Catching Up on "Glee" Season 1


As I mentioned yesterday, I recently caught up with all of Season 1 of "Glee". Throughout the TV season last year, I generally encountered two types of people with regards to "Glee": those who'd never seen the show (and many of whom dismissed it entirely based on the premise) and those repeatedly told me how great the show was. In fact, pretty much everyone I know who HAD seen the show was more than happy to sing its praises. "Glee is great!" they'd say. "The music is GREAT! The characters are GREAT! It's a GREAT show."

Then the 2010 Emmy nominations came in and "Glee" was nominated 19 times, so by that point I really had to check out what the hype was all about. And after watching all of Season 1 of "Glee", I feel I can safely say this:

"Glee" is NOT a great show.

Now, let me say I really, really enjoyed "Glee". It was fun, entertaining, dramatic and engaging all at the same time. But we throw around that word "great" WAY too often, and considering the rough edges on "Glee", I'm not sure it qualifies. (btw of the 20 or so TV series on my schedule this year, I'd probably only slap the "great" tag on two or three of them at the most). 

"Rough edges?" you, my normally silent reader, ask. "Surely you jest!"

Again, let me qualify all this by saying, again, I REALLY enjoyed the first season of the show. I just think there were some noticeable problems with Season 1, some of which can easily be rectified (while others, it's too late to do anything about). First, the casting. Matthew Morrison, who plays Mr. Schuester, is 31 years old, and was 30 when the show debuted. But he's playing a character who is supposed to be about 35-36 years old (based on the character's high school graduation year of 1993). This wouldn't be a huge stretch, if not for the casting of the other male leads. Both Cory Monteith and Mark Salling were born in 1982, making them less than four years younger than Morrison. However, Morrison's character is supposed to be about 20 years old than those of Monteith and Salling (neither of whom visually makes for a convincing high schooler), which is just absurd.

There are other casting issues, like taking your best male dancer and making him the guy in the wheelchair, but the lack of age difference between the male leads is the biggest one, and as a viewer it regularly shattered my suspension of disbelief.

Along those same lines, for a show that appears to take place in something approximating a real world, there are these little quirks that strain credulity. I thought it was rather convenient, even in the magical world of television, that the only 12 people who were willing to join the glee club (the minimum number needed to qualify for sectionals) were all competent singers and dancers. I think the show would have been more believable if they'd even had one person in the club as a numbers filler (and it could've made for a nice storyline too).

At the end of "Mash-Up" (the eighth episode), Quinn -- the head cheerleader who'd just been kicked off the cheerleading team because of her pregnancy -- was depressed about what her life had become. One cheesy line from Mr. Schuester later, and everything was fine. That was an incredibly quick resolution to that plot, even by TV standards. There were a few other moments like that too, where stories either resolved too quickly or never really came to a resolution at all. They even addressed this in "Theatricality", the famed Lady Gaga episode, where one of the students asks "we were kind of hoping to learn what the lesson of the assignment was" and Mr. Schuester responds "Well, umm, you guys have had some great numbers this week, but I'm not totally sure that I know either."

"OK, Adam, that's a lot," you, my reader/storytelling device, chime in with again. "Anything else you hated that you want to throw under the bus here?"

Woah, slow down with that "hate" word there, fictional reader. But, if you're asking about other things I disliked in Season 1, well...


... the Ken/Emma marriage storyline was just stupid, I didn't get why Emma would pine after Will for so long then turn on him after some circumstantial evidence, I think it was hasty to kill the Acafellas story after just one episode, it kind of annoyed me that Puck was a better singer than Finn but never got treated like it in the show, Kristin Chenoweth was a great get in terms of a broadway star who fit with the show's premise but her character was so annoying that I couldn't stand her which made the casting a complete waste, the football team seemed to completely run the school even though the sucked which based on my experience couldn't be further from reality, and speaking of school did these kids every go to class, oh and holy crap Terri seemed to get more and more crazy with every episode and needed to go away much sooner.

"OK, I asked for that," you, my hopefully still reading this but probably not reader, say. "So if you didn't like all that, then why stick with the show at all?"

Well, Captain Short Attention Span, I refer you to the part of this post just after the jump, in which I wrote, and I quote:
I really, really enjoyed "Glee". It was fun, entertaining, dramatic and engaging all at the same time.
(And, as an aside, I really need to get out of the habit of blockquoting myself on my blog.)

BUT, since this post has already gotten ridiculously long, I'll ask you to check back in a few hours (or, depending on when you're reading this, click one of those links to the side), when I'll post MY TOP 10 FAVORITE THINGS ABOUT "GLEE" SEASON ONE.

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