Glee: A Treatise

[Gabe Liedman is a stand-up comedian, and one half of the Gabe and Jenny comedy team with Jenny Slate. But at the top of that resume it states that he is Videogum’s Official Expert on this season of America’s Next Top Model Glee.]

Glee. Okay. HIIIIIIIIIII GLLLLLLLLLLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. You’re a very interesting show, congrats! And, people seem to love you, which make sense, but is also very surprising. Obviously, if musicals are one of those things that for totally understandable reasons flip your hate switch–steer clear, Glee’s not gonna change your mind. There’s a lot of that shit in there, served up in a chunky stew of both musical successes and failures. They go pop A LOT, which I definitely prefer–it’s not all Broadway (although, I’ll admit I was pretty fucking moved by Glee’s version of ‘Maybe This Time’ from Cabaret, despite myself). They do modern pop, funny ’90’s pop, a little reinterpreted hip hop, and then occasionally they blow your minds with an epic ’70’s/’80’s classic that you realize you’ve forgotten to listen to every single morning for your entire life so far, like Queen’s ‘Somebody to Love,’ or ‘Alone’ by Heart. Jesus, yes.

I was on the fence, Glee. I’ll admit that. I let six weeks of your existence pass unwatched because you seemed kind of desperate and needy when you “leaked” the pilot episode in the middle of the Spring when you knew very well that you weren’t going to be a TV show until much later than that. Buzz building, like breaking out into a full-on musical number in real life, should be as organic as possible, otherwise you look like a big dumb loser.

HOWEVZ, I live alone, I can’t afford cable anymore, one thing led to another, and now I’m here–pouring my guts out to you, Glee, the subject of my every thought. You are very good. You really, really are. You’re not perfect, okay? So don’t get cocky. But, you’re very good. And, as I’m SURE you know, lots of TV shows are pretty terrible when they first start (I’m looking at you, Sex and the City), and slowly get better as their viewers get hard over the potential they see in those terrible episodes.

So: again, congratz!
Love, Gabes (Delahaye and Liedman (J/K Gabe Liedman only, no doy)).

Glee has its strengths and weaknesses for suresies. Weakness #1: Matthew Morrison, as Glee Club director WILL SCHUESTER. Sorry, dude. KNOCKITOFF!!

Now, I’ll give it to you, Glee, this is some of the most authentic casting I’ve ever seen in my entire life. Mr. Schuester is supposed to be a former Glee Club superstar who peaked in 1993, then became a teacher, and started teaching Spanish and Glee Club at the same high school that he went to. We all know people exactly like this, and for better or worse (WORSE ONLY SO FAR) Morrison is SO AUTHENTICALLY that guy that you will be convulsing in a douche-chill seizure by minute 10. (You’ll think I’m overreacting for the first 9 minutes, but then you’ll see. Oh, you’ll see).

The first hint that “Mr. Schue,” as the kids he hangs out (and dances and claps) with call him, was way too much for me to handle douche-wise was in the 2nd episode, when the Glee Club rehearses ‘Gold Digger’ by Kanye West. In case you haven’t assumed it already, Mr. Schue takes the Kanye part (KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME), and does some VERY un-fancy footwork to accompany it. DON’TDOTHAT. The second-hand shame was so thick in my apartment I could’ve cut it with a spoon, but I was too busy finding a strong enough beam in my ceiling from which to you-know-what myself.

He does ENTIRELY too much rapping and R&B’ing, which I know is not the actor’s choice, but I am a childish and mindless consumer, so I’m blaming it on him, k? He also has this disgusting facial expression that he makes all the time–a cocky half-smile that is so rehearsed and gross that it’s offensive.

It’s the kind of facial expression that you only want to see someone make if the blowjob you’re giving them is SO GOOD that they can’t control their face muscles. You guys know what I’m talking about.

Now, there is the distinct possibility (fuck it, let’s just call it an inevitability), that in a matter of weeks or months I will be desperately in love with Mr. Schue. The same thing happened to me with Xander from Buffy, whom I found insufferable at first and then came around on so hard it was gross. He was like “stop coming around on me so hard” and I was like “I can’t!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

So, okay, the show. Glee is about a high school Glee Club in Ohio. The kids in the club are pretty much what you’d expect as first:

But over the course of the first 7 episodes, the ranks swell to include different types of stock characters. The core of the group is:

RACHEL BERRY, played by Lea Michele. Lea was a huge deal on Broadway within the last coupla years, because she played Wendla in Spring Awakening; and, my guess is, she fucking nailed the fuck out of it. Rachel is the best singer in school, and is set up to be a sort of Tracy Flick figure on the show. Yeah, they go there. (There’s a lot of Election in Glee so far, but because of our Bronze Age FCC regulations, they can’t REALLY go there, you know? But, they try, and succeed, considering our country’s network TV is really only allowed to operate at about 50% of its potential.) Yeah, she’s a lot like Tracy Flick, except, well, she’s…let’s just say: I bet she had a really fun time sleeping outside during Sukkot last week, and I bet her Lulav and Etrog are packed away real neatly right now (she’s Jewish).

Rachel is a little stuck up, helplessly outspoken, and her Achilles Heel is her ego, which other characters know, and use that to manipulate her. She has a really hard time with not getting the best parts in shit, and all you have to do to make her do what you want her to do is flatter her. But also: she’s fucking talented as shit.

Also, side note: Jenny Slate as her on SNL maybe? Yes, please!

But, anyway, Rachel is in love with FINN HUDSON, played by Cory Monteith.

Finn is the captain of the football team, the most popular boy in school, but has no bones about how much he loves being in Glee Club. Uh huh. He’s A LOT like Paul Metzler, Chris Klein’s INCREDIBLY PERFECT AND WONDERFULLY ACTED character in Election–only his midsection is more realistic (HI CHRIS KLEIN (from Election only)!!!!!!!!!!!!).

Finn, no doy, is dating the head cheerleader QUINN FABRAY, played by Dianna Agron, who is VERY pretty and scary.

Quinn is knocked up, and because her boyfriend is such a loving dope, she tells him that the baby is his, when it’s really his best friend PUCK’s.

Puck, played by the body-fat-less wonder Mark Salling, is the school’s studly bad-boy, who loves to fuck MILFs and never wear shirts. He joins the Glee Club to score some poon, and it works. But then again, he could’ve joined the self-castration club and still scored some poon, so whatevs.

Who else is in the Glee Club? There’s the absolutely perfect and wonderful and perfect and wonderful and perfect MERCEDES JONES, played to perfection and wonderfulness by Amber Riley.

Mercedes has a sick fucking singing voice, but she can also move her BIG HAPPY body in ways that amaze and delight. She is a consummate performer, perfect in every way. When I look in the mirror, it’s her looking back at me, brushing her teeth in perfect unison with me. Swoon.

There are A LOT of musical numbers in Glee, and so far, her performance of ‘Bust Your Windows’ by the love of my summer Jazmine Sullivan was %1,000 my fav.

There’s also KURT HUMMEL, played with a precise balance of cunt and grace by 19 year old gay Chris Colfer.

A show like Glee obviously needs a gay character, and there’s something really special, and again, authentic, about Chris Colfer as Kurt. A gay playing gay on screen is terrific (I’m looking at you, Bryan Batt from Mad Men), I love it, it makes me feel good and safe and welcome. And, believe me, I’m not saying that straights can’t do it. Quite the opposite. The entire cast of Milk deserves a very slow and deliberate blowjob for their work, and SERIOUSLY, Andy Samberg in I Love You Man????!!! Words cannot express how much I <3'd that. Made me smile for weeeeeeeks, and still gives me a thankfulness boner when I think back on it. Kurt is basically the gayest gay who ever gay'd. He's in love with Finn, kind of, and dresses like Sgt Pepper as interpreted by Nick Jonas, with the occasional knee-length fitted cardigan thrown in there for good measure. Kurt's main conflict so far has been coming out of the closet, which I think the show handled pretty perfectly. Even if you're the gayest gay who ever gay'd, you still have to come out of the closet at some point, and the scary part about coming out isn't always that you think people will reject you because of your sexuality--the scary part is saying it out loud, for the first time, and admitting it to yourself more than to everyone else. Everyone else knows your gay--that's why some of them yell 'faggot' when you walk by--but it's the internal having to become external that is scary for kid who's been made to feel like he had to keep a secret for so long (even though it's not like he was keeping it well or anything). Glee pretty much nailed that, so, kudos–I relate to a twink!

Oh, there’s also a character in the club named ARTIE ABRAMS, who is in a wheelchair, played by Kevin McHale, who has a surprisingly soulful singing voice, the end.

Glee takes place in a school, so besides the kids and one adult I’ve covered so far, there’s a lot of teacher characters and grownups too. I’ll keep this part brief. Mr. Schue is married to a horrible bitch named TERRI, who is played very well by Jessalyn Gilsig.

She is a nightmare Lady Macbeth type, who finds her husband embarrassing (HE IS) and is faking a pregnancy for attention. How’s she going to get away with that? By stealing Quinn’s baby.

There’s also a guidance counselor at school named EMMA (played by Jayma Mays who also played Henry’s cumdump Charlie on Ugly Betty), who is super dupes in love with Mr. Schue, and has adorable-yet-crippling germaphobia.

She is very cute, and has some sort of speech affectation I’ve never in my LIFE heard before, which made me think maybe she did all the voices on Rugrats, but it turns out she didn’t.

Weird that it took me this long to get to her, but the end-all and be-all of Glee’s comedy factor, SUE SYLVESTER, is a ruthless and estrogen-free cheerleading coach played PERFECTLY by Christopher Guest alum Jane Lynch.

Jane Lynch is doing a lot of what she’s done before here, but Lord help us, she’s so fucking good at it. She is a savant at playing this type of character–she’s the Platonic ideal of a funny, mean, female coach. I get the feeling that a lot of her funniest lines were probably improvised at a table read or something, and then incorporated directly into the script, because her delivery is so geniusly on-point and natural that it’s nutso-times-a-millie. She gets most of laughs on the show, hands down, and deserves every fucking one of them. Her comic timing is beyond, and the show also uses her for some much-needed Strangers With Candy inspired joking. Always welcome/necessary. The character is constantly trying to destroy the Glee Club, because she thinks her cheerleaders are the only bitches in town who deserve to jump around and make noise.

Another very funny, and uber-creepy/dirty teacher character is SANDY RYERSON, who is an alleged-yet-un-convicted online sex pervert 4kidz.

He brings a certain South Park element to the Glee pot, which is very very funny at times, and always highly “offensive” on purpose. He is played by the ubiquitous Stephen Tobolowsky, who you’ll recognize if you look him up, and then be like ‘yeah, okay, who cares?’

There have also been some notable guest star performances so far, which are worth mentioning right quick. Josh Grobin was funny, and Kristin Chenoweth was pretty much amazing as a straight-up Jerri Blank rip off who is super gorgeous instead of super fugly.

K.C. is a wonderful performer who I’ve always given too little credit because I am disrespectful of Broadway and never got that into Pushing Daisies (I thought the subway ads were cheap (the show was pretty cute though, I’ll give it to them)). ALSO, damn grrrrrw u’re pwetty.

AAAAAAAAAAAND, exhale. You’re caught up, except for last night’s episode.

Last night’s episode was pretty good, not the best. Sue and Mr. Schue are co-running the Glee Club, after Mr. Schue’s cunt wife got a job at the school posing as the nurse so she could spy on her husband in the last episode. Because she is a monster, when she was the nurse, she got a lot of the kids addicted to psuedoephedrine, which resulted in a delightful mash-up of ‘Halo’ and ‘Walking on Sunshine,’ but also got her husband in BIG trouble.

Sue’s master plan to destroy the Glee Club du jour is to divide the kids along racial and ethnic lines, and paint Mr. Schue as a racist (smart). It works pretty well, but not perfectly, because the kids’ dork-loves are stronger than their race-hates.

During the segregation moments, the musical choices were meh-at-best. My girl Mercedes served up some “Hate on Me” by Jill Scott handily, but quickly undid that semi-glory by getting together with her friends and jamming out “impromptu”-style to Nelly’s “Must Be the Money,” with Finn on drums. Yuck.

I’d say my favorite song was Quinn’s spontaneous Supremes number (“You Keep Me Hangin’ On”), which was given a sad and urgent tone by the you-know-what baking in her she-oven. I’m a sucker for girl groups (big surprise). Plus, girl’s got a little Diana Ross in the voice, no doubt, and the choreography was next level. I like A LOT of shoulder.

Rachel and Finn farted their way through “No Air” as best they could, and the show ended with my 2nd favorite Avril Lavigne song ever, “Keep Holding On” (it’s no “I’m With You,” but what is, right?).

Mr. Schuester is becoming a lot more forceful and manly with his wife, which turns her on; and, Finn is starting to really fall for Rachel. Quinn can see it coming from a mile away, and she doesn’t like it at all. She confronts Rachel about it, who knows she should really back off, but can’t because she’s too damn wet (in her heart?). Quinn’s pregnancy gets leaked (EEEEEEEEW) online, even though Rachel tries to bribe the school blogger with a pair of her worn underpants.

In the end, Sue steps down from co-running the Glee Club after she and Mr. Schue have a very big fight in front of the kids. She seems like she’s being the bigger person, but then you find out that it was her who leaked the news of Quinn’s pregnancy, and you realize that she is every bit the rotten hulk of a demon-queen that you’re supposed to think she is.

So, there you go: my book about Glee–longer than Moby Dick. Oh, I’m sorry, I meant longer than Moby’s dick.