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Talk Back: FOX's "Glee"

After the publicity machine went into overdrive the past few weeks, FOX finally saw the premiere of the pilot episode of new drama Glee last night.

After a sneak peek at the full drama pilot, Glee will return for its freshman season run this fall on FOX.

You had the chance to read my advance review of the pilot episode of Glee, but I am curious to know what you thought of the pilot yourselves.

Did you fall for the charms of the series, created by Ryan Murphy (Nip/Tuck, Popular)? Or did you find it far too saccharine for your liking? Was Michele Lea's Rachel Berry a tad too similar to Election's Tracy Flick? Did you revel for the musical numbers, including Amy Winehouse's "Rehab" and Journey's "Don't Stop Believing"? Did you want to slap Jessalyn Gilsig's bitter Terri? And is she really pregnant?

And most importantly: will you watch the series when it returns this fall? Talk back here.

Glee returns this fall on FOX.


Adam said…
I enjoyed watching the pilot, but I had a lot of problems with it. Which I will now share, since all other places seem to be full of Glee-love.

1. I can't understand why they would end their first episode with a big, climactic and pretty perfect song from the school that is supposed to be the underdog. Where do they have to go from here? I think if I was writing the pilot, it would've been much more interesting to have a moderate, full performance of the Grease song, mid-way through the show, and end with the rival's performance of "Rehab."

2. The teacher's storyline. The main thing that bothered me was they structured it so that he dropped out as soon as he saw the competition and then signed back up as soon as he saw the talent he had in his group. The other problem with his storyline...

3. The pregancy and the wife. *Why* did they think it was a good idea to do this story in the way they did. First, why couldn't they make the wife likeable? Does everyone who doesn't support the Glee club fully need to demonized? Making her so annoying just makes it so much more difficult to understand why he's so ready to leave the school and the club. And why would they introduce the pregnancy so early? We've known the characters for less than a half-hour and we're supposed to care that she's pregnant?

4. The stereotypes. Aghh! The football jocks, the cheerleaders, the gay kid, the black kid, the cripple... they're all so paper thin. I don't really mind stereotypes in television, as long as they're used a jumping point for a real character. But I see no indication of that with these characters. Considering that Ryan Murphy also created Popular, which liked to play with these stereotypes and invert them, I was disappointed, but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.

5. That Journey song would've worked fantastically as the end of episode five or six. At the end of the first episode, I just don't buy it.

Ultimately, I'll probably check out the next episode, when it airs. But I'm not keeping my hopes particularly high.
Asta said…
I agree with much of what Adam said. I'd add that if New Directions gave a 9 performance, according to Will, after just a few days together, then they should be perfect in another week. Why do they even need Will if they can accomplish so much, so fast, on their own?

Another problem I had was FOX's butchering of the pilot. The prescreener ran approximately eleven minutes longer and fleshed out the backstories of the various characters. Most importantly, it helped to establish why glee club was so important to Will. The first ten minutes of the aired pilot I found confusing so I can only imagine how others may have felt not having seen the uncut version of the episode.
rockauteur said…
I agree with Asta - I found the first few minutes confusing, especially the scene where Rachel saw the original glee club teacher sort of molest a student - it wasn't clear what was going on, what the teacher was doing, or what Rachel was upset about - the molestation (did she even see that) or just that he was singing the lead? Did she even see the molestation? It was definitely a confusing scene that painted Rachel as a shrew, before redeeming her later on.

Teri isn't pregant, based on the promos for the season. Lets see how long she keeps that secret from her husband... before he starts having an affair with the nutritionist, the former Ugly Betty home wrecker.
Jaybee Neal said…
I wasn't impressed. Through the entire episode I kept waiting for an excuse to like it but the only reaction I could muster was "meh".
ticknart said…
My feelings on Glee are mixed.

I thought the tone was muddled, switching from satirical bits to viciousness and back, eventually moving to a hope-filled happy ending. It may have worked better if we were ever shown that the glee club is the place where these students, and the teacher, feel accepted, or something. Of the two we really got to know, one was there because he was blackmailed and the other was there because she thinks she's the best of the best of the best. Making the club a relatively safe haven from the viciousness of high school would help.

Saying that, I really like the music in the episode, and not just what the clubs sang, but the a capella incidental music. That was a fun tidbit. Plus, Stephen Tobolowsky, as always, was wonderful.

I'll definitely be around for the second episode in the fall. Sure this first one was muddled and trying to find it's voice, but the first few episodes of Popular were, well, pretty muddled and bad, too, but it got lots better and I hope Glee will.
AskRachel said…
I really don't understand people's love for this show. I wanted to like it but felt that it lacked any real spark, wit, or imagination. I was a fan of Popular and thought that it would be similar in tone but, instead, Glee was predictable and over-simplified.
Bernardx said…
I think it's fairly obvious why they ended the pilot the way they did. Without the glimpse of the incredible potential the kids have then why would the average viewer want to stick around. You want a slow build to several episodes later? The way the market is, how do you know if they'll even make it to that episode? Case in point: look at the ratings for the first half hr vs the second. 1 million viewers missed out on ending because they didn't sell enough of the kids singing in the beginning. Slow buildup is a killer for any episode much more a series. People want the instant answer to "why do I care". Dollhouse and Fringe fell into the same problem and got put on an early death watch because of it. Sterotypes? Of course there's sterotypes, it's bascially a musical. Show me one Broadway show that's not over the top with Sterotypes and caricatures of people. The wife doesn't have to be actually pregnant. She could've just said that to make him want to be more responsible. It does happen...unless pouring a champagne glass for your husband as well as yourself is somehow good for a fetus. It's the same desire to want to criticize before seeing more of the big picture that had people ranting about the penultimate episode of House saying that his detox was unrealistic. If anything the show should've been more campy and more over the top. But then again I guess people would like to believe that anything with the name "High School Musical" didn't just create their own banking system...
Adam said…
If the show has nothing to attract its viewers except for a flashy dance number, then the show isn't worth keeping. Saying that the show needed the number in order to keep its viewers is a pretty poor excuse, in my book.

Showing the rival's number at the end of the episode would've had the same effect that you want, anyway. It would've given the audience and the Glee Club a goal to work toward. Instead, we were given the goal and then we suddenly see them achieve the goal. The Journey song didn't show potential, it showed the realization of the potential for those students. And it made no sense, narratively or logically.

Slow buildup is only a killer for a series if it's done poorly and without any other payoff. I'd say the reason 1 million viewers tuned out after the first half of the show is because... well, it wasn't very good.

The difference between a successful use of stereotype and what Glee did is that a successful stereotype will rise above its own profile. Look at Cordelia Chase in Buffy or Lila Garrity in Friday Night Lights. Also, I'd say you have some pretty jarring views of musical theatre. I'm certain there are musicals that are filled with one-dimensional caricatures, but that's hardly representative of all or the best of Broadway.

FOX obviously believed that the pilot was a strong enough representation of the show that they could preview it many months before the series premiere. I think it's absolutely fair to judge the show and it's current position. As I said in my original post, I'll tune in for the next few episodes, when they do air. I hope they turn my opinion around. But I'm not holding my breath.
bernardx said…
Please enlighten me. Give me an example of a show instead of hypothesizing. Hardly representing the best of Broadway? Let's see: West Side Story? Les Miserables? Phantom of the Opera? Evita? Lion King? Wicked? Annie Get Your Gun? The King and I? Cats? A Chorus Line? 42nd Street? Hairspray? Avenue Q ? Rent? Mary Poppins? The Color Purple ? The Producers?

Yup...guess you're right over the top caricature is definitely not representive of the best of Broadway.

Must be my jarring views of musical theater.

I'd love to see you pitch the show. Ok so this pilot isn't indicative of the potential of the show. Give me money blindly and in 4-6 episodes I'm gonna convince you.
Bernardx said…
How many seasons/episodes did Cordelia take to transcend? You want to compare a one episode pilot to an entire finished series? You were able to determine the whole arc of the Lila character in a single episode? You must be psychic.

After hard research I have determined your choice of show must've been Grease or Fiddler on the Roof or maybe Oklahoma, perhaps Into the Woods, Maybe the Gilbert and Sullivan stuff? Bye Bye Birdy? Music Man?
Eric said…
Made it through about half and then turned it off. Awful dialogue, idiotic characters and just stupid really. Won't be watching when it comes back. Fox should just kill it now.
Bernardx said…
How exactly does one turn a stereotype on it's ear without establishing the stereotype first?
Mazza said…
I really wanted to like this but I have to agree with your original review. Tried way too hard to be too many things and didn't succeed in any of them. Looks like people agreed as ratings dropped off for 2nd 1/2 hr. I want to like this but can't. Will give it one more shot when it comes back but that's about it.
Adam said…
As far as the Broadway issue goes, we must be seeing different shows, or just have wildly different perceptions. Over the top? Maybe. Caricatures? Not so much.

Regardless, the whole topic seems incredibly unrelated to the television.

I think you're taking what I'm trying to say about the show in all the wrong ways. Of course the pilot should be indicative of the quality and potential of the series. However, it should not need the musical number to reach that quality. If the song is the only thing that makes this show stand out, then the show isn't worth watching, in my opinion. There needs to be more there.

As far as the characters go, I'm not asking for entire arcs for the characters. I'm asking for actual characters, instead of extras with lines. And yes, I would argue that both Cordelia and Lila showed far more character in their respective pilot episodes than any of the secondary characters in this show.

I'm not entirely certain what your problem with my comments is, but you seem to be taking this far more personally than I intended. Yes, I have formed judgments of the show, based on its pilot... because that's the only episode most people have seen. I've even said that I enjoyed it and plan on giving the show another chance, hoping that it will get past my initial problems with it. What more, exactly, would you like me to say?

In response to your final comment, I believe the entire point of stereotypes is that you *don't* have to establish them, at first.

Anyway, I think we're definitely going to have to agree to disagree on this one. I doubt either of us has said much to sway the other and I imagine we both have better things to do with our time than drag out an internet argument over a television show.
Jenybeth said…
I will be the first to admit that the show could use a little work (i.e. get rid of Terri), but overall I found it to be really funny.
I was in my high school's glee club and this show brought back many good memories.
Yes, the characters are stereotypical; yes, you really had no sense of time progression and yes, the beginning was really hard to follow. But what I took from it was the fact that I could laugh at the characters, and by doing so, laugh at myself and my friends. Sounds cheesy, but its true.
I'd be willing to see some more episodes, but I don't think Glee will become as big a hit as is predicted without some changes.
Weeks said…
Out of all the pilots I've previewed so far, "Hung", "Community", "V" & "Glee" are my front-runners.

I agree with a lot of the points above - at times, "Glee" does come across as very cheesy, but to me, it's the type of show that you either buy into completely from minute 1, or you'll never be won over by it - I felt good watching it, loved the ending, and will definitely watch it when it returns.
Anonymous said…
i LOVE this show i mean it is the best but i was wondering how meny eposides have come out i saw the first and want to make shure i dont miss any plz plz help me!
charlie said…
Why does entertainment have to have meaning for so many of you?. Glee is great mindless entertainment. WYSIWYG. So what if its a bit shallow. Vocal Performance at the end was terrific. If you want to stretch your mind go read Homer's Odyssey and quit expecting all TV shows to impart deep meaning. Is this show any worse than all the stupid reality shows on TV? Talk about less than mindless. I think a pretty good segment of the viewing public will like Glee and I'm one of them.
Anonymous said…
I enjoyed this show, saw the rerun of the pilot. I felt the tweeting was mere trendy idiocy. Fox, please, never do that again.
I thought there was a subtle darkness to Glee. Starting with the name even. Is anyone on the show gleeful, or in fact the opposite ? Seems to be they are mocking the whole American Idol/youtube "anyone can be a star" mind-set. The relationship between the husband and his moronic clueless wife mirrors many desperate relationships, where people try to make it work, because they fear the alternative-being alone. Am I the only one that saw these things? Personally, I think this show is going someplace with all this. I look forward to future episodes.

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