Glee

I have to confess that I'm preprogrammed to love the television show Glee. First of all, every time I see the name I think it's talking to me, since the name consists of my first initial and last name, which was my login at a previous job. Secondly my son is in vocal ensemble and has been in chorus for nine years so watching the show is both familiar and fun. Glee follows the trials and tribulations of New Directions, an underappreciated glee club in Ohio that is treated poorly by the rest of the school; students and faculty alike. The glee club kids are harassed both physically and mentally and the club itself gets no funding, as though the school is hoping the club will wither up and die on the vine so to speak.

Enter Matthew Morrison as Will Schuester, (or Mister Shoe) McKinley High's Spanish teacher, who has an unhappy marriage and wants to relive his glory days in glee by taking charge of New Directions and turning it into a powerhouse. Opposing him is the dynamic Sue Sylvester, played perfectly by Jane Lynch, the coach of the school's very popular and competitive cheerleading squad called the Cheerios. Sue has managed to get all of the funding for New Directions diverted to her girls and will do anything to keep the status quo. She's vicious, passionate, opinionated and must sharpen her tongue every night after she flosses and brushes. She's also one of my favorite characters on the show; always interesting and energetic.

McKinley High School has a special way of treading on its underdogs. Bullies don’t give the other students swirlies (or at least not onscreen) but they do throw slushies in their faces. Rachel Berry, portrayed by Lea Michele, has the best voice in the school and is one of the least popular students, garnering her a slushy a day. Rachel is driven, abrasive and in love with Finn Hudson, played by Cory Monteith, who is on the football team, but also interested in glee club. Finn is a nice boy, a bit dim, but means well and is dating Quinn Fabray, blonde cheerleader and member of the celibacy club.

Quinn has two secrets, which we learn pretty early in the series. One she's pregnant and two the father of the baby is Puck (Mark Salling), Finn's best friend and fellow footballer. (He also has a thing for moms, although this isn't explored much past the first couple of episodes.) The love triangle between Puck, Quinn and Finn isn’t the only one in the show; there are a couple of others, if you don't mind loose definitions of love triangles. Jayma Mays plays Emma Pillsbury, the neurotic school guidance counselor who has a huge crush on Will. In his turn Will enjoys spending time with Emma but worries about crossing a line as he is married to Terri (played by Jessalyn Gilsig), the most unsympathetic character in the show. Terri is demanding, manipulative and a liar but worse of all she's a killjoy. (No wonder Will finds spending platonic time with the adoring Emma a peaceful oasis in his chaotic life.) We could forgive her for being obnoxious or a bit of a monster, after all some of our favorite characters over the years have been people we wouldn't want hanging out at our house, but Terri's character is like a drill; shrill and monotonous. No thanks.

Rachel isn’t the only one head over heels with Finn; Kurt Hummel, played to a T by Chris Colfer, is also mad for Finn and even goes so far as to spend time trying to convince Finn that girls are nothing but trouble, hoping, I assume, that Finn will give up on girls and decide to give boys a try. Kurt is one of my favorite characters. He's charming, even when he's being snide, amusing and a fashion plate. He definitely dresses better than I do and he's braver as he was courageous enough to get a spot on the football team, despite strong opposition, whereas I would be terrified at the idea of setting foot on a football field. There are a variety of other characters we see on a weekly basis, as well as some guest stars that really are stars, including Eve as the coach of a rival glee club, that add to the fun and flair of Glee.

The show is frequently silly and over the top, but I like silly and so far it hasn't been too over the top for me. If you think of the show as a very extended musical comedy you'll kind of know what to expect; loads of musical numbers, some dancing, romance, heartbreak, conniving – all of the things that make for an hour of terrific entertainment. I've been interested to see how many different kinds of people love Glee. It's always the talk of my youngest son's vocal ensemble class, which is to be expected, but I also see it greeted with great enthusiasm by science fiction fans, YA authors, agents, horse lovers, zombie fans and just about everyone else on my Twitter feed. The fall season finale aired last week but the thirteen episode DVD is already being released and you can watch full episodes on Fox on Demand. http://www.fox.com/watch/glee

One-Paragraph Review

This week's one-paragraph review is from sad and confused who writes in to say, "HATED Alice on syfy. Bad acting plus a terrible script equals TORTURE." Do you have a one-paragraph (or smaller) review you'd like to share? Send it in to me for consideration. You can reach me at feedback@qualitytimeweekly.com.