10 Reasons Glee Fans Hate Glee!

Remember when Glee was that new kid on the block that everybody was either talking about or desperately trying to avoid hearing about? It was fresh, fun and satirical enough to take the edge off an otherwise bubblegum experience. However, despite hopeful beginnings, Glee-mania has dwindled and the show has amassed an impressive following dedicated to complaining about lacklustre comedy, dissolving plot threads and ever-present guest stars.

May I present to you a not at all conclusive list of why this writer and Glee fan thinks a show that once generated such positive buzz is now barely constitutes a threat to the timeslot it occupies?

1. Pointless Songs

Well, it’s a musical, you say. What really did you expect? Frankly – more of a musical experience than tuning into the best Top 40 cover artists. In musical theatre (even jukebox musical theatre), the songs sung usually have some relevance to the story that is trying to be told. Glee more and more often deems lack of relevance to the story being told as a relatively minor setback, giving a select few prized performers a jukebox of recent hits to pick at merely because they can (I’m looking at you, Blaine Anderson).

The sheer amount of musical numbers in each forty minute episode have also proven a threat to storytelling – in the last season, Glee featured six or more songs per episode in thirteen of the twenty two episode sets. In three episodes the musical number count was as high as nine songs. With this in mind, it’s no surprise the quality of narrative has taken a step back to accommodate the show’s musical whims.

2. The New Directions AREN’T Underdogs

Glee is quite eager to portray itself as a show that celebrates the underdog: the characters are frequently bullied or else referenced to be at the bottom of the social chain. At the start of season one the Glee Club’s diminishing reputation was narrated effectively, but after seasons of winning competitions maintaining this focus hardly seems appropriate for the show – surely even glee club deserves some respect after all those trophies!

I find it difficult to believe that there would not be a flurry of new members hoping to improve their college prospects by being part of a successful school society, especially since the show has established through Mike and Sugar that the ability to sing is apparently not mandatory. If season four rumours serve correctly, the underdog theme may finally have reached the end of its days – but that doesn’t change the fact that it hasn’t been relevant for at least two seasons.

3. Too Many Characters?

Are all of Glee’s problems a result of an ever-growing cast? Some would certainly think so – Glee’s more successful first season focused on teacher Will Schuester, show choir star Rachel Berry and a small core group of glee club misfits. Two seasons past and this core Glee Club has expanded into plethora of mostly-interesting characters competing for screen time, not to mention students from other schools (often Glee Project winners) and a surprising number of familiar faces who really should have something better to do (also known as Guest Stars).

The show has understandably not been able to cater to all of the characters it has developed, but has also failed to make the story of Rachel Berry more exciting or eagerly anticipated than those of secondary characters.

4. Guest Stars and Tribute Episodes

Lumped into a single category partly because they sometimes coincide but mostly because they both always distract from the focus we’ve already seen haphazardly spread away from the characters of Glee that fans love. Since Season one I cannot recall a guest star really advancing the plot – perhaps the closest has been Gwyneth Paltrow’s Holly Holliday in bringing Will and Emma finally together after a courtship so drawn out the majority of viewers were bored by them.

Ricky Martin, although fantastic in his role, was used to demonstrate that suddenly Will – a previously competent Spanish teacher – was useless at his job and could barely remember simple grammar. Likewise, tribute episodes can go either way but mostly seem to head in the direction of an overuse of songs taking up screen time that would be better suited for narrative.

5. Soap Opera Mentality

Season one: Finn dates Quinn, who’s pregnant by Puck after cheating with him. Meanwhile, Finn’s seeing Rachel on the side. Finn dumps Quinn after finding out about her infidelity, and then dumps Rachel who decides the Finn/Quinn breakup makes her Finn’s new girlfriend. Rachel then dates show choir rival Jesse to make Finn jealous, so Finn sleeps with Santana. Rachel and Jesse break up and finally Finn and Rachel profess their love.

Season two: Finn dates Rachel, who finds out about Santana and then cheats on him with Puck in revenge. Outraged, Finn dumps Rachel and begins to pursue Quinn, who is in a relationship with Sam. Quinn cheats on Sam with Finn then Sam finds out and cheats on Quinn with Santana. Santana’s cheating on everybody with Brittany, who is cheating on boyfriend Artie. Rachel briefly dates Blaine but spends much of the rest of the season moping and declaring she will get Finn back from Quinn. Jesse returns briefly to pursue Rachel, Finn becomes jealous and dumps Quinn. The season ends with Finn and Rachel re-professing their love.

Season three: Finn dates Rachel and the two of them decide that because they have failed in their dreams the best course of action is to get married. Quinn opposes the impending nuptials, but has a change of heart before getting hit by a truck.

Need I say more?

6. Fan Pandering

The most obvious case in point I can think of for Glee is the good fortune of actor Darren Criss. Originally billed in the minor role of Blaine, heavy support for the character (and the relationship of Blaine and series favourite Kurt) ultimately resulted in a series of increasingly pointless (and dull) snippets of school life at a rival show choir at neighbouring school Dalton Academy attended by Blaine.

The fans, of course, are most vocal about the ‘shipping’ aspect of Glee and are infamously known on the internet for a take-no-prisoners approach to their ‘OTPs’. Whilst it’s great that the Glee Writers are listening to their extremely vocal fan base, I’ll be damned if fan support hasn’t undermined the stories the Glee writers set out to tell and potentially lost us some crackers of plots in the process.

7. The Glee Project

It doesn’t take a genius to work out that the last thing Glee needs is more characters. Unfortunately, that has been exactly the route taken by producers – in the form of a reality talent television show entitled ‘The Glee Project.’ Season three became the first season to feature these specially selected wonderkids (the first Glee Project resulted in two winners awarded seven episode arcs plus two runners up whom both received two episode arcs).

It is arguable any of these four winners have contributed anything to the show at all, apart from a headache when trying to remember the names and motivations of their characters before they were promptly ignored for several episodes. I’m not even going to talk about the obvious difficulties faced in writing a character prior to their appropriate plot thread.

8. Plot Abandonment

A favourite of television writers everywhere – Glee is notoriously bad for dropping storylines (particularly regarding secondary characters) and admittedly has been from the outset. The start of Season two saw cheerleader Quinn apparently forget she had recently given birth and the cruelty that she witnessed whilst pregnant so to return to her life exactly as it was with no sense of humility or obvious character development at all.

This plot was briefly revived much later in Season three when Quinn appeared to suffer an emotional break down before declaring herself happy and healthy only a few episodes later. Speaking of which, the adoptive mother of Quinn’s baby Shelby simply disappeared off the face of the Earth never to be spoken of again when this plot was wrapped up. A similar fate (and probably more damaging flaw in storytelling) met gay teen suicide survivor Dave Karofsky later on in the season.

9. Big Issue Call Outs

Whilst the good of bringing to light serious issues such as dangerous driving, suicide and domestic abuse is unmistakeable, it has been asked by many if it really is Glee’s job to raise awareness of such a delicate nature. Some argue that the show has lost a great deal of humour through botched attempts to deal with issues too big for its platform, whilst others praise the show for making an attempt at making real issues more relatable. I’m on the fence about this one.

Whilst the acting for such scenes has been amongst the best on the show, I do find myself missing the light hearted comedy of Season one.

10. Continuity? What Continuity? What’s Character Development?

Arguably Glee’s biggest flaw – and certainly the one most pointed out by viewers, is the writers inability to conceive that what happened a season ago still counts. Or perhaps they’ve simply forgotten or never watched the episodes in the first place – it would certainly seem that way! I’ve mentioned some examples already – Quinn’s erased character development and Will’s teaching skills, but have a few more: Is Rachel the driven, talented girl with burning ambitions for stardom or a silly girl devoted to a high school marriage and unable to comprehend the idea of applying to a backup college? Who knows? Finn goes from being a reasonably good guy to a sore victim who outs lesbian Santana, whom he later claims means a lot to him despite previously always telling everybody else she meant nothing. Puck was revealed to have a vasectomy in season two but said nothing of it when Quinn begged him to impregnate her again. Brittany’s transformed from a ditzy cheerleader to a child in a teen’s body with a severe learning disability. I don’t even know who the Blaine character is – introduced as a seemingly older, suave mentor to Kurt who had suffered from bullying and gay bashing in the past, it’s later revealed in season three he is in fact younger than half the glee club and from there his character just goes all over the place. I’m only scraping the iceberg.

I wish I could say I listed all of Glee’s problems. This started as a list of five and I could make it a list of twenty. The show everyone either adored or avoided is now something nobody really thinks about anymore. Ratings and music sales have been in the decline accordingly. It’s easy to see why – Glee is, at best, a musical drama with some interesting if mostly ignored characters, and at worst an incomprehensible mess with a soundtrack. Still, there are reasons fans still stay watch it and reasons why they write out exceedingly long lists of all the things they wish would change.

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