Tuesday, September 20, 2011

GLEE: Season 2

Dear Glee,

I mean everything I am about to say to you with love. Your third season begins this evening and I have high hopes for the changes you've made. You've branched out your writing staff and have sworn to focus more on longer story arcs instead of one-off theme episodes. You've also decided to reduce the number of songs per episode, so as not to come across like an iTunes jukebox each week. It's not that I don't like to hear all the talented members of New Directions belt them out so often but storytelling has been taking a seat in the back of the choir room for quite some time now.

I've just finished watching your second season on blu-ray. I have to admit, it wasn't as uneven as I remember but if you don't fix some of your problems soon, you will start to lose your audience. That said, there were some fantastic additions to the GLEE lexicon in the second season. Highlights for me include Gwyneth Paltrow as Holly Holiday. I wish Paltrow wasn't such a big movie star because she would make a perfect regular on your program. Not only is she hilarious but she can also hold a note or two. Next up, the introduction of Blaine (Darren Criss) and the Warblers. It was about time the New Directions got some real competition. And of course, having Blaine around allowed for the best gay kiss I've ever witnessed on television. There was no hype for it; it simply just happened. My mouth fell to the floor when I saw it because I feel like I've been waiting my whole life to see such a romantic and honest moment between two male television characters. I'm not going to lie; I wished I was Kurt (Chris Colfer) in that moment.

You are often criticized for being too gay, whatever that means. I don't think that's true; I just think you spend more time developing Kurt's troubles than anyone else's. In the entire season, only Kurt's bullying storyline felt true to me. It is an important subject and one that I think you tackled sensitively and thoroughly. Unfortunately, with all your energy placed there, the rest of the cast was left to bounce back and forth between random couplings that often seemed like they had no basis in any reality whatsoever. It's hard for me to care about characters when they don't seem to really matter to you either. Oh and, please, give Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch) something to do this year. Her once ferocious character is now just a flat joke (who honestly should have been arrested by now considering how many students she flings down stairs).

I miss how much you used to shock me, GLEE. Lately it seems you just lull me into a state of acceptance instead. Your sophomore year is now behind you. You let your junior year success go to your head and just rested on your laurels all the way through last year. It's time to get serious though; it's your senior year. If you don't find your focus again, I'm not convinced you'll graduate at the end of the year.

Gleefully yours,


Wilde.Dash said...

Ugh, I find that I keep watching even though I MST3K'd pretty much the entire 2nd season. I'm with you on many of these points...

There's great potential in Glee and a subversive undercurrent roiling beneath all the saccharine pop. So many of the characters, though, have become archetypes and what I perhaps find most frustrating of all is that the writers constantly resort to pitting the kids against one another and bringing back dead bad blood. It's one thing to do outsider togetherness, quite another when the supposed 'outsiders' are realistically amongst the most popular kids in school and constantly bond and break between every episode.

Sue needs a more complex storyline, Will should be replaced, Rachel needs to get over herself, Kurt's only subplot shouldn't be 'gay teen wonder' (he's so much more than his sexuality), Finn is as boring as it gets, Quinn is a walking contradiction, Mercedes always gets a storyline where she fights for credit and then goes back to square one next episode (what's up with that?), and so on.

Brittany and Santana are pretty much the best. The writers have gotten away with SO much when it comes to them and they always seem to have the slickest lines.

How'd you like that premiere? I'm not sure I can handle any more...

Black Sheep said...

Wow! That may be one of the most thorough comments I've ever had. I find the public fascination and scrutiny over Glee to be quite telling. We criticize it so intensely because we so want to love it. Yes, it was great for about half a season and yes, it still has shattering moments of both hilarity and depth but the second season was just too much for them to handle, I think.

After seeing the Season 3 premiere, I am confident that they can still come back. I enjoyed the story arch setups and found the musical numbers to be less aggressively poppy. The new staff writers will either kill it or give it some much needed grounding. My fingers are crossed and I'm hoping for the best.

Don't give up yet! Clearly, the gleek in you just has high standards.