Review: GLEE

By: Aleks Chan

GLEE, FOX’s musical dramedy hybrid about a high school glee club, seemed at first everything that ratings-hungry advertisers and networks love: HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL meets AMERICAN IDOL, complete with a pretty young cast, catchy song ditties, and the sarcasm-laced script that the 18-49 demographic has shown to eat up in droves – something more earnest than it was worth.

And then I watched it: mea /freakin’/ cupla.

Having enjoyed his previous foray into the teenage quest for social identity (POPULAR), and having fallen in and out of love with his dark, brooding plastic surgery satire NIP/TUCK, I should have known creator Ryan Murphy, with all his tendencies towards over indulgence and writing his plots into corners, can’t help but put on a fabulous show. And I would expect that those who trumpet their skepticism for dance, music, or any combination of the two, would be just as surprised by GLEE’s infectious sense of humor, spirit, and brains. It’s the musical comedy for people who hate musical comedies.

Set in a fictional Ohio high school, it follows Spanish teacher Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison), who takes up the down-on-its-luck glee club to recapture the youthful passion he had when he and his baby-frenzied wife (Jessalyn Gilsig) first met. Faced with a tiny pool of talent beyond prima donna Rachel (Lea Michele, donning Reese Witherspoon’s Tracy Flick from Election), he recruits quarterback-cum-secret-shower-singer Finn (Cory Monteith) into joining, setting the two up as the leads.

New Directions, the aptly devised new name for the chorus group, is marching through an uphill battle: overshadowed (and by associated underfunded, leaving Will to pay for the program out of pocket) by the cheerleaders – the “Cheerios” – and their caustic leader Sue (the perfectly snappy Jane Lynch, whom without the character would never work), they have to work, song-by-song, to be taken seriously. Musical numbers as elaborate and explosive as a Broadway production from their main rival notwithstanding.

FOX is banking on GLEE to takeoff – it has positioned tonight’s premiere after the AMERICAN IDOL finale thinking we’ll love it so much that we’ll wait all summer to see another episode. This is risky, though I think it might pay off, but not for the reasons the brass thinks it will: GLEE is the anti-AMERICAN IDOL, filled with inspiring moments of remarkable talent, it embraces the lust for fame from Idol while turning it on its head, creating a parody that can perform Journey’s all-too-corny “Don’t Stop Believin’” without a hint of kitsch. Grade: A-

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  • I can’t wait for this! I saw the preview on Side Reel and I’m hooked. Can’t wait for it tonight! It’s so going in my facebook and on my blog! Yay!

  • The trailer to this show, I think, is definitely one of the best few I’ve seen in my life! I JUST CAN’T WAIT TO SEE THIS SERIES!!! I think this has the making of a more successful “Ugly Betty.” Love the premise, as I can relate to it while I reminisce my High School nerd days.

    Good luck, GLEE! At least now there’s one reason I should look forward to Fall. 🙂

  • David R. Ramsey

    I was this guy, I can’t waite ever since I saw the preview. My fb page is pro glee.

  • Guin

    I just watched the premier of ‘glee’ tonight after American Idol. I LOVED it!!! Finally something to watch this summer.

  • Guin

    Oh, man. Someone said this is a fall show. I still love it and am going to watch it :D, I just was so hoping to watch it sooner. 🙁

  • I really loved it. Genius!!! Something outside the box.

  • Teri H

    This show ROCKS! It is the best I’ve seen in a long time. It will be a must watch for me this fall for sure.

  • Rani Daze

    Wow! This is an awesome show! I really hope it does well! The acting, singing and everything was perfect! Home run!

  • Wincett

    Had no clue what this show was.. but caught it channel surfing.. AND I LAUGHED nearly the entire show… And the previews for the next episodes look great… and they’ll be “glee’n” a Kanye vibe.. nice..

  • Daniella

    I just watched the preview and it was AMAZING it certainly met and exceeded my expectations I cannot wait until fall but I do think is a bit crazy how we have to wait so long I want to watch new episodes now =)

  • Jamie

    Talk about feel good! Talk about nestalgic music! Talk about ENTERTAINING! I have absolutely no reason to love this show, but it has all the makings of one of my favorites: fresh faces, great talent, good humor, high school crushes, characters that you could grow to love… great stuff. I really hope it stands the test of a pilot season – I think once people give it a try it will be a hit!

  • Patty

    Oh my gosh I loved it. I knew just from the commercials that it was my kind of show but it gave me chills! Those kids have so much talent and it’s so wonderfully inspiring. I can’t wait for more!



  • Tennies

    I loved it, I’m just afraid it will get canceled, because its FOX and all.

  • Tysa

    Truly what I expected. LOVE IT! Will definitely be waiting, pacing, tapping my foot in anticipation for it in the fall…haha

  • Cindy

    I loved the show too!

    AND… if you’re going to write professionally, you’ve got to raise the bar for yourself a little. It’s “mea culpa”, not “cupla”. And “whom without the character would never work” – really???

  • S. Levine

    Just saw Glee. Not great. Was highly excited to see it. The glee club is really talented right from the start, the progression from bad to ok to good to excellent never really develops. The plot has already written itself into a corner, and all of the female characters are either written ditzy and neurotic or overbearing and downright evil. The show proposes the notion that only men are rational. The jokes fall flat except for Ms. Lynch, who nails every line. My Score: D+

  • Master Blaster

    i watched it after american idol and OMG! amazing!
    i dont know if can wait till fall but i guess i have to. bummer. best show ive seen in a long time.

  • Orchestra and Glee Member

    I won’t comment on the merits of the plot or characters, but as for the music and audio in the show, it was so disconnected from the video footage that it made the show almost unbearable to watch. During the final song the mouth movements and instrument playing was so off from the audio that it was impossible to suspend belief and imagine you were watching an actual performance even if you really wanted to (I did, I really tried). And besides the musical bits, there were some weird audio moments as well, like when you have two of them walking off into the distance while their spoken conversation remains at the same volume.

    The girl has a nice voice though, that much I’ll say.

  • Abby

    Thank you for a show that knows it’s a little corny and isn’t apologizing for it. Normally this type of humor is not done well but I fell in love with every character. It’s a show I’m really surprised made it on air, but I’m really glad it did! And that last scene….I’ve played it nearly a dozen times and downloaded it from iTunes. Thanks for a show that the huge multitudes of former high school show choir students can identify with and love…and make us miss those goosebumps… 🙂

  • Hoff

    I really enjoyed the show. Wow Lea Michele has a great voice. I will be watching next season for sure.

  • alex

    i LOVE LOVE LOVE this show, i mean certain things could be better (especially the male lead’s voice lol) but that’s what makes it pretty realistic and similar to high school: the best kid doesn’t always get the solos. i am going to waiting for the fall with baited breath

  • FOX ROCKS! This is the best show I have seen for a long time! Hats off to you all! It’s so real and funny. The throwing eggs bit was funny and I remember that from High School. The music is awesome and I already purchased the songs this morning! Can’t wait for the next episode.

  • elise

    well, i have to agree that this is a funny show and all of the characters were very talented, but the format of the show was a bit confusing. I liked the music choice, and I like how they took actual showchoirs (what you may know as “glee club”) like caramel visual adrenaline and turned it into vocal adrenaline. Although real showchoir isn’t really how this show portrays it, it is funny and gets the point across. I like the idea, but since this show has to do with showchoir, i wish it did have a little more research about showchoir, but I guess that’s just me as a showchoir junkie. Overall, i’d like to see how it progresses throughout the season.