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Glee: Everybody Hates Will


 

I don’t have time for much discussion of last night’s Glee, so I’ll outsource to Matt Zoller Seitz, who thinks the show needs to have the courage to be crazier and wilder than it currently is. I agree with this, for the most part: there’s nothing to ground the show any more, but it doesn’t quite have the full-tilt brilliant insanity that would make consistency and grounding irrelevant. If they would create some truly great musical numbers, or whole comedy sequences that match the brilliance of some individual lines from Brittany and Sue, then it would be harder to care that the show doesn’t make sense. I don’t think it needs to make sense, but it does need to blow us away to compensate for not making sense.

Also, Todd VanDerWerff considers it the WGE (Worst Glee Ever) and Myles McNutt’s review goes into more detail on something that has become increasingly clear this season: everybody hates Will. Will is a problematic character, but the show appears to be responding to the problem by writing him as a complete horrible idiot. This is a common issue with Glee, because it’s devoted to giving the audience everything it wants (which I sort of like: at least it’s no worse than Joss Whedon’s preening about giving the audience the opposite of what they think they want). So, having noticed that people find Will annoying, Ryan Murphy has apparently decided to write Will as the most annoying person in the universe. This is one case when cranking everything up to 11 doesn’t really work.

Speaking of Murphy, both his episodes this season — the Britney Spears episode and the Rocky Horror one — have been about the transgressive, dangerous qualities of things that are actually sort of lame. (Britney Spears music as an act of rebellion is a more obvious example of this, but Rocky Horror is not an all-time great musical or anything; the whole point of the film’s cult is that it’s the sort of thing you want to talk back to and make fun of, not to experience directly.) That may be more of his tendency to give us the show in whatever form we prefer: we can take this as an ironic commentary on the works being presented, and maybe even on the show itself, or we can take it all at face value.

Update: See this comment for a counter-argument about the significance of Rocky Horror.

Update 2: Another article deals more with the importance of Rocky Horror as a rite of passage and a place for misfits to feel they fit in. You can see why it dovetails nicely with the theme of Glee. That’s a bit separate from the question of how good Rocky Horror is on its own, but if you want to say I was too dismissive of it in the above paragraph, I won’t argue with you on that point.


 
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Glee: Everybody Hates Will

  1. So you are saying that in Glee and HIMYM the lead male characters are off-putting jerks?

  2. I disagree with your assessment of Rocky Horror's cult following. Mr. Shue sums it up perfectly. It was a place where people who didn't fit in found a sense of belonging. It was where we could experience community in a place that embraced the weird. It was pre-rave, pre-Lady Gaga, pre-Burning Man. Rocky Horror was a counter-culture phenomenon that had to be experienced DIRECTLY. Like Glee Club is for these kids.

  3. I remember seeing Rocky Horror when I was about 16, in the Seventies, and I think you have to try to remember how exciting and risque and — frankly (frankenly?) — sexy it was, certainly at the time, but still so. I had never heard of it when I saw it — I went with a boyfriend who looked a little like Riff Raff (they all did).

    Tim Curry was terrific — and what's wrong with the songs? Far more memorable than anything in say, Sweeney Todd — and rock instead of the usual blandness from movie musicals. I remember loving it. I've been singing Touch Me and Time Warp all day since I saw Glee last night.

  4. The radio edits (!) – in Sweet Transvestite and Touch-a Touch-a Touch-a Touch Me especially – were lame, considering the kind of suggestive lyrics they've done without comment in the past. Is the phrase "heavy petting" really that threatening to either Fox BS&P in reality, or Coach Sue in fictional context?

    (Also, the specific aping of the film was awful. There's been several dozen decent stage productions with different and better musical arrangements and/or staging; isn't this supposed to be a glee club? Like, the kind that could interpret a show and build their own unique sets, and stuff?)

  5. I don't hate Will, I LOVE HIM! So don't generalize, okay?

  6. You completely lost all credibility by including your assessment of RHPS and its cult. Obviously the significance of this musical and its use as a right-of-passage goes over your head. Please refrain from critiquing things you know nothing about.

    • I'm not sure if "credibility" enters into it, but the point is well taken — I've updated with a link to an article about the rite-of-passage significance of RHS.

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