Thursday, September 03, 2009

Like pure white sugar for your mind

I think I've written about my love of the new show Glee on here before, or at least I've posted a video clip from the pilot. The pilot (in a fairly brilliant marketing strategy) aired last spring, and Fox (I know! A decent show on Fox?) has been hyping it up all summer. Ratings for the pilot were at about 10 million, which is really very good. Unsurprising, as it aired immediately after American Idol, which is very popular but which is more like Drano for your mind--wipes out brain-cells in one fell swoop. Glee starts for real next week, and I can't wait.

As much as I slag American Idol, the audience for Glee will probably be made up of many of the same people who watch AI. Honestly, Glee is exuberantly unoriginal. It's really just a mashup of Bring It On, Grease, High School Musical, Hairspray, Mean Girls, and, interestingly, The Virgin Suicides. It's that last one (well, the last two) that makes it so refreshing. Yes, the characters are your typical high-school stereotypes: jock, nerd, disabled kid, diva, goth, cheerleader, band-geek, tormented gay kid. But it's the ability of the cast to realize that their characters are stereotypes, and move beyond it. They're not all fully three-dimensional, but it was a pilot, after all. Things always get better. And that Mean Girls/ Virgin Suicides hint of snark and darkness cuts through some of the sugar. The choice to emphasize that the adult characters are just grown-up versions of the highschoolers (Mr. Scheuster, the Spanish teacher/former star quarterback, and his wife, the ex-head cheerleader, still claim high school as the best moments of their lives) means that you've got two sets of characters to root for as they figure out who they want to be and how they want to get there.

The music is also a big part of the appeal of the show for me. As someone who can carry a tune but isn't super talented musically (I play four or five instruments, badly, and whileI love dancing, I'm not sure how good I am at it), it's so fun to watch people who are really good do their thing. They're a damn sight better than the normal suspects on American Idol, that's for sure. As an example of the amazing production values (each episode costs about $3 million to film, takes upwards of 10 days, and involves serious choreography), here's a clip:

Can't help but smile. Glee is super fluffy. I admit that. It's like cotton candy for my brain. But when life is as stressful as it is, and when the rest of my TV diet is pretty high-fibre (True Blood, Mad Men, Dexter, and House are about all I watch), a little sugar ain't gonna hurt. Bring on the cavities.