The joy of "Glee"

I've been looking for an excuse to write about Glee for a while now. Luckily, the LA Times has a an interview with star Lea Michele, and voila! An excuse.

I love me some Glee. During my family's visit, I prevailed upon my (straight) younger brother to watch it. After taking in several episodes on Hulu, he agreed that it's a good show. He also noted that it is "incredibly gay." (Hence my irritation at those Yes on 1 ads during the commercial breaks.) And, indeed, it is incredibly gay. Not only is it a musical, complete with boisterous song and dance numbers as narrative elements, but it has a surpassingly gay character in Kurt, played by Chris Colfer (who is also gay).

Kurt is obsessed with fashion. He covets the female parts in the songs he sings. He records his own version of Beyonce's "Single Ladies," and teaches the football team to do the dance. And he's in love with the male lead. He is very, very gay.

But, unlike the mincing grab bag of stereotypes Jack in the minstrel show Will & Grace (which had a good first season, then got a lot worse very quickly), Kurt is written like a real person. Jack was a compendium of ticks and gestures, drawn to conform to a straight person's idea of an over-the-top gay man. Self-obsessed, shrill and promiscuous (though a surprisingly lousy dresser), he was unlike anyone I'd ever actually met.

Yet, as fey and stereotypical as Kurt is in a lot of ways, the writers invest him with actual dignity. They do him the service of making him nuanced. He can be petty and vindictive, but he's also been given numerous opportunities to demonstrate courage and integrity. In particular, his scenes with his father are a welcome departure from the tired "macho dad, duplicitous gay son" trope. The depth of the writing and performance save him from caricature.

Besides all that, Glee is a hell of a lot of fun. I am going to let my own inner stereotype out long enough to clap my hands with childlike... glee at this:
You've got a big, all- Madonna episode coming up next year?

I'm doing six Madonna songs, some of which will be mash-ups. We're doing a lot of her most popular songs but ranging all the way from early Madonna to most recent Madonna. Amber [Riley] and Chris [Colfer, who play Mercedes and Kurt] are doing something really cool together, but I can't give anything away.
Oh, goodie.

Finally, and not entirely apropos, I have a question for you straight guys out there. Maybe I don't know what counts as "beautiful," but the following quote gave me pause:
That's what I try to do with Rachel. Rachel will never be popular because her looks aren't considered beautiful, and when I was in high school it was the same for me. I didn't get a nose job, and every single girl around me did. Therefore, I was out. I was not cool.
Rachel isn't beautiful? Really? Am I thrown off by the remarkable talent and charisma of the actress? Help me out here, guys. Is this woman really not beautiful?


  1. Well, I am a straight woman who thinks she's gorgeous.


  2. I think she is pretty, but since she plays a high school student (I know she is like 26) I would feel kind of weirded out to be attracted to Rachel. Now that picture above is hot.
    It is also kind of strange how they got young women (the pretty cheerleaders) who aren't endowed. I suppose they did this because it makes them seem younger than they are.

    I have to say one thing about the show, the woman who plays Sue is brilliant. If she doesn't win the emmy, then the world is crazy.


  3. The actress who plays Sue is Jane Lynch. She is, indeed, brilliant. She's also been unfailingly hilarious in all of Christopher Guest's recent films, and she (apparently...I haven't seen it) also has some wonderful scenes as Julia Child's sister in "Julie and Julia."

  4. The pic is not useful for determining what she looks like w/o professional level makeup. That's what would matter in HS. I watch DWTS, and the females invariably look about 250-500 millihelens lower in the beauty reading during the practice sessions as compared to the all-decked-out performance. Back to Ms. Rachel, without commenting on her acting chops, she looks fine, but not a stunning beauty.

  5. Well, sure. She's got a lot of professional slap on in that picture, and on the show. But you can get a sense of her features, at least.

    I enjoy the unit of measure "millihelens."