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Good Buzz For Glee

Fox ran a pilot for a new musical comedy-drama television show called ‘Glee’ this past Spring.

‘Glee’ tells the story of the William McKinley High School show choir, a club that is looked down upon by the entire school. Though ‘Glee’ entered the airwaves at a time when Disney’s ‘High School Musical’ and ‘Camp Rock’ were the most popular mainstream musicals, ‘Glee’ is nothing like the disgustingly sweet and corny Disney shows. Though there may be some basic plot similarities, ‘Glee’ takes on some controversial issues and explores the more realistic side of high school, raging hormones and all. Though ‘Glee’ premiered last May, the show didn’t begin its full run until this fall on September 9. Fox took the summer to build up the anticipation for the return of the series through advertisements and iTunes releases.

The pilot episode introduced viewers to the main players, and to the social ladder at McKinley High in Lima, Ohio. After the Glee Club advisor, Sandy Ryerson, (Stephen Tobolowsky), is fired after a questionable interaction with a male student, Spanish teacher and former Glee Club member William Schuester (Matthew Morrison) takes over as Glee Club’s advisor. Mr. Schuester makes it his goal to restore Glee Club to its former glory, but soon finds that his task is not going to be easy.

The show choir kids are a bunch of misfits. First is Rachael Berry, played by Broadway musical Spring Awakening’s Lea Michele, an overachiever who dreams of being famous, or at least popular. Other Glee Club members include Mercedes (Amber Riley), a stylish diva with a huge voice, Kurt (Chris Colfer), an extremely feminine sophomore who can hit soprano notes, Tina (Jenna Ushkowitz), a goth girl with a stuttering problem, and Artie (Kevin McHale), a guitar player who is in a wheelchair.

The ever-positive Mr. Schuester busts his butt working with the diverse bunch, but discovers that something is missing. He tries to get some of the football guys to volunteer to join Glee. However, a strict social order exists at McKinley High, with the football jocks and the Cheerios (cheerleaders) sitting at the top, and Glee kids resting at the very bottom of the pile.

Mr. Scheuster is not successful in bridging the gap between the groups at first. However, after he hears football captain Finn Hudson (Corey Monteith) singing in the shower, he resorts to blackmail to get Finn to join Glee. He pretends to have found marijuana in Finn’s bag, and gives Finn the choice of disciplinary action or Glee. Finn chooses Glee, though he is reluctant to admit that he is musically talented.

Finn, a good guy at heart, proves to be just what Glee needs. After Mr. Schuester resigns to find a higher paying job after he finds out that his psychotic, controlling wife, Terri (Jessalyn Gilsig) is expecting a child, Finn helps the club stay alive. He assigns all the members a role-Mercedes does costumes, Rachel choreographs, Artie gets a band together, and he chooses music. The club comes together to do a stellar cover of Journey anthem ‘Don’t Stop Believing.’

What makes ‘Glee’ interesting are the complex relationships between characters and the issues that it explores-the musical numbers are an added bonus. In the episodes since the pilot, it has been discovered that Mr. Scheuster’s wife was having a hysterical pregnancy (she’s not actually pregnant) and won’t tell her husband, Kurt is gay, and Quinn Fabray, Finn’s girlfriend, the head Cheerio and president of the Celibacy Club, is pregnant, to name a few. See-not at all like ‘High School Musical.’ The great thing about the show is that more issues and conflicts are introduced each episode, but many are not so easily solved, leaving the viewer in suspense, anticipating the next week’s episode.

Some of the songs featured on ‘Glee’ have been Kanye’s ‘Gold Digger,’ ‘Mercy’ by Duffy, Color Me Badd’s ‘I Wanna Sex You Up’ and the Salt-n-Pepa hit ‘Push It.’ There will be a ‘Glee’ CD released later this fall.

For now, individual songs are available on iTunes, along with full episodes. More are being released every week. I’m hooked on ‘Glee.’ Luckily, all past episodes (there are four including the pilot) can be watched on demand on the Fox website, so you can watch them and get hooked too! ‘Glee’ is on Wednesdays night at 9 on Fox channel 5.

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