I know that I’m writing you a lot of letters this year … but it’s only because I want to understand. Understand what, you ask? I want to understand how an innovative, witty, fun and wonderful show has turned into a giant MESS.
To be fair, there has been some good this season. Kate Hudson is flawless as washed-up Broadway star Cassandra July. This woman can act, dance, sing and throw a zinger like nobody’s business. I also truly loved the Break-Up episode, probably because it heavily featured fan-favorites Rachel, Finn, Kurt and Blaine (and terrific song choices). I think Finn taking over the Glee club was a novel idea, mostly because now he’s dressing like Mr. Schue and it’s great.
But the good can only appease so much. You have forced upon us 4 new McKinley characters who are just caricatures of the parts played by the original cast (a cast, mind you, that played them a hell of a lot better). But worst of all is the character of Marley Rose. Some people might not understand why I say that – her character is just so nice and sweet. Marley is also dirt poor and has an obese mother who happens to be the lunch lady. Her mom makes her clothes and sews in designers’ labels. Poor, poor Marley. You know what I say? BOO EFFING HOO. I haven’t hated a character this much since the introduction of Leo in Smash.
Think about the original core characters of Glee, first and foremost Rachel Berry. Rachel started the series as an unpopular dreg – but by NO means did we feel sorry for her. She was obnoxious, bossy, a true talent with a terrible fashion sense … and that’s why we LOVED her. She wasn’t presented as a character we should feel sorry for, like Marley has been introduced. She was someone real, someone with personality flaws that we all have, someone with dreams and ambitions that wasn’t going to let anything get in her way.
Some might argue that not every character can be as strong as Rachel, and that’s true. But Marley’s character is so unappealing – nothing that happens to her is her fault. She’s poor – not her fault. People make fun of her mom – not her fault. She stops eating and passes out at sectionals – definitely not her fault because Glee member Kitty told her to do it. She doesn’t present ANY personality flaws, which is a giant flaw in itself. No one is perfect, obviously. But for some reason, you have chosen try and make Marley into a martyr and it makes me want to scream. Marley is a walking pity party, and no one pities Marley more than Marley.
Glee, I’m going to stop talking to you, and start talking about you, ok?
Besides Marley, the main problem with Glee is that it’s completely lost its roots. And I’m going to blame Ryan Murphy. Mr. Murphy does a great season 1 of television (please see: Glee Season 1, Popular Season 1, American Horror Story Season 1). And then, in the second season, it starts to go to shit (please see: the 2nd seasons of the shows above). The first season of a Ryan Murphy show is always pushing the envelope. If you have ever watched Popular, you know that show was a walking force (and a walking farce). Entertainment Weekly called it “the proto-Glee” and said it “celebrated the value of outcasts and portrayed overplayed topics – Homecoming Court, sex, and secrets – through an absurdist lens.” This is the exact strategy that Glee used in the first season … but then the show (or its showrunner) got overzealous and instead of concentrating on the storylines, Glee boasted big guest stars and even bigger musical numbers. Somewhere along the way, Glee lost itself.
So why I am still watching? There are a few reasons. First, I love TV (if you hadn’t guessed). I’ve invested so much time (and FEELINGS) into Glee and it feels weird to think of just not watching it anymore. Second, I still really enjoy Lea Michele. She is insanely talented and her character’s journey has been the benchmark of Glee since episode 1. But the main reason I still watch Glee is that sometimes I can still see a glimpse of the show I was in love with, the show that got me excited about living in LA, the show that made me miss (and feel so proud of) my musical theater past, the show that dominated my iTunes playlists because I had to have every damn song they sang.
Despite my rants, I guess I’m not quite ready to give up on Glee. I hold onto the hope that they can turn the show around … but realistically, I’m pretty sure the Glee I loved isn’t coming back.