Tuesday, June 1, 2010

How to REALLY make Glee "the best show on TV"

The cast of "Glee" is currently on a sold-out national tour, there are four soundtracks available, and the show was just picked up for season 3. America loves "Glee." I do, as well. I tried to get tickets for the tour, but failed. I own all of the soundtracks. And I couldn't be happier about season 3.

But yet, something makes me nervous about all of this.

And his name is Ryan Murphy.

Murphy, "Glee's" creator, is also the father of "Popular," (which previously aired on the WB) and "Nip/Tuck," (previously on FX). Both shows had their moment of shining in the spotlight as "Glee" is currently doing, but somewhere after a season or two, they quickly go downhill... and fast.

What can "Glee" do to stay on the right track and make sure the gang isn't cancelled before they even make it to Nationals? Good thing I'm here with these answers...

1. More Rachel Berry

You may think I'm crazy for saying this. She's clearly the leading female role, and 75% (if not more) of the soundtrack recordings are her belting away. Do we need more Rachel-centric plots for the show to survive? That's not what I'm saying. Should the soundtracks be 100% Rachel instead of 75? Not necessarily.

Here's what I mean... While Rachel is obviously the lead, and on most occasions, she gets at least two solos per episode, there have been a few episodes where Rachel gets NO songs. And these episodes have been some of the weakest the show has seen...

Earlier in the season, "Acafellas" was an episode that focused on Mr. Schuester's acapella group. While it had a few funny lines (Who is Josh Groban? Kill yourself!), the episode over all was not very good. Then we had a season full of Rachel, and I forgave Murphy and the rest of the staff for that episode until Kristen Chenoweth's second appearance as April Rhodes in the episode, "Home." Again, this was a Rachel-less episode, and it was one of the worst, if not THE worst, episode of the season. The tone of the show had randomly changed from the comedy we are used to to an after school special about dead parents, being comfortable with who you are, and another serious plot line that I'm currently forgetting... It was just awful.

If those two episodes have not proved that Rachel needs one song per episode for the show to be a hit, I don't know what will...

2. More Emma Pillsbury

I don't really like this character (or actress since she ruined Betty's life/relationship on "Ugly Betty"), but still... isn't this bitch a guidance counselor? It would be nice if we saw her occasionally...ya know, doing her job. As it is, Emma Pillsbury is only set dressing. Flesh her out, give her more to do than pine over/not pine over Will Schuester. And again, since she's a guidance counselor, maybe she can deliver some advice time and time again.

3. Tina needs acting lessons
...Just saying. Use some of the profit from the national tour to give Jenna Ushkowitz some classes.

4. More Focus on Writing
Yes, there are four soundtracks and a national tour. But first thing's first - this is a TELEVISION COMEDY SHOW.
This is not "Rosie O'Donnell's Variety Hour," so while songs and dances are fun and nice, the writing should be top priority. If more attention were paid to the writing of the show, most of the other problems I have with this show would be fixed... I know the show is still in its first season, but we're 20 episodes in - I think we should have found our footing by now, but instead, the show moves randomly about as bad as...well, Finn's dancing.

5. No More Themes!
While I enjoyed the Madonna-centric episode, I have no idea where these themed episodes came from. The first half of season one showed a somewhat random selection of songs that tied nicely in with what story lines were going on. Then, Gleeks everywhere died as we were forced to take a four month break until it resumed in the spring. But when "Glee" came back, Mr. Schuester (and Ryan Murphy) introduced something we had never seen before: assignments.

Since when is Glee Club a class? Since the break, the club had a Madonna assignment, a Lady Gaga assignment, and an assignment where they need to find a song with the word "Hello." While I think Schue's assignments are odd and randomly introduced, I really don't enjoy themed episodes.

"Home," for instance... the God awful Rachel Berry-less episode with Kristen Chenoweth, only featured songs with the word 'home' in it... "Home," "A House is Not a Home"... we get it.

Then, in "Dream On," the club's assignment was to find a song that told about their dreams... and guess what? All the songs had the word 'dream' in them...

Get rid of the themed episodes. They are lame.

6. Go Back To Your Roots
When the show started, Rachel was getting slushies thrown at her as her rendition of "On My Own" played in the background. I loved it. The show made fun of theater/choir geeks, and although I was involved in both in high school, I obviously didn't mind because it was all in good fun and most of the anti-choir/theater jokes were funny because they were true. However, somewhere during the infamous four month break, "Glee" creators saw that their target audience was... shocker... theater/choir geeks.

So, what did they do? No, the Glee Club is still far from popular, but the anti-Glee jokes are not as harsh. And one may notice there is now at least one show tune per episode... and not to poke fun at them, either. While Kurt singing "Rose's Turn" was one of this season's better solo performances, it still gave me the creeps and made me angry. Just make fun of Broadway, okay?

7. More Time Spent on Plots
All I need to say is Rachel found her mom in one episode and they said goodbye to each other the week after. ...I'm sorry, what?

And although I said that was all I needed to say - the layout of each episode (give or take a few plot lines: Quinn's pregnancy, Terri's "pregnancy," Kurt's coming out) is very sitcom-y. There's a problem. It's solved by the end of the hour and everyone seems to have forgotten about the problem/consequences/aftermath by the next episode. Even if the problem is solved within an hour time frame, am I to believe that every single character is fine with what went down and will never bring it up again? This is high school; bitches will cling onto that shit for years...

8. Character Development on Supporting Characters

Something I DO like is that they are starting to flesh out the main characters - Will is finally single and is getting very Playboy-ish because of it. Papa wants some. Is it the best trait in a role model? No, and that's why I like it. Finn's "faggy" rant last week was also one of my favorite "Glee" moments because Finn is a nice guy, but he is bending under high school pressure. I like it.

But for every four dimensional character arc, we also have the Cheerios of the world: Brittany's funny. Santana's a slut. Okay...but what else is Santana besides bitchy and slutty? Is every bone in her body 100% nasty? I think not. Sue Sylvester has compassion; where's hers? And the two back up dancer boys.... have they ever had a line?

9. Continuation!
Again, focusing on writing would fix this... but can we just discuss some questions I have regarding continuation on this show. Remember when Will Schuester had to PAY to run Glee Club? The school doesn't have enough funding... Now, I understand SOME Cheerios money went to the club and maybe they won some cash for winning sectionals... but how much money are they getting, exactly? They didn't have money to get a wheelchair accessible bus for Artie, but they have enough money to change costumes for each number? ...And to have FIRE SHOOT UP DURING THE GUY'S PERFORMANCE OF A KISS SONG? I'm sorry. Something isn't clicking...
Also, where exactly is Quinn living? Is home girl homeless? Last I heard, she was kicked out of her house and living with Finn... but then Finn found out he wasn't the father..., and although they never said that she wasn't welcomed in the Hudson household anymore, when Finn & his mother were going to move in with Kurt, Quinn was nowhere to be found.

Speaking of Quinn/Finn baby drama... at sectionals, Finn came back to save the day, but made a point of saying he was NOT okay with Quinn and Puck's lies/betrayal/blah blah. Then we return after a four month break (but only like... a week in "Glee" time) and see that everything is fine now. I would have liked some aftermath. That's all. Just a little aftermath.

But I understand this is just a TV show... so fine, skip over Finn being angry. I'll ignore the fact that they have more costume changes than a Beyonce concert even though they are on a limited budget. But I really am worried for homeless Quinn's living situation. I do not want this baby born in an alley...

EDIT: My editor informed me that Quinn is currently living with Puck. His mother doesn't let her eat bacon and Puck is too clingy. So that is answered... so we can add that to number 8. Supporting characters. SHOW them at home, don't just tell me about it. When Quinn was living with Finn, we saw a few scenes. But now that she's with Puck, we only hear anti-bacon stories...

10. Song Choice! Song Choice! Song Choice!
What I WON'T get over, however, is song choice. In the beginning, we had songs that fit nicely in with the plot. They were perfect to move the story along, but now I feel as if songs have NOTHING to do with any real plot OR they are so in your face... no longer a happy medium. Yes, everyone likes Madonna. But was a whole episode of Madonna songs necessary? No, because not all of them fit in plot-wise. Just bring back betrayed Rachel singing "Take A Bow" and a hopeful Glee Club singing "Don't Stop Believing."

I am a huge "Glee" supporter and will be there to watch the show succeed ...or crash and burn. Either way, I will love everyone attached. It just hurts me to see Ryan Murphy up to his old tricks on a show I care so much about.


  1. oh my gosh....taken the words right out of my mouth!! glee pre-american idol vs now is 100% different! stop riding on the fact that this show is a success and put some thought into it before more people start watching old episodes of jersey shore.

  2. You really do have the best suggestions...however...I think number 11 would be that Glee needs: Amy Jo and Donny. Hahaha just kidding. But I totally agree with your suggestions!

  3. Wow...I don't even know where to start.
    I really enjoyed this post, BTW. I have (as you may know) a ton of issues with "Glee" and most of them my mother and sister (huge Glee supporters) keep writing off as "film school kid gripes."

    That being said, I really enjoy most of these suggestions and they are similar to what I say week after week after week.

    I DEFINITELY disagree with two points, however. I absolutely HATE Rachel. In fact, until the last 2 episodes, I was disgusted about how little Ryan Murphy gave us to like about her. He's generally excellent at creating down right despicable characters that we absolutely love- Christian Troy, anyone? I even loved Nicole Julian.

    For me, Rachel is not one of these characters. As someone who was not a choir/drama nerd in high school (or ever), there's nothing for me to like about her or for me to relate to her. I'm happy that Murphy finally gave her a soul when she met up with the paraplegic kid (his name escapes me at the moment) and when she met her mom in the last episode, but I could certainly deal with more Kurt (who I think is the most likable and currently best defined) character and less Rachel.

    I have to disagree with you on the Ryan Murphy front, as well. To be fair, "Popular" was canceled after only two seasons. I think it's reasonable to say the show was quite ahead of it's time- I think it would be much better received today, and I think that Glee takes a great deal of its tone from Popular. I can't agree with him bringing Popular downhill quickly- it was never a hit the way Nip/Tuck or Glee were, so it didn't really have too much to descent from. And I'd give Nip/Tuck at least until Season 4 before it really lost its mind (the Carver, who was an AMAZING antagonist was season 3)- but you know, it's still my favorite show anyway :D

    Ryan Murphy is VERY good at quite a few things; and in my opinion- character development is at the top, followed closely by his skill at choosing music. I'd just like him to remember that as he continues on this endeavor.

  4. One other thing I forgot to mention that I really WISH more people would focus on are the casting choices in Glee.

    Sure, Tina could certainly use an acting coach, but what I find really awesome if that (aside from Dianna Argon, who is playing a pregnant teen anyway) none of the main girls have a typical Hollywood body. And that's nice to see :)

  5. Yes - lookswise, Glee is cast very...realistically for highschool. I REALLY like that even Brittany and Santana aren't typical gorgeous TV cheerleaders... they are pretty, yes... but they are real HS pretty, not TV pretty.

  6. I agree- it's really nice and REFRESHING to see that. It definitely deserves recognition :)

  7. AGREE. Thoughts on each bullet point:

    1) I never thought about it that way, but when you explain your reasonings for more Rachel, it totally makes sense. I agree with Acafellas and Home being the two worst episodes of the season, but I never realized that it could be due to lack of Rachel Berry.

    2) I love Emma, and they do need to give her more screen time. The times that she is on, her presence barely makes sense because she hasn't been there for four episodes in a row. You wonder where she's been/what she's been doing. And it seems to me that she isn't a very good guidance counselor :/

    3) XD. Agreed. Just...agreed.

    4) Good news: they *are* focusing on the writing/characters for season two :) Ryan Murphy said so himself on several occasions, all of which I have read articles on. So yay :D

    5) I wouldn't mind the themed episodes so much except for the fact that in the second half of the season, it was *every episode* that had a theme, and I agree, that became very lame very quickly. I don't think they're having very many themed episodes this season. So far all I know of is Britney/Brittany, an episode where the Glee Club's assignment will to be to write their own songs (so yay original songs), and the post-Superbowl tribute episode (thought whom the tribute is for has not yet been decided). So a few here and there like that could be a good thing, but not every episode :)

    6) I don't really have an opinion on this one, for some reason. I can deal with the show making fun on theater or not. I love it either way :)

    7) I agree with every word.

    8) Agreed. And good news! As I'm pretty sure you already know, Brittany and Santana have been promoted to season regulars, and it has already been established that the Britney/Brittany episode will show lots more of Brittany's character. Yay :) Also, I've heard rumors of more Mike (Other Asian - in the form of a Tina/Artie love triangle :O), however, I'm not sure if Matt is even coming back for the season. Sadface.

    9) Agreed. That's all :)

    10) Agreed :)

    Loves Glee. Loves you. That is all :) <3