Apr 23, 2010

Whether Thou Gleest?

I should start by saying that I love Glee. But I'm not really sure where they're headed. The mid-season cliffhanger left us with some great plot twists. Principal Figgins finally got Sue suspended. Emma Pillsbury gave notice and emptied her desk. Finn found out about Quinn and dumped her.

The show came back two weeks ago, and almost all of the plot twists were undone. Sue got reinstated, Emma is back at her desk. Will's wife Terri is (conveniently) gone. And here's some moments I wanted to see on camera: Finn and Rachel are already "sort of" dating, then Finn backs out mid-episode. The show built up the suspense between Finn and Rachel the entire previous 12 episodes, and they couldn't show the first kiss? Maybe they're saving that for later. Who knows.

Another illogical plot twist happened earlier in the season in the "Mattress" episode. The kids got disqualified from competition for doing a mattress commercial and thus accepting professional work; but Will was blamed for it, because he slept on one of the mattresses, not knowing where they came from. (Easy Fix: Will buys the mattress and no one's accepted anything. But no.  They kept him suspended from Glee.) It all defied logic, because Sue was on local TV every night, profiting professionally from her role as a cheerleading coach.  The sloppy plotting bothered me at the time, but there was so much more to like about the show that I forgave them.

The show came back with a controversy. Sue Sylvester constantly throws ridiculous insults at the Cheerios.  You think this is hard? Try waterboarding, THAT'S hard ... You think this is hard? Try passing a gallstone, that's hard!  In the first episode, Sue ridicules her Cheerios as the dumbest cheerleaders she's ever coached, and that's saying a lot, I once coached Sarah Palin.  Extreme-right talk show hosts accused the writers of using the show for left winged propaganda, and said TV entertainment shouldn't veer into  politics. Well, political talk radio shouldn't veer into melodramatic fiction. So I guess we're even.

Anyway, the second show back from hiatus was "The Power Of Madonna." All Madonna, all the time. The songs were creative and very well produced. But it was thin on plot. LA Times said it the best here.

Given it was Madonna Week, they were going to deal with  sex. Three couples were planning on it. It happens in high school; many teenagers are curious and anxious to try it. Many already have, that's the reality.  They dealt with the aftermaths of those three trysts in a solid way, I thought. But the attendant "Like A Virgin" video felt like soft porn. It made me sad. Maybe I don't watch enough MTV, maybe this was tame in comparison.

What's GOOD: There is a new plot development: Jesse St James, a guy from the rival glee group Vocal Adrenaline, shows up to steal Rachel's affections and is probably a spy for the rival group. The actor, Jonathan Groff, costarred with Lea Michele in the Broadway musical adaptation of "Spring Awakening." They are great together onscreen. It's a great plot twist that they've planted here. I hope they really use it well. I can imagine where the season finale might go with this homme fatal in the picture.

The Madonna episode informed us that Sue Sylvester had been Madonna-obsessed all her life.  She forced the entire school to listen to Madonna for that episode, then got over it.  Again, felt forced to introduce that and then eliminate it. However, it did produce my favorite part of the show: they replicated Madonna'a Vogue video, frame for frame, with Sue in the title role.  Jane Lynch is always terrific.

Okay Glee writers. We love you.  Get back to the story. Let the music work with the story, not upstage it. We can watch MTV for that.


Kristin Russell said...

I agree! I felt like there was a whole season somewhere I missed. Was there season one and a half? The choreography and musical arrangements are great, but so far, there are a lot of gaping plot-holes threatening to deflate the tires of my enthusiasm.

Cynthia said...

I couldn't agree more. It's like the show sort of moved on without us and we're just tuning in instead of starting up where they left off. I'm too big a fan to give up, but I hope you're right and some better plot lines emerge. What about Kurt and Mercedes as Cheerios? Crazy.

Susan Isaacs said...

@Cynthia. Yeah! Remember the cheerios were down to 11 members, until they added the downs syndrome gal (a plot twist I liked). But lo and behold now there are @ 25 kids sitting in the bleachers? How did that happen? I guess the writers think we don't notice, but we do.

Maureen said...

"But the Like A Virgin video felt like soft porn. It made me sad. " .....Well said.

I'm also a big fan and am willing to suspend disbelief for much of the off-the-wall stuff if it's entertaining enough, but I don't like being treated as if I'm not paying attention to the details.

Gretchen Magruder said...

I felt the same way! I love so many things about Glee, but the soft porn makes it impossible to share the show with my kids. Hoping they decide to start using their sing-along powers for Good!

LJ said...

I want to see you get a gig on "Glee"! That school could use a quirky drama teacher, don't you think? And I mean 'quirky' in the most flattering of ways.

Sarah B said...

im so with you. i heard brittany spears agent was gunning for an 'all brittany' tribute, that she deserved it. please...we need the show's story lines, not a bunch of music videos!

Susan Isaacs said...

@LJ ah from your mouth to the producers' ears! @Sarah: Seriously? Are there enough memorable Britney songs to fill a segment let alone a show? I don't think so. I hope not anyway.

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