This new US series seems to be modelled on any number of pre-defined formulas which, taken individually and using the best examples, worked well.
To wit, Fame, Not Another Teen Movie, High School the Musical… the list goes on and on, and as a p-take of those shows, it didn’t do too badly. But as a separate entity with its own identity, it failed miserably.
There were without doubt some funny moments, but overall, the feeling I was left with at the end was that it was trying too hard to be funny. And not just funny, but quirky too. Quirky funniness is an elusive thing; shows like The Young Ones had it, and shows like Glee want to have it, but whatever it was that worked in The Young Ones doesn’t work here.
And there were too many character back-stories and personas chucked at us all at once last night. Again, it felt hurried and a tad desperate as we saw the teacher with OCD, the gay teacher, the dedicated teacher with a horrible wife, the bullied kid with designer clothes, the jocks, the cheerleaders, the wannabes, the nevergonnabes…
I could go on for hours about the stereotypes and the attempt at destroying them with humour but frankly, I got rather too bored with it rather too fast to take it all in.
There was slapstick, there was sarcasm, there was oddness and as I said – and sorry, but will have to keep saying – it was all too desperate to please the most people possible. It seemed as if the show’s creative team all had to sit down and add one aspect that’s previously been successful until they had a fully baked, fully loaded rich fruit cake of a show.
Sadly, it’s in that desperation to please that Glee falls down. You can’t please everyone and you can’t appeal to every sense of humour in one show. To take the example of The Young Ones again, I used to be falling about laughing at it while my mum would sit beside me looking puzzled and failing to see why I found it funny.
Conversely, she would laugh at Benny Hill and it was my turn to sit looking at her as though she’d escaped from a secure ward.
But to argue that Glee is a complete flop is clearly not the case because in the US, where it seems to have something approaching a ‘cult’ following, the show’s spin-off album has sold around two million copies, so it must be appealing to some people, just not me.