Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie
Who: “Glee,” a musical comedy-drama series that aired on Fox from 2009 to 2015.
What: “Glee,” a musical comedy about a high school show choir or “glee club,” the show choir members’ quest for acceptance of themselves and each other, their reflections on their place in the world and in their maturation, and their attempts to survive the minefield that is high school (for a more detailed Synopsis, read here: http://www.aceshowbiz.com/tv/glee/summary.html).
When: The show aired for six seasons, from 2009 to 2005, on Fox.
Where: The show is set in fictional McKinley High School in Lima, Ohio, though, come Season 5, it also travels to New York City to follow some of the characters who have graduated high school since the series began.
Why: As a theatrical and musical person, and traditionally an eccentric in my own right, Glee initially appealed to the Chief CP on many levels – but why did I keep watching it? For that matter, why did my co-conspirators and co-panelists, all CPU! regulars of varying frequency, do the same? We spend much of this “Looking Back” CPU! episode grappling with that very question.
How – as in How Do We Really Feel About This Show (in the End)?!
The Chief CP previously covered Glee, specifically in blog form. Read prior entries via clicking the helpful hyperlinks below:
Despite these two articles/reviews, I let Glee coverage readily lapse whilst I rebooted this site into a podcast plus (podcast with extra content). It was easy for me to do so, in retrospect. Glee began as a refreshing new take on standard teen TV tropes, all while set to funky fresh (re)arrangements of pop, rock, country, rap, and Broadway classics. With an edgy underbelly punctuated by red and blue slushie tossing and the conniving sneer of Cheerios Coach Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch), there was a lot to love about Glee when the program first premiered. Unfortunately, the show’s over-commercialized propulsion to receptor of heightened generation-motivated scorn and ensuing infamy became the centrifugal force around which the writers geared plot and character development, such as it was, in seasons following the second. It soon became a chore to keep going with the series, particularly just prior to and following the death of character Finn Hudson’s real-life counterpart, Cory Monteith.
So, after some time sitting on Glee here at CPU!, while letting the show slowly drift down our “What We’re Watching Currently” list without too much in the way of regret, and after some rumblings from the CPU! faithful concerning the idea that, perhaps, the much ballyhooed and widely controversial (and divisive) series should become the subject of one of our podcast panels, your Chief CP dusted off the old vinyl covers of this manic, musical extravaganza and recruited some of those self-same faithful to staff the discussion. Thus, herein, familiar panelists Sarah, Michael, and Emily gather “around the water cooler” for a long, sometimes hard – and even unforgiving – look back at the iTunes-ready song stylings of TV/pop culture sensation Glee, and all that it had to offer, between Lea Michele’s closed-eye ballad belting to Heather Morris’ confident twerking, from Mr. Schu’s (Matthew Morrison) “butt chin” to Sue’s soft spot for the stalwart Becky, from Klaine and Frachel to Brittana and whatever other glib moniker could be ascribed to the new relationship of the week. This podcast was recorded in April 2017 and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as we cover major plot points throughout the Glee series, from “Don’t Stop Believin'” to the last tune, some song by One Republic that I’ve never heard of because I’m probably too old to be watching Glee. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!
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Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly! Next Wednesday, we’ll be launching a new mini-series around the water cooler, when we check in with a score of familiar voices and their effusive love and passion (not misplaced) for the international, sensational, representational BBC adaptation of Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. The first episode next week reviews the first two series (from 2010 and 2012, respectively). Stay tuned!
PARTING SHOTS & RECOMMENDATION
Our panel struggled, looking back and as a whole, with this once original, formerly fresh, and creatively campy show, as the series became so uneven, so by rote over the top, and so formulaic, in that it kept following the same formula that it created in season one, with less success, over and over and over again. The panelists predominantly resigned themselves to the superficial when discussing appreciation (or lack thereof) for this musical show meditating upon increasingly rarer funny exchanges or the many forgotten songs, rearranged into palatable sound bytes and packaged with splendorous auto-tune.
The CPU! Glee panel, thus, struggles to recommend this series to anyone who would not appreciate the voluminous musical montages, tributes, rearrangements, and homages, and/or to anyone over the age of, say, 50. In fact, it was generally agreed by all that the younger the better to watch and to potentially enjoy Glee, as its hyper or magical realism was played to increasingly tedious and preposterous effect, particularly as the show became more commercialized, merchandised, toured, and able to be downloaded for $0.99 per song. Most of the panelists forewarn that anyone who undertakes Glee (who has not somehow sampled it in the past, for better or for worse) will find the pilot magical, the first season both engaging and endearing, and everything beyond that progressively disappointing if not outright infuriating. With that warning in place – some panelists standing behind it more strongly than others – all original seasons of Glee are available on Netflix and on Amazon Prime. Don’t say we didn’t warn you and don’t hurl slushies at us, whatever you do!