New promo for Fox’s Glee.
Personally I’m not entirely sold on Glee yet. Love the music. Love the idea behind the show. But the execution of the pilot was pretty sloppy to say the least.
Rather than do a full round up of the reasons I didn’t like a pilot I watched months ago (and sorry, but I didn’t like it enough to watch it again before writing this post), I’m just going to quote from an awesome post by Alex Epstein you can find here.
1. It’s a show about a high school glee club and the teacher who supervises it. Yet, weirdly, the teaser showed cheerleaders going through their paces, and ended with the cheerleading coach telling them, “You think this is hard? Waterboarding is hard.” What? No glee club. No glee club teacher. The teaser for a pilot for a series wants to be the series in microcosm. It either shows you who it’s about — Meredith Grey waking up from her one-night stand and then discovering he’s a doctor at her new hospital — or it shows you what it’s about — the clever BUFFY pilot teaser which shows you that vampires are alive and well, uh, or at least well, in Sunnydale’s high school.
2. Then you want to quickly set up the driving question for the episode, so we know what we’re rooting for. The episode ends with the glee club teacher deciding to coach glee club after doubting whether he should, because his wife wants him to be an accountant, not a teacher. Therefore Screenwriting 101 tells you that the episode needs to start with that question: can he / should he / dare he coach glee club? Because we want to be rooting for the eventual ending.
Instead, it starts with glee club auditions. And then the hero volunteers to coach glee club. Even offers to pay $60 a month to do it. (Huh?) It doesn’t become clear that coaching glee club will be a problem for him until act 3 or 4 or so. So we’re not rooting for him to coach, because he already is coaching. Instead, we’re rooting for the club to win a regional competition, because we’re told that the club will be canceled otherwise. That’s different jeopardy.
3. Be brave. The show is supposedly about what misfits glee club kids are. And they’ve got a bunch of misfits: geek in a wheelchair, sassy fat black chick, Asian lesbian, suspiciously high-voiced effeminate boy. And we all love misfits who succeed, because most of us have felt like misfits at one point or another. But what happens is that the teacher blackmails a handsome football player into joining glee club because he heard the guy sing in the shower, and no one will support the glee club unless the “popular kids” are in it. So now the fantasy is ruined. The moral stops being “you can sing your way out of being a loser” and now it’s “only handsome jocks need apply.” It doesn’t help that the handsome jock can’t actually sing anywhere near as well as the effeminate boy. Meanwhile, the sassy fat black girl (! what is this, the 80′s?) with the killer voice gets relegated to backing vocals because, um, she’s a fat black girl.
What if the lead guy is more like Adam Lambert? Instead of a handsome jock, he’s a pudgy red-headed bisexual kid who gets the crap beaten out of him? But onstage he becomes a star. And the sassy fat black girl is the lead girl?
That show I’d watch.
4. You sure you want this show to be about a teacher? Is that some kind of weird co-viewing deal because it’s a 9 pm show? the show seemed confused about this, too. The two cute white singers got a backstory sequence each, complete with voice over. The teacher didn’t. The fat sassy black chick, the Asian lesbian, the effeminate kid and the cripple don’t get any introduction at all. We spend a lot of time with the teacher and his wife, whom we’re supposed to hate; could we spend some of that time getting to know the students in the glee club, and in particular, setting up a love triangle or two in there?
It’s theoretically a show about a glee club, but the kids spend almost no time interacting with each other. So it comes across as a show about a mopey high school teacher who’s trying to relive his glory days as a high school glee club star. Which, let’s face it, is a bit pathetic.
Alex has got a few other great points (and he further elaborates on some of the ones above), but those are the ones that really resonated with me.
I’m pulling for the show, because I think it’s a hell of a lot more interesting than a lot of the crap that gets made, but if they want me to tune in on a regular basis for more than the musical numbers, then they’ve got some work to do.