, and that’s pretty much indisputable. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for Cory Monteith. Where did they get this guy, ABC Family? Incidentally, funny I should ask that, because I just imdb’ed him and it turns out he used to be on Kyle XY.
For a show to hinge on two students leads (we’ll get to the adults later), they have to be pretty dynamic, charismatic characters. Rachel is grating and, at times, insufferable; Finn just seems like he’s constantly stoned. Schue hands probably 90% of the songs to Finn and/or Rachel to sing, without question, and Finn’s range is questionable, at best. He can’t really dance that well, and his voice seems thin, flat, and even off pitch at times. Why can’t we give more of the songs to Curt, Artie, Mercedes, or Tina? Here’s a really crazy question – whatever happened to Puck, Quinn, Brittany, Santana, Mike, and Matt? Quinn has had three songs all season, and none of them were the full versions. Puck had one song – a Neil Diamond cover – that was also cut short. Maybe we should spread the wealth here, friends, especially with your male lead flailing around like a 5th grader at Camp Tiger Claw talent show.
3. Nothing ever happens. Seriously.
So we’ve sat through thirteen episodes and the same two plots have coursed throughout. Quinn is pregnant/Terri isn’t, and the group needs to prepare for sectionals. Honestly, that is all that’s happened. There have been a few obstacles along the way, like finding out that Puck is the father, and Terri’s fake bump (channeling Maggie Lizer, much?) was, in all actuality, not real. Sue attempted to derail the group from getting to sectionals throughout several episodes, and her plans were always foiled somehow. Other than these two storylines, though, almost nothing else has happened. At all. How can a show about high schoolers change so little over the course of three whole months?
4. The show focuses almost disproportionately on adults and not students.
There are whole episodes that focus nearly entirely on the adult characters and ignore the students completely. One specifically comes to mind – the train wreck known as “Acafellas.” Maybe this is just my own personal bias here, but who really cares about Schue’s crushed dreams? He should never put his own pathetic childhood fantasies in the way of his students. When you’re in your thirties and living in small town Ohio, odds are you shouldn’t really be harboring any thoughts of making it big. Focus on your students and their glee club and not on your pathetic moonlighting existence as a creepy excuse for a lounge singer. I’m not saying he shouldn’t do what makes him happy, but his hobbies should never come at the expense of the students he promised to lead. As for the other adults, Terri, Emma, and Ken are all just as boring and the writers fail to flesh them out.
5. Sometimes the show can be outright offensive.
I’m sure most people will counter with me being too sensitive regarding a drama on network TV, but I was appalled at the way the show revealed Terri’s lie to Will. He had every reason to be upset with her, but this scene bordered on domestic violence, and her eyes seemed to show a significant fear for her own physical safety. In an earlier episode, the group met their rivals from other schools, including a choir from a school for the deaf. Near the end, the hearing impaired group tried to sing John Lennon’s “Imagine,” but were quickly outshined and overtaken by their rivals from McKinley. The show tried to present the scene as a “duet” but it came across more as the New Directions kids (name for a rehab center, much?) pushing the other students out of the spotlight. Watch that scene and try to listen to the students from the other school: you can barely hear them. Even worse, when they performed during “Sectionals,” the winter finale of the season, the group was off-screen and mocked by the other characters. Finally, the writers thought it would be hilarious for the coach of said group to be hearing impaired, as well; the only thing funnier is to have him constantly refer to his hearing deficiency, due to a childhood case of scarlet fever. Forgive me if I’m not rolling around on the floor.
Then why watch?
I’m sure most of you are wondering why I waste my time if I hate the show so much. If it’s really that bad, why stick with it? The truth is really quite simple – Sue Sylvester. She is the shining beacon of light in a show mired by such pedestrian jokes and mediocre characters. Arguably the sole character to show growth over the past thirteen episodes, we witnessed an incredible side of Sue when she visited her sister, apparently living with Down’s Syndrome in a special home. We had to suffer through an entire episode of Will’s shrill diatribes being hurled at her to get to this moment, but it was worth it. Sue is never really highlighted in her own subplots, except for the sole transgression involving a crush on a local news anchor. Despite the disastrous results, the audience still saw growth in the character, and motivation for her subsequent machinations against peons like Will Schuester. That’s what it really comes down to – Jane Lynch is the sole attraction of a show that had so much potential. If only more of Glee followed in her footsteps.