‘Glee’ in its second season appears every Tuesday night on Fox at 8 pm. The show is set at a Lima, Ohio public high school. It’s the classic tale of the popular kids versus the high school losers and no matter your age, you probably remember a similar scene from your high school days. You were likely a part of one group or the other – and, if your were not part of the popular kids, you wanted to be. Now, add an incredibly talented cast of young people, Matthew Morrison and a character named Sue Sylvester and you have a TV smash hit.
But what makes ‘Glee’ so popular is that it’s themes are so relate-able. Take the 11/9/10 episode. The initial dilemma was how the teen couples could make-out without going too far. Their solution was novel … but hurt the feelings of a fellow school outsider, the character called Coach Beaste . Turns out that Coach Beaste and Curt, the only ‘out’ gay student in the high school share a common problem – they’ve never been kissed. Until in this episode. While the paths of Coach Beaste and Curt differ significantly from the kiss, the theme is really the common angst of high school. Anyone of any age can relate to being an outsider, looking in and trying to fit in. And any viewer knows the pain of lost teenage love and the hurt feelings that come from the slights that people cast their way.
‘Glee’ also deals in some pretty tough subject matter. The theme of Curt and his gay- ness comes up frequently, but ask any high school kid and they can tell you about the ‘out’ gay or lesbian student in their high school – and the tolerance and intolerance shown him or her. ‘Glee’ also deals with relationships and, of course, the first season delved right into teenage pregnancy and the treatment Quinn received both at home and at school. ‘Glee’ also deals with the promiscuity of characters like Santana and the virginity of Rachel in an open manner. Teenagers all know the promiscuous ones at school and those girls that set limits, theoretically to torture their boyfriends. And finally, the overall theme of the show – so vividly illustrated tonight – is about the outcasts and their desire to be popular and belong. There is not a high school administrator out there who wouldn’t want to find a way to force acceptance to become a high school’s culture. The example of the Warblers in tonight’s show illustrated how much Curt wants to find acceptance, but so does Coach Beaste in her own way.
But one can not possibly talk about ‘Glee’ without talking about its talented cast. Every week brings fresh takes on old material and creative uses for some of theater’s classics. This week, the boys versus the girls brought a rock mix that highlighted the talents of many of the girls while the boys’ number allowed us to hear more of the individual talents of each of the members of the male cast, except Matthew Morrison. Personally, I’d love to hear more of his talents each week. Certainly few of us have the kind of talent the cast brings each week and while you may not like rock or ballads or show tunes, the variety each week keeps you guessing. Add elaborate sets and costumes and it’s almost like seeing the high school variety show on steroids each week. It’s hard to remember that these are supposed to be high school outcasts performing.
Don’t miss next week’s ‘Glee’ on Fox, Tuesday 11/16/10 with guest star Gwyneth Paltrow . I didn’t know she could sing.