I fully expect this post to get me forever kicked out of the Showtunes Geek Club. Even though I met 99% of the requirements, I can’t write this post and stay a member in good standing. Sure I’ve sung the entire Andrew Lloyd Weber/Tim Rice repertoire into a knitting-needle faux mic. Of course I made the pilgrimage to the West End. Yes, I had one of those wonderful souveneir mugs from Phantom of the Opera where the mask appears when filled to the brim with hot liquid. And of course I can name pretty much any musical to have played on Broadway during the years 1935 to 1991.
But I don’t think Glee is all that. I’ve made it through the first three episodes; three more await, green-dotted in the TiVo queue for that day when I can again deal with lipsynced hip-hop and low-flying freak flags.
I first saw the Pilot back when it aired in June. It felt fresh and funny and different. Then I saw it a couple more times when it was replayed as often as that one guy’s 90-yard run for the touchdown during the Superbowl. That’s when I started to fall out of love. Why? Because every fresh, fun “It’s great to be different and to be good at something” moment is followed by a lot of mean-spirited and cruel jabs at “normal”. There isn’t a traditional marriage that isn’t played for snide laughs. The glee-club director’s wife is a nagging, self-centered gold digger. His mother is an overweight booze floozy. His sister-in-law is a nag stuck with a hen-pecked milquetoast. The only other married couple we’ve glimpsed are the gay fathers of the lead chorine. They’re not mocked, because it’s apparently not cool to run down gay marriage yet.
Abstinence is derided as an impossibility; the abstinence club is portrayed as a joke. Christians are shown as using Jesus for manipulation and further gold-digging. Lupus is–as in 30 Rock–treated as a punchline; a hypochondriacal excuse for getting out of real work. Apparently we can only Not Stop Believing if the thing we are believing in is that the very best thing in the world is bad lipsyncing to hip hop songs that treat women as vile objects to be avoided for every purpose except sexual release. Tonight’s shows treated me to the ideas that a woman who wants child support is a gold digger, that a woman who wants love from a man is poison, that a woman is good only if she pushes it real good and lets you sex her up.
Here’s the thing. I dig non-traditional. I live in a largely non-traditional universe. In this wild side that is my life I’ve often encountered the school of thought that says it’s okay to mock traditionalists because they’ve mocked the rest of us for years. That strikes me as a really immature “he hit me first” way of thinking and I don’t like it. I also don’t like how often misogyny shows up as the flip side of that coin. I don’t know if it’s because of Phyllis Schlafly or because you can’t have straight marriage without a wife or because a lot of people don’t get along with their moms. But honestly. Everyone–no matter who you are–has times when they feel inadequate. When they feel lonely and scared. The decent way to treat people is the way you WANT to be treated, not the way you FEAR to be treated. That’s why I just can’t get behind Glee as the best idea for a fun TV evening.