Thursday, June 25, 2009

Positively Gleeful

I haven't been this excited for a television show in a long time. What excites me most about Glee is its fresh approach to telling the age-old high school story. You might say, "Jordan, this is exactly like High School Musical, a franchise which you have publicly proclaimed to detest," and you might be right but from what I can tell, Glee has a few more things going for it.

For one, it does not star Zac Efron.

Glee takes a brutally honest, wonderfully witty look at the cliquy and confusing world of high school in a way that HSM simply failed to do. The item on the top of my seemingly-endless list of reasons why High School Musical is a miserable piece of work is the cast's frequent outbursts into song. I know it's a musical but for me, it just doesn't make sense that the "guys" can think its so lame to join the musical in one scene and break out into a choreographed musical spectacular in the next. Glee's portrayal is much more honest.

The jock is shanghaied into the glee club, under penalty of expulsion for getting caught with pot. His jock friends hate it. They do not sing.

One of my favorite things about Glee is its colorful (and remarkably accurate) cast of supporting characters. Jane Lynch plays the swishy-tracksuit-wearing, protein-shake-drinking, iPhone carrying advisor to the "Cheerios", the school's cheerleading squad. Her veracious wit and rigid adherence to the established social norms make her a treasure trove of great lines and a joy to watch. Jayma Mays plays the adorably germaphobic guidance councilor who has a thing for the Spanish teacher and newly appointed leader of the glee club (played by Matthew Morrison). Morrison's character, once a glee club golden boy himself, adopts the floundering show choir after the previous instructor (played, hilariously by Stephen Tobolowsky) is let go for inappropriate contact with a male student.

I can't wait to see where this show will go. It has potential to be great (and a lineup of guest stars to help it get there). Hopefully the writers have a plan that includes more than just following the stars to college because, as Zac Efron learned himself on Saturday Night Live, "No one sings at college."

Glee premiers September 16, at 9:00 p.m. on Fox.

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