Glee-son Two: Road to Nationals

This is the first of a new kind of blog post, where I recap the most reason tv series I’ve watched from 1001 TV Series to Watch Before You Die. As such, it’s still in the works and will likely fit into the YouTube schedule when I start that in a couple of weeks. 

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Glee on IMDB
2009-2015
Comedy/Drama/Musical – 44 minute episodes – TV-PG
Created By: Ian Brennan, Brad Falchuk & Ryan Murphy
Starring: Lea Michele (Rachel Berry), Matthew Morrison (Will Schuester), Jane Lynch (Sue Sylvester) Chris Colfer (Kurt Hummel) & Kevin McHale (Artie Abrams)


I remember being eighteen and hearing about a new television show with “Wendla” from Spring Awakening in it, knowing that it would be about a group of singing, dancing teenagers and being absolutely ecstatic. I also remember being 19 and specifically using my three hour uni break on a Thursday to sleep while torrenting the newest Glee episode, then watching the episode in snippets throughout the day. The combination of determination and what I thought were the absolute cutest outfits, made Rachel Berry and Glee my number one favourite show for its first three seasons.

A lot has changed in seven years however. I mean, these days my favourite show features a bubbly, loving brunette with bangs and optimism to spare, who has trouble with boys and likes to sing… a lot. Hmm, so maybe things aren’t that different, actually.

Glee has always been one of those shows, hated by a large percentage of the population, for its portrayal of high school dorky performers as well as “lessons” in every episode, from the dangers of teen drinking, the realities of teen pregnancy, and both the mundane and hyperbolised intricacies of teenage life. It’s soap opera style of incestuous relationship cycling, coupled with the idealised display of talent and competition makes it the perfect show for only a single, persistent demographic: teenage middle to high school girls.

But coming back to it five years later after not watching from season four onward… I don’t hate Glee.

I’m going to receive criticism from the fold, who will say “Casey, you run a podcast about New Girl, and you take a lot of selfies of you eating donuts”, and while you may be correct about my biases, I have several solid arguments for why Glee still remains high on the list of shows discussed by teenage girls on Tumblr blogs around the globe.

Glee‘s appeal to the aforementioned middle school girls is more than just Darren Criss dressed in a private school uniform, it appeals to the need for validation in a world where you’re constantly made to feel ordinary: because “being part of something special makes you special”. Glee‘s messages of acceptance are trite and overused, but the display and recognition of talent, even in various degrees or types can be a lifeboat in the constant reality of cut-throat competition among peers in high school. As a teenage girl you’re constantly being convinced to fit in while being required to have something that makes you stand out and for this, Glee is more than bubblegum television for young girls, in some places it is a strong reminder to dream big and stay true to what you believe in yourself.

But the show is also actually, genuinely funny in places.

While those places may be surrounded one hundred fold by lines that make me grimace and cringe, it’s tough to doubt that Jane Lynch is the comedic backbone of the show and Naya Rivera as Santana “[making out with another girl] is not cheating because the plumbing’s different” Lopez and Chris Colfer as Kurt Hummel with his perfect physical comedy moments give the show at least a good punch or two per episode.

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So I have to admit that 90% of the appeal for me is half the poppy upbeat bangers that aren’t really bangers but actually cheer me up and the similarities I see between myself and Rachel Berry. But if you’re a teenager who’s trying to navigate the tricky world of middle school and trying to figure yourself out, I have to stand by my assessment that I think Glee  might be for you.

Stay tuned for a more season-particular review of Glee Season 3 within the next couple of weeks.

Quick Review: The West Wing

Quick Reviews resulted as the alternative to an old poster style I would create when I didn’t have an extensive opinions on a particular movie or television series, and so these reviews are super short and sweet.

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Winner of seventeen Primetime Emmy Awards, The West Wing, written by Aaron Sorkin focuses on fictional democratic POTUS Josiah “Jed” Bartlet who suffers no fools and therefore alienates many. He and his dedicated staffers struggle to balance the needs of the country with the political realities of Washington, D.C., working through two presidential terms that include countless scandals, threats and political scuffles. The final two seasons focus on the race to elect the candidate to proceed from Bartlet as the leader of the free world.


While Gilmore Girls gets praised as the “feminine Sorkin”, I prefer to think of The West Wing as the masculine Sherman-Palladino. Minus the pop-culture references and instead heavy with political discourse, the style of the two shows, particularly the witty, intelligent dialogue and the quick pace are key drivers to the charm of both series.

Josiah “Jed” Bartlet may not be the hero Washington deserves, but he’s the one we need right now. It’s easy to create a perfect leader, and much harder to emulate them, and The West Wing portrays the king of governance we all like to think is pulling the strings. The show is also a very interesting insight into US politics for non-Americans. What the heck is an Iowa Caucus?

Side note, added after the initial publication of this post: I was certainly more knowledgeable about the recent Presidential election including the way of the electoral college and the idea of said caucuses.

A constantly evolving cast resulted from a tumultuous battle between showrunners and writer, and the loss of Sam Seaborn (Rob Lowe) in season four has its own negative impact on the run of the show, not to mention the fangirls. But with the combination of Allison Janney (CJ Cregg), John Spencer (Leo McGarry), Bradley Whitford (Josh Lyman) and Martin Sheen (POTUS), not to mention supporting actors Dule Hill (Charlie) and Janet Moloney (Donna), we have a cast that manages to captivate an audience from season one.