alibi online
Weekly Alibi PodcastFree Will AstrologyAlibi's Personals
 V.18 No.37 | September 10 - 16, 2009 

Idiot Box

We’ve Got Spirit!

“Glee” on FOX

Call it the “Susan Boyle Principal,” the naive yet endearing (and occasionally true) idea that, once in a great while, a dark horse, ugly ducking, underdog dreamer will be given a turn in the spotlight and seize it. In that one moment, they’ll shine, dazzling onlookers and naysayers with their incontrovertible talent, and it will be a victory for all those who weren’t fortunate enough to be born with money or looks or instant popularity. It’s a concept that speaks to the nerdy teenager buried in just about all of us.

FOX’s semi-uncategorizable new sitcom “Glee” is perhaps the first show to fully understand and exploit what it is that makes today’s reality show competitions so popular. The series is, at its heart, a high-school-set dramedy about a bent but unbroken teacher who decides to revive his school’s long-dead glee club. Peppered with countless impressive musical numbers, though, the show feels more like the “anything can happen” early episodes of an “American Idol” season. You don’t watch this show so much as root for it.

“Glee” manages to tap into a number of major pop cultural trends. It’s not quite a musical along the lines of High School Musical, but it’s got plenty of bring-down-the-house song-and-dance numbers. It’s certainly not a reality show, although it’s got the same “who will succeed and who will fail?” tension. And rather than exploit that tired ’80s cliché of unpopular nerds who transform themselves, “Glee” happily embraces the post-“Ugly Betty” idea that badly dressed, glasses-wearing dorks are cool just the way they are.

Our main man here is Will Schuester (Broadway baby Matthew Morrison), a goodhearted teacher with an unsatisfied wife and a crappy job just looking for some way to give his disenfranchised students (and himself) a reason for being. In short order, a rainbow connection of geeks, fat kids, handicapped kids, gay kids (and one atypical jock) are gathered together with the goal of singing their little hearts out. Opposing this plan is the school’s resource-gobbling cheer squad, led by magnificently evil Jane Lynch (whose scene-stealing comedy skills have dominated films like Role Models and Best in Show). Yes, “Glee” runs the gamut of character clichés, but it does so boldly and proudly. If this were a documentary, our main characters might feel rather cardboard. But in this boisterous, over-the-top, winkingly self-aware world, the stereotypes feel just right. It’s no surprise to find some of the creators behind the short-lived, highly underrated high school series “Popular” employed here.

“Glee” displays a special sort of genius. The creators have crafted a near-perfect storm of ideas. I have my doubts whether the show can sustain itself over the long haul. There’s a clear story arc at work that feels more like a clever indie film than a weekly sitcom. But as the kids of the McKinley High Glee Club say (or rather sing), “Don’t Stop Believing.”

“Glee” airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on KASA-2


Today's Events

Tim's Vermeer at Jean Cocteau Cinema

Tim Jenison seeks to understand the painting techniques used by Dutch Master Johannes Vermeer. Jenison is present for a meet and greet cocktail reception.

Tomorrow's Events

Akira at KiMo Theatre


Doñana, Four Seasons at National Hispanic Cultural Center

More Recommended Events ››
Join our mailing list for exclusive info, the week's events and free stuff!

  • Select sidebar boxes to add below. You can also click and drag to rearrange the boxes; close using the little X icons on each box. To re-add a box you closed, return to this menu.
  • Because you are not logged in, any changes you make to these boxes will vanish as soon as you click to another page. If you log in, the boxes will stick.
  • Latest Posts
  • Web Exclusives
  • Recent Rocksquawk Discussions
  • Recent Classifieds
  • Latest User Posts
  • Most Active Users
  • Most Active Stories
  • Calendar Comments
  • Upcoming Alibi Picks
  • Albuquerque
  • Duke City Fix
  • Albuquerque Beer Scene
  • What's Wrong With This Picture?
  • Reddit Albuquerque
  • ABQ Journal Metro
  • ABQrising
  • ABQ Journal Latest News
  • Albuquerque
  • NM and the West
  • New Mexico FBIHOP
  • Democracy for New Mexico
  • Only in New Mexico
  • Mario Burgos
  • Democracy for New Mexico
  • High Country News
  • El Grito
  • NM Politics with Joe Monahan
  • Stephen W. Terrell's Web Log
  • The Net Is Vast and Infinite
  • Slashdot
  • Freedom to Tinker
  • Is there a feed that should be on this list? Tell us about it.
    Tech N9ne and More Live
    Tech N9ne and More Live5.24.2016