Friday, September 30, 2011

A defense of Glee.

Before I launch into my defense of the show Glee, I need to talk about television and the screen in general. The problem with everything we see on screen is that it has the ability to mirror reality in a way that nothing ever had before it. You can do a battle scene on the stage but it likely won't be as effective as it would be on the screen. You can do a love scene on the stage but it likely won't be as moving as it would be on the screen. Experience is much more easily captured and readily presented on the screen than anything else. Because of this, we have come to expect a lot out of it. And we've lost the ability to accept that is a mere reflection of actual experience. Medicine doesn't actually happen the way it does on Grey's Anatomy. High School doesn't actually happen the way it does on Glee. Family systems don't actually happen the way they do on Boy Meets World. It's not real. And while we say we know and understand that, we don't apply it to our viewing experience. 

When asked if art mirrors nature the philosopher Plato said, Yes, and this is the very reason that art is dangerous: it lacks reality, it enflames the emotions, and it is removed from truth. Because of this we must lower our expectations, remove ourselves emotionally and accept television and film for what they are: mere reflections of reality. 

Now. On to my defense. If you know me, you know I love the dramatic. I also love the ironic humor. Glee exaggerates the high school experience and does so with subtly humor, PSA themes and over the top musical numbers that every secretly wishes they could be apart of. 

Furthermore, there is nothing I love better than a good cover. Glee has opened todays generation of middle and high school students to a world of classic rock that they might never have otherwise known. Journey, Fleetwood Mac and Queen are just the start. After the episode 'Rumours' in Season 2, the Fleetwood Mac album of the same title went to #7 in iTunes albums sales. Not to mention I have a Grooveshark playlist with 186 songs on it. Rock on.  

Back to the PSA themes. Remember on Degrassi High when that guy had AIDS and then that girl had an abortion and then that other girl had an eating disorder and other guy committed suicide? I watched every one of those episodes and they were incredibly shaping for my understanding of my adolescent development. Shows like Glee cover issues like drinking, sex and family systems that are crucial for a generation of youth that have no one else they feel comfortable talking too. You might consider that an issue in itself, which it is, but for the time being, Glee is doing a pretty okay job. 

I just think if you're going to hate it for the its influence, you have to hate every other influential teen show that ever was. That includes the O.C., Dawson's Creek, One Tree Hill, Gilmore Girls, 90210, Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars. They're all the same. And they aren't funny, don't have music and their PSA themes are too subtly woven in. 

You can't hate it because its unrealistic as that is by definition the essence of television. 

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