Will GLEE Cover This Song? - Macleans.ca
 

Will GLEE Cover This Song?


 

Glee is still finding its way, and last night’s episode was a step backwards in some ways, forwards in others. They’re already having problems figuring out how to sustain the tone of the pilot or even the rules that govern the musical numbers; they’re getting close to doing full-fledged musical numbers that go beyond the boundaries of “real-life” performance, and I would not be at all surprised if people are breaking into song in the street by the time the season is over. Though one way or another, they’ll have to improve the lip-synching, an important part of any filmed musical (it’s not usually possible to do an elaborate musical number without singing to playback). I don’t know if it’s the lip-synching or the sound recording, which gives no suggestion of the acoustic of wherever they happen to be performing the number, but they simply don’t give the feeling that they’re doing these numbers in the room. (This is a very common problem on TV shows that do musical numbers. There’s no time to mix the sound of the song to really match the dialogue, so the dialogue and music wind up sounding like they were recorded in completely different rooms — which they were.)

It also never ceases to amaze me that edgy one-camera (and in this case one-hour) shows can get away with doing plots that would get a more conventional-looking show branded as hopelessly corny. The scene where the evil new coach tries to kick out the people who are “different” and is rebuffed with a speech about how being different is what makes you special — not only is that an old plot, but they didn’t even feel the need to try to cut through the treacle or subvert the scene with a joke the way [insert name of multi-camera teen comedy that did this plot] would. I’m not really criticizing, because it is probably a good thing that shows from Glee to 30 Rock feel the confidence to do old sitcom plots without apologizing for them. It’s like their edgy cred frees the writers up to do all the stories they remember from their years of non-edgy TV viewing.

Finally, to bring these two points together, I will say that Glee is increasingly starting to remind me of:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upctPUa6RhA


 
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Will GLEE Cover This Song?

  1. Another thing that bugged me last night (aside from the bursting into song thing) was this whole notion of confidence. I'm not sure if Glee is trying to do a theme episode every week (last week was focused around the guys cheating on their partners in the love triangles), but this whole confidence thing was really heavy handed. It seemed like every scene had someone talking about confidence. I wanted them to either pull back on it, or push it to the point of absurdity and make it a joke of how much they were talking about confidence, but they kind of just left it in a grey area.

  2. The scene where the evil new coach tries to kick out the people who are “different” and is rebuffed with a speech about how being different is what makes you special — not only is that an old plot, but they didn't even feel the need to try to cut through the treacle or subvert the scene with a joke the way [insert name of multi-camera teen comedy that did this plot] would.

    Honestly, GLEE plays the corny melodrama so straight that the very straightness of it all almost feels like a joke. Sometimes it works, as in the pilot. But last night, not so much.

    • It's downright impossible half the time to figure out whether Glee is playing it straight, doing an homage, engaging in subtle parody, or subtly parodying the subtle parody. That doesn't seem like a very good longterm strategy.

  3. I was feeling overly picky for thinking the musical numbers don't grab me as much as they should because I don't believe for a second the people on my screen are actually singing. I feel better in my pickiness now that you've articulated the lip synching/sound recording issue too. I guess I needed a support group for pickiness.

    • I've only seen the second episode, but the lip synching was truly awful – the worst I've seen in years, if not decades. It really ruined some scenes that otherwise would have been pretty good.

  4. The overproducedness of the vocals, and how incredibly unconcerned they are with making them sound anything like a real person in a room singing, is so jarring as to actually be confusing. Not only do they not seem like they are singing, it takes a moment to figure out that you are supposed to understand that they are the ones ostensibly singing. Makes for better iTunes downloads, though, I guess.

  5. It works better in the stylized non-diagetic musical scenes than it does in the actual rehearsal or performance scenes.

  6. The scene where the evil new coach tries to kick out the people who are “different” and is rebuffed with a speech about how being different is what makes you special — not only is that an old plot, but they didn't even feel the need to try to cut through the treacle or subvert the scene with a joke the way [insert name of multi-camera teen comedy that did this plot] would.

    The other problem I had with the scene was that the person playing the coach was not the most physically appealing person in the world and (you would think) would be among the last people to be calling out the others for not looking like cheerleaders. Better to have one of those 'perfect looking' adult leaders obsessed their own superficial image make those remarks, but it seemed as if the idea was to have a non-attractive actor spouting non-attractive words (kind of a corollary to the old "ugly ducking" sitcom plot line, where it's obvious from the first scene the producers don't have the nerve to put a really plain-looking person in the role, and just try to dress-down/hairstyle-down/eyeglasses up a hottie so that the end result is more appealing).

  7. I guess you all missed the line, if you really believe in yourself you don't have to bring other people down.

    • You mean like you're trying to?

  8. american idol has to be held accountable for a trashy show like this. in acting school across america, 19 year olds are thinking that they can be famous if they can just belt out a few show tunes. broadway has become a self-mockery.