I wish I could quit watching Glee. What started off promising, campy, and fun has stampeded downhill into truly, truly bad territory. I recognize that I’m a bit out of the age range of Glee’s target demographic, and I suspect that many of the teenagers watching don’t feel the same major decline in quality. I tried to quit. I really did. I wrote passionate texts and emails to friends detailing how I was quitting, and how I was doing so well and how the show was utter crap. And yet, though I’m no longer a devoted viewer — I was during the first season and most of the second — I do tune in every now and then. How does this show manage to suck me in again and again? Why am I listening to Glee covers right now as I type?
Well, there are a few reasons, the first being the character of Santana Lopez. When she appears in an episode, you’re in for a biting Santana one-liner or sick solo number. She’s the best character on the show right now, and she’s actually pretty well rounded, which is rare on a show with so many leads. Remember her vulnerability during her coming out plotline? (No? You don’t watch Glee? Why are you reading this?) That season two and season three arc showed off the deeper layers of the character, as well as Naya Rivera’s acting skills. She’s only gotten better since, from what I’ve seen. Props to Rivera and the Glee writers for giving us at least one badass reason to watch.
A more personal reason: I’m a musical theatre geek at heart. I went to art and acting camp for four summers during middle school. I was in Annie in 7th grade (as a homeless person, a Warbucks mansion maid, and an New York City dweller). Give me something I can belt to and I’m happy with it. Anything Goes soundtrack? Yup. RENT? You bet. If you think I didn’t see Pitch Perfect in theaters and three more times since then, you are incorrect, sir. Glee is like an assembly line for that kind of music. They (the stars, the music producers, whoever) take pop music and make it way more musical theatre-y, and therefore, way more fun to sing along to. I may not have the musical chops to join in — at least, in a way that’s enjoyable for anyone with ears around me — but I have a hell of a good time doing so anyway.
And here’s my logistical reason — my roommates watch it, sometimes. Sounds like a cop-out, but it’s true. I’d fully quit Glee after season two, until I moved in with my current roommates halfway through the third season. Even though they also dislike it at this point, Glee finds its way into our living room over and over, either live on the television screen on Thursday nights or, if not, recorded on our DVR. What’s a girl to do? Obviously, I will be watching for, at the minimum, part of the episode. If there’s a brownie on the counter, you’re not NOT going to eat it. Not that Glee is quite as good as a brownie… P.S. Love you guys, not blaming it on you at all. We have all three been sucked into the web.
Also, on this current season of Glee (season four, super-bad, and I don’t mean in the McLovin’ way), they devoted TWO WHOLE EPISODES to covering Grease. In case you have no soul and this means nothing to you, let me explain. Grease is the best. No, it’s The Best, capital T, capital B. I don’t even care that the movie stars John Travolta, who decidedly is not the best. Grease was my favorite movie and favorite Broadway musical for a very, very long time, and they both still rank pretty high on my lists. I even like Grease 2. Point is, when I saw the promo touting the Glee kids performing Grease over TWO episodes, I was powerless to stop myself from watching, and powerless to stop myself from downloading Darren Criss’ cover of “Hopelessly Devoted to You” afterward.
Lastly, Glee’s kind of fun to hate, and they provide a lot of material in that department. To fully appreciate the snark, you’ve gotta be informed about the absurd plot twists, mishandled issues, and questionable song treatments. At least, that’s what I tell myself.
So, Glee, I wish I could turn you off for good. But I can’t. You have a magical hold on me. And even though I’m on a hot streak of not watching you at the moment, it’s only a matter of time before you cover a song from West Side Story or Hair or by the Supremes or The Four Seasons and I’m back in again. Maybe that makes you kind of a genius, after all.