*I know that I promised a follow up to my first post about “Game Change,” but I’d like to skim through it again before I expound on my thoughts about McCain and Palin (1). For now, you are stuck with diatribes about the ridiculousness of Glee and the Brad Pitt Derivative Theory (coming soon). On to today’s post.*
Look, I want to be a Gleek - I love musicals, Glee’s cast is super talented, I worship at the comedy alter of Jane Lynch.
I wish it were true.
However, I am also a writer; I enjoy plot, character development, story arc, logical motivations for action, and a conflict that is interesting and engaging. I will also add one specific thing I want from my stories as well: realism.
I suspect that last point will draw the ire of Gleeks reading this post (2). They’ll probably suggest I need to “suspend my disbelief.” However, my disbelief is suspended. I know the show is a musical drama-comedy, I take no issue with that. I am on board with the in-show musical numbers, the unrealistic production values of their Glee performances (3), hell, I’m even on board with a kid in a wheel chair doing choreographed dances.
I mean, I watched 24 for six seasons! (4) A show where several nuclear bombs went off in multiple different US cities, the government was completely and thoroughly helpless, inept, and corrupt (every single season); and our governing agencies were filled with so many secret moles/spies/traitors that it would be impossible for the country to even operate. AND YET; SOMEHOW, ONE CAREER BUREAUCRAT WHO YELLS ALL THE TIME SAVES THE DAY EVERY SINGLE TIME!
“Read the blog! READ THE BLOG!”
I have no issues suspending my disbelief.
But there are some story lines and plot points (5) in Glee that are too egregious (to me) to ignore any longer.
1. Any and all pregnancy story lines.
I could write an entire 5,000 word essay about how this story line damn near derailed the entire show. Since the writers seemed to have come to their senses and ended it, I will quickly address this embarrassment in some bullet points.
-No one in high school would fall for Quinn’s pregnancy story (6). I’m not sure a group of seventh graders would.
-In the same vein, how dense is Will Shuester? Is he that busy with Glee club that he isn’t even a little bit aware how strange Terri’s pregnancy is going?
”Terri, you’re still stick thin. Weird.”
-Speaking of Terri, let’s bang these out real quick: decides to fake a pregnancy after discovering her pregnancy was a hysterical one (7), convinces Quinn that they can do a secret adoption (8), blackmails the gynecologist into lying to Will, becomes the nurse of the school with absolutely no qualifications or medical experience, provides the glee club members over the counter speed, AND THEN, once Will discovers all this bullshit, she claims it was all for love.
Terri Shuester was/is one of the most ridiculous characters in the history of television. The sooner she is written off the show completely, the better.
-The secret of Puck and Quinn’s drunken sexual romp would last less than a week in any real high school.
-And finally, now that they have aborted (9) that God-awful fake adoption story line, they’ve just stopped addressing Quinn’s pregnancy all together. In the two shows since Glee’s return, Quinn has lost most of her baby bump and they’ve told one pregnancy related fat joke. What?
If they could re-do this piss poor story arc, I suspect they would.
2. Emma Pillsbury - High School Guidance Counselor. LULZ.
I know everyone has had experiences with bad guidance counselors, but how can we take Emma Pillsbury seriously? She is in a constant state of social discomfort (10), she doesn’t seem to know much about how high school works, she offers little professional insight that would make one believe she is actually a guidance counselor, and little in the way of any personal redeemable qualities.
All we get to see is a social derelict who can barely interact with the human race, yet alone young people with serious problems.
She reminds me of a nerdy girl (or guy) who has a crush on the most popular boy (girl) in school and when the popular student shows some interest in the nerdy one and the rest of the student population finally acknowledges the nerd, the nerd doesn’t know how to react.
I realize that she is supposed to be off-beat, quirky, cute, and charming, but she just comes across pathetic and ridiculous.
“Boys have a penis? And girls have a vagina? What?”
3. If Finn was an actual D1 football scholarship candidate, his football team wouldn’t be as miserable as they are.
Have you ever watched a legitimate Division 1 football prospect play high school football? They dominate games. They win games by themselves. They don’t play on teams that struggle to win one game.
Believable fake Division 1 football player
4. The story arc “If we don’t win (insert competition), Glee club’s over” has plateaued.
It was a good stating point for the show - win sectionals or Glee club is disbanded. Throw a bunch of people together, new coach, discover each character and their talents, etc. But now that they’ve reached that goal, and we know that their team is super talented, let’s raise the stakes.
I don’t know what the story arc should be, but if you are recycling story arcs/plot points half way through season 1, you’re either lazy or the show doesn’t have much of a shelf life.
And if you’re writing is lazy, you’re not going to have much of a shelf life anyway. So I guess it’s basically the same thing.
Right, Prison Break?
5. Jesse St. James transfers in the middle of the school year for love
I know that it is the high school kids and their high school issues that drive Glee, and most of the adults are supposed to be buffoons, but come on. What parent is going to let their child transfer to a different high school in the middle of their senior year to be with their girlfriend?
The answer? No parent would do that. He doesn’t even have a believable lie he could tell his parents.
“Oh, hey mom and dad. I was thinking, I’d really like to transfer schools. Why? Because this new glee club at William McKinley, with its hodgepodge cast of misfits, could really bring the best out of me. Yeah, I know, Vocal Adrenaline has won three straight national titles, but New Directions just won sectionals. Well, sure, there were only three teams there and one of the teams consisted solely of deaf kids, but, you know, I definitely think this will be for the best.”
“Don’t blame me for my terrible story line.”
6. Lea Michele’s Rachel character is way, way, way too attractive to be as unpopular as she is.
I’ve had this argument several times and this is what inspired the entire post.
Lea Michele is gorgeous. 10. Absolute knockout. There is no debate. She is stunning and would probably be the most attractive girl in most high schools.
Now, accepting the fact that most of Glee’s cast has not been Hollywood-ized (12), it is only fair to reason that no girl as attractive as Lea Michele would be unpopular in any high school in America.
I don’t care that she is annoying, needy, obnoxious, arrogant and delusional. She would get away with every single one of those negative attributes in any high school anywhere because of how she looks.
Fairly or unfairly, for some reason, people (and especially high school kids) will allow really attractive people to get away with really boorish behavior. That doesn’t mean all attractive people act like jerks. I know many really attractive people who are terrific people with lovely personalities. However, those that act most dick-ish in society tend to be the best looking.
However, some will argue that Rachel is unpopular not only because of her personality, but also because of her extra-curricular activities (13). BUT AGAIN, she is the most attractive girl in their school AND she is super talented. Every guy involved in the popular extra-curricular activities would be falling over themselves trying to date the super hot/talented girl.
That IS the plot of She’s all that. It’s also true.
Ergo, if the presumed cool kids are interested in Rachel Berry, Rachel Berry becomes cool.
Now, Glee has plenty of other issues too: stale jokes from Sue, Will Shuester pseudo-shrink, letting the music drive the plot instead of plot driving the music, Terri Shuester still being in the show, taking itself too seriously, losing a lot of the wink at the audience satire that initially made it great, etc.
But, I believe Glee has had some really brilliant moments too: Kurt coming out to his dad, Finn revealing Quinn’s pregnancy to her parents, their opening number at sectionals, “Don’t Stop Believin,” “Someone to Love,” “Can’t Always Get What You Want”; and some really great things coming up: Neil Patrick Harris/Joss Wheadon, Molly Shannon, a Lady Gaga episode.
Don’t mind us. Just working on a bitchin’ Glee episode.
I’m not quite ready to quit on Glee yet, but if their story telling doesn’t become more focused and less ridiculous, I might just have to bail out.
(1) I’d really like to treat all the characters of “Game Change” objectively. If I don’t re-read some parts of the book, I’ll just end up ripping Palin and McCain more than they deserve.
(2) And by Gleeks I mean the three people reading this who vaguely know what I’m talking about.
(3) Hello Vocal Adrenaline’s AC/DC “Highway to Hell” performance with fire pyrotechnics.
(4) I hate using exclamation points. Whenever I read them, I think “Why are you shouting?” I hope this illustrates how annoying I find this argument.
(5) I’ll try to stick to the big ones.
(6) I forget what said story was, but I remember vividly being appalled by the audacity of the writers trying to stretch the “suspend your disbelief” trope with story.
(7) Unfortunately can’t say the same thing about this particular story line.
(8) I mean seriously, how could any adult think that this could possibly work? Quinn Fabrey, head cheerleader and one of the most popular girls in school, gets pregnant, decides to not abort the kid, has it, and then the kid magically disappears? On top of all that, how was Terri going to fake the actual child birth of her fake child? Like, what the fuck? The writers should be ashamed that they even tried to pass this off as a legitimate story line.
(9) Whoa! Crude pun intended.
(10) Most especially when she speaks with anyone about relationships. I know that’s not necessarily in a guidance counselor’s job description, but high school student dump relationship shit in their laps all the time. You’re telling me that she hasn’t found some level of comfort when discussing it with students?
(11) There are some good looking actors in the cast of Glee, but there are also quite a few regular players whom you probably wouldn’t categorize as gorgeous or Hollywood beautiful. I’d even suggest some are rather goofy looking.
(12) I don’t necessarily agree with the social hierarchy (Jocks at top—> glee members at bottom) presented in Glee. However, I suspect that many high schools are similar to this (mine was) and the forthcoming argument is based on the assumption provided by Glee and what I watched transpire when I was in high school.
*Coming soon: Brad Pitt Derivative Theory, South Park and free speech, and the second part of “Game Change” shockers.*