Thursday, 13 September 2012

Glee Review: Do you sing with the return of Glee?

There are some shows that are just strange. Shows that are strange in a bad way like The Vampire Diaries, The Secret Circle and Dollhouse, all three of which I watch (or watched and enjoyed for what it was in the case of The Secret Circle and Dollhouse that got cancelled early on). You also have shows that are strange in a really good way. Shows like Dexter, Episodes, and just about every British TV show that tiny island manages to put out. And then there are shows like Glee, shows that not only border on the absurd, but actually embrace it when the story calls for it.

A show like that tends to be very divisive, there are people who hate it and people who love it. But those that love it often do so with incredible passion and devotion. This can be both a good and a bad thing depending on which you are, particularly because there are those who fall somewhere in between. I have experienced this in other fandoms. Incredibly devoted fans can begrudge the less fanatic members for sometimes being critical or less than enthusiastic about the show. As a result these “more moderate” fans can feel less engaged and drop off from a show if it becomes too much for them to handle.

Social media platforms can be the bridge that keeps that from happening, and one of the things that Glee has done really well is embrace social media like Twitter to keep people interested. Most of the cast is on Twitter like Lea Michele, Naya Rivera, Kevin McHale and others, though they seem to be the most prominent members on a consistent basis. The fans appreciate it no matter what your level of devotion, but then I count myself among those who are more moderate in my opinion.

One of the best aspects of the show though is the music, the way in which music is both the focus of the story and the thing that makes it different from others. Before the show came on the scene four years ago, musicals were a rare thing. There were occasional successes like Moulin Rouge and West Side Story, but in general they were something to be ridiculed and looked down upon in the film community, then came Glee. A show that preyed upon the nostalgia of music from the 80s and 90s, making the music cool again for the current generation. It even managed to revive some long dead tunes that were themselves ridiculed and kind of weird.

This too is at the heart of the show. It’s about a group of misfits who are constantly made fun of and fight tooth and nail to get respect from people who don’t want to give it to them. As I was reminded quite well recently, everyone loves an underdog. People love to root for the guy or girl who had it rough but manages to succeed anyway. Succeed despite the detractors and critics, despite the authority figures trying to keep them down and despite everyone who might otherwise have an obvious advantage.

With more number 1 hits then they can count, over 36 million digital single sales and 11 million album sales worldwide, I would say they certainly achieved their goal. Interestingly enough, the show reflects that success in many ways. As the show gears up for season 4, its characters have achieved success and are now wondering what is next, and I am too. But more than that I am curious...

Do you sing with the return of Glee? I have in the past, and I am going to be doing it again this year.

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