I admit it. I am a ‘Gleek.’ I can’t wait to watch the next episode of this ‘dramedy’ made by the otherwise loathsome Fox network. I’ve always been a geek. This high school fantasy makes no pretense at transforming geeky to glamorous. These Cinderellas simply sing a-cappella from behind the slurpie masks splashed upon them by the a-tonal jocks sent to torment their teens.
I wish I had attended a high school with an open-admit ‘show choir.’ Sadly, in suburban Chicago, there were enough ‘Rachels’ – whose talent was cultivated from the cradle – to populate an entire ensemble. I remember sitting in a try-out listening to my peers review their resumes in local theater. I can’t remember the rest. I think I skulked out the back without an audition. Oh to be like wheel-chair bound Artie and have a teacher like Mr. Schuester accommodate what I could contribute rather than concentrate on what I couldn’t.
What deters Glee from bringing me bliss? The sexism seeping subtly through the female roles in the first series. (I have yet to enjoy the second.) Mr. Schuester’s love interest, the school counselor, suggests that it would be wrong for him shape his life around her ‘crazy’ (she has a hilariously horrendous case of OCD) as he had rolled over for his wife’s ‘crazy’ (her selfishness seems unabated by her antidepressants). Fine, Schuester has bad taste. Big deal. Yes, it is a big deal. Schuester embodies sexy perfection: swinging hips, soaring voice, selfless motives. The adult women around him are caricatures of prudes and shrews.
Coach Sue Sylvester’s sexuality exists only as the butt of jokes, and her unadulterated enmity for the universe abates only for her sister who has Down’s Syndrome. Of the three mothers who periodically pass through, none is a fully developed character let alone an attractive one. The first, a widowed single mother is desperate; the second is a subservient Stepford wife; and the third, who surrendered her egg to a gay male couple determined to breed a star, is described in an effort at empathy as “hard.”
Female role models anyone? Why on earth do I adore this show?
For one, as a midwestern germaphobe myself, I want Ms. Pillsbury to free herself and “get dirty” with Mr. Schuester. I tear up when Sue Sylvester reads Little Red Riding Hood on her sister’s nursing home bed. I recognize the glee Schuester gets from singing and dancing with his students. Every mock interview brings me the same mix of remembered victories and potential victories to come.
All that and I’ve always been a sucker for a good song and dance number. Maybe Shah Rukh Khan can guest star and do a Bollywood number with Schuester and the kids in season three….