American Idol, aka America’s favorite train wreck, is one of the most popular series in the history of television. In fact, it holds the record for the most consecutive years as the #1 series – six! So it’s kind of a no brainer that TV executives would find a way to keep music-obsessed fans happy while the show is off the air. Enter Glee.
Glee, the brainchild of Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk of Nip/Tuck, and Ian Brennan (an out-of-work writer who wrote the original screenplay and got his friend to hand it to Murphy at the gym), started out as a single episode set to air after the season finale of American Idol in May 2009. After a debut of 9.6 million people and a relentless summer marketing campaign that left Gleeks clamoring for more, Glee came back in the Fall with a vengeance. And the rest is literally TV history.
Although Glee is all the rage, personally, I think the show is vapid and cheap. All the characters are, well, characters – cartoon versions of high school stereotypes. There is no story development, and the Glee club always has the same obstacles – Rachel is a diva; Sue is jealous; Vocal Adrenaline is too good. Even more annoying is that each competition feels no different than the next. We’re going to Sectionals! We’re going to Regionals! We’re going to Nationals!
That said, although I would not classify myself as a Gleek, I LOVE Glee. No matter what your high school social status is/was, there is someone to cheer for. Everything is so cartoonish that you can’t help but acknowledge the “wink, wink” and enjoy the ridiculousness. Then there’s the music. How can you not love a show that is 50% musical numbers and 50% set-up for musical numbers. Quinn is pregnant? Sing a sad song. Finn might be falling for Rachel? Sing a romantic song. Rachel thinks she’s the best singer in Glee club. Sing any song.
Glee isn’t the only one that uses this formula. Broadway has made a business out of creating story around a set of songs. Even KoldCast TV’s own series, The Best Friend, a buddy comedy that explores what it would look like to watch a romantic comedy through the eyes of the ugly best friend, sings about stalkers and the big “O” to make “real life” moments more bearable.
But, despite my cynicism, I went ahead and spent way too much time combing through all the episodes of Glee to pick out some of the best moments where music saved the day. At the end of the day, don’t we all wish we could sing our problems away?
Related from The Campus Socialite: Glee GQ Photo Shoot: Have They Gone Too Far?