Friday, September 25, 2009
My reputation as a showkiller is well earned. Over the years, new television shows that I like are doomed to cancellation. The more enthusiastic I am about them, the quicker they plummet in the ratings. Lately, however, my touch has been slipping. The Big Bang Theory is now entering its third season despite my unbridled passion for it. My wife claims she doesn't need to watch it since she lives it, but when she does she laughs louder than me. It seems she has absorbed all the nerd-references by osmosis over the years.
My latest obsession is teen musical soap opera Glee. Each episode is a mini-Broadway production with elaborate dance numbers featuring classic rock or hip-hop songs performed by a cast astoundingly deep in triple threats. The female lead is Lea Michele as the Tracy Flick-ish (mandatory Election reference when discussing twisted high school tales of ambition) diva of the show choir.
Lea Michele has genuine Broadway DNA since she was the lead in the Broadway show Spring Awakening (which I also rave about). So when a picnic tableaux unfolds on the auditorium stage, 90% of the television audience is asking 'What the fuck?", while I and hundreds (well, perhaps dozens) of Broadway queens are doubled over laughing hilariously. That bit was an exact match of the seduction/rape scene in Spring Awakening that closes Act 1. I don't consider that a spoiler since that pose is one of the iconic Spring Awakening poster images.
Ultra-inside jokes like that are not an accident. This show is just bursting with pop cultural asides that take multiple viewings to catch. I have to apologize for the crappy quality of the screen captured video above but it is the best embeddable clip from the show, at least until the Fox legal department finds out about it. But all the episodes to date including the extended directors cut of the pilot are available on the official website as well as Hulu.
This show demands loyal viewing. A premature ejaculation joke in the third episode becomes a plot point in the fourth. And while the musical numbers are still the focus of the show, the storylines are getting sudsier.
Despite the full court publicity press from Fox and the critical enthusiasm, ratings are still below Jay Leno's nightly turd. Don't wait until you have to buy the DVD. Watch it now. And tell everybody you know to watch it. Become a Glee-vangelical like me.