Confessing to liking Glee

Published by Rick on Tagged Uncategorized


           I was doing a gig Sunday night in the town of Shirley, about 15 miles SE of Birmingham, and the drive took just under three hours, so I got to listen to BBC Radio 1’s chart show in its entirety. In this week’s top 40 were four count ’em FOUR tunes by the cast of Glee. The tunes are making the charts on downloads only, and this week there were two new entries from the previous week’s show. The episode centered around a challenge from the rival glee club directors, pitting the girls against the boys to create a “mash-up,” which is like a medley except that in a medley, once the next song is established, there’s no return to the previous one. In a mash-up, two or more tunes play in and around each other for the duration. Both mash-ups made the charts, the boys’ song featuring Bon Jovi’s “It’s My Life” coupled with Usher’s “Confessions,” and charted at #14, while the girls’ song coupled Beyonce’s “Halo” with Katrina & The Waves’ “Walking On Sunshine,” and hit #9. The girls win, whoopie I guess!

              Before the gig on Sunday, the club’s DJ was playing various cuts from his ipod, and one was a mash-up with two similarly-themed songs that musically have almost nothing to do with each other, The Police’s “Don’t Stand So Close To Me” and Gary Puckett & The Union Gap’s 1968 hit “Young Girl.” Both songs are about a wide age gap between the man and the woman in a relationship, but where The Police song is an early 80’s classic, the Gary Fuckett & Union Crap song is a chauvinistic pile of better-forgotten drivel. The mash-up clearly was not done with the original recordings, so I just naturally assumed it had to be the cast of Glee. The DJ didn’t know, and on checking the episode guide website, there was no mash-up of those two songs featured in any episode. Thank god for small favors, maybe that will be the only time I hear that one.

               I must confess though, that I judged the TV show to be “High School Musical” with a bit more mature themes, based solely on the cuts I’d heard. The saccharine sound of their versions of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” and Queen’s “Somebody To Love” were an audio turn-off to me. What I’ve discovered from watching the show is the music itself, while a focal point of the plot lines, is probably the least essential element. Yes, it’s professionally recorded and sung, but the choreography around each song is the equivalent of producing two or three music videos a week, and to top it off, there are multiple well-conceived storylines running through as well. You can’t help but appreciate the incredible amount of work that goes into each episode, and are amazed that they can envision turning this out 20-24 times a year, the traditional series order for a whole season.

                    The cheerleaders’ segment on last night’s episode featured them singing The Supremes’ “You Keep Me Hanging On,” and the multiple cuts to different indoor and outdoor venues made it as flashy as any “serious” video. The singing of the song was weak by comparison, but it didn’t matter. I also find it entertaining how they manage to do full-on choreography utilising the kid in the wheelchair, and he seems to stay totally in synch with everyone else.

                    Of course what also gives it the extra spark is Jane Lynch as the feisty Girls’ PE coach and Glee club rival director Sue Sylvester. When I saw initial promos, I kept trying to remember where I’d seen her, then finally thought of the Christopher Guest films like “Best In Show” and “A Mighty Wind,” but then discovered she’s a Judd Apatow favorite as well (“40-Year-Old Virgin” among others). If you look up her Wikipedia entry, you find that she’s guested on virtually every high-profile TV sitcom or drama of the past 20 years. “Friends,” “Desperate Housewives” “Family Guy” “My Name Is Earl” are just a few. About the only one she hasn’t done is “The Simpsons,” and no doubt she will sometime soon.  Surprisingly, this is her first gig as a regular on a major network weekly prime time show.  

                     All of the above factors have won me over, and all the better that I get Freeview, where I can watch it in a more relaxing setting on Monday nights on the E4 channel rather than on the terrestrial Channel 4, which for some silly reason, opts to run it on Sunday afternoons. I still feel I can miss an episode and not feel too horribly out of touch, but for the most part, the doggone thing has sucked me in. My skepticism has been tempered. Am I a wimp? 

One Response to “Confessing to liking Glee”

  1. Desmond Samuel Says:

    Hi Rick, I thought this was just High School Musical for an older crowd but I am hooked. Loved the mashups last week

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