Glee: A study in Integration

Oh, how many blogs could I begin with the line ”So I was watching Glee last night and thinking….”I have spared you many of those blogs, but this one kept niggling me, so here we are:

Image courtesy of sorakirei (flickr.com)

So I was watching Glee the other night, boogeying on the couch to their spunky rendition of Katy Perry’s anthem, “Last Friday Night.”  Kurt’s bf (does he even have a name?  Oh, Blaire, Bore, Bam-bam or something….) takes the lead on this one with a perky hat as a prop.  Brittany’s the first to join in, as she usually is on the dance numbers, and then everyone gets in the groove.  Footloose and fancy-free, dancing and singing about ….

uh, getting trashed, having casual menage-a-trois sex, and blowing their chances at that fake singing-art school Kurt and Rachel are dreamy about with pictures of the whole thing on the internet

And then doing “it all again…..This Friday night”…..?

In all seriousness, this blog is NOT about whether or not people should be doing what Katy Perry’s song is all about.  This blog is about the DISCONNECT between singing about having that kind of fun, and how the characters actually behave.

I think I remember one single episode in 2.5 seasons that involved booze.

Even Puck’s lost his bad boy with his pool business and his passing grade in math.

These are some seriously squeaky clean kids.  Even when Quinn got kicked out of her house for being preggo, she still looked like she’d taken her steam shower and dressed in her walk-in every morning before school.

Glee used to be kids singing songs that meant something to their character, and the story line.  Like when Finn sang “Can’t Stop This Feeling,” on the pilot, or the cast did that awesome boudoir version of Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” or they belted out “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” that first year at Sectionals.  The songs used to move the plot forward.

Now listen.  Do I still download the tunes to my iPod and listen to them every day?  YES.

But, listening to the songs no longer drums up images of the characters and their plights, which is what I used to like most about the show.  Everything–or most things–on the show used to be fully integrated.  I don’t have quite as much respect for the show as I once did.

Now there is the music.  And there is the plot.  When they do coincide, as they did in this year’s Sectionals episode, I’m over the moon.  And BTW, I’m not the only one who’s noticed this: note the drop in viewers from Season 1 to 2, when this disconnect got out of control (Brittany + Britney does NOT = Integration).

Why am I blogging about this TV show in a literary mag?

Kerri Majors, EditorBecause I think it’s a cautionary tale to all artists.  Try try try not to let your music get away from your plot (or your characters away from their truth, or the scene away from the story, or the “message” away from your characters, or your voice from your age group, etc).

Integrate, integrate, integrate.  Your audience will notice and love you for it.

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4 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Thanks for this great look at music, truth, and writing. Lately, I’ve been using music to return me to the truth of the YA novel I’m writing. Inspired by other authors’ playlists, I decided to create one of my own. Time and time again, I discover new aspects of my characters lurking in the lyrics. I even did this really cool exercised (modified slightly from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way) in which I listened to my playlist in its entirety while doodling. I came away with an amazing grasp of “the white hot center” of my story. You can check out a few September posts about music and writing on my blog, as well as, my playlist doodle on the Works in Progress Page… just go to http://jillbixel.blogspot.com .

  2. Kerri says:

    Thanks, Jill. Doodling is indeed an excellent way to break out of a writing rut….

  3. Kitsy says:

    Good point and well said. But I still like watching GLEE!

  4. kayce womack says:

    good point and explaned great and u get how Quinn was kicked out for being pregant she could not help it and she was put in that situatilon that every teenager goes through everyday of there life and it is just so sad and i feel bad for the girls that have to go through that.

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