Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Life with "Glee"

I know many of my readers are fellow fans of "Glee."  The show's return is one of the highlights of the fall season for me (something to cheer me up despite the cold, gray weather this week).  It's always fun to see the way the show incorporates a range of musical styles to enhance its story.

Like all movies or television programs about music, the show is full of over-produced fantasy numbers.  The recent Britney Spears episode had most of the songs as fantasy sequences, which seems redundant in a show where a glee club sings new hit songs perfectly each week, complete with back-up band, dancers, lights, and costumes.  The show depicts what we all wish we sounded like, the perfect performance that we give in the shower, the sense of joy in community and the ability to express yourself in song.

But the show isn't meant to be a realistic documentary, I know.  To me, it's meant to capture the optimism and pluckiness that can define youth, and that we all need to reclaim during times of trouble and times of joy.  Like a church choir, the characters sing to express themselves in words and tunes.  Each listener hears something different, but I think Jane Lynch (who plays Sue Sylvester) put it best in a recent interview with Larry King:

"Musicians...basically love music, and they understand the power of music.  I think it touches them all very deeply that this is a show that celebrates making a joyful noise."


  1. how much did you pay jane lynch to mention your theme during the interview? it's so perfect that it ties in to your work this fall. keep making joyful noise, choir!

  2. fancy production numbers are fun, but some of the most moving music is simple and performed by less-than-wonderful voices. Bob Dylan anyone, or Howlin' Wolf?

  3. In retrospect, I should have mentioned some of the very stark, simplistic numbers in Glee as well. The men's guitar song in the season premiere was as basic and acoustic and under-produced as a song could be, while still a powerful moment in the show - and I know fans could think of others as well.