I'm not a fan of Glee.
I wanted to put that out there because I need you to understand where I'm coming from in this post -- it is a very well established position. Those of you who know me probably aren't surprised that I don't like Glee and are wondering why I felt the need to put that sentiment out there. I really just wanted to make sure that the 6 viewers who drifted in from China over the last week know what they have gotten themselves into.
So anyway, I wanted to explore this idea before the world realizes that Glee's 15 minutes of fame are up (ironically, Fame had only 10 minutes). So why do I dislike Glee with such a passion? We'll ignore that I don't enjoy lip syncing (cf ), musicals (with the exception of Singing in the Rain, The Muppet Movie and The Blues Brothers), teen-angst driven soap operas and any combination thereof. I don't like Glee because it takes the songs I hate and drives them down my throat and mixes it up by taking songs that I grew up with and like and watering them down so that my pre-teen walks around humming them.
I'm OK that my brood can appreciate some Foreigner or Beatles, but I'd like to think it is because she heard it in its original form and appreciated quality -- not because she saw some guy singing it on TV and he's just so dreamy. It is disconcerting when a 12 year old hears a song from 1972 and says "Oh, they're covering that Glee song." Music is part of a continuum and one has to appreciate the whole to connect fully with the parts. To take a song out of context, sanitize it and then stick it in the mouth of some actor so that the Kidzbop generation can latch on to it irks me no end. Then I considered that, eventually, the show will run out of classic hits to rip-off and will either have to write new songs and live or die on the strength of its own performance, or it will start to sing songs that it can't mask as being pop pap. Sure, they can find a way to incorporate Conquistador into a show but will they have Bridge of Sighs? I'd even like to hear them do Seven Bridges Road, but can they tackle Journey of the Sorcerer? When is there going to be a theme show dedicated to the songs of Bob Dylan? Can I set my DVR for the show based on the musical stylings of Gary Numan?
And another thing -- this is not life. When we sing in real life, it is in the shower and even to ourselves, we sound mediocre at best. Set pieces don't erupt from no where and accompaniment doesn't materialize when we, in the midst of a tense class, find the lyrics to some song by Jo Jo Gunne are hauntingly relevant. Also, I don't want my young 'uns singing and dancing to One Toke Over the Line because there was a 'very special episode' on about drug use. So until Glee decides that they can make Boris the Spider into the next big thing, I'll pass.
And finally, Glee glamorizes the songs already glamorous. I have had the good fortune of hearing many un (or under) signed bands. If the Glee people want to perform a service, adopt some great music from small bands and make them famous instead of jumping on the most popular bandwagons in town. Sure, anyone can have a Madonna episode, but what about a Gripweeds episode? Trust me -- it would be awesome! So if anyone out there knows someone who works for Glee, pass along my credentials -- I'm an angry old man and I have great ideas for how we can finally run that show into the ground but regain musical integrity.