Guilty pleasures. We all have them. For some of us, it’s food. For others, it’s sleeping in really late. And as much as we would like to deny them or keep them under wraps, I have a special love for my guilty pleasures. And what would mine be besides a TV show? The show that simultaneously fill me with joy and shame? “Glee”.
It’s my ultimate guilty pleasure. I’m always a sucker for anything related to musical theater. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t singing songs from musicals, like singing duets with myself, like Wicked’s “For Good” or (very badly) belting out a soaring solo, like “Rose’s Turn” from Gypsy and “On My Own” from Les Miserables. So, years ago when I read about the soon to premiere show “Glee”, I was all for it.
The first season really drew me in and honestly, was far from guilty pleasure level. Of course, to some people, the fact that the show is a musical would automatically put it on a guilty pleasure list, but the show definitely had some redeeming qualities.
It revolved around the story of the underdog: these talented youngsters had spunk and some serious sets of pipes, but were the jokes of the school. I found it relatable. High school wasn’t all that fun. It was awkward, a social shark tank, and for the most part, felt like a waste of time. So, it was in a way comforting to relive these growing pains through these (far more talented) characters.
The story lines were funny, but heart-warming. There was usually a message or a lesson to be learned during each episode, but it was never too preachy or in your face about it. They broke out into song, sometimes in the middle of a sentence, sometimes after a moving(albeit cheesy) speech, with choreographed numbers and great costumes or outfits. And their covers of songs are great. What’s not to love?
Another aspect of the show that interested me was the cast. They were mostly unknowns: Lea Michele, Chris Colfer, Cory Monteith, Kevin McHale, Dianna Agron, Amber Riley, Heather Morris, and Naya Rivera. I had never seen them on TV or in films before, so I was really intrigued by them.
Through the talented cast, and the likable underdog characters, I became emotionally invested in the show. Not to mention their incredible covers, which were often at the top of the Billboard charts. I’m sure you’ve heard their rendition of “Don’t Stop Believin'”. It was basically everywhere after it was featured in the pilot episode. Here’s the ending scene of the episode:
It gave me chills when I first saw it. And it’s this scene that for me, not only showcased the show’s heart, but also cemented the show as worth watching and caring about. I was excited to see where it would go with these talented and lovable characters.
So, why do I now have guilt about indulging in the musical comedy-drama? Well, frankly, the show has gone down hill. If it was still as good as it was during it’s first season, I would have no trouble admitting that I’m a fan of the show. But now, I find myself frustrated after every episode I watch.
I’m way too invested in its characters to stop watching, though. My favorite of the bunch? Kurt Hummel (Chris Colfer), Rachel Berry (Lea Michele) Blaine Anderson (Darren Criss) and Santana Lopez(Naya Rivera). The show’s best story lines involve these characters and I’m a big fan of the actors portraying them. I’m particularly a fan of Darren Criss, who I saw perform at a small venue in Toronto this past June. He’s a seriously talented guy, so excuse my promotion of him. I just think he deserves more exposure. Check out his rendition of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream”, which was eventually featured in an episode during the fourth season and my favorite performance from him, Sam Cooke’s “Bring It On Home To Me”
Now, I find myself justifying myself still watching the show because I like these four cast members and their characters so much. And that’s frustrating. The writing has become lazy and overly silly. Continuity(sometimes minor elements, sometimes embarrassingly major elements) is often ignored, which is probably the most infuriating issue. I excuse these lazy and overly silly story lines, unless it involves my four favorite characters. The writers and the creator, Ryan Murphy, seemed to have recognized that these actors are fan favorites, so the best material is given to them. And I thank them for that.
I love the talented cast and their musical covers, so I continue to watch the show, though I’m continuously frustrated by it.I feel like I’ve already invested so much time and effort into watching the show and loving a select few characters, so I can’t force myself to stop watching it now. And that’s why it is my ultimate guilty pleasure show.
On a sadder note, I’ll admit that the show lost some of its heart when Cory Monteith passed away in July. I could write a whole blog post about this and how it affected the show’s fans and the show, but I’ll try and keep this short.
His character, Finn Hudson, was a lovable jock and had a moving relationship with Lea Michele’s Rachel Berry. They were the show’s main couple and some of the best writing and acting involved their characters. Like their characters, Monteith and Michele were also dating, which I always found adorable. I was very saddened by the news of Monteith’s death, especially since it was a drug overdose. He was very outspoken about his past with drugs and was always talking about how important it was to get help if you need it. His death was shocking and Glee fans had a hard time accepting it.
The show produced a lovely, respectful and moving episode titled “The Quaterback” that dealt with the passing of Monteith’s character, Finn Hudson. It was heartbreaking to watch, but an episode that I think was very important. From what I saw on Twitter and Tumblr, Glee fans were having a hard time accepting the passing of Cory Monteith and the death of Finn Hudson. So, this episode was a way for the actors, the writers and the fans to grieve together and to remember Cory and Finn Hudson.
It was the third episode of the current 5th season, and since then, the episodes that follow seem to be tied down with the sad loss. It’s always on my mind when I’m watching the show. I can’t help but think about where Finn would fit in or what he and Rachel would be doing. Now, I’m going to put this aside. Perhaps I’ll write a longer post about it because it’s still on my mind months after it happened.
Though I’m endlessly frustrated about how good the show could be, I still find it to be enjoyable and I can’t pull myself away from it. And that’s what a guilty pleasure is all about right?