TV Meme: Day 3 - Favorite New Show From This Past Season.

Today's was the easiest to figure out thus far. There were no runners-up... mostly because I've really only watched one new show of this past season. But even if I hadn't this one would still have made the list. Now, I'm not sure how much rule bending I'm doing here. The last season was technically the Spring season and the show started in the Fall season. However, the entirety of Season 1 lasted from the Fall season throughout the Spring season, so I think it counts. And if it didn't, well... I'd have to skip this day as there aren't any others for me to choose from. So deal with it.

What show am I speaking of? Glee, of course! And no, it is NOT High School Musical: The TV Show. For those of you living under a rock, Glee is about a high school Glee Club, where they sing and dance to popular music. And the greatest thing? These aren't Disney wannabe-pop stars on this show. The majority of the cast is riddled with Broadway performers and the like, so these guys can actually sing and perform. So let me run you through our main cast of characters.

First there are the adults. Of course we have Will Schuester, the guy who runs the club. He was in the Glee Club when he was in high school and thought they were some of the best moments of his life, so he decided to start one up himself now that he's a teacher. Though he ends up with a band of misfits--the outsiders of the school--but we'll get to them later. Then there is Sue Sylvester (played brilliantly by Jane Lynch), the Cheerleader/Dance Squad coach who loathes Will and will do anything in her power to see the Glee Club go down in flames. She even sends some of her Cheerios (as she calls them) to infiltrate the club and try to bring it down from the inside. There's also Emma Pillsbury, the germophobic school counselor that Will has a crush on (despite being married... at least at the beginning of the show). And finally the school principal, Principal Figgins, who tries to be fair but usually ends up manipulated by others, specifically Sue, to go against Will.

But the show is nothing without the students. First is Rachel, a pushy diva-type who wants to be a star. Then comes her main love interest, Finn, who has trouble with the manliness factor of the Glee Club seeing he starts off the show as a football player. But he also talks his best friend and fellow jock Noah "Puck" Puckerman into joining along with him. There's the token black girl with weight issues, Mercedes, and her friend--the (at first) closeted gay kid, Kurt. There's the kid in the wheelchair, Artie. The Asian loner girl, Tina. There's the Asian dance-master who really is just kind of in the background for the entirety of the show, Mike. Oh, and there's another guy who almost never even gets a speaking role (even less than Mike) named Matt. And that's the original bunch. But after Sue sends in her infiltration, we also get Quinn Fabray, who is essentially the most popular girl in school and the head of the Cheerios... until she gets pregnant by who at first we believe to be Finn, but later realize the truth. And, finally, there's the fiery Santana and her best friend, the incredibly dim Brittany.

The entire first season takes place over the whole school year, which makes me wonder (like Greek) how the show can last with the same kids/characters. After a couple years, they'll have to get a new bunch, which might be difficult since we're all so involved with this group. And we really are involved. The whole thing is almost like a light soap opera. Between marital issues with Will, love triangles, teen pregnancies, rivalries, personal dilemmas to overcome (being outcasts, being gay, etc.)... you really connect with these characters. And, yes, the show is greater-than-life in how some things are handled, especially early on in the season. But as the show progresses, they take things much more seriously and the tone can easily go from lighthearted to dead-serious in a snap. Don't believe me? Just check out the Joss Whedon-directed episode, "Dream On," specifically the scene where Finn gets aggravated with Kurt and starts insulting him (specifically in dealing with his homosexuality), only to have Kurt's dad--who has struggled with his son's sexuality--come down and yell at Finn and protect his son, all the while Kurt is in tears. It's a powerful scene.

But how can I talk about this show and not get into the music? The music is, of course, the heart of the show. Essentially what they do is find a basic theme for an episode and then usually find songs that go with that theme. For instance, there's an episode where every song has the word "Hell" or "Hello" in it, or another episode that's purely Madonna, or one where they have songs about following your dreams (the aforementioned "Dream On"). But what is so amazing about the show is how well the songs work into the story. Because, like most musicals, the songs encapsulate the emotions of the characters and move the story forward. So finding a group of songs that are related to each other by a certain theme but also not only telling how a specific character is feeling, but moving the stories of both that episode and the overarching story forward... that's an amazing feat in and of itself.

So, yes, this is definitely my favorite new show of the past season (or so), and I definitely recommend you watch it if you have not. If not for anything else, for Jane Lynch's brilliant performance as Sue Sylvester. She's downright hilarious, and the show would not be the same without the rivalry between her and Will (and on top of that, she's not a static villain. There are layers to her, which you see a few times throughout the season, but which really come to fruition in the last few episodes of the season). So yeah. Glee. Watch it.

(P.S. Also... Glee has one of the greatest "previously on..." recap styles ever. Seriously.)


  1. In many ways I like Glee...but it makes my blood boil like few other shows do. Allow me to explain...

    When the show hits its mark, it's fantastic. However when the show misses, it misses by a mile. What's worse, is that the hit/miss rhythm seems to be a pendulum effect which prevents the show from building any momentum.

    Take "Home" a subtle episode with more thoughtful song choices that had a lot of characters working through tough situations. That's followed by...and episode about a Glist? With songs celebrating people's guilty pleasures??

    While I love the role music plays in this show, I'm often left wondering if the songs are chosen to suit the stories, or if the stories are written around the songs?

    On the whole, I'm left encouraged by this first season, but really hope Glee gets past it's fresman nervousness for season 2.

  2. But I think that happens with every show--alternation between amazing episodes and average ones.

    As for your question about songs and stories, I think it has to be a mixture of both. I'm sure the story comes first and they know how they want it to unfold. Then they come up with themed songs that fit the story. Then they might change an aspect here or there to fit the songs they want.


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