September 12, 2012

Armchair Showrunner Series: GLEE

The second installment of the Armchair Showrunner Series will take a stab at the one show that I'm probably the only fan of, and that's Glee. For those who have been keeping up, I re-watched and blogged about the first thirteen episodes because they're widely considered to be the best the show's ever done. During my mission, I wanted to shine a spotlight on the fact that those first hours were just as messy as the latter ones as a way to remind people that Glee's never been perfect but it was usually entertaining to watch. Whether I achieved my task is debatable, but it did give me some insights on where the show went wrong. Once again, I'm not trying to "fix" Glee, but there are somethings I'd like to see happen before the season's over.

Quick Pitch: Rachel wakes up and realizes that the last three years have all been a dream. New Directions has yet to be formed, she's not going to New York and everyone still hates her. Knowing what she does now, she goes about re-writing a new narrative.

OK, I don't even think Ryan Murphy's crazy enough to completely re-boot Glee, but it wouldn't hurt if it goes back to its roots. One of the reasons why the first thirteen episodes were relatively successful was because the show was still somewhat simple and coherent. Yes, there were some off-the-wall moments and characters who were larger than life, but for the most part the story revolved around three people: Will, Rachel and Finn. We'd get a Kurt episode or an Artie story here and there, but for the most part the show was grounded and focused on the leads. Then, everyone had to have their moment to shine and this was when things started to wobble. As much as I love Heather Morris, we didn't need "Britney/Brittany" (and we really don't need "Britney 2.0"). Chris Colfer was another breakout star, but his addition to the "main characters" only muddled things up as compared to when he was playing more of a supporting role. If Glee wants to be on top again, trimming down storylines and re-calibrating the spotlight on a handful of characters instead of giving everyone something to do would be a good first step.

Probably the easiest way to simplify things is to make the students the sole focus once and for all. Glee will always be the Rachel Berry Show, and Finn will always be in her orbit. I cannot deny that Kurt's a major player, as is Santana and to a lesser extent Blaine, so you have a core group of characters to build off of. What this means is the adults would have to be relegated to the background, but that wouldn't be the worst idea in the world because some of the show's weakest points were due to them. And let's face it, Will's become too unlikable  Sue's too grating and Emma's a shell of the former woman that she used to be, so spending less time with these people wouldn't be the end of the world.

Along with a cut back on characters and plot devices, Glee could also benefit from scaling back its music budget because it's easy to see that the quality took a dip when iTunes sales became a (not the) driving factor. Look, the music will always be a draw, and it some instances the only reason why people come back, but when an episode crams in 7 to 9 songs in a 45-minute period, you cannot focus on the important things like story. Some of Glee's best episodes limited the musical numbers in favor of character based moments, and it's not rocket science to see why these were better.

So, what it all comes down to is Glee needs to go back to basics. It needs to remember what it was trying to say, think of an effective and efficient way to return to its original voice and stop buying into its own hype. It's really that simple.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Updates Via E-Mail