Monday, November 9, 2009

Glee!


I've had a terrible few weeks due to GI problems that leave me very uncomfortable and depressed. So, I started writing about that in another post, but it was making me even more depressed than I already am, so I'm putting it aside for now to focus on a happier topic: Glee!

I am obsessed with this show. Part of this is unsurprising if you know me: I don't really do anything half-assed, other than house cleaning. I am totally into this show -- the last time I gave a damn about any non-cable network TV show was when Babylon 5 was airing circa 1996 when I was dating my husband. Now I'm a semi-regular (read 3-D Loser) on the Glee fan boards. So what has Glee done to win me over?

First of all, singing & dancing is just cool. I love musical theater, and since Glee follows the ups and downs of the Glee club at William McKinley High School in Lima, Ohio, there is lots of singing and dancing. Their musical numbers are really fun, and so far my favorites are:

1. "Somebody to Love" (from the episode The Rhodes Not Taken)
2. "Halo/Walkin' On Sunshine" (from Mash-Up)
3. It's My Life/Confession (ibid)

I've been listening to the Glee Cast album on Grooveshark, and the only song from the show that I really can't handle is their version of Amy Winehouse's "Rehab." I think this was a poor choice on the part of the producers because the treatment of it by a high school chorus completely misses what makes that song so awesome: that everything about Winehouse's performance makes you totally believe what she's singing is plausible. She sounds like someone who needs to head to rehab but is saying "No, no, no." I'm sure this song was chosen because of its overwhelming popularity, but the overly-produced high-school glee club version just doesn't work.

The Glee overlords have done a bang-up job with casting. The producers auditioned 2,900 people; apparently it's tough to find people this age who are required to be good actors, singers, and dancers. I think the characters are believable as typical Mid-Western kids. I have found Lea Michele totally captivating since the first time I saw her, and she shines as the self-important, star-obsessed Rachel Berry on Glee. Jayma Mays is another stand-out on the show as the obsessive-compulsive guidance counsellor with more than a crush on Will Schuester (played by the charming Matthew Morrison), the leader of the Glee club.

The humor in Glee really appeals to me, and largely is driven by the brilliant Jane Lynch, who is cast as Sue Sylvester, the sadistic cheerleading coach who has a personal mission to destroy the Glee club and Schuester. You know Lynch, maybe as the lesbian handler of Rhapsody in White, the poodle, in Best In Show. More recently she was in Role Models, and she was the store manager in The 40 Year-Old Virgin. If you still don't know whom I'm writing about, you could just look up, since Lynch is in the icon at the top of this post. I listened to an excellent Terri Gross interview with Lynch that you can check out here. Lynch is so good, I literally can't imagine anyone else cast in this part.

Still, nothing is perfect. My biggest complaint with Glee is that they use damn auto-tone on all their choral numbers -- luckily they haven't applied it to solo numbers. I'd take slightly imperfect harmony over the excessively-engineered, phony, auto-tone any day. My other complaint is that due to the !$@# World Series, Fox has deprived me and millions of other obsessed fans of new episodes two weeks in a row, but that will be rectified tomorrow.

5 comments:

shoshiboo said...

Yay! Another person watching "Glee". I LOVE it and had been looking for others that also watch it and love it (or at least watch it). I agree with you about the auto-tune. It's most pronounced on Finn's songs I think. I adore Lea Michele. I first discovered her because of "Spring Awakening" but then realized that she was Little Girl in "Ragtime". One of my favorite lines so far was Puck's about their annual Simchat Torah viewing of "Schindler's List".

Laura said...

Agree with all your points :) Especially about autotune! It's nice to hear a real voice every now and then, you know? Lea Michele is fantastic. I heard that the main guy (his name escapes me) was originally told he'd never act because he was too tall, but I think the enormous height difference between him and the girls is cute and endearing...

So this may be an unwelcome segue, but did you like high school musical? Ashamedly, I liked the first one, not as much fun drama as Glee (pregnant cheerleader with teacher's wife trying to claim baby as her own --gasp--!) but pretty cute musical numbers...

Sarah said...

I have not seen HSM, but it wouldn't surprise me if I liked it. I'll add it to my Netflix cue. Laura, that's a gorgeous photo of you. :)

Shosh, I loved that Schindler's List scene, too. "When she passed me my moo-shu pork, she said, 'You're no better than them, Noah. Why can't you date a Jewish girl?'" Loved it.

S said...

Sarah, two thoughts came to mind when I read your post:

1)“Apparently it's tough to find people this age who are required to be good actors, singers, and dancers” – Sarah, I think it’s tough to find older adults who can do all of those three things well, too!

2) Auto-tone – I know what you mean! Everything that goes through that “think” sounds slightly creepy to me…

I hope you feel better and heal soon, and quickly; I'll call you today or tomorrow.

Stef

Sarah said...

Yeah, Stef, it's funny: I had the same thought when I wrote that line. It's true, but according to Glee casting agents, it's even harder to find kids who can do all those things well.