“By its very definition, Glee is about opening you up to joy” – Lillian Adler
An unyielding and honest quote is how the series begins when Mr. Schuester, a Spanish teacher and former Glee club member himself, recruits teens that are determined to showcase their talent and learn through their journey of becoming champions in the national show-choir competition and prove everyone that being a Gleek is something that’s so liberating that one has to endure the bittersweet moments to be proud of being a young performer. I got into watching one of the funniest and empowering (non-sitcom) tv show when I was on vacation in Vietnam. It started when Star World Asia Pacific and NOT Star World India (who broadcasted the TV show four months after the premiere in America) was on and I started humming along to the Glee Clubbers’ cover of Dog Days are Over by Florence and the Machine. This meant I was not too far (only a month) behind the American broadcast.
Glee is one of those shows where you can watch the show for the first time from any episode: whether it’s the season premiere or the Sectionals episode or the last episode of the season. This fact holds true for the first three seasons only because the whole concept of Glee is pretty clear even if you don’t really know the show. Sometimes a great TV show can adapt a plot such as that of all those shows when everything starts getting too much and too complex and each character loses their touch. Unfortunately, Glee became All of Those Shows (in my opinion) after season three. Maybe it was because many of the main characters Rachel, Finn, Quinn, Puck, Mercedes, Kurt, Mike, Sam, Santana move on and leave McKinley, and it was too hard to see them leave the choir and take on another world (college). And I was never REALLY interested in the lives of the new Glee club members. Too much was happening and too much was changing, which was why I stopped watching Glee mid-way through season 5, I know! I am a little ashamed of it. But if I had to focus my issue and love for the first three seasons, I have a whole bunch of reasons to enamour over all things Glee: music, dance, teen-crisis, friendships, high school, the characters and all the humour.
Glee is unique. You can learn a lot about growing up from the characters. Of course, some of the storylines were stereotypical and predictable with teen pregnancy, bullying and the grandiose of an issue when Asian students getting an F, but when we look at character developments, we see the change in each and every character’s intended view on being popular or happy, and the final choices that they ultimately make are outcomes of following their heart. Glee showcased a lot of things, like the power of music, the uncertainty and vulnerability of high school students, the mistakes that they made and the bond they created through music and their individuality. That is what makes Glee so relatable and a show that is worth binge watching. The purpose of the show was to showcase the importance of having the freedom to open up and challenge what’s out there already and maybe even learn from the bitter-cold face wash from the slushies. Another great big thing about Glee are the songs that made me dance and learn how to play on the guitar. Glee introduced me to a lot of great artists like Paramore (from Rachel’s cover of The Only Exception for Finn), Fleetwood Mac (from the performance of Landslide by Santana, Brittany and Gwenyth Paltrow’s character of a substitute teacher), Katy Perry (from the Warbler’s Teenage Dream) and many of the awesome renditions of Michael Jacksons’ songs like P.Y.T, Thriller, Human, Nature, Beat It and a couple more.
Music was the element that really connected the characters and how it connected the audiences as well. Rachel, a character who is determined to be a Broadway star and is talented and confident enough to sing the solo at almost every school assembly (at least, that was what she wanted) is one of my favourite characters but she is also too self-centered sometimes and has quite a lot of flaws. She asks Finn to buy a list of Christmas gifts when Finn was broke, sends a girl to a crack house out of jealousy, chokes mid-way through a song for one of the most important auditions (like, EVER!) and falls for a guy who is secretly a hooker. But she remains a true and ideal character because she is flawed. Like Rachel, all the other characters are flawed but the point of making them flawed was to relic the reality of us, teenagers. What helped them get through sticky situations was to just let the music guide them as performers. Since the series ended in early 2015, I could not help but watch the first season again. Watching it reminds me of my own personal hardships as a freshman and sophomore in High School. And whenever Glee is mentioned, no one forgets the charm and talent of Cory Monteith. Watching Finn in seasons 1, 2, 3 and 4 does not make me cry but makes me smile and laugh because Finn was a really special and important character and he was also flawed but led the Glee Club to their victory in Nationals as a leader. Even though I hate to admit that I have not watched the complete seasons 5 and 6, I will probably watch them sometime soon and then go back to re-watching seasons 1, 2 and 3 again and again.