My Final Word, and That’s It
I am going to use this post to make my peace with Glee. Or, at the very least, state my case at why I think it’s a load of hooey disguised as a diversity-promoting mature High School Musical TV series.
I do not watch the show, but for the purposes of research I watched several episodes from seasons one and two. So yes, I feel as if I know what I’m talking about when I say what I’m about to say. I do feel as if I have better things to do than spend an hour a week on this show. However, I cannot quote every episode word-for-word, nor keep a list of all the classics they revamped and took out of context for the purposes of campy fun, so don’t ask me to, and don’t lash back at me doing such things to try and prove another point. I won’t listen and I won’t care.
But my silence must be broken.
One, I do feel the talent on the show is genuine. Yes, Lea Michele can sing. Yes, Chris Colfer, can act. And Darren Criss…just yes, yes, yes. Okay, the writing is moderately witty. That is the very least I can say in defense of the show.
Tragically, that’s about ALL I can say.
Because, two, for a show that boasts one of the most all-around diverse casts on television, it’s pretty, well, pretty. And white.
I do appreciate the serious issues regarding differences they write about on the show, and how seriously they take Colfer’s character Kurt, the token gay boy coming into his own. But other than homophobia, the show deals with very, very few issues regarding diversity, and it shows in the fact that the romance plots, the personal issues, and the vast majority of the solos (not to mention the semi-skanky magazine covers) go to the pretty white characters.
And this is a fucking travesty, seeing as the tokens outnumber the WASPS by far. I’m pretty sure the only ‘social minority’ that isn’t represented on the show is the Japanese otaku.
And we aren’t just talking racial tokens either. There’s an overweight girl, a physically-disabled boy, a minor character with Down Syndrome, several gay/bisexual characters both in and out of the closet, nerds, punks, and more.
So, answer me this: how come I watched an episode where Lea Michele had THREE songs and half of the show’s plot focused on her shallow romantic trysts with (surprise!) another pretty white person, while most of the others had no songs and hardly any camera time? Why are the two token Asians dating each other? Why do am I expected to accept the fact that all of the authority-figures on the show are just as cute/white?
Glee could’ve been a concept that revolutionized television media forever. In way, considering it’s extreme popularity, it already has. But it could have THAT much more of an impact if Mercedes had the song instead of Rachel (who, by the way, I find to be one of the most irritatingly unsympathetic spotlight-whoring characters on television as a whole). Why can’t one of the token Asians be dating a character of a different race? Why don’t I even know the NAME of the kid-in-a-wheelchair because he has so little plot/camera time??
Glee isn’t making the effort it should. And it upsets me in a way even the great Jane Lynch can’t make up for.
I find so much more interest in the characters that get the least amount of camera focus many times, and that’s just a little quirk I have. In The Breakfast Club, I wanted to know the janitor’s story. I cried when Tosh and Owen died in Torchwood, and their ‘relationship’ piqued my interest more than anything Gwen and Jack or Gwen and Rhys had (okay, I effing hate Gwen all around, I’ll admit it). Unless a lead is so deep and so well-played they capture my interest, I am not attracted to leads. I’m attracted to supporting players.
Glee does nothing to give the leads a chance in my mind. Finn is too passive. Rachel is an annoying, high-maintenance diva. Schuster is too milquetoast. The cheerleaders are bland (aside from the dumb one…Brittany was her name, yes?), and Sue Sylvester’s antics are funny indeed (I did see the episode where she married herself…hilarious). But, realistically, one major character can’t carry a show.
There isn’t an excuse in a day where the youth generation is especially crying out for tolerance in both the racial and LGBTQ arenas for disguising the just-another-suburban-teen-drama as a revolutionary masterpiece that belongs in the West End before it belongs on a TV screen in all it’s amazingness. I’d rather see Chris Colfer’s character get his own show. The actor deserves it, but now he’s been pushed even further out of the show, so it seems, after Kurt ‘transferred’ to another school! Next, will Mercedes go ‘study abroad in Africa’ a la Topher Grace (fyi, that little abscence single-handedly ruined a great show)?
It is this illusion and promise of a wonderful/diverse/real show and it’s ultimate attempt to disguise it’s lack thereof with more fluffy that keeps me from being a ‘Gleek.’ Advertise, but don’t deliver. It’s like buying a cake with chocolate frosting only to cut it open and find it’s vanilla inside. Disappointing. Glee, you’re sugary-sweet teenage dream maybe have millions blinded, but you don’t have a fan in me for this very reason.
Not until Lea Michele gets a whole episode without a song and attention paid to her.