I have the urge to blog, even after barely surviving NaBlo. Crazy!
Anyone know knows me IRL knows I can really get rambling about television - because I love to ramble on about my favorite, and not-so-favorite shows. However, I don't usually like to write about it, because I prefer to engage someone else in a discussion. Not scribble out my thoughts, and wait to see if anyone replies, and then get wrapped up in that wacky back-and-forth internet conversation. I like to do it up front, face to face, nose to nose. Old school, as it were.
But after a long and one-sided chat with Philsy today (who is exhausted after finishing scoring his first feature, holy poop on a plate!), I decided to turn loose a few thoughts for ya'll to chew on, add to, or spit out. So here it is:
For the past few months, I've had an on-again-off-again romance (or been boink-buddies, if you prefer) with Glee.
Okay. I get it. Glee is awesome, for a lot of obvious reasons. The pilot alone reminded me to not stop believing, and embarrassing as this is, I like to dial this up full-blast whenever I'm having a "I'm a hack writer and I suck and I have no business doing this and I have the vocabulary of a pre-schooler" moment. The premise is fresh and unique - the cast is spectacular. The bones of the story arcs for the first season are clever and interesting.
However... about 75% of the episodes after the pilot follow a formula like this:
Someone gets mad/upset/threatened. They quit Glee. Everyone works to get them back, and they do. The end.
Someone (or something) threatens to shut Glee down. Glee kids scramble to resolve the conflict. Conflict is resolved. The end.
Now, I know that some pretty big stakes are being spun over the first season for individual character story arcs, so I can appreciate that they're working to weave a lot together. But really... does almost every episode have to focus on Glee club losing members or being shut down? Could we not build out more stories about the characters, to help the audience develop deeper relationships with them and learn more about them, and forge episodes around that? They did manage to do it, for that remaining 25%. I'm confident they can continue to do it if they try - but right now I feel like I'm being fed a lot of filler and recycled drama.
In fact, there was one storyline in particular this week that was like nails down a blackboard. Turn back now if you don't want
*** SPOILERS ***!
Glee club, unbeknownst to their director Will Schuester, participated in a professional television commercial for a mattress store - although they did not accept payment, they did receive a shipment of mattresses, an honorarium for their work. After discovering his wife Terri was not actually pregnant, a very upset Will returned to school late at night, found the pile of mattresses, pulled the plastic off one and slept on it.
What Will didn't realize, was that by accepting payment (even in pocket-coil form) he was thereby upping the status of Glee club from amateur to professional, thus disqualifying them from preforming in sectionals.
This resulted in a screaming match between Will and Sue (the overly-aggressive cheerleading coach antagonist) in the principal's office, where it was concluded by the end of the scene that nothing had changed, and the kids would now be disqualified.
Except that a short few scenes later, it was determined that the Glee kids could go on to perform at sectionals if they returned the unused mattresses, but that Will would not be permitted to coach them or participate further because he'd already had a good nights sleep on one of them and, well, you just can't return a used mattress.
If we'd had that resolve back in the argument scene, then we could have pushed Will's character a little further. Because even though he cares about the Glee kids more than anything, deep down, he's really there because he wants to recapture the greatest moments of his life - his youth - which were with Glee. His marriage is failing - the woman he truly loves is slipping away, and Glee's all he's got. So to see him struggle, and ultimately give up Glee in order to let them succeed would have been a nice little tid-bit of development.
Maybe I'm way off, I don't know. But that's what I'd have done.
Next week's the finale. I'm excited to see what they'll do with it, but more importantly, I'm extremely curious to see where they're going to take the next season. Hopefully, it's a whole lot more of that 25%.