Fox is being quite aggressive in promoting Glee, their new musical set in a high school. They premiered the pilot months in advance, made the pilot streamable online, giving everyone a chance to simmer in its glory and soak up its richness to stoke interest for the fall.
Now if only there was richness there. Even a light drama shold have something to connect with, or a guilty pleasure should have someone you want to be. But the characters are all just these stereotypes from some 20 year old John Hughes wannabe film. The jocks-against-the-creative-kids parts feels like it came from someone who only ever read about high school, the administration-versus-glee-club and cheerleaders-versus-glee-club portions feel like things that come from people who have only read about real life. Yes, it’s supposed to be both humorous and stylized, but still they seem to want you to care about the emotional conflicts, and there ain’t no there there.
Which leaves the musical portions of this, and yes, they are nicely done. I confess to having flipped back to rewatch the cover of Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab” several times (a song I’ve been meaning to hunt down and listen to in its entirety in the original; I’ll admit that I’ve not heard Amy Winehouse so much as heard about Amy Winehouse, but the clips I’ve hard in other context always made this song sound interesting. Yes, I’m old. Oh, wait, there’s an apparently-legal online copy of the video, I’ll watch it after writing the review.) And I can certainly see teenage girls watching this show and enjoying the music and replaying it. But while shallowness is endemic to the musical form, it seems like it would be deadly to the serial music form – which is unsurprisingly not a form with a vast history of success. I don’t see those teenage girls — or anyone else — spending their time talking about “What happened to Rachel last episode”, unless the show makes some storng adjustments.