Short TV Review: Glee

People kept recommending Glee to me last year—a sitcom/drama/musical about a high-school glee club, the tension of high school hierarchies, and the faculty advisor’s tangled love life—often with the caveat, “It’s stupid, but it’s still really good.” Well, I just finished the first season, and I’d contend it’s one of the smarter comedies on television.

While it does stumble in places (particulary when it focuses on self-contained episodes over the overarching story), and perhaps never again really achieves the same level of savvy satire found in the director’s cut of the pilot, it’s still painful enough to be believable, and ridiculous enough to be funny. It’s also relatively daring as network TV goes, with love triangles hinging not just upon adolescent crushing (though there is plenty of that), but upon issues of marital fidelity and pregnancy. The defensive remarks that it’s “stupid” probably refer to the soap-opera trappings in its storyline, if not the patent absurdity of the way that musical numbers are worked into each episode. Still, I’m willing to give it the benefit of the doubt and assume that when it’s stupid, it’s stupid on purpose, and usually effectively so. Plus, you will have an a capella cover of “Don’t Stop Believing” stuck in your head for days, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

I was a theater geek in high school (did every school show and musicals etc) and I did enjoy the season a lot. It was kind of what I wanted High School Musical to be (those movies are terrible).

I do wish the writers were better and cared about the characters though. You’re spot on with the single episodic episodes being awful. I couldn’t stand them. It felt like the writers were like “That’s a great idea! We need to include Don’t Stand So Close to me” (which was great, despite the awful mashup choice), “Which character can we bend to fit into this episode?”

Side note: I think one of the best things about it is the casting. The cast is amazing.