While waiting for the second half of GLEE’s freshman season to start, I can’t help but feeling like Sue Sylvester, sitting on the sidelines judging what we’ve seen so far and muttering, “Sloppy, babies!”
It’s not that GLEE isn’t one of the best new shows of the season, or that it isn’t wildly entertaining. It’s just that… well, if these crazy kids want to to take Best Of Show, they’re gonna need to shape up before regionals. Which shouldn’t be hard. (You want hard? Try living with a face full of liver spots!) The pieces are all in place… they just need a steadier hand to guide them. Because for the most part, the trouble with GLEE can be traced to the writing staff and its lack of focus which has led to rushed storylines and a lack of clear rooting value where the various romances are concerned.
Take, for example, the tale of our pregnant cheerleader, Quinn. She was booted from her home and moved in with Finn and his mom after her baby drama was revealed to all. But where is she living now that Finn knows he’s not the babydaddy? And why has Mr. Schuester – fully aware that Quinn was going to hand her baby over to his shrewish wife – not confronted the teen mom-to-be? Are we supposed to root for her and Finn to kiss and make-up… or are we to buy into the chemistry Quinn shares with Puck… who also had great chemistry with Rachel? This could be the kind of compelling drama soaps – and primetime dramas such as GREY’S ANATOMY – get a lot of mileage out of. But because the writers seem to veer direction wildly from week to week, we’re left with a bad case of whiplash instead of a good sense of what these characters might really want.
Worse, the first half of the season rushed through a year or more worth of plot. What was the point of the babyswitch plot if Terry was going to be exposed this soon? Why give Sue a one-episode love interest? And why allow Emma and Will to come together in the fall season finale, which wound up feeling more like a series finale thanks to all the happy endings thrown into the mix.
The same hodge-podge approach is often taken to the musical numbers. Some episodes have characters breaking into song every five minutes while others it feels as if the writers were working overtime to figure out how to cram a tune or two into the hour.
GLEE is, without a doubt, one of the most original, creative, joyous shows to ever hit the airwaves. It has hooked us with its incredibly appealing cast and infectious musical numbers, but between now and regionals, we’re going to need the show to get away from the fast-paced, uneven storytelling that is co-creator Ryan Murphy’s trademark (as evidenced by the past few seasons of NIP/TUCK) and trust that if they slow things down and give us time to care about both the tales and the romances, we won’t use that as an opportunity to change channels.
And that’s not just how Sue C’s it!