Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Before we return to our regularly scheduled programming...

I would like to share some final thoughts on how Glee's second season has unfolded, as we anticipate what the kids from New Directions will take away from this school year and what we will conclude as an audience.

The team behind Glee has a knack for taking its viewers along on an emotional roller coaster. I don't think anyone quite knew what to expect after the show moved past its groundbreaking first season, and I'm not sure the cast and crew did either. A lot of the initial storylines seemed to dissolve - Finn's and Rachel's relationship, Quinn's dating Sam and becoming Cheerio captain once more - and new ones emerged - Kurt's transfer to Dalton, Santana's realization of her feelings for Brittany - and we were left wondering where the plot would go next.

When we last saw our Gleeks, Rachel learned that original couple Finn and Quinn had reunited, channeled her angst into the heart-wrenching "Get It Right" and opened up to her teammates more than she ever had before. The club worked together to express their own frustrations through the empowerment anthem "Loser Like Me", win their first regionals title, and share a bonding moment with Rachel, their chosen MVP. "Original Song" was the strongest episode of the season and the strongest of the series since last year's finale. It was the first time this season I felt that everything I'd been watching this past year might be able to come together. "Original Song" was an emotional payoff for all of the energy I'd invested into the show over the year, and it gave me hope for the show's future.

Tonight the final series of new episodes this season resume. I'm looking forward to seeing how the Glee team members integrate the stories they've established this season. I know I've been critical of their choices in the past, but I'm going to try and just enjoy the ride they've created for me. Reflection and analysis can wait until summer break.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Further Thoughts on my Relationships with Writing, Writers and the Internet.

Rachel pours her heart into her blog, but not with the outcome she'd hoped for.
Earlier this month I wrote a post entitled "I Know Now that There's Nothing Here for Me Anymore." It was difficult to write, involving some revelation of emotions I've been grappling with. Like all of my posts, I wrote it to clear my mind and develop my sense of self and beliefs, yet also with the hopes that *perhaps* it would lead to some renown, with the article going viral and everyone identifying with it. Hence, even though the post was about my assertion that I don't need to win anyone over, I still hope to do so, and here I am, sharing my vulnerabilities with the Internet once more.

First, I clarify that I have never received hate mail or comments in response to my work. I say this particularly because those of you familiar with this photo of Rachel Berry know it is from the Glee pilot scene in which she reads hateful comments Quinn and Santana have posted on her MySpace page. In posting the photo, I have no intention of implying I have been cyber-bullied, nor of diminishing the pain of those who have been. I chose the photo because I do relate to how it feels to want and dream and feel there is no social outlet in which to release those emotions.

Second, I have received support for my work from people I've met on- and offline. One of the closest friends I've made online reached out and told me she liked "Nothing Here for Me" and its ending. I am so appreciative of her and everyone who has reached out and taken an interest in what I have to say.

Still, it's hard not to feel like I'm in countless others' shadows, including the writer I refer to in "Nothing Here for Me." She receives messages about her brilliance and how she articulates what others are feeling perfectly. It seems anyone who has a credible interpretation of a movie or television show shares it with this girl for her thoughts. And rightfully so, hell I've written much of her fanmail. It's just - am I shallow for wanting that for myself? For hoping that people would relate to me and my deepest longings and wishes and that maybe they'll tell me that, even though I would never wish my anxieties for anyone?

I probably will always feel insecure of myself and my thoughts and opinions, yet I'm developing a new mindset. Rather than submitting my ideas to someone to see if he or she agrees with them, as if that were a form of validation, I'm going to just write them down. If I'm not as smart as any pop culture critic or social commentator, I'm certainly just as dedicated. My analyses or opinions may pale in comparison to others out there, but at least they're mine, and no one can take that from me.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Glee Ideas, Volume Two

Last summer I wrote a list of songs and storylines I would be interested to watch on Glee. Some of these ideas actually took place, or are likely to occur in future episodes, which has been fun to watch. I have wanted to write a follow-up list of what I'd like to see next for some time now, a further development of the original list. After many musings I have come up these choices.

“If You’ve Got It, Flaunt It” from The Producers, by Brittany. I want to see Brittany perform a solo outside of dance club fare. Heather Morris has a knack for comedy that’s not being showcased in the solos she has received. I think this song would spotlight that humor and is a good fit for Heather's voice and Brittany's character. I’d like to see characters besides Rachel and Kurt, and to some extent Mercedes and Tina, discover a love for Broadway, and this is one suggestion.

Group/Competition Worthy Performances:

"I've Seen All Good People/Your Move" - A great classic rock song, and a mash-up to boot. The subtext of the song describes a chess game as a metaphor for life, which is a good message for high school students to learn. Don't surround yourself with yourself.

“Pressure” - Again, isn’t this something everyone identifies with, especially in high school? Performing this at a competition would provide an added subtext of the pressure of the competition itself.

“The Stranger” - Once more, this song is the show, and high school, and life: the roles people assume to survive. The line “I used to believe I was such a great romancer, then I came home to a woman that I could not recognize” is Finn’s story. He broke up with Rachel and reunited with Quinn for all the wrong reasons, without really thinking about these decisions, which is something he needs to do. Perhaps singing this song would help him realize that.

Which leads me to:

“Hard for Me to Say I’m Sorry/Get Away” by Finn and Rachel. The lyrics address their on-again, off-again history, a history that needs to be addressed for a successful reunion, quite well. I'd love for this song to bring these two back together. Also, it's another mash-up.

Group - Moving On/Graduating:

The Glee writers have confirmed that original cast members' graduations will begin at the end of next season, and I would love to for them to bid us adieu with these songs:

“On My Way” - I mentioned this song in my previous suggestions post. Tina, Santana and Kurt would own solos within a group performance here.

“Absolutely (Story of a Girl)” - This would be a great song for the Glee club to sing to Rachel to show their appreciation for all she has done for them over the past few years. The lyrics remind me of Rachel:

“And while she looked so sad in photographs
I absolutely love her
When she smiles”

Don't we all?

Finally, just for fun:

“Relax (Don’t Do It)” - I got this idea after seeing the T-shirts the group will wear when they sing "Born this Way." An 80’s history lesson, for those who may need it: A “Relax” series of shirts similar to the “Born this Way” ones (white with black writing) became popular when the song did. Also, "Relax" is just a great song that would make for an awesome group performance. Besides, New Directions invented the piano key necktie.

I also want a school assembly performance that’s not presented as a joke. I love this recurring gag but I also want the school to see how great New Directions really is - to see what we see as the audience. “Relax” could work here.

These are my suggestions for now. The final stretch of season 2 episodes is about to begin, and I look forward to seeing what happens next. I always love discussing song and plot suggestions, so feel free to share your thoughts!