Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Grand Glee Finale: End of Act One

Warning: Luvvie Alert (if you have have an aversion to campery or showbiz of any kind, you may as well stop reading right now. If however you are fond of a showtune or two, or like me, are a fan of Glee, welcome to the party...)

Since I first raved about it back in January, Glee has become my only must-watch TV show (oh, OK, there's Mad Men too), providing wry satire and sparkling musical entertainment every Monday night, which, I think you'll agree, is just what Mondays needed. Like any long-running series, it's had its occasional 'nothing much is happening this week' episodes and a few ill-conceived or just plain vomit-inducing musical numbers. But on the whole it's been first-rate.

We've followed the ever more complicated fates of a group of High School misfits and their equally troubled teachers as they prepare for Glee Club sectionals, an inter-school musical performance competition traditional in America. We've wondered who will end up with who, whether the club will survive its many slapstick bust-ups and whether they will make it through to the next stage of the competition.

There's decent eye-candy in the form of mohicaned bad-boy Noah 'Puck' Puckerman (or pretty boy Finn Hudson if that's your thing), but the undisputed comedy star of the show is cranky sports teacher and cheerleader coach Sue Sylvester, whose cutting one-liner comebacks are legendary. My favourite from this week's episode: "You'll be adding revenge to the long list of things you're no good at, right next to being married, running a high school glee club and finding a hairstyle that doesn't look like a lesbian." Genius.

The highlight of each episode for me is invariably the big showstopper number, generally performed by the group or two main characters in the midst of a poignant storyline. The episodes that fall flat are always those in which they get the showstopper wrong. Thankfully for the mid season finale this week, they got it very very right with a magical rendition of 'Don't Rain on My Parade' from Funny Girl:

As someone who performed in many musicals as a youngster and harboured aspirations towards professional singing, I was right there with (the talented but irritatingly fame-obsessed) Rachel as she stole the show at the Glee Club competition sectionals. Her heartfelt performance perfectly encapsulated the hunger and drive I so vividly remember experiencing as a teenager treading the boards; it was thrilling, infectious and rousing - bringing back a rush of teenage yearnings.

Both Ant and I have been humming the tune ever since and going back to watch this video of said performance to re-experience the tingling sensation all over again. It was so powerful that I can't even recall what the other songs in the episode were. Now that's what I call showbiz.

If you are still reading and have yet to experience Glee for yourself, you can catch up on the last few episodes via 4oD, or order the DVD from Amazon.

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