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Gleeful [Jun. 26th, 2011|11:13 pm]
So, Jerry has got me watching Glee.

I say this in a mildly confessional tone, because the show is, as I feel compelled to say aloud every time I watch it, completely ridiculous.

I mean, it's fundamentally musical theater, which is ridiculous at the subatomic level, and the plot holes are big enough to accommodate small planetoids, and the premises that the storylines are built on are just ludicrous, and the drama levels are flat-out insane, and yet somehow the whole mess is just massively, massively entertaining.

I'm only halfway through the first season (just watched "Sectionals"), but I'm really enjoying it. It's funny, though. I feel like a lot of what the show does is pressing obvious emotional buttons, but when does that, it's like it's saying "Hey! Here's a button! I am going to press the button. Are you ready? Here goes!" And then it presses the button -- usually pretty effectively -- and I feel my buttons being pressed, I do, but I also am compelled to make jazz hands and shout out "DRAMA!" and cackle with laughter. Because it is all Just. So. VERY!!!

I hypothesize that maybe the reason that it works is because it's totally straight-faced and unselfconscious about it all. It's like the band The Darkness, which is so completely over the top with its rockin' hair-metal badass self that you think "they can't possibly be serious. Surely they're taking the piss," but there's never any wink or nudge about it. It's either so sincere that it starts to verge on irony, or so ironic that it's wrapping back around to sincerity. And either way, there's the very heavy layer of "yeah, sure, it's goofy and dumb and whatever. So what?" that is deeply charming. Because who cares as long as it's enjoyable? And it is.

So if you haven't gotten your gleek on yet, you should. And for everybody else who's already on board? I get it. The name of the show is utterly apropos.

[User Picture]From: nehrlich
2011-06-27 11:08 am (UTC)
I like your description of the buttons being pressed. When Glee works, it presses the buttons and I feel them being pressed and I react anyway. In the second season, the buttons get pressed but without the reaction so I eventually stopped watching.

I still have a crush on Heather Morris, though.
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[User Picture]From: drdeleto
2011-06-27 02:20 pm (UTC)
I'm annoyed by the button pressing as much as I enjoy it (we've finished season 1). It seems like the show wants to have it both ways--we're self-consciously silly! But, wait, pay attention because this is, like, serious and you're supposed to care! But Sue Sylvester tips the balance in favor of "watchable."
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[User Picture]From: dr_tectonic
2011-07-12 04:58 am (UTC)
I think the bits where I'm supposed to care are generally when I'm cackling the most maniacally, because it is just SO over-the-top with its ZOMG DRAMATICS!

I love Jane Lynch to pieces now. SO. GOOD!
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[User Picture]From: dpolicar
2011-06-27 02:25 pm (UTC)
Yeah, pretty much. I'd say it works for me about a third of the time, which is still pretty good for television. It's been getting worse over time, though.
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[User Picture]From: ng_nighthawk
2011-06-27 03:22 pm (UTC)
I am allergic to showtunes. Enough people love this show that I gave the pilot a chance but... if you're allergic to showtunes, there's just no way to get past that.

It's no more a value judgement than someone with a peanut allergy declining a PB&J.
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[User Picture]From: dr_tectonic
2011-07-12 05:00 am (UTC)
Yeah, if showtunes make you itch, it's just not going to work for you.

I think we need to raise public awareness of aesthetic allergies. I'm going to harbor the delusion that it would make people less pushy and defensive about matters of taste.
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[User Picture]From: annlarimer
2011-06-27 03:53 pm (UTC)
I spent 300 years in chorus, and cannot, cannot get past the "THERE IS NO WAY IN HELL PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS WOULD EVER BE ALLOWED TO PERFORM THAT SONG" thing. It's like when a nurse watches House.
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[User Picture]From: dr_tectonic
2011-07-12 05:04 am (UTC)
Oh, come on, that's small potatoes when it comes to all the THAT IS NOT HOW HIGH SCHOOL WORKS elements in the show.

But given the way that I claw at the furniture when certain types of bad technobabble come on the screen, I am totally sympathetic to your plight.
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[User Picture]From: pink_halen
2011-06-27 04:32 pm (UTC)


It requires a lot of suspension of disbelief. After all, they do auditions with a band, full orchestration and amazing lighting effects. It's really more about the presentation of the music than it is about a plot. The musical numbers are always great. There is nothing that flops or doesn't work as it would in real life. In real life, they would be lucky to perfect one song a semester with that kind of production value.

I do, however, enjoy it. The energy of the songs is almost infectious. There is some amazing talent. And I can ignore the silly plot lines and the outrageously drawn characters like the coach.

One of the cable networks is now running the tv series "Fame" back to back advertising it as the "Original" glee.

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[User Picture]From: joebehrsandiego
2011-06-27 06:46 pm (UTC)
Great perspective. "Glee" requires a suspension of both disbelief *and* irony, and for many of us that's a pretty high bar. For me, though it's not only "worth it", but also a useful exercise once in awhile.

Edited at 2011-06-27 06:46 pm (UTC)
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