I’ve maintained for a few years now that the world needs more high-profile musicals. It’s certainly due to my own bias, but every so often, a show/film/whatever that reminds me why I love the genre.
I’m reminded of one of my favorite quotes about creating art, from Etienne Decroux, known for his Corporeal Mime style:
One must have something to say. Art is first of all a complaint. One who is happy with things as they are has no business being on the stage. — Etienne Decroux
In addition to its own argument, any musical can be seen as an argument that we need more music and wonder in our lives — by positing a universe where people are able to delve into emotion and express it through song and dance.
Glee achieves this effect not by the unrealistic approach of expecting everyday people to burst into song in unison and perfectly execute choreagraphy that didn’t exist five seconds before, however. It contextualizes the musical theatre genre within actual musical theatre — in this case a High School Glee club in the fictional McKinley High School of Lima, OH.
The members of the Glee club are outcasts and outsiders who don’t fit in anywhere, as well as the odd-man-out for the outsiders — Finn Hudson (Cory Montieth) the quarterback of football squad, who has cultivated a love of music from an early age.
The show is quirky, cute, fun and inspirational, with compelling oddball characters well cast and well-performed. Especially outstanding are Jane Lynch as Sue Sylvester, the coach of the socially dominant “Cheerios” cheerleading squad, Lea Michele as Rachel Berry, self-styled ingenue, and Jayma Mays as Emma Pillsbury, the cute OCD school counselor with feelings for the Spanish-teacher director of the glee club.
In what I can only hope will be a tradition for the show, two pieces from the Pilot are available as iTunes downloads — a rival glee club’s rendition of Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab” and the McKinley glee club’s version of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing”, well-chosen for its ability to be a theme not just for the pilot, but the whole show.
Glee is a quirky, oddball show full of underdogs. Initial response to the show is very positive, and there is a lot to be positive about. I encourage readers to look for the pilot episode on Fox.com and Hulu, then watch the show as it continues this fall.