Is 'Glee' a Comedy or a Drama?
Wednesday, May 04, 2011
I concede. For three weeks I've been trying to properly express my frustrations about Glee, but based on the comments, I seem to be failing. Now, after "Rumours," I'm ready to concede, not that Glee is good, but that I'm wrong about what Glee is.
For a long time I assumed Glee was a light-hearted musical
comedy, an absurdist look at a high school show choir where the biggest
problems were slushies in the face and kids in wheelchairs being locked
in portable toilets. I thought it was a purposefully over-the-top series
with ridiculous characters like the unimaginably cruel Sue Sylvester or
the comically stupid Brittany S. Pierce.
But I was wrong. It turns out Glee is a drama.
At least that's the conclusion I have to draw based on everything that's happened so far in season 2. It should've been obvious from "Grilled Cheesus," the hilariously titled third episode that featured a mature debate on religion as Kurt's dad suffered a heart attack. Then we had the gay bullying storyline, Santana's conflicted feelings about her homosexuality, Emma's mental illness and now Sam's poverty.
Time and time again, Glee has proven that it wants to be taken seriously and that it's not just a light-hearted musical comedy. Instead, it's a sober study of the problems young Americans face.
Well, sometimes it is. But when the show wants to make Brittany the world's most absurd moron with a fat, cheese-eating, smoking cat, or if Glee wants to put Sue in some wacky costumes, then it's a comedy.
Putting my heavy sarcasm aside (I hope you caught that throughout everything I've written so far), this is why I'm so confused by Glee. You might try to claim that it's a dramedy, but it isn't. A dramedy isn't a show that is half comedy, half drama, it's a show that blends the two and creates its own, unique style and tone. Glee is not a dramedy because it doesn't mix the two together, it keeps them apart. Glee is sometimes a serious drama and sometimes a ridiculous comedy, but those two almost never intersect. For me, those are two great tastes that taste awful together.
I need a consistent tone on a TV show. Maybe my brain is too simple, but I can't go from Lord Tubbington to Sam crying. The vast disparity in tones Glee tries to get away with in a single episode is too much.
Do you remember when Will almost lost his job and the kids came to his defense? Sam said that Mr. Schuester taught him to tie his shoes. If that was true, is Sam really responsible enough to take care of his two little siblings while his parents are out looking for a job?
Maybe I'm taking it too seriously, but when Glee tries to be as earnest as it was with Sam's recent storyline, I have no choice but to take the show seriously.
This is my dilemma. Do I judge Glee as a silly comedy, in which case stories like Sam's poverty are completely wrong, or do I judge it as a teen drama, in which case Sue should be written out of the show?
From where I sit, Glee wants to have its cake and eat it too. It wants to be all things at all times. It wants to have serious, real-world problems as well as wildly exaggerated, out-of-this-world problems. That inconsistency is why I have a problem truly loving this show again.
(Image courtesy of FOX)