Wednesday, September 11, 2013

It's Gleek to me

Naya Rivera who plays Santana on Glee
(Courtesy of my friend Michael Hopper)

One of the advantage of having deluxe cable television is that you have so many television stations to pick from that you don't really watch any of them. So, although the television series Glee has been on the air on the Fox Network since 2009, I never watched it. Being on the Fox Network was probably the primary reason I never watched it.

I didn't really have a clue as to what it was about or who starred in it other than comedienne Jane Lynch. I assumed it had something to do with a high school glee club and that Jane Lynch was their director.

Several things conspired to change my ignorance about Glee. First I read an article about the untimely death of one of Glee's young stars, Corey Monteith. Monteith, a 31-year old Canadian actor died in July of a drug and alcohol overdose in a hotel in Vancouver, Canada. One of the things that intrigued me about the story was that Monteith was 31 and played a 16-year old high school quarterback on Glee.

The second thing that happened leading me to Glee was I bought a Kindle Fire HD and subscribed to Amazon Prime which includes access to 40,000 instant videos including many television programs. It is the same Amazon Prime that gives me access to several year's worth of My Ghost Story and Celebrity Ghost Stories that I mentioned in my post about spirits breaking the glass panel on my deck.

The final thing that happened that aligned the planets in favor of me watching Glee was the dumb television in my living room gave up the ghost (not the same ghost that broke the glass panel on my deck). Once it died, I decided to buy a smart television that would give me access to the Web and 40,000 streaming videos through Amazon Prime. This was in addition to the 250 some channels I already don't watch including six or seven premium channels and on demand options as well.

So, after pretty much exhausting all of the current episodes of Pawn Stars, I fired up Amazon Prime on the smart television (it is only a modes 32-inch model, so don't be too jealous) and searched for Glee and brought up the first season. The beauty of watching television programs on Amazon Prime (or Netflix I imagine as well) is that there are no commercials and you don't have to wait a week to see what happens. I breezed through the entire first season in less than a week and am now almost through season 2.

I realize that I am not the demographic that Glee plays to. I'm a middle-aged white guy and am not supposed to even know any of the songs they sing on Glee nor even remember high school. But the thing is, I love the show.

There, I said it. Ridicule me if you must, but the thing about Glee is that it is quirky, unexpected and full of great music sung by a cast of incredibly talented people. And doesn't seem to have any taboo subjects. It also has an underlying theme of tolerance that I find refreshing. It makes fun of everybody yet defends their rights to be gay, obese, handicapped, pregnant, and not the sharpest rock in the river.

The funny thing its, that Glee reminds me of high school in a bittersweet kind of way. I was in the marching band and didn't realize at the time that most people thought high school band was for losers. Now granted I was the drum major, so that kind of made me the leader of the losers, so it was something. I was just a geek like the beautiful, incredibly talented young people on Glee pretend to be. No one ever threw a Slushee in my face like the jocks do to the Glee Club members on Glee. But did encounter my share of bullying and ridicule at the hands of jocks.

I remember one particular moment in high school when I was reminded of my place in the social hierarchy. It was half time at a football game and I was dressed in my drum major uniform (buckskins and full Indian head dress...we were the Braves during a time when political correctness hadn't begun to tackle mascots). Part of the half time ceremony was supposed to be devoted to introducing the Homecoming Queen and Princesses. The thing was that two of jocks who were supposed to escort a couple of the Homecoming Court hadn't arrived. So the organizers approached me and my junior drum major and asked if we would escort the Queen and Princess (both head cheerleaders) onto the field. I agreed. To their credit, the cheerleaders tried to act like it was an honor to be escorted by band geeks onto the field, but I could see tears in their eyes.

Fortunately for them, the two jocks, dressed in tuxedos, arrived just in the nick of time and I was brushed aside. I returned to the band bleachers.

My Glee moment aside, despite my age, I do recognize most of the music on Glee (except for the Justin Bieber crap). Much of it is classic rock. And it is performed incredibly well in a manner no high school glee club could ever possibly manage. The thing is, Glee creates a fantasy world you want to believe in. Ignore the fact that none of the performers looks remotely like a high school student and that all of the spontaneous performances are perfectly choreographed with back-up musicians who appear out of nowhere.

The point is, who cares? It isn't supposed to portray reality. It's reality the way we would like it to be. I know that, as a kid, I used to fantasize the world being a musical and people breaking into song the way they did in the movies. Glee is that fantasy and I can't wait to catch up on the next three seasons.


Helen Baggott said...

*stands up*

My name is Baggy and I watch Glee.

*feels better already*

Time said...

I knew you were a special person Baggy!

The random ramblings of a magpie mind said...

Just stumbled upon your blog ( which I am thoroughly enjoying, thank you) , and am in total agreement... Being a British 40something; the world of High Schools is totally alien... But Glee is a guilty pleasure, to be enjoyed whilst curled up on the bed drinking coffee and munching chilli chocolate..... ah the harmonies, the mashups, the bright young things... escapism at it's very best! Long may it continue

Time said...

Welcome Alex, it is always a pleasant surprise to discover that someone new is reading my blog and is a fellow Gleek! I haven't made it past season two, but I am curious how they keep the Glee members in high school for five years. :)

The random ramblings of a magpie mind said...

Why thank you.... and a jolly good read it is too!
They're probably all singing and dancing soooooo much, that they're totally failing every other subject; so never get enough credits to graduate .... is that the system in the states? ... (Blushing furiously as I have no idea, even though my nephews are California born and bred)

Time said...

As near as I can figure, the only class any of them have outside of Glee is Spanish with Will and he tends to grade papers drunk. My own experience with high school here (and I won't go into how long ago that was)is that the only thing that prevents you from graduating is flunking out on a majority of your classes or simply dropping out of school.

I suppose they could simply all graduate and join a Glee Club in a local college and milk the series for another four or five years. Or they could simply introduce new Glee members each season when the older ones graduate.

I think I am over thinking this, however. You were right, Glee is best just enjoyed and not analyzed.