My finger hovers over the button. I dare myself to click play. Will my dignity take this? We'll see. We'll see.
And so, I watch the first episode of Glee, the high school musical comedy thing, season 4. I can't get a handle on this show- sometimes, it's a bit sly and quite fun, and then suddenly everyone bursts into a synthetically tuneful version "Somebody to Love" and I want to die. The entire cast looks as if it's some awful result of a forced mating session at a Pop Idol casting call- a completely flat-faced, perma-grinning cross-section of different creeds, religions, and sexual orientations. But then Jane Lynch would come and spray remorseless venom over all the particularly deplorable ones and it was okay again.
The first song that sticks in my mind, my teeth, and probably the moral mesh of my soul was the raw sugar cube rendition of Call Me Maybe. But the song scenes vary- throwing up both the best scene (a completely cleavered-in scene for Kate Hudson to dance about sexily, to great effect) and the worst scene (a montage-audition scene, where the characters alternately grimace, gurn like a remedial class X Factor panel, gasp, nod, and comment on how sexy the singers are). And it also produces the scene were two girls try to signal down aircraft while singing Empire State of Mind. But who am I to judge? Maybe that's what your Lady Rihannas and your Sandy Emilys are getting up to these days. Doing their bit. Signalling planes.
The emotional subplots are getting absolutely glorious, though. One of the new characters, Beauty Singing Hardship Girl #11, has a mother who is fat. When someone comments on how fat she is, #11 just storms off in a cloud of complete blandness, and that’s the end of that. It’s like someone who used to direct anti-bullying commercials made this episode.
I think the problem with this episode was that it was an establishing episode. No subplots were introduced, and Glee is a show built on a precarious Jenga tower of interlocking subplots. Gay subplots, lesbian subplots, political subplots, pregnancy subplots, ill-health subplots, marriage subplots, crushed-dreams subplots (starring a less important character whose dreams can be pissed on willy-nilly without their smile wavering for a second)…the last season had it all.What it needs is some unlikely romantic couplings. Do another teacher-student one. The attitude-laden black transvestite with the bisexual blonde cheerleader. I say just either scrap the romantic subplots altogether or have a full episode of grunting sex (they could sing, I don’t know, an acapella version ofPoison, or something) to fulfil the series quota for pre-adolescent hormone-porn and have done with it. Get back to the raw, uncensored scenes of steamy Glee club rehearsals and gruelling dance classes. Now THERE’S something to sing about.