If you live in a cave, or just got out of prison
I have been planning to write a blog post today, I really really have. But there was some other writing to do for this one thing, and this meeting and another thing, and then I almost hurt myself trying to bring too many books back from the library, and I just hadn’t gotten around to it yet. But oh, I am getting around to it now, because Some One just couldn’t be patient and had to send me a nagging text message. “Where is your blog post?” This Person wondered. “I am in need of more procrastination materials than you are currently providing.” “Why don’t you write the blog post, then,” I retorted. But it seems that This Person has enough time to require blog material to read, but not enough time to actually produce said material.
This is for you, and you know who you are.
Glee came back this week, which is what I was intending to write about anyway, because wow, that show is the subject of some intense hype. Thankfully, the show is well aware of its impressively hyped status, and my favorite part of the whole episode was the very first line, which is usually just an intro to the “previously on” material. “So here’s what’s happened on Glee,” the voiceover cheerfully proclaimed, “if you live in a cave, or just got out of prison!” It’s a classic “it’s funny because it’s true” line, and the show is going to have to fight to maintain some kind of balance between the ridiculously high expectations, the already-present urge for self-reference, and the show’s underlying, sincere premise. I imagine the instinct is going to be to reach for ever and ever higher feats of astonishing musical spectacle, and to be fair, Glee can pull it off if any show can. Witness this clip from next week’s Madonna episode:
(So sorry, those who live outside the US!)
At some point, though, the Glee kids are just going to be singing a mash-up of “Mr. Sandman” and “All the Single Ladies” while dancing frantically in front of an enormous Mr. Slurpee cup with Sue Sylvester setting off Roman candles in the background, and there will be nowhere else to go. So Glee really does have to do some backtracking to keep it within the realm of the possible, and the first steps of that movement are why this week’s episode felt a little unsatisfying.
It was inevitable the Finn and Rachel couldn’t be together for very long, and as disappointing as it was, Emma Pillsbury showed some really admirable maturity in putting the brakes on her relationship with Mr. Shue. From a story standpoint, though, these break-ups things had to happen because Glee’s never ventured too far into long-arc storylines outside of love interests and competition. The whole last segment of this season would have been Let’s Practice for Regionals, Quinn and Puck are Going to be Excellent Parents, This Is How Sue C’s It, and Great Moments in Stunt Casting. Fascinating, sure, but not very well rounded. The necessity of reviving those love interest plotlines is pretty easy to understand and doesn’t even feel that strained, given that Glee has been quite straightforward about its soap opera elements. Even so, the fact that the show did it so abruptly highlighted how hamstrung it would be if it weren’t driven by Mr. Shue’s and Rachel’s love lives. The supporting cast members have become familiar, interesting characters over the past several episodes, but clearly not to the degree that would allow the show to abandon its Boy meets Girl roots.
In any event, I’m glad it’s back. C’mon, did you see that clip from next week?!