Thursday, November 19, 2009

No Glee In Mudville

There's no reason that I should like Fox's television series Glee. It's a musical comedy set in a high school. While I enjoy plays and movies, I generally can't stand musical versions of either. Way back in junior high I remember going on a class field trip to see a musical movie version of "Oliver Twist." Back at school, I was discussing the movie with a kid one grade below me and mentioned that I hated the musical bits. "Really?" he replied, "Those were my favorite parts." He ended up turning out to be gay. Seriously.

And shows about life in high school? Please. It's one of the last things I want to see portrayed again on television for the umpteenth time.

But with all that going against it, I still found myself drawn to "Glee." I don't know if it's the strange collection of characters, the unusual running plot lines, the wryly amusing writing or a combo of all that. Something about it works and for me it has sort of a "Arrested Development" vibe and appeal to it.

Well, at least until last night's episode. The other day JB and I were talking about television tropes and saying that there should be a list of leftist versions of them. For example, the evil businessman, the smart minority or woman, the stupid husband, etc. Last night on "Glee" another was on display: The Intolerant Christian Father (which is sort of but not really captured by the Holier Than Thou trope). You know exactly what I'm talking about. The dad who's an avowed Christian man of God--talking openly about his faith, wearing a cross, etc.--but ends up being an unloving bastard to his family.

On "Glee" it was the father of Quinn. She's a cheerleader and President of the "Christ Crusaders" which is a club that celebrates celibacy. In what could be yet another trope--good Christian goes bad--she gets knocked up. When her boyfriend Finn (who's not really the father) reveals this to her parents in last night's episode, her father reacts by throwing her out of the house. And just in case we weren't sure that he's a bad guy, he's domineering and verbally abusive to the mother. See, he says he's a Christian, but he really doesn't practice what he preaches toward his own family so he's a horrible hypocrite. Get it?

Yes, we get it. And we got it the first nine-hundred-and-ninety-two times we saw it on television as well. No more "Glee" for me.

UPDATE-- Tom e-mails with more details:

Did you note the foreshadowing when the subject hypocrite Christian Father came into the room (large rocks glass with 'brown goods' in hand) and said to his wife, "honey, you are missing Glenn Beck"? I like the show too, I hope it doesn't--in it first season--devolve into a "Law & Order" like show with evil ex-Bush Administration types up to no good (spiking McKinley's chances at sectionals perhaps?).

I did notice the rather hefty tumbler the dad was hoisting, but missed the Beck ref.

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