Glee Sings its Way into the Spotlight and Our Hearts

Matthias Clamer/Courtesy Fox Broadcasting Co./MCT

Samantha Zulch

As described by Los Angeles Times writer Mary McNamara, Fox’s Glee is “the first show in a long time that’s just plain full-throttle, no guilty pleasure-rationalizations-necessary fun.” There is no denying the television phenomenon that Glee has become, but what exactly makes this high school comedy so captivating and downright lovable? (Not to mention addictive).
Although at Miramonte we are generally strangers to the idea of a glee club or show choir, on which the TV series is based, that does not make Glee any less relatable and enjoyable to practically anyone and everyone. I myself was admittedly hesitant to watch the show, weary of its fame, but thanks to Hulu.com and the boredom of weeknights, I bit the line and was caught forever. However I would not recommend my tactics as I ended up awake until two in the morning watching episode after episode after episode.

Set at the exaggeratedly stereotypical William McKinley High School in Lima, Ohio, Glee follows the singing group of talented and lovable misfits known as “New Directions.”
In many ways Glee is a classic high school comedy/drama, complete with unrequited crushes, mean cheerleaders, dumb jocks, the persecution of the unpopular kids, multiple pregnancy scandals, makeovers a la “Grease”, and so on and so forth. Glee’s spark however, lies in creators Ryan Murphy (of Nip/Tuck) and Ian Brennan’s ability to balance effectively sincere emotions and characters with an almost satirical account of high school life. The Dec. 9 fall finale literally left me in tears of laughter, heartbreak, and pure joy.
The obvious element that pushed Glee into the spotlight is the music. While Murphy initially envisioned Glee as a feature film, by turning it into a musical television series he has successfully strayed from anything else done before.
Unlike most musicals however, instead of spontaneously bursting into song, the musical numbers in Glee correspond to the plotline of McKinley’s underdog glee club singing their way through the harsh and competitive worlds of show choir and high school.
Song choices range from classics such as Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing”, to Broadway numbers like Wicked’s “Defying Gravity”, but are mainly pop and hip-hop jams including Madonna’s “Papa Don’t Preach” (“This show will not let the 80’s die,” said one Miramonte senior.), Kanye West’s “Gold Digger, and Rihanna’s “Take a Bow”, and most recently Kelly Clarkson’s “My Life Would Suck Without You.” Some of the most popular musical performances are the unexpected mash-ups; for example a combo of Bon Jovi’s “It’s my Life” and Usher’s “Confessions”. Who would have thought? No matter what the genre though, the Glee cast’s performances are guaranteed to stay in your head and heart for hours on end.
By adding personality and individuality to previously faceless stereotypes, Glee builds an irresistible cast, featuring all impressively “triple threat” actors and actresses to boot. So, in case you are slow enough to not have joined the lifestyle that is Glee, here are introductions of the cast:

Rachel Berry (Lea Michele): “The Star”
Rachel is extremely talented and she knows it. Although she receives a daily “slushy-facial” from the popular kids for her obnoxious ambition, that does not stop Rachel from devoting herself to glee club and dreams of “breaking into the business.”

Finn Hudson (Cory Monteith): “The Heartthrob”
Football quarterback and school stud, Finn secretly follows his passion for singing through glee club. This includes suffering the repercussions of mockery and rejection from the rest of the football team. Finn, while maybe not the sharpest tool in the shed, is adorable and steals the hearts of a number of his fellow glee clubbers, boys and girls alike.

Quinn Fabray (Dianna Argon): “The Pretty One”
As the beautiful and pregnant president of the celibacy club, Quinn is one big paradoxical mess. She started the show out as the mean girl cheerleader but through Glee club and dealing with some things pretty far beyond her maturity level, Quinn becomes just another one of the misfits.

Kurt Hummel (Chris Colfer): “The Diva”
Kurt is the cute-as-can-be gay member of glee club, and everyone loves him for it. Despite having to deal with unrequited love for Finn and playing football to please his dad (not without a theme song of “Single Ladies” though), Kurt has probably more spunk (and eccentric fashion sense) than any other character.

Mercedes Jones (Amber Riley): “Beyoncé”
Mercedes is black and proud, not to mention brimming with attitude. She can’t stand that Rachel gets to stand front and center while she sings back-up: “I’m Beyoncé, I ain’t no Kelly Rowland.”

Artie Abrams (Kevin McHale): “The Wheelchair Kid”
While Artie makes choreography a bit difficult, he may be one of the best singers of the group (i.e. Singing “Confessions” by Usher).  In addition to being in a wheelchair, Artie makes a perfectly adorable nerd, decked out in cardigans and suspenders.

Noah “Puck” Puckerman (Mark Salling): “The Sleazy Hottie with a Mohawk”
Aside from selling pot brownies at the school bake sale, seducing local MILF’s, and sexting every cheerleader at school, he is practically perfect. Puck is a football jock and regular badass turned glee clubber who manages to be fully obnoxious while still melting hearts (With his rendition of Neil Young’s “Sweet Caroline for example).

Will Scheuster (Matthew Morrison): “The Crush-Worthy Teacher”
Mr. Sheu is the Glee Club’s faculty adviser who often demonstrates for the kids with performances including Young MC’s “Bust a Move” and a very awkward duet with Rachel of Lionel Richie and Diana Ross’s “Endless Love.” Sheu devotes himself to the Glee Club, distracted only by his failing marriage and obvious crush on the school Guidance Counselor.

Emma Pillsbury (Jayma Mays): “The Mysophobic Guidance Counselor”
Despite Emma’s phobia of germs and her hopeless infatuation for Will, she stands out as the voice of reason for the kids and teachers alike. Emma has big Bambi eyes and quirky colorful blouses and pencil skirts, what’s not to like?

Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch): “The Villain”
Sue is the tyrannical coach of the “Cheerio’s” (McKinley’s cheerleading squad) and arch nemesis of Mr. Scheuster. She is the over-the-top, hilarious and when she isn’t irrationally scheming to bring down the Glee Club, she is the voice of political incorrectness on the local news station.