Glee: the modern masterpiece


Photo provided by: @gleeofficial Instagram

Throughout the years that it aired, Glee not only won numerous awards, but it also helped launch the careers of many of its stars. Lea Michele, who was already a known Broadway actress at the time the show began, gained mainstream fame after appearing in a leading role in the show, as did several other starring cast members.

Annaliese Long, Features/Entertainment/Opinions/News Editor

The year is 2009, and the future of television is appearing more and more bleak to you. Despite the plethora of shows airing week to week, they all seem too standard for your taste. In every show you attempt to watch, you’re just being bombarded with grown, mature characters engaging in normal conversations in a regular, everyday fashion, and a jarring lack of high schoolers bursting into plot-relevant musical performances. Then, on a beautiful May night, your prayers are answered, and this generation’s most defining televised endeavor is gifted to the world. 

Following the trials, tribulations and endless drama of a high school Glee club, Glee aired from 2009 to 2015, spanning six seasons and garnering a cult-like following. Upon its debut, the show gained immense popularity, and viewers every week would sit on their couch, eyes glued to their television screens, in anticipation of what mess the singing high schoolers would get themselves into. Now, seven years after the end of its run, the show retains its popularity, but it has taken on a more irony-laced appreciation from its current audience, who love to mock it as much as they love to watch it.

However, I have been a Glee-enjoyer for years, and find myself rewatching random episodes on a spontaneous but not infrequent basis – and I can firmly say that there is nothing ironic in my love for the show. I am of the firm belief that Glee is a modern masterpiece, not in spite of its inherent ridiculousness, but because of its inherent ridiculousness. 

For one, this show is a comedy gold mine. In any episode of the series, a delightfully absurd plotline is met with hilariously clever dialogue and some of the best comedic delivery I have seen on television, and it all comes together to create 40 minutes of comedy perfection. It’s clear that the writers behind the show had a strong grasp on their cast of leads, and knew how to play up the individual personalities and dynamics between the characters to maximum effect. That’s why in any comedy scene in the show, everyone involved is able to pitch in with the best, most in-character contribution possible to make the scene land. Watching this show is so much fun, and I would urge anyone considering starting Glee that more than anything else, the comedy of the show will make them love it. 

In addition to its comedic genius, I have to say that the show excels in utilizing the musical numbers that fill its runtime in a seriously engaging and interesting way. Either the plot will be moving forward through action that occurs as the number is going, or the song will be an internal moment for the character performing it, serving to bring clarity and insight into how they are feeling about something going on in their storyline. I’m not a big fan of musical TV shows as it is, but I think Glee does it very well and with the right amount of self-awareness that what is happening on screen probably would never happen in an actual high school. Not to mention, the cast is gifted with great vocals, making the songs genuinely enjoyable. Some people could call the show a guilty pleasure, but there should be nothing guilty about enjoying such a brilliant staple of television.