I would like to tell you that I love musicals. I would love to extol the virtues of the singing nuns in the Sound of Music, or the dancing Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar. But I can’t. If I were to write that, I’d probably spend this weekend alone, much like an Engineering student. In all honesty, the musical has lost its glamour. You won’t find Fred Astaire bursting through the screen in Talladega Nights or Hollywood chorus lines in Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. People cannot take the once-proud musical seriously anymore; it has been thrown in the proverbial dumpster with passing fancies like black and white movies and The Apprentice: Celebrity Edition.
There is, however, light at the end of the tunnel. I am happy to report that within the last TV season the musical has once again become cool. It is now socially acceptable to invoke its name in open circles. The musical has once again become coffee and doughnut conversation. I’ve actually seen people, even professors on campus, sitting in coffee shops discussing the musical, and it is all thanks to the new show, Glee.
If you find yourself asking what Glee is, you are not alone. Glee is a brand-new TV series that premiered on Fox on Sept. 29. It centers on a group of misfit high school teens in a small town called Lima, Ohio. Although these kids don’t really have friends, they all have amazing voices. They should, as they are all played by Broadway stars. Eventually these kids, with the help of their Spanish teacher, form a Glee club that eventually expands to include all the high school stereotypes including cheerleaders, jocks, emo kids, flamboyant kids and an overachieving obnoxious girl who kind of looks good, but also kind of doesn’t, and you’re not too sure which one it is.
The real highlight of Glee isn’t its corny acting and elaborate story arcs, it’s the singing. The first episode ends off with a “Don’t Stop Believing” cover, and although it’s by now the most overplayed song in the world, it somehow still gets better every time. Other notable songs are “No Air,” “It’s My Life,” “Rehab” and a cover of Kanye’s “Gold Digger,” which not surprisingly doesn’t sound so cool when it’s sung Broadway-style.
Jane Lynch really steals the show as Sue Sylvester, the overly competitive ‘roid rage cheerleader coach who is in constant competition with the Glee club. Although Lynch seems to only play one character, judging by her last few roles in Judd Apatow comedies, that character is equally funny in everything.
Now, perhaps you’re thinking that Glee sounds exactly like High School Musical, and you’re probably right (I, of course, haven’t seen High School Musical). The only difference is that, instead of singing about friendship and diversity, the kids in Glee are singing about pregnancy, relationship problems and going into rehab. Glee is like High School Musical with Zach Efron on speed and Vanessa Hudgens on birth control.
Glee is the latest musical in a very proud history that started before you even knew what a diaper was. If you like art, music, awkward kids, high school sex and vicariously living through fictional cheerleaders, Glee is the show for you. And that’s the way Josh “Cs” it. That was a Glee reference, in case you were wondering.