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Fox, May 19th at 9 PM

May 19, 2009 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

The etymology of the word glee is appropriate in discussing FOX’s one-hour preview of its high school musical comedy that shares the title. Executive producer/writer/director Ryan Murphy shoehorns plenty of “entertainment, mirth and jest” into his Glee but its creators sense of the latter is what keeps this unoriginal series from being merely another high school comedy. Sure, there’s a lot of material lifted from Election, Bring It On, The Breakfast Club, and Freaks and Geeks in this charming pilot but these misfit highschoolers (and adults) sometimes stand without aides. Murphy’s work on Nip/Tuck is certainly more inspired but this one-shot preview, airing after tonight’s over-inflated American Idol finale, gets more things right than wrong. Glee‘s aspiring musical troupe would fit right into the a cappela groups that swarm YouTube every couple of months or the desperate youngsters American Idol attract. Murphy pokes fun at this overzealous attitude with relish, but his series has heart beyond the ensemble’s sleek performances. Though Glee won’t return until the fall the pilot lays out the story and characters in quick fashion. Finn Hudson (Cory Monteith) secretly loves singing in the showers after footbal practice and risks rejection from his teammates to join the glee club.

The unpopular group is spearheaded by the young and idealistic Spanish teacher, Will Shuester (Matthew Morrison). “There’s no joy in these kids; they feel invisible,” Shuester says to his principal to try and cajole funding for the now tarnished extra-curricular group. Schuester believes in his “tone deaf acne factories” even when Sue, the trophy polishing, Whey Tech guzzling “cheerios” coach lays down the high school facts of life for Schuester in her office. “What you’re doing is blurring the lines. High school is a caste system. Kids fall into certain slots. The jocks and your popular kids—up in the penthouse. The invisibles and the kids playing live-action druids and trolls in the forest—bottom floor.” Schuester’s glee club may be in the “south basement,” according to Sue but they have heart even if they largely constitute tiresome stereotypes. You have a hushed Asian girl, a fashion-oriented and heavily closeted queer, a wheelchair-bound nerd, and a strong, heavy-set African-American girl. The adults prove to be more interesting than the kids. Will’s wide-eyed colleague Emma Pillsbury (Jayma Mays) has a bad case of OCD and the love bug. The other corner of the love triangle is Schuster’s long-suffering wife. High school humor and snappy dialogue abound, but Glee’s better exchanges reveal a heart beyond its glitzy downloadable tracks. This is a sharp dramedy that shows promise. Plus, there are some rumors that FOX nabbed the great Pushing Daisies co-star Kristin Chenoweth for a future episode. (

Author rating: 7/10

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Los Angeles Tax Lawyer
October 7th 2010

When I saw the first episode of this show I was immediately hooked. It was funny, dramatic, and a little bit unrealistic all at once. In the beginning the adults were definitely more interesting than the kids, but as the show progressed it got to be a little more well rounded. My only hope for the show is that they dont go too unrealistic with its storylines while keeping it a satire of high school.