Posted by: Staff | 04.12.2010

Musings of a Gleek

JAN DEVEREUX

In this winter’s print issue, I confessed that I had not yet begun watching Glee, but I promised to start. So I bought a season pass on iTunes, downloaded the first 13 episodes to my iTouch and watched them while “working out” on the elliptical at the gym.

The verdict: I’m a Gleek!

My favorite musical number (so far) is when Mercedes sings “Bust Your Windows” after Kurt dumps her during the Cheerios’ the car wash (“Acafellas,” episode 3).

Of course, as a school administrator and mother, I would be remiss if I did not raise an eyebrow at the show’s comic portrayal of bullying, particularly in light of the criminal charges recently filed against the students in South Hadley whose harassment resulted in a classmate’s suicide. I cringe every time the mean kids throw a slushie in Rachel’s face or toss Kurt in the dumpster.

Then I remember: this is television!

Glee’s William McKinley High joins Gossip Girl’s Constance Billard School, The OC’s Harbor School, and 90210’s West Beverly High and in a long line of TOTALLY UNREALISTIC high schools on the small screen. No Glee student has attended a class since the pilot, when Mr. Schuester was briefly seen leading a Spanish lesson. A question for Glee co-creator Brad Falchuk ’89 and the writing team: Why is Mr. Shu a Spanish teacher? Matt Morrison, the very Anglo actor who plays Mr. Shu, has a credible Spanish accent, but such veracity is hardly expected on a show that portrays the school guidance counselor (cute-as-a-button Jayma Mays as Emma Pillsbury) as a prissy germaphobe who struggles to hide her crush on the married Mr. Shu.

The lack of classes, homework or tests notwithstanding, I still wonder: would any of you trade Beaver for one of these fictional schools where the students seem unable to tolerate, let alone respect, their differences?

NEWS FLASH: It’s rumored that Mr. Principe is in the running to be cast as the show’s new assistant glee club director! We already know he can sing, and surfing and dancing both take good balance and footwork. Pagli may even become Glee’s new mascot…stay tuned.

But Glee may not need Mr. Principe after all. I think the show is headed toward depicting a post-modern TV high school closer to the real Beaver, minus the football team and cheerleaders. A tossed salad of a school where students are can be both artists and athletes, straight or gay, white or black, and feel equally safe and supported. A TV high school that breaks the medium’s fixation with perpetuating stereotypes of the Freaks and Geeks variety (Judd Apatow’s early one-season wonder).

Coincidence or prophecy, that Beaver’s class of 1989 saw creating this kind of community as their legacy? Their yearbook dedication reads:

“Whether boisterous or innocuous, artistic or athletic, academically or socially inclined, the people who make up the class of ’89 are expert wielders of the power of unification. Through the senior class’s own unity, the entire school has experienced a new openness and a new freedom. Gone are the days of one clique gatherings, gone are the rules restricting interclass socializing and relationships.”

Maybe Glee is Brad Falchuk’s pop re-creation of the utopian student body that he and classmates forged back in ’89.

Anyway, I can’t wait to see what’s in store when the series resumes tomorrow night (April 13 at 9 PM)!

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Responses

  1. We just heard that a future episode will include a character named “Peter Gow”…”Glee”‘s Mr. Gow is an attorney, not a college counselor.

  2. More “Glee” accolades: the show recently was named best comedy at the 21st annual GLAAD Media Awards by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.


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