Ryan Murphy, what have you done? You took a show with heart, character and ingenuity and bastardized its second season. Instead of creating a show that makes people think, you’ve pandered to the lowest common denominator. You give the masses sequins and jazz hands instead of compelling narratives, hoping they don’t notice you’re feeding them commercialized crap. The sad part is, they don’t notice. People still tune in to “Glee.” They may always tune in to “Glee.” Ryan Murphy, you’ve created a monster, and you ought to be ashamed of yourself.
Season Two Midseason
Tuesdays at 8 p.m.
The list of grievances is so long it’s hard to know where to start: the shot-for-shot replicas of Britney Spears videos (we can see those on YouTube, Murphy), the weekly guest spots for any celebrity with a passing interest in “Glee,” the whiny and immature characters who are impossible to root for. Let’s begin with realism.
Yes, a show where high school kids break out in song and dance to convey their feelings isn’t going to be realistic. However, the writers have taken measures to bring the musical numbers into the realistic realm. In the second season, there aren’t random solos just because Rachel (Lea Michele) feels the need to express herself. All songs have a motivation — wish the plot did.
In the second season, “Furt” brings Kurt’s dad and Finn’s mom together for a tacky shotgun wedding, where the glee club dances down the aisle, viral video style. Meanwhile, Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch) decides to get married to herself. Mercedes (Amber Riley) gets a small story about body image, but only to serve Gwyneth Paltrow’s guest spot — once she’s gone, the story stops. Sue inexplicably paints herself green for the Christmas episode — as if we wouldn’t get it. Lauren (Ashley Fink), better known as the geeky wrestler girl, joins New Directions after rescuing Puck from a Porta-John and hooking up with him in a supply closet.
Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison) displays the emotional maturity of a 12 year old in “Rocky Horror Glee” where he desperately claws his way through school policy so his students can perform “Rocky Horror” — all so he can win back the doe-eyed counselor he cheated on in season one. He shows a similar display of judgment when performing “Toxic” at a school assembly with New Directions as kids in the audience get so hot and bothered, they start ripping their clothes off in the most uncomfortable minute television has ever seen.
Let’s not forget that in season one, when the glee club sexed up a performance for the high school assembly, Will was rightfully aghast. Similarly, while performing (another) mash-up with the football team for the championship game brought everyone together for the big win this season, so did “All the Single Ladies” last season. No one grows, and the stories don’t change.
Rachel is a mega-monster and will always put herself first. Will will always be a creepy loser. The Quinn-Finn-Rachel-Puck-Sam love pentagon will stand strong. Sue is doomed to outlandish, childish schemes as the writers try to top her last stunt. The glee club will fight, they’ll get slushies to the face, Will will try to reign them in, they’ll sing some Top 40 (specifically selected for maximum iTunes purchases) and go home happy.
There is one redeeming quality to the second season of “Glee” — Murphy’s commitment to tell the story of the lone gay student living among the intolerant. We got chills when Karofsky (Max Adler) threatened to kill Kurt (Chris Colfer). We were angry when there was nothing the school could do about it. We celebrated when Kurt found acceptance in Blaine (Darren Criss). Amid the petty fights over solos and scissoring cheerleaders — added solely for shock value — there is one real issue with real emotions still left.
Still, the second season has been nothing short of a train wreck. “Glee” now exists solely to make money. Songs for “Rocky Horror Glee” were censored to boost iTunes sales, the Glee cast does commercials for Chevrolet, and in the last episode, Blaine sang in a product-placed Gap. This is no longer a TV show. It’s a schizophrenic cash cow.