Thursday, May 12, 2011

In which I have three glasses of wine and become a little too judgemental

There are two embarrassing things that I do that, normally, I would look down on- but it is better that I come out and admit them right now. (I know, only two?)

Note: This is not me. In case you were wondering.

1. This past winter/spring, I read all the Sookie Stackhouse books, because I wanted a really trashy escape from reality. It gets worse. I stopped reading The Dark Tower series (I'm still on Wizard and Glass) to read a series about (puke) sexy vampires. Now, this feels like a special sort of betrayal, especially since we all know how Mr King feels about vampire series. Well obviously, The Dark Tower series, while still pulpy in its own wonderfully composed way, is the far superior set of books. But I chose the one that True Blood is based off of. Why? Not necessarily because I have some urge to get my undead freak on (in fact, not because of that at all- sorry vampire fans), but because this southern fantasy melodrama seemed to revel in its own trashiness and that tickled me. Plus the series required little use of my brain, which was already pretty drained dry from my mindless job that left me only able to make it through a few hours of rehearsal before going into a vegetative state. The Sookie Stackhouse series- good for people in comas and zombies!
Speaking of.
If there is anything more obnoxious than vampires, it is zombies. Almost. I mean, how hard is it to get rid of those guys- and by "those guys", I mean the fans. I am sure there is a special room in hell where all this undying vampire/zombie phenomena is being born, but it would appear I have officially forfeited my right to complain about it all the first time I decided to drink a bottle of wine and plow through the first book in the Sookie Stackhouse series.

.... I might still complain a little.

2. My roommate walked in on me doing something incredibly embarrassing a few weeks ago. Something that a person in their right mind only does in private, away from the judging eyes of society. And no matter how much I tried to explain that it was something that I only do occasionally, my roommate now thinks I am a big old Gleek.

Yes. I watched the Glee. More than once. Several times. Last season AND this one. I'm sorry. I feel that I owe it to the 16 year old musical theatre dork JessBecause, who would have adored the series because she didn't know any better, to at least give it a fair shot. And while there are a lot of problems with the show, what with the autotuning, the annoying as fuck themed shows, the celebrity guests who are obviously trying to prove they are down to earth singer/actresses (more on this later), and the horrifyingly inconsistent plot/character development- I think the major problem is the show's producer, Ryan Murphy. You might remember that he was also behind the other show that was born pole vaulting over the shark, Nip/Tuck. I can't say that I ever was into it, despite the presence of a baby with lobster hands at some point (so I'm told), but it was another trashy escapist melodrama. One that I heard went from good-bad, to just plain bad a few seasons in.

Glee seems to suffer most from a producer who can't decide whether he wants a show that is campy or preachy. It seems to me, JessBecause, armchair psychiatrist, that he wants the show to be silly, bitchy, tongue in cheek fun, but he also wants to work through his own high school hang ups, via "Kurt" (also known as Babygay Kurt and now Saint Kurt), who is also the only character who has really been allowed some progression, mostly so he can become the show's main star/martyr.

The show started with a bunch of stereotypes- the jock(s), the fat girl, the bitchy gay boy, the bitchy white girl, the bitchy cheerleader(s), the obnoxious mini-diva, the bad boy, the big black girl, the homophobes, the wheelchair kid- and threw them into a giant jukebox musical tv show...

Side note. If there is a room in hell for the zombie/vampire mania, then there is an entire floor for jukebox musicals. No foolin'. I cannot think of anything more lazy than- "Hey, let's build a flimsy plot around a bunch of popular songs! We know people already like the music, so that way there's less risk, AND less work for us! High fives and red bull all around, D-bags!"- but there it is, an insanely popular movement on broadway and now on tv.

Getting back to what I was saying.
.... Threw them into giant jukebox musical tv show and then came up with unbelievably ridiculous and surprisingly predictable story lines around each character. Apparently the word 'round town is that the show has lost some of it's believability in the 2nd season, to which I reply- did you see the 1st season? Fake pregnancy. Repeat. Fake. Pregnancy. Anyway, I have given the show chance after chance, and here is what I propose to make it watchable (at least to me). Drop everyone except Stupid Brittney, Bitchy/babygay Kurt (sorry Saint Kurt- I prefer a flawed character to a martyr), Sexygay Blaine, and Sexydancy... Asian guy? I dunno, they didn't give him a name until the second season (seriously). Oh, and leave Jane Lynch and Steven Tobolowsky.  Apologies to the rest of the cast.You have talent, but someone decided that you were stuck with crappy, inconsistent characters. Blame them. Anywho, Glee! Let's choose between campy musical comedy or campy musical melodrama. Ditch the themed shows, and if you must have special guests, then you are only allowed to bring true musical theatre stars. Kristen Chenoweth, Idina Menzel, Carol Burnett- those were fine. Gwyneth Paltrow- no and now I'm finally returning toa point  I wanted to make.
Now. No one is denying that Gwyneth Paltrow is a talented woman and a hard worker... but her presence on the show looked like nothing but a publicity stunt.
Publicist: "Ms Paltrow, between your website that tells people where to buy their silver spoons and your refusal to acknowledge that you were born with one in your mouth, what with your famous parents and your "Uncle Steven" (as in Steven Spielberg) giving you your first movie role, you need come off more approachable and down to earth."
Gwyneth: "Well, I can sing. You heard me with Huey Lewis a few years ago. Get me on that show with the cartoonish high school stereotypes singing top 40 hits."
Publicist: "Done! Plus we'll get you in a movie about country music. If anyone is down to earth and relatable, it is country music singers. Now that autotune is available, anything is possible!"
Okay Glee, granted-  you allowed one of your main characters, Quinn, to be played by a strikingly beautiful girl with a grating, whispery speaking voice and a reed thin singing voice that has been so blatantly auto-tuned, but that doesn't mean you have to bring in guest stars who, if they really wanted to sing, should stay in the back row of their church choir where they belong- not when you actually do have truly remarkable, natural singers on your show.

Ugh. What a hot mess. I feel guilty for not only recognizing the show's flaws, but also for being unable to move past them. But every few months, I keep going back because I grew up on musicals and I sincerely do like some of the talent on the show, and I really do keep hoping that the show will resolve it's issues and become more enjoyable.

Ridiculous? Us?

But honestly. Until they take my suggestions into consideration, which obviously they will!, I will just have to stick with silly, consistent musical comedy tv shows with original music.


AX Mason said...

You didn't watch that Glee Rumours episode did you? Yeah, that hurt my heart. Even characters who are supposed to be HS students, played by older persons, cannot manage the raw emotion those songs require. I was shocked when they rallied to manage what I found to be a respectable cover of 'Rollin' in the Deep.' I think it was the most inspired performance I've ever seen on that show. Most of the rest of it thus far has come across as incredibly weak. As a musicie (what is the word for a music person equivalent to a foodie?) I get sucked in to things with song, but learned quickly to fast forward through the rest of the show. Sad to see such potential and some very good voices go to waste like that. Oh, well... Until Jess takes over the airwaves, I'll have to settle.

Frau Schmidt said...

I had to stop watching Glee. We could make a much better high school show choir show. Because we lived it.

Debblog said...

I agree with you almost 100% (I actually was a big Nip/Tuck fan).
However, I think I have found your ticket to fame---you should write a vampire/zombie jukebox musical.

You're welcome.

Jessica said...

Nip/Tuck was a show that always looked like a big old trashy lady drink, which is good. But at some point it just fell apart- so I heard. I do like to have a few junk food tv shows. True Blood? So junky.

Jessica said...

Ps- I say you and I collaborate and get this zombie/vampire jukebox musical made.