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Saturday, August 21, 2010

From My Watchlist --Glee

Many will know that this show started airing recently and has already brought Emmy and Golden Globe nominations to the people involved and the show itself. It deals with the lives of the students and teachers in the fictitious William McKinley High School in Ohio, especially those involved with the show choir, or 'Glee' club.I won't go into those details about the show which are unnecessary to make my point about recommending it. It is available on Star World's concerned webpage. I'll rather talk about what I think about the show.

There is every student type in it of a typical American high school -- the star footballer with chick-magnet looks, the skinny Cheerio girls with a chastising captain, the slightly chauvinistic second-hottest guy, the gay boy with a difficult crush, the physically challenged geek and the unpopular talent craving stardom. Anyone past adolescence will relate to their feelings and day-to-day, as well as bigger, issues. Even the teacher group is familiar -- the malleable principal, the disadvantaged teacher , the soft-spoken counsellor; even the bullying and the plump ones are there in WMHS.

Yes, to many, it will seem the usual high-school drama with nothing really going on other than relationships. Even to me, it seemed the same initially. However, a few days of relaxed watching told me that the show never lost the ultimate sight of the goal -- that of the WMH Glee Club to come out of obscurity and win Nationals. The constant battle of the clubbers and their coach against the humiliation faced by a disadvantaged group is the underscore in every episode. Hearing themselves called 'homo explosion', a nickname not helped by the fact that they do have a gay member, and getting the school fruit drinks, or 'slushies' thrown in their faces as the standard WMHS mark of disrespect, are part of their daily routine. But the clubbers emerge stronger at the other end of every challenge, which is the clear moral of the whole show. The challenges that the students and teachers face and the way their personal lives affect the Club are intrinsic of any group, and without it the saga would seem unreal. The journey of every member is outlined, and how some of them emerge victorious while some give away to the pressure of being with the cool guys is portrayed very realistically. Depending on the viewer, some characters emerge lovable, and even exemplary, while some are laughing stocks; and others whom we either love to hate, or whom we relate with.

For those like me who shirk away at any hint of drama, read sloppy love stories, please note that it is human nature to amplify the particular topic in any piece, and also we notice more what we hate. If the show is watched with a mature outlook, the lessons that it imparts in determination and individuality will surely gain the prominence in the eyes of any slush-hater, and the viewer will reach out to the clubbers and wish them success. Of course, the show is not for anyone mentally younger than an average adolescent, as the broad reality is not easy to grasp. The songs which sometimes give the teenage students insights into their own lives, or which they sing for one another, are not just good music; they deal with the real impact of music in human lives, and will surely emerge a positive characteristic of the show to any music-lover. Music gives them an outlet for their troubled lives, and they use it to communicate at individual and collective levels, and even to make a point in public or achieve an unrelated goal. It is noteworthy that each of them is talented at their own levels, and, spare a few, they all are more or less leaning towards the ideal, despite their many faults.

Finn Hudson the star boy, for example. He deals with his girlfriend Quinn's situation, only to find the responsibility actually lay with his best friend Noah. Rachel the aspiring diva deals with the teenage craving to be have a popular public life and a satisfying personal one. Mercedes deals with being overweight and risking losing her Cheerio ambition, Artie with his life in a wheelchair, Tina with her false stutter and Kurt... well, watch the show. The teachers too, have their own share of issues. Will Shuester, their in-charge, deals with the hurdles with, leading to estrangement from, his wife Terri; to add to that he has his relationship with Emma Pillsbury and his bitterness with Coach Tanaka. Emma herself has personal problems, while Shue has the incessant rivalry with the bullying and blackmailing Cheerios coach Sue Sylvester, who leaves no stone unturned to devastate him and destroy his club. Every person and situation in the show has its complement in real life. Its closeness to real issues is too much to give it a complete miss.

They still have the goal of Glee Nationals in their hearts, giving them the fuel to cope. Their success at Sectionals takes them one step nearer to it, but it takes them no further with respect to their position in school. For one moment it seems that Mr. Shue has a leg-up over the Cheerios coach, but Sue comes back with a bang. Some mistakes they make and some personal choices endanger the club's already dim chances, and they have their share of infighting. Many keep secrets from others for their own sakes, and the efforts of the Cheerios coach doesn't help. But the love of show choir keeps them together and ready for more. The spirit of love, friendship, and teamwork are strong and are upheld as the ideals in the show. Every high-spirited episode gives them a small one-up on their detractors. There is much more philosophical and intellectual wealth in the show than is obvious at first glance.

Personally, I like watching the show for my love of music and human slice-of-life stories, and for the values upheld that I mentioned. I have reason to believe that for many, it may even have wise advice in it. All of you, who love music, strong people, strong bonds and thought provoking storylines, please patiently watch a few episodes of the show. It will surely change the opinion that you may already have formed, or will form, as your first impression; nay, it may even change your ability to cope with the worse things of life.

Glee airs on Star World at several different timings. Visit aforementioned website for details.


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