The Decline and Fall of Glee


CynthiaLGleeSometimes, things happen which are difficult to explain: Snuggies, Keeping Up With the Kardashians (‘so like, you just WATCH their LIVES?’) and that weird meteorite thing that hit Russia the other week which nobody’s really talking about are all good examples.

Perhaps the most perplexing phenomenon of our time occurred last Friday, when FOX announced that it will be ordering not one but two new seasons of Glee, its once glossy and prizewinning show pony which now grazes sadly in that old, sparse field at the back of the TV farm where they send old, unfunny horses to die.

Neigh I hear you cry (so sorry for continuing the horse joke)! That show hasn’t been funny for years! Was it even ever funny? How many more times do we all have to watch Lea Michele literally make herself cry at the beauty of her own singing voice until we all rediscover our essential humanity and say once and for all: enough is enough?

Look. I’m sorry if I seem kind of down on Glee. These days, it is properly terrible, but I’m sorry all the same: you see, it’s just that I miss the old Glee. That was a Glee which understood its characters – the writers gave Sue Sylvester hilarious insults and outlandish plotlines (‘That’s how Sue ‘C’s it’, anyone?), not horrible Nicki Minaj musical numbers which require her to actually rap.

Glee’s pop culture references used to really have something to say; they were observant and on point, but now it just feels like Ryan Murphy and his team checked buzzfeed an hour before writing every script, lazily throwing in a trending topic to support their need for relevance amongst the 18-30 demographic, whose interest keeps the show on TV .

It seems to me that after a great start (for its excellent first and second seasons the show and its cast won four Emmy awards and four Golden Globes; it was also really funny), something bad happened to Glee: it got scared. By nature it has always been a show which treads the boundaries between the comedic and the serious, but of late, Glee just can’t commit to a dramatic storyline. It’s always a scare or a possibility of an event (I won’t spoil it for all three of you who still watch the show), rather than the real thing. It’s drama for drama’s sake, and feels out of place in this show which, at its best, does its own brand of cutting comedy so well.

Season 4 has been Glee’s weakest yet. Perhaps it’s because the writers, confident in their core fan base, seem to be making storylines up as they go along, and it shows. Pretty much every senior who graduated from McKinley High last season is now living in Rachel Berry’s New York apartment (which, I might add, is unrealistically nice), but conveniently, they can all fund air travel to and from Lima to see their inappropriately old buddy, Mr. Schue, whenever they please.

Rachel, Kurt, Santana et al leave behind a new cast of school show-choristers, as well as some old faces: at present the best things about the show are Darren Criss (aka Blaine Warbler) and his silky soft singing voice, Kitty, the resident Glee Club Cheerio – she’s the funniest but only because she’s now getting the lines which used to be written for Santana – and Sam’s terrible impressions. If this is all we’ve got to go on, it’s going to be a long road to the end of Season 6.

PHOTO/ Dave Blezard, Cynthia L


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