Glee has been one of my favorite television shows for a long time now. I remember being in high school fangirling over Blaine and Kurt, and talking about last night’s episodes with my friends. Even though I had to be on time to watch every episode and 85% of the space on my iPod (yes, I still use iPods) are taken up by Glee songs, it is much more than a show. It was fun to watch, ongoing in content when it came to real world topics, and pretty much a show that needed to be on TV! It was a show that was very ambitious and unlike no other. We’ve grown to love it. The pilot made this love official.
You can’t tell me you didn’t get goosebumps when you heard them sing “Don’t Stop Believing.” The rest of the seasons were filled with pregnancies, eating disorders, sexual identity, fake stutters, and tributes to Lady Gaga, Michael Jackson, and Whitney Houston. There was a different character for everyone to relate to; The popular cheerleader, the gay fashionista, the befuddled jock. Then we find out that these characters aren’t exactly what they seem. The cheerleader cheated on her boyfriend and got pregnant. The gay fashionista was finding it difficult to come out the closet. The jock sang out “Can’t Fight This Feeling” in the locker room showers when he thought no one was there. Glee taught us to never give up even when you’re socially unexpected by your peers. This show proved that you can be entertained without going beyond your limits. It celebrated the young rebel in us all.
Glee always delivers and sticks to the story they want to convey. They always told a story of acceptance and the beauty of being different. In an episode, a trans choir performed the song “I Know Where I’ve Been” from Hairspray. They featured weddings of a gay male couple (Kurt and Blaine) and a lesbian couple (Santana and Brittany). They’ve told the story of Coach Beiste and her coming out and becoming transgender progression. We’ve also experienced Jane Lynch’s character Sue Sylvester, a blunt cheerleading coach. She was the perfect anti-PC spokeswoman that prevented the show from becoming too saccharine.
One of the things I personally loved the most about Glee was it created a platform for young teens and everyone else and broke down the wall of homosexuality making people feel more comfortable about the topic. Take Kurt for example. His role on Glee would be looked at differently if he was playing the same role now as opposed to 8 years ago. What made him special and what made him the OG in Glee was his how fabulous he was. He was never afraid to show the everyone what he was working with. In fact, he embraced it. He encouraged people to own who they are and never be afraid of what others think. Among others, Kurt definitely paved the way for young, gay roles on TV.
Now we can’t forget those most powerful, outspoken, and divafied character of them all, Amber Riley’s character, Mercedes. She was never afraid to speak her mind. She showed some struggle with her weight, but later showed everyone at McKinley High and the viewers at home that it’s okay to be proud of who you are. Not to mention she has a strong set of lungs on her. Yeah, Jennifer Hudson is great and all that but you can’t deny, when Mercedes sang, we all got chills! She definitely held it down for being the only black character for a while.
I’ll never forget Cory Monteith’s tribute episode. The episode could have spoke about his battle with drugs. But the show showed us that it didn’t matter how he died, but how he lived. Glee was never perfect. Sometimes, it was actually bad. But it accomplish a lot. It’s more than just High School Musical for teens. It introduced us to many, different genres of music. It gave a new meaning to what it meant to be in a school choir. It gave different outlooks on many real world topics.
I mean it must of made some type of impression right? It lasted six whole seasons! It represented the underdog. The rebel. The outcast. The person who sat at lunch alone. The person who’s afraid to make friends because of their differences. The person who’s afraid to express who they are because they’re afraid of what others might think. Glee embraced these factors and displayed them with grace and nuance. Glee taught us to never stop believing. And I will forever remember this show and love all that it has done for me and others!