Friday, October 29, 2010

Rocky Horror Glee

Since I watched the Rocky Horror episode of Glee, I've been trying to figure out why the show doesn't seem as enchanting to me this season as it did last.

I think I've got it.

It's all in the characterization. As a writer, I have to think about my characters, live in their heads a bit, get to know them on an intimate level. I have to ask myself, Is this really what he/she would do? And if it's not, I better figure out what he/she would do - otherwise, I lose credibility.

Now, don't get me wrong, I think Glee has awesome writers - they take a rather large cast of characters and show them to the viewer in ways that help you understand their motivations, desires, dreams, and jealousies. But what happens when one of those characters no longer seems to be in-character?

I'm talking Mr. Schue - Will Schuester.

In season one, Mr. Schue was all about the kids. He took his love of his students, and this feeling of being honor-bound to help them succeed, to an extreme. He ignored his marriage in order to give the kids his best (granted, the marriage wasn't spectacular). He stood up to Sue and Figgins to defend his students. He was, in short, a model teacher - unimpeachable in his job, really - and we needed him to be that way. He was the responsible one, the one who saved the students from themselves, the one who made (mostly) mature decisions in guiding them.

We could have a Sue Sylvester on the other end of the spectrum because we had a Will Schuster. (And isn't Jane Lynch spectacular as Sue? Very much deserved Emmy win).

Fast forward to the Fall 2010 season, and in... what?... five episodes we've seen Mr. Schue team up with  Sue to bully the new football coach, sing/dance with the students at a pep rally to a sexy Brittney Spears song, convince the students to do a musical that's really not suited to high school, expect one male student to wear nothing but skimpy shorts onstage and a male and female student to perform in their underwear, and get hot-heavy-partially-naked with Emma in the school.

Hmmmmm... doesn't quite sound like the same character, at least not to me.

I'm not judging this on morality - I could really care less about the moral issues of the show - I enjoy it for the writing, the humor, the edge. I'm only looking at this as watching a character slip out of character. Would season one Will even recognize season two Will? I don't know. Can we use the excuse that he's going a little wild after his divorce or because he lost Emma? I don't think so. Sure, we all know people who, after a divorce or upon hitting 'middle age', go a little nuts - but don't we usually see that in them, at least a hint, before? Does someone who holds high standards and ideals fall so quickly because of a divorce? I have a hard time believing it.

I'll keep watching Glee, of course I will, but now I'm watching it with a more critical eye, waiting to see what Mr. Schue will do next, and if I'll really buy it.


  1. Will is really coming off as creepy, isn't he? And desperate and sad and lost. Who the hell is he anymore? Constantly needing to get down with the kids and sing farty old songs. Ew. He wasn't singing in this instance, but did they really need to waste five minutes of screen and singing time on "Run, Joey, Run" a while back?
    I'm not too keen on this whole season, so far. All the theme weeks step too far from the storytelling format and into music video land, and we are losing the thread of what's going on. The characters are merely sketches of themselves, now: highly recognizable and easily plugged into sight gags or visual shorthand. Bitchy cheerio, ditz, jock, gay, Asian, other Asian, black diva. The writers are better than that!
    Okay, just thinking about the Britney episode and the Madonna episode, and they were fantastic. Still, you can't have dessert all the time.
    There were so many character story arcs last season. Where are they now? Every week it feels like the first 45 minutes are fluff, and I am constantly surprised that the episode is over, since they never get to anything anymore.
    Except in the Rocky Horror ep, where all I wanted was loads of singing and gold bikinis, and I just got chatter. So much Brad and Janet, too. I really am not feeling the Rachel/Finn thing, either. Having Sam naked in the shower every week feels like pandering. I get over my indignation quickly, lol, but really.
    There have been some absolutely beautiful musical moments (I was tickled to hear Kurt do "Le Jazz Hot"), and they need to focus on more of those.
    So, they set up a fantastic fantasy musical world, not rooted too firmly in reality as to prevent us suspending disbelief (except, where does Kurt get the money for all his fabulous designer clothes?!), wrote some terrific antagonism to build tension, and then coasted in the second season. Not cool, guys.

    Do you have a wish list of songs? I'd love to hear Kurt's version of "Were the World Mine".

  2. BK7,
    If I remember correctly, in the first episode (or maybe the second), Kurt was a rich kid who had everything - a few episodes later, his father was a blue-collar worker. *shrugs*

    Mr. Schue is really bothering me. The more he goes crazy over Emma, the worse I like him. Creepy is certainly the word.

    Yes, they really have lost the thread of their characters and storylines. I didn't enjoy this show for stereotypical characters in not-well-developed storylines. I began watching because of the quirkiness of the individuals and the wonderful writing that kept me guessing, but still made sense. It doesn't do either anymore, sadly.

    I will admit that I've started fast-forwarding through some of the musical numbers now - I find I'm just not caring enough, or maybe they aren't tied to the story enough, to watch them.

    I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the rest of this season will improve.

    Thanks for the comment!