Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Maybe Glee really does need saving.

Will you learn from your mistakes? 
When I last wrote about Glee, I wished my beloved characters well in their senior year and expressed my overall hopes for them this season - to continue developing the heartwarming bonds they’ve forged over the past two years and leave William McKinley High School having learned more about each other, and more importantly, themselves, than they ever could have imagined.

Three episodes into the third season, this vision is still attainable, yet at the same time, I feel many aspects of the show that have spoken to me in the past have fallen away. It is what it is, and perhaps the bittersweet truth is I've already moved on from these characters. Still, it seems that many fans and critics also wonder where a world that resonated so personally with them went wrong.

Over the summer the writing and marketing team behind Glee framed this season as "Back to Basics." This choice is an interesting one because it suggests acknowledgment that the show veered off track at some point between the Pilot and second season finale, "New York." If you are a devoted Glee fan as I am, you are likely very familiar with every major criticism the show has endured - and are probably tired of hearing of them - so I'm not going to repeat them too deeply. Honestly, I think that's half the problem. As I wrote in my previous post, I feel I've just moved on from Glee - even though I still watch weekly and share thoughts about the show frequently - and that's a loss in and of itself. Still, I can't do anything other than stick with the show through this season, and it may seem contradictory for me to be writing about the show when I made that conscious note that I wouldn't do so until the end of season three. Yet I feel the show is lost, and it's important to express that perception in order to keep this blog (somewhat) grounded and relatable.

Today, it was announced that Glee may be bringing back prior cast member Chord Overstreet and his character, Sam Evans. Sam was written as having moved out of the state after his father, who had been out of work found a job in another state. While Chord and the show's producers failed to negotiate over contract issues this past summer, the story of Sam moving actually worked quite well. Chord made the most of his season on Glee and seemed to connect with the rest of the cast, but Sam Evans brought up a lot of the storylines that were the very ones that didn't work - dating Quinn, dating Santana, emulating Justin Bieber. So while I felt badly about how Chord's departure from Glee unfolded over the summer, I wasn't too bummed to see his character leave McKinley.

My concern is that bringing Sam back to Glee will disrupt the remainder of the final season we have left with the original characters - in a sense, forcing me to say goodbye to them earlier than planned. His return to the show could work, but I think it's an ambitious undertaking on the writers' part when they already have enough material to fine-tune. I know I'm going to have to readjust my expectations as a viewer for the rest of the season.

As I was discussing with fellow Glee fans today, I’m sure we’ll still get our feel-good graduation songs and scenes in this year's finale. But will the journey there be primarily frustrating or enjoyable? I guess we'll just have to wait and see.


  1. I know how you feel, Sarah. At this point, I'm like a dog that's been kicked one too many times. I don't trust Glee or the writers at this point. I can't even write about the show anymore because it drives me nuts even thinking about it! I've enjoyed the first few episodes more than I thought I would, so I'm cautiously optimistic, but there are so, SO many ways they could mess things up at this point that I can't help but worry. My problem is I tend to go against the wishes of most of the fandom, so I have a feeling I'm in for a rough season. Again.

    That said, I actually have loved the music so far. I appreciate the departure from the Top 40 rut they landed in last season. We are only three episodes in and they can't all end with big, emotional numbers. I'm sure those touching tear-jerkers will come!

    Dang those kids for being so cute and lovable! If not for them, I would have very cheerfully walked away a year ago and saved myself a whole lot of turmoil. :/

  2. Thanks for commenting! I'm glad you're enjoying the music so far - and the kids have done a great job with their songs, as always. My feelings are partly related to the place I'm in in my life right now - I would really benefit from a song like David Bowie's "Changes", which would also tie-in really well to what the characters are going through - or at least, the experiences I wish the show would emphasize more effectively! Maybe the writers will surprise me. :)

  3. The only thing i dont like about season 3 is the lack of FINN! =( we need more Finn solos and better storylines..

  4. I hear you! I miss the group dynamic in general and Finn is definitely a part of that! Most of my readers (especially on Tumblr) are Finn/Cory Monteith fans.
    I don't know if you're familiar with the song "Glory of Love" by Peter Cetera - I think that song would be perfect for Finn, especially as he's looking back on his years at McKinley. You should check it out if you haven't already!