Television outlook: The first season of Glee, and how there’s no way in hell this show can continue beyond 2 more seasons

5 06 2010

Next Tuesday, America’s favorite edgy broadcast network will show the season finale of a teevee show that (understandably) grabbed the attention of the nation by providing questionable covers of your favorite pop songs while providing witty and quirky storytelling. America finally got its own Degrassi, only with more music, and less drug abuse and abortions… yet.

I’m looking forward to this finale, but I’m also going to be disappointed. Not just because I’m going to have to wait a couple more months for the show to continue.

It’s because we are one season away from the end of a show that cannot sustain itself for more than 3, if not 4, more seasons. Not without jumping the shark and infuriating the still-infant fandom of Gleeks.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Glee. I love how it combines so many faults to create something that simply works. The absolutely preposterous (yet spot on) caricature of American high school life, the strengths and flaws in the characters (a likable, yet man-slutty Mr. Schuester; the love-to-hateable Sue Sylvester with a mentally handicapable sister; absolute bitchy Jewish-American princess Rachel Berry who you can’t help but to cheer for), and the earnest After School Special life lessons and discoveries the characters make.

I’m just questioning how much longer they can sustain the roadmap and outlook of the mythos of the show without making it go to absolute shit. Or at the very least, mediocrity.

The first half of the premiere season was devoted to New Directions making it to show choir sectionals, and the second half will see our ragtag teen vocalists make it to regionals.

If my knowledge of high school competitive levels is correct, Schuester and his adolescent posse have State and Nationals left. After that, what else can happen? It’s not like they’ll be trying to make it to show choir world championships (although admittedly a face-off against a genetically engineered Chinese show choir sounds strangely attractive and almost Whedonesque).

Lets say that Ryan Murphy devotes a whole season to each of those future milestones. We are now left with three full seasons, and the cumulation of New Directions’ journey, with Schuester and Emma Pillsburry finally getting together (fo’ real, and fo’ the long term this time), Kurt getting HIV or whatever, Tina the Jewish Asian going to Harvard to study pre-med (that’s what we Yellows do), and Rachel making it to Broadway and getting cast as Wendla in Spring Awakening (oh, wait, nevermind).

You can introduce new freshman, but I don’t think we’re going to care as much about them as we did with the original team. And even then, running through sectionals>regionals>state>nationals for that new crew again will get tiring.

There is the possibility that Schuester and Company won’t make it to state or nationals, thereby creating the impetus of stretching the series out for several seasons as they try and try again, but Glee isn’t The Simpsons. These kids will age and “graduate,” and even with new cast additions, I feel that the chemistry with the current group can’t be interrupted.

Perhaps I’m thinking too much about a show that hasn’t even officially ended its first season, but I can’t see where this show can go beyond 3 more seasons while keeping everyone enthralled and entertained.

Surprise me, Murphy.

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6 responses

5 06 2010
Driftwood

Firstly, I’ll take a note from your book.

Secondly, I couldn’t agree more – Glee comes off as a single season series. It was clearly staged to test the waters and it seems like they expected to fail within the first season. This is a symptom of highly quirky shows, such as Pushing Daises, Twin Peaks, or Firefly. Glee’s over the top characters, deliciously poppy covers, and general marketability (All the promos are proof that it’s annoying, but accessible) have carved out enough of a fan base NOW, rather than in 3 years post-cancellation, to prove successful.

I’m a fan of the show, but I don’t want it to get tired and to the point where people just shrug it off. [Just look at Guitar Hero/Rockband and how it’s so revolutionary, but I haven’t touched those games for over a year or two…] I’d love to see the show continue on, simply because I’m a glutton for things I enjoy, but I hope they know when to stop… [I hope we never have to sit through a Four Non Blondes tribute.]

5 06 2010
Astanle

Honestly, once the show came back from hiatus I was already feeling a little “meh” about it. It seems that this second run of episodes has already drifted a bit from campy-ness and more and more into tired cliche. There are still some bright spots though– the Lady GaGa episode was great moreso for its powerful plot than its music, and “Dream On” was spectacular just because of the presence of Neil Patrick Harris.

We’ll see how things pick up, or if they do, but the show has already gone from a must-watch on Tuesday nights to something I’ll catch later on Hulu if I have the time. Unless NPH is guest-starring again…

5 06 2010
Driftwood

I had a similar reaction; I do like that there are a few more tonal shifts towards more ‘deep’, realistic issues – I felt a bit more connected to the characters, because at times they seem so shallow/two dimensional.

Although I *love* NPH, I feel like he fell really flat. And I hate that his character was so intensely shallow. I tend to think of characters as real people and every time he was on screen, I was scoffing, rolling my eyes, and saying “Really?” aloud.

Do you find the fact that they’ve seemingly overlooked everything about school annoying? There’s never a transition of them working on a project for a science class or writing a paper, then being interrupted for plot progression. It’s always “We’re at our lockers!”, “I’m walking down this hall!”, or “I don’t have class, so I hang out in the Glee room…”

5 06 2010
evilfishytank

I never really noticed the lack of slice-of-life elements from the show until your brought it up a few days ago, but I think that has more to do with the audience (in general) not really caring about the normal meat and potatoes of the characters days. The most entertainment we can get from normal day to day life is from Emma’s awkward guidance counseling.

Glee perhaps finds its success in glossing over the characters’ school lives, and focusing only on the club, the drama around the club, and the character’s personal drama. There’s only so much you can put into 40 minutes of an episode, so they need to save that for the music, Glee, and the personal stories, not about Artie and Mercedes preparing for APUSH.

Also, I feel the NPH cameo was awesome, but gimmicky, just like his cameos in Herold and Kumar. Most of the humor comes from the fact that he’s there, and his outrageous performances.

5 06 2010
Driftwood

If I think about it rationally, it would be pretty uninteresting to see those aspects…. but overall, I think it would make the characters seem like they are actually in high school. It’s already creepy enough to know that the actors playing Finn & Puck are both 27…

19 02 2014
Starting another chapter | Range Free

[…] I get a Facebo0k notification from Gust, posting a blog post I wrote here almost four years ago. It was a review of Glee, right when the second season was about to start (or the first season was ending– who knows). […]

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