Everyone who knows me knows that once I get obsessed with a tv show, it's pretty much all I talk about. Before White Collar, there was Glee. Due to the creative marketing and never ending buzz, I was into this show before it ever aired. Now that the first season has finally wound to a close, and I ended it with mixed feelings, I have a few suggestions for next season.
"Did you know dolphins are just gay sharks?"
1. Do not let Jonathan Groff go!
Writing his character as a senior was probably a big mistake. When he first showed up I was annoyed by his blatant overacting, but once he settled in to his character, he stole every scene he was in. Groff's big rock star turn during the regionals performance of Bohemian Rhapsody easily became my favorite performance of anyone on the show ever. He's a great character and has more singing talent than Mark Salling and Cory Monteith combined. Find a way to bring him back. The show is definitely going to miss him.
2. Brittany, Quinn, and Santana are underrated.
Let's face facts, Dianna Agron is the best actress this show has. (The argument can be made about Jane Lynch and her stellar comedic chops, I know.) Dianna transitioned from the bitchy alpha female cheerleader to the vulnerable fallen from grace teen so well, and the heartbreaking crying on command didn't hurt one bit. She's not an outstanding vocalist, but the sheer acting ability makes up for it. Heather Morris and Naya Rivera managed to turn Brittany and Santana into two of the most well liked characters in an ensemble cast. Everyone loves Brittany's one liners ("Mr. Schu...is he your son?") and Santana emerged as a hyper sexual firecracker with a surprisingly good voice. (I mean, who expected her at all during Like a Virgin? I know I didn't.) Use the dynamic duo more. It'd be nice to see them with an actual storyline other than Britanny says something funny, Santana says something sassy or flirts with someone, then they flirt with each other.
3. Can we get some new story lines next year?
Who didn't see the plot of the finale coming from a mile away? It was essentially the same thing that happened in a ton of other episodes, with the added bonus of Quinn finally having that baby thrown in. Coach Slyvester threatens the Glee club, Mr. Schu tears up like a woman, Rachel and Finn either fight or fall in love (again), Kurt makes reference to struggling with his sexuality, Mercedes hits that note, Glee club doesn't end after all.
The Kurt storyline got recycled so many times this year that it was easy to forget that the other characters even have lives outside of the choir room. Though it gave Mike O Malley the room to show off some impressive range (who knew the host of Guts and the star of the Time Warner commercials had legit talent?)one episode covering this topic would have been sufficient. I went to high school in Ohio ten years ago and alternative sexualities weren't even as big of a deal then as they were made to be on Glee. Personally, letting Kurt be openly gay and giving him a functional relationship with an awesome guy and having it NOT be an issue would be a more effective way to get the point across in my eyes. (But rumors have it that this is in the cards for next season. Fingers crossed.)
The Will Schuester, Emma Pillsbury romance is getting stale as well. They get so close to figuring it out and then something happens. She dates someone else, he starts making out with anyone who will have him, she dates someone else again. For someone who is so socially stunted, Emma sure does get around. Maybe it's because Will cries all the time. That's bound to put a damper on anyone's romantic plans.
Hopefully the writers will stray from the regular episodic formula next season and we'll get to see some new stuff. For example, it'd be nice to see what Rachel's dynamic with her dads is actually like. Do Mercedes, Tina, Artie and Puck even have parents, or do they all just live in the choir room in some kind of "don't get them wet, don't feed them after midnight" Gremlins type deal? It's okay to do episodes that don't revolve around Kurt, Rachel, and Finn. I won't tell, I promise.
4. Make better use of the stellar guest stars.
If you're a show that has access to Idina Menzel, Kristin Chenoweth, and Neil Patrick Harris (just to name a few), you hang on to those names and those voices for all that they're worth and gave them something solid to work with. The character of April Rhodes is weakly written and largely useless. Sad stuff, since Kristin has an amazing voice, great chemistry with Matt Morrison, and great comedic timing. Having April show up should be an event, not an afterthought with some lackluster songs thrown in the mix.
The Idina Menzel story line is a whole other story. It's a solid character with obvious flaws, but condensing a plot point as major as revealing her as Rachel's mother and then her insistence that she doesn't want to be a part of her life into two episodes was a biiig mistake.(Not to mention that weird performance of Poker Face as the one song they were ever going to sing together...I mean I know it was the Lady Gaga episode, but really? Did everyone forget that "Speechless" exists?) Not to mention her magical instant adoption of Quinn's baby at the end of the season. Who knew adopting a baby was as easy as going to the hospital and filling out a form. Apparently a lot of people are doing it wrong.
If you're going to have Broadway royalty on your show (and lets face it, it's a trend that will continue), use them well.
5. Better song choices, please.
First of all, unlatch from Journey already. That first performance of Don't Stop Believin' was magical, tear jerking, awe inspiring. It set the tone for the first half of the season. Bringing it back for the finale couldn't even revive it, not to mention throwing together a completely underwhelming medley for the regionals performance. With a fan base that is largely under 30, Journey, Kiss, and that god awful "To Sir, With Love" performance are not going to hold the attention that the Avril Lavigne, Kelly Clarkson, Lady Gaga songs will. The surprises in the first half of the season (Bust Your Windows, No Air, etc) were great reminders of modern songs that may have been forgotten over the last couple of years. But "Rose's Turn", "A House Is Not A Home", "Give Up the Funk" took what could have been amazing moments and turned them into forgettable scenes.
At the very least, if there's going to be an insistence on taking obscure older songs and turning them into performances, at least put them on par with the Vocal Adrenaline performances. "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "Another One Bites the Dust" are two completely dated, forgettable songs made cool again by the flawless performances from the rival club. It's been done, calling out Lea Michele's out of the park performance of "Don't Rain On My Parade" from the end of the first half of season one, but that magic hasn't seemed to be recaptured since.
Also, for the love of God, stop Mr. Schu's embarrassing rapping moments. Matt Morrison is a ridiculously talented singer, but I've never suffered more second hand embarrassment than I do whenever he busts out some ridiculous hip hop number. Also, if you're going to have Quinn sing, keep her in the ballpark of "Papa Don't Preach" and "Say A Little Prayer", that weird pregnant ballet of "It's a Mans, Mans, Mans World"...odd, and totally out of her range.
I was not looking forward to the theme episodes, but the Madonna episode became my favorite of the season. The "4 Minutes" performance was exactly what it should have been, and "Like A Virgin" went from a light and bouncy song to a steamy and sexy song with the chosen performance. Or I guess as much as it can be when you're singing during foreplay and are a show about teenagers.
In spite of the obvious cracks that became evident during season one, I'm not going anywhere. I still love the show, it's still a unique concept that has been executed better than was to be expected, and is bringing musicals to the forefront, which is never a bad thing as far as I'm concerned. Hopefully season two will give the other characters room to grown and get the show back on track with some stronger musical numbers.
The back nine was largely a disappointment for me, but did have some shining moments: Tina scaring Principal Figgins with her vampire act, The Safety Dance, Total Eclipse of the Heart, Puck trying and failing at hooking up with Mercedes ("I'm going to ask you to stop, because I'm starting to get embarrassed for you."), and Emma's rant about Will being a slut, ("Nobody's safe. NOBODY'S SAFE.") to name a few, but I have hope that it'll rebound in a solid fashion next season. It's still better than lot of shows around right now, I think it just set a standard for itself with the first few episodes that was nearly impossible to maintain.
I'm just not sure the point of it all was to make me wish that the show was focused on Vocal Adrenaline instead of New Directions....