The 'Glee' Civil War: Why a Show Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand
The 'Glee' Civil War: Why a Show Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand
John Kubicek
John Kubicek
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
Glee is in the middle of a vicious civil war, and things are not getting any better. It's not just the show that is divided between New York and Ohio, it's the fans.

Every week message boards fill up with the same comments. "I hate the New York storyline." "More Kurt and Rachel in New York!" "The new kids suck." "I love the newbies." Like Rachel in "Naked," Gleeks are torn.

Glee is available on Amazon Prime.


To solve the problem, we first need to look back to how it all began. At the end of Glee season 3, Rachel, Finn, Kurt, Santana, Puck, Quinn, Mercedes and Mike all graduated. It was a mass exodus and the writers needed to figure out how to proceed. Should they continue to follow the established fan favorites as they head off in, pardon the pun, new directions, or should we focus back on McKinley and see how a new crop of kids deal with the glee club?

The writers decided to have their cake and eat it too by doing both. The show was divided into separate storylines and almost all of the departing cast members were kept on as series regulars. Unfortunately, that now seems like the wrong choice.

For some strange reason (I assume it's contractual), Dianna Agron was reduced to a guest star, having appeared in only three of the show's first 15 episodes. Yet, strangely enough, Mark Salling, Harry Shum, Jr. and Amber Riley still pop up in the opening credits every week despite only appearing in 7, 6 and 4 episodes respectively. Instead of pretending that all the seniors are still a part of the show, Glee should've just cut those three as well.

The result is a weird hybrid, a deformed half-old, half-new monster that gives everyone something to love and something to hate each and every week. This is no way for a show to live, with fans turning on each other every week and getting bored with half of the story.

Now let's examine the pros and cons of each half of the new Glee monster. I shall try to be as objective as possible, but I have no problem admitting I'm in favor of Ohio over New York. I'm sure 50 percent of you now assume I'm a moron who hates Glee and 50 percent are saying "Amen!"

The New York Storyline

For three seasons, Lea Michele and Chris Colfer were the stars of Glee. They've earned Emmy and Golden Globe nominations, dominated the storylines and delivered some of the most amazing musical performances in Glee's history. And they have incredibly devoted fans who find new ways to get them or their characters to be trending topics every day on Twitter, whether it's with "We <3 Finchel" or, my personal favorite because it's so odd, "#ChrisColferHasaBeautifulSmile." Seriously, there's something like that trending every single day on Twitter. I never see "Jarley 4Eva" or "#BlakeJennerHasAmazingHair" trending.

And with even more seniors graduating this year, New York and NYADA could easily include most of the original cast. We already have Rachel, Kurt and Santana. Finn will almost certainly move there once he and Rachel get back together (because they are "endgame"). Blaine has already let us know of his desire to attend NYADA next year. Brittany could show up as well (perhaps Fondue for Two is turned into a syndicated daytime talk show, with Sam as her zany sidekick). Heck, I could even see Tina applying to NYADA in a desperate attempt to prove she's just as good as Rachel or to stalk Blaine. And we already know NYADA does movies since Rachel refused to pose topless for that student film, so bring Artie along too.

The McKinley Storyline

The show, at its core, is about a high school glee club, a group of misfits looking for acceptance. You can't have that if everyone is hitting it big in New York. The simple structure of the show choir championship offers a format for the show to follow every year and it gives Glee an excuse to perform a lot of songs so FOX can make money now that the ratings are sagging. It will be harder to explain why the kids are singing all the time in New York if they're not in a singing group.

I also feel like the new kids are vastly underappreciated by the haters, maybe because they haven't been given time to grow or develop because every time they start to have a storyline, it gets pushed aside for more of Blaine. Melissa Benoist is a talented singer and that original storyline of her dealing with being poor (and her amazingly supportive mom) got sidelined quickly for the ugly and unpleasant bulimia plot (which also ruined Kitty and turned her into a one-note villain). Mama Rose could easily be as good as Burt Hummel or Coach Beiste if the show would give her half the chance that Mike O'Malley and Dot-Marie Jones have been given.

Then there's Ryder and Jake, two good looking guys with great voices. If the writers can't make them compelling, then they're the problem, not Blake Jenner and Jacob Artist. Maybe it's because I loved The Glee Project, but I could also take more Samuel Larsen and even Alex Newell (in small doses). They could make for a compelling, completely new show, if the writers would be willing to take the risk.

What Should Be Done?

Those are the two sides of the civil war and the Glee writers and producers need to pick a winner. This constant fighting amongst Gleeks and complaining about one storyline or the other getting too much airtime has to end. And the only way to do that is to be bold, take a risk and cut one. Completely.

Yes, I am suggesting that Glee season 5 should either be all New Directions in Ohio or all established characters in New York. No more of this half-and-half crap.

At this point, I don't even care which one it is. Yes, I love McKinley and would like to see more of Benoist, Jenner, Artist, etc., but if it means ending the civil war, I'm OK with cutting them. Cut Matthew Morrison and Jane Lynch too. Refocus the series and trim the cast down to Lea Michele, Chris Colfer, Cory Monteith, Naya Rivera, Heather Morris, Darren Criss and Chord Overstreet (and maybe Jenna Ushkowitz and Kevin McHale, plus whatever new faces they'd want to add in New York). Don't half-ass it, just leave McKinley High and the New Directions in the dust and never look back. As much as losing the newbies would hurt me, I'd much rather watch that show than the way it currently is (mostly because I found a way to sneak my two favorite characters, Brittany and Sam, into the equation).

Or go the other way. Get rid of all the graduates and make the show about Will Schuester, Sue Sylvester and the New Directions. The cast would be Matthew Morrison, Jane Lynch, Jayma Mays, Dot-Marie Jones, Melissa Benoist, Jacob Artist, Blake Jenner, Becca Tobin, Samuel Larsen, Alex Newell and even Mark Salling (who could easily stick around Lima).

It would be hard at first and many fans would be alienated, but it would make Glee stronger and give FOX the freedom to really try and launch some new careers instead of keeping them all as guest stars and relying on the old standards. If they settled on a single location, fans wouldn't complain about too much or too little of one place on a weekly basis.

This isn't about what show I'd prefer to watch, this about healing the Gleek nation. It's simple addition by subtraction. Cut half the cast and the rest will thrive. But continue to split the focus and fans will continue to fight.



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(Image courtesy of FOX)

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