Friday, January 21, 2011

glee = schadenfreude?

As I was looking up a different word in my big-ass Webster's dictionary, I came across this:

Glee: effervescent, demonstrative mirth;
2. Laughing satisfaction at the misfortunes of others;
3. An unaccompanied part-song mainly of the 18th c. for three or more
voices (usually male)

Wait--what? Where did that second one come from? But maybe that explains the popularity of the show of the same name, at least at first, in what they were trying to do before it turned into a typical Hollywood, schlocky, manipulative, spirit-uplifting, feel-good, 'teens triumph against the odds--and maybe learn something about themselves along the way' show. Because at first there was a bit more honesty on the show, a bit more meanness and a sense of the vitriol that teens (and adults) often feel for one another out of their insecurity and sense of tribalism.

And it's that tribalism that I think blinds a lot of fans who have remained fans: where else has there ever been a show about that most trodden-upon of high school nerds, the theatre geek? So it was cool to see the early episodes, and the glorification of theatre geekdom, the kids as outsiders and not very cool. But, sorry, it's gotten way, way too slick and unbelievable, even with the generous suspension of disbelief of which we theatre folks are capable.

I was especially disappointed that the show went in the watered-down, broad appeal direction because it had such promise to be a quirky, strange, and truly ground-breaking show, self-mocking along the lines of 'Hamlet 2,' and with a cast packed with anti-heroes.

That said, who among us would be able to resist the allure of higher ratings (and thus much more money) and the whispered sweet nothings of network execs promises?

I think we're all just waiting for our chance to sell out. But don't tell me 'Glee' is the same show it was early in season one, because it's not.

Also, is there any way it is still possible to view Lea Michelle as an outcast nerd-girl after seeing her in that GQ photo layout?

(And I do mean LAY-out. And I do mean lay-OUT, as in her knees. Out. Very.)

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