Newest Review: ... cheerleader gets jealous and joins the club along with two other Cheerios. But unknown to the other Glee Club members they are out to de... more
Glee - High School Musical for grown-ups
Member Name: jesperado
Advantages: Funny, great performances, great songs
Disadvantages: Full of stereotypes and saccharin at times
Glee is an American comedy-drama following the story of a glee club in a typical US high school. For those of you who don't know (I didn't before I started watching it!) a glee club is an acapella choir. These are apparently a fixture of most American high schools and as a result of this show are apparently starting to spring up in the UK. According to the show, Glee kids are at the bottom of the social pile and as such get picked on by the jocks and cheerleaders.
This show follows the glee club as it is taken over by enthusiastic teacher Will Schuester who is determined to find new talent in William McKinley High School to fulfil the dreams he never could when he was in his high school glee club. He forms a choir from a disparate bunch covering the spectrum of high school stereotypes. To give you an idea here are a few of the characters:
Rachel: By far the most enthusiastic member of the club, Rachel is determined to become a star and her dedication to her dream verges on the insane. Her can-do attitude keeps the club going in the face of adversity and many slushies to the face (this will make sense when you watch it!). Lea Michele gives some truly outstanding vocal performances as show-tune loving Rachel - Don't Rain On My Parade is particularly good.
Finn: The somewhat dumb but lovable quarterback with raw natural talent who finally finds the acceptance he is looking for in glee club. Corey Monteith plays the role of 'smalltown football star with big dreams' perfectly and you cannot help but feel for him as things do not go his way.
Kurt: The camp soprano who struggles with his sexuality, Kurt is responsible for some of the best moments of the show. With the acting talent to match his wonderful voice, Chris Colfer gaves a sensitive performance as Kurt which is not only hilarious but can also be heartbreaking at times. It is clear to see why the casting team created the role of Kurt after Chris auditioned for another role.
Like most mainstream American shows, Glee covers the race/sexuality/disability/religion spectrum and does get a bit clichéd and stereotypical at times but this is forgivable given the hyper-real feel of the show. This show is the antithesis of grittily realistic dramas, with it's big song and dance numbers, colour saturation and larger-than-life characters. There are some wonderful numbers from a cast that can actually sing!
As well as the musical segments, there are some very funny and smart storylines and some brilliant performances. Jane Birch is phenomenal as Sue Sylvester, arch-enemy of the Glee Club and captain of the school's much-feted Cheerleading team. She has some brilliant put-downs and delivers these with excellent comic timing. Jessalyn Gilsig is also excellent as Will's amoral wife Terri who will go to any lengths to ensure her marriage is safe. But for me, the best character is Emma, the neurotic school counsellor played perfectly by Jayma Mays.
This is an incredibly enjoyable and funny show with some superb performances and a smart script. I really would encourage everyone to watch this and I'm very glad that it has been commissioned for another series later this year.
Summary: Great fun to watch :)