As an unabashedly proud, die hard GLEEK, the news that Ryan Murphy, creator and head honcho of GLEE, would be mounting a Broadway musical based on the show, should be a cause for jubilation. But why do I feel a wee unsettled? GLEE has saturated the Pop Culture landscape, and I’m not sure how far the balloon can stretch before the whole thing explodes (into glitter and rainbows, I’m sure).
The mega-successful tour was delightful, and made perfect sense within the GLEE zeitgeist. But it didn’t stop there.
Back in June, 20th Century Fox announced that there will be a series of GLEE books distributed by Little, Brown Books For Young Readers, the first which will act as a prequel to the series. Macy’s also announced a clothing line to debut before the start of the new school year. And, in November, Bluewater Productions is issuing a one-issue only comic FAME: THE CAST OF GLEE (the latest in a series of comic books detailing the rise of popular artists). According to its website, “The 32-page comic book one shot takes a close look at the lives of the actors and creative talent that have made the FOX Broadcasting’s series “Glee” such a runaway hit. “Glee” fans can learn about the paths that show mainstays Lea Michele, Matthew Morrison, Jane Lynch, Cory Monteith and Chris Colfer have taken on their way to fame”.
To overuse an already overused cliche, sometimes there is too much of a good thing.
GLEE itself hasn’t “jumped the shark” (I loathe that term, but it is what it is). While far from perfect (the misguided Madonna episode springs to mind), it remains an exhilarating, corny, absurd, and triumphant hour of TV, a phenomenon unlike anything on TV in years.
Another possible negative is the stunt casting. So far, the “guest stars” have infused GLEE with a natural, perfect aesthetic. But will that stunt-casting take it from the sublime (Kristin Chenoweth, Neil Patrick Harris, Jonathan Groff – and not to mention the recently announced Carol Burnett, who’ll portray Jayne Lynche’s Sue Sylvester’s mother) to the ridiculous? While I’m quivering in expectation for the Brittany-themed episode (who doesn’t worship the magnificent Heather Morris?) I can’t pretend the same thrill for the Britney (as-in-Spears)-themed episode. Witnessing her lack of even a modicum of anything resembling acting chops in the appalling CROSSROADS in 2002 was pitiful enough, but she nearly ruined one of my favorite TV shows, HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER with her guest role a few seasons back. And, according to Ryan Murphy, she’ll be “kind of playing herself…”
While that sentence portends dismay, this pic fills me with sanguine optimism:
Will it sustain its magic in the upcoming season 2? I certainly hope so. Does all of this compound a GLEE overkill? I certainly hope not. I’m one who likes to give the benefit of the doubt, and I’m awaiting with unmitigated, brazen, well, glee, for the new season to arrive. Obviously, I’m not alone in my adoration (it was recently nominated for an astounding 19 Emmy Awards).
But as a wise man (okay, Felix Unger) once waxed philosophic, and if sort of applies: Never overstay your welcome, or you’ll never be welcome to stay over. And I NEVER want the slumber party to end.