Thursday, May 24, 2012

Glee: Goodbye, for now.

After a joy-filled Nationals triumph, McKinley High graduation, and gradual farewells to Mercedes, Mike, Quinn, Puck, Santana and Kurt, we all knew that the last five minutes of Glee's season three finale would bring the hardest "goodbyes" of all.

Still, those closing scenes hit me like that truck into Quinn Fabray's car earlier this year.

I've always planned to conclude my analysis of Glee at the end of this season, and so had been hoping for an ending a bit less unsettling than this one.

My frustrations with the ending - to "Goodbye" and to the three seasons I've been invested in for the past three years - related to the mid-series conclusion that, as far as we know, Finn will be joining the army. I don't mind Finn and Rachel spending some time apart - I think that aspect of the ending was a smart move. I just think Finn deserved a more promising new beginning.

You could say that season three ended with Kurt also facing an uncertain future, and that's true. Here's the difference - Kurt is not joining the army. Plain and simple. Nor would it make sense for him to, given our understanding of his character. When we next see Kurt, he will probably be taking classes at a local college and applying to transfer elsewhere mid-semester. But why couldn't Finn have had the same opportunity? Because otherwise, Rachel wouldn't have gone to New York?

Rachel showed strength in saying goodbye to Finn, trusting in him and in their relationship, and going to New York. But I think the moment would have been even more powerful if she had an honest choice to make, because practically, she didn't. Even more tragically, after years of being Finn's at times only supporter, she was left unable to do anything but leave him to face his grim future. And it isn't anyone's "fault" and no one took away the other's agency or anything like that. It's just not the best ending that could have been chosen, for either character.

Imagine how differently we would feel if Rachel and Finn were saying goodbye to one another on the same terms as they did, but instead of Finn joining the army, he was going to visit a college or looking into a post-high school plan that may not have been his dream, but would show promise that he might find it in season four.

It wasn’t even that the ending in and of itself was that much of a letdown. I just felt led on, as someone who watched loyally, detour after detour for the past three seasons. I expected those frustrations would build to something, particularly after the emotional payoff that Nationals and graduation had provided,and I was disappointed.

That said, it is what it is. Further, having had a couple of weeks to process my initial emotional reactions, I feel better about the fates of Rachel and Finn and the rest of our beloved characters. Because their stories aren't over yet, and hopefully the series finale will bring that closure. While I don't know what will happen for certain, I can step away from writing about this show and move into new projects. Which I am certain is something I need to do right now.

To everyone who has supported me in this first writing endeavor - thank you. I hope you've gotten something out of what I've said, and that you continue reading as I explore new stories and ideas.

Related Reads:
Glee: Senior Year
A Guide to Glee: Senior Year

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Glee: It's All Coming Back to Me

This week brings a moment I’ve been excited about for a long time: Glee graduation.

Since last season’s finale first alluded to the core characters’ impending departures from McKinley, it's been clear how important a moment this would be in the show's story. For the past year, I've been running the three seasons in my head, over and over, wondering what sort of answers this year's finale would bring.

The penultimate moments of the past few episodes, most notably “Nationals,” have been a joy to watch, delivering some of the best performances and poignant scenes in years.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

At least...a voice. Of a generation.

"I don't want to freak you out, but I think I may be the voice of my generation. Or at least...a voice. Of a generation."
I finally watched the Pilot of Lena Dunham's show Girls, hailed to be the series of my generation.

I've learned that any show, movie or book that claims to be a portrait of a generation - On the Road, The Breakfast Club, Friends, even Glee - is never going to be completely accurate or inclusive, if only because each member of a so-called "generation" is a unique individual. Archetypes may provide some insight on common values and lifestyles we share, but they will never tell the whole story.

I don't point this out to criticize Dunham, rather, to support her. It's not her sole responsibility - nor anyone's, to fully capture a point of time in society, something I'm coming to realize myself in my own writing. "Portrait of a Generation" is an appealing ideal and a marketing goldmine, yet, like most ideals, it is unlikely to be ever fully realized, at least in the way we had originally imagined.

Notably, in the Girls premiere, Dunham's aspiring writer character, Hannah, shares her memoir-in-progress with her parents in an effort to help them understand her dreams and, particularly, support them financially. (Note that I, too, have done this.) In what was the most poignant moment of the episode for me, Hannah says, "I think I may be the voice of my generation. Or at least...a voice. Of a generation."

Which I think, in its simplest terms, is something we all desire. To feel our viewpoints are valued by others. I know I do.

Through my experiences writing Mug for Thought I have discovered some of the most fascinating, thought-provoking pieces of writing, many by others my own age or, as we've come to be known, the emerging Millenial generation. And while some comparisons can be made of our work, we each bring our own unique worldview to the dialogue, and more important, we inspire one another.

In short, I don't think any of us need to feel inadequate just because we haven't been identified as The Voice of Our Generation. We just need to keep nurturing our own - and each others' - voices.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

My Charlie Manifesto

As I continue each day to follow my heart and forge my own journey, I keep You, Me and Charlie close by for counsel. This month, the creative team at the website has invited us to consider a series of topics and develop our own responses. Their first question:
Write your personal manifesto. What are you about? 
Well - exactly what I've been trying to discover. Some of things I've learned include:

I live in a world of ideas, and the community that explores them.

Existentialism fascinates me.

I like to think that there’s a heaven, but I can’t say it exists for certain.

For me, too, the arts are a source of joy and inspiration.

I express my anxieties and sadnesses not to garner sympathy but because I think you deserve honesty, and  I know you can handle them.

Every day I strive to nurture these values and build a legacy.