'Glee' Could Learn a Thing or Two from 'One Tree Hill'
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
In the post-Super Bowl episode of Glee, Brittany revealed that she didn't want to die before One Tree Hill was canceled. As a fan of both shows, I completely understand her feelings.
I also think Glee could stand to take a lesson or two from One Tree Hill. Sure, Glee is far more successful than the CW series, but One Tree Hill is currently in its eighth season, so it's clearly done something right.
This epiphany came to me after watching last night's episodes of both shows. On Glee, Rachel came up with the brilliant idea of writing original songs for New Directions to perform at Regionals. Meanwhile, One Tree Hill was one step ahead of her as Chuck, the child bully, revealed his secret passion: writing Broadway musicals. He even performed his original opus, "We're Gonna Make It," which could've been a lost number from Pippin.
However, One Tree Hill doesn't just beat Glee when it comes to original music. Here are just three of the important lessons Glee could learn from One Tree Hill.
Let Couples Stay Together
No Glee couple seems to last longer than a few episodes. Finn has been with Quinn, Rachel and Santana, Puck has been with those three and Lauren and Sam just jumped from Quinn to Santana. On One Tree Hill, Haley and Nathan have stuck it out since the beginning, Quinn and Clay have been seeing each other since they first started on the show and Julian and Brooke went from enemies to lovers to newlyweds. I realize Glee is set in high school, but even if the characters are going to play romantic musical chairs, at least let them sit down long enough to develop a real bond rather than breaking them up and reconfiguring the pairs every few episodes.
Let the Adults Have a Storyline
In the early stages of One Tree Hill, the kids' parents all had their own storylines thanks to the evil Scott family patriarch Dan and his volatile relationship with his brother Keith and Lucas' mom Karen. This season on Glee, the adults have taken a backseat and are barely visible. Emma got married, but we haven't seen or heard from her new husband Carl since. Kurt's dad (Mike O'Malley, who was promoted to a series regular this season for no apparent reason) hasn't been around since his wedding. And other than writing a word on the dry erase board at the start of every episode, even Will Schuester has no real story this season. There's a way to tell stories about both kids and adults, and One Tree Hill knew how to do it.
Let the Villain Be a Villain
On One Tree Hill, Dan Scott was a fratricidal, power-hungry monster who destroyed everything he touched. Sure, the show tried to redeem him, but not before getting in a few good seasons of his evil ways. Glee, however, tries to redeem Sue every time she does something bad. If she yells at a girl with Down syndrome, it's because her sister has it. If she destroys Christmas, she brings everyone together and gives Will a present anyway. When she tried to destroy the glee club by joining it, she got choked up at a pediatric cancer ward. If Glee wants Sue Sylvester to be the primary antagonist, that's fine, but actually do it. The show constantly undercuts any sense of malice she has, thus making her as ineffective and scary as a fluffy bunny rabbit.
One Tree Hill is a surprisingly great mix of genuine emotion, over-the-top melodrama, wacky comedy and music. If Glee took a few notes, it might make a real comeback and stop being a pathetic excuse for FOX to make money on iTunes.
(Images courtesy of FOX and the CW)