Glee’s New Seasons Fall Flat
by Clementine Wiley on Friday, October 25th, 2013
I’ll admit it: I have been a loyal Glee fan over the past four years. I’ve wondered if it is a guilty pleasure, a mere habit, a dispeller of boredom, a fulfillment of analytical inclination, or a combination of all four. The pilot’s inspirational rendition of “Don’t Stop Believing” set the tone for a memorable first season, but the show has since lost its creative momentum, with its overall quality slowly diminishing over the seasons. The plots have become forced, the lines and themes recycled, the characters’ personalities inconsistent, the theme of self-confidence tired, the romances transparent–yet the show remains popular. Though perhaps unoriginal, the core idea of an unlikely alliance of high school kids united by a shared love for singing certainly appeals to its millions of viewers every week. Fans feel a connection to the band of losers, seeing themselves represented in specific characters. Or maybe they’re drawn in by the romantic chemistry and drama. Or perhaps the singing is the best element. Despite these positive constants, though, I feel Glee has taken a dip in quality since main characters graduated and their original, interesting high school stories went with them.
Season 4 annoyingly repeated a lot of themes from its first 3 seasons. For example, when Rachel, one of the main characters and the club’s lead singer, left high school for college, she was faced with a new Coach Sylvester-style rivalry from her new dance teacher. There is also a new “mean cheerleader” character at the high school, just as Quinn was in the first couple of seasons.
Frankly, some episodes aren’t solidly constructed. The Season 4 episodes, in which the new main character, Marley, struggles with an eating disorder imposed upon her by a mean cheerleader, show the show’s failure to maintain consistency. Those episodes could have concluded with a classic Glee-style moral lesson/resolution, but that plot line abruptly ended without a realistic explanation. Nor was the usually supportive environment present when this character overcame a significant obstacle. Such faulty plot design revealed a weakness, and possibly laziness, on the show’s part.
When I would analyze which elements I did and didn’t like from each episode, the bad began to outweigh the good after Season 3. As the number of its genuinely powerful episodes began to wane, I sensed the writers losing their enthusiasm and originality. The plot lines became a checklist of teenage issues: car crash, pregnancy scare, eating disorders, suicide, transvestitism… The characters lost their charm as they became more hollow and their personalities less consistent. Now that the original magic has worn off, the episodes feel more quick-paced, like packages on a conveyor belt.
Glee’s charm relies on the characters’ relatable personalities, the drama, and the music, but with the lack of creativity and the sudden, tragic death of one of the main actors, Cory Monteith, the show is in decline. But I don’t predict its end for many years yet. There will always be new songs to sing, new handsome faces to cast, and new inspirational themes to be used. However, for this 5th season, I will not be watching. When I heard the opening two episodes would feature Beatles music, I knew this season would just follow the unexciting trend of featuring musical themes, and the plots would be built around the predictable musical numbers. It was time I ended my loyalty to the show. Gleek out.
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