Saturday, Aug 23, 2014 03:49 pm est

‘Glee’ shows lack of focus following Monteith tribute episode

Posted on October 18, 2013 | by Chris Saccaro


With five seasons under its belt, “Glee” has become a staple of FOX’s lineup. Year after year, the show trudges along, leaving no pop song untouched. Now with the Cory Monteith tribute episode behind us, “Glee” is on a month-long hiatus to pick up the pieces and try to rearrange them into something recognizable. But by desperately clinging to familiarity, “Glee” has clipped its own wings, never allowing itself to fully explore new story lines.

When the core cast graduated at the end of season three, “Glee” had a tough decision to make. It could pull a “Friday Night Lights” and choose to focus on the high school, introducing the audience to a new batch of students or it could echo “Gossip Girl” by following the graduating class into college.

Instead, they chose to straddle the line in between, focusing on both the kids at McKinley High School and the New York City adventures of some of the graduates. In doing so, “Glee” has hindered itself. The fresh batch of kids at McKinley remain a mishmash of underdeveloped caricatures of former students. In New York, the various graduates of McKinley end up with weak story lines that never felt urgent enough to warrant more screen time. Season five seems to promise more of the same.

This is especially troubling in terms of the aftermath of last week’s episode, “The Quarterback,” which served as a tribute to Cory Monteith and his character Finn. It won’t be surprising for “Glee” to just pick up as if nothing bad happened when the show returns. The next episode, due out Nov. 7, is a Katy Perry versus Lady Gaga tribute, which already proves that “Glee” is likely going to continue along through the rest of the school year, grieving Monteith’s death for only one episode.

The one hopeful aspect of this season is the fact that the beginning of season five marks the end of the school year — there is a chance that the show will permanently shift the focus from the high school to those who’ve already graduated, saving us from this balancing act between Lima, Ohio and New York City. With most of the new New Direction kids being inconsequential characters, it would be easy enough to just abandon them mid-storyline and decide to focus on the graduates in New York.

But the root of this problem lies in the fact that the basic premise of “Glee” is torn. Is “Glee” about the students who clung to music and camaraderie to get through high school and move onto the world? Or is “Glee” about a high school in middle America that happens to produce musically talented kids? It’s tough to answer what the show is truly about because the show has focused on both of these aspects. Since the writers never landed on either, these recent seasons feel muddled.

Last week’s tribute to Finn acted as an unintentional reminder of just how off balance “Glee” has become. “The Quarterback” took place in Lima, Ohio and primarily focused on the original cast. This highlights how unnatural it feels when “Glee” segments the show between two locations and with two different sets of characters. One can only hope that the upcoming season addresses this issue as the last remaining members of the original cast graduate from McKinley.

Chris Saccaro is a staff writer. Email him at


profile portrait
Felipe De La Hoz

Multimedia Editor | Felipe De La Hoz is a Colombian national studying journalism at the College of Arts and Sciences. Having been born in Colombia and raised in the United States, Mexico and Brazil, Felipe is a trilingual travel aficionado and enjoys working in varied and difficult environments. Apart from his photography, Felipe enjoys investigative reporting and interviews, interviewing the likes of Colombian ex-M-19 guerrilla fighters and controversial politician Jimmy McMillan. He has covered everything from governmental conferences to full-blown riots, as well as portraiture shoots and dining photography. Having worked under Brazilian photojournalists for Reuters and AFP, Felipe hopes to one day work on demanding journalistic projects and contribute to the global news cycle.

Ann Schmidt

News Editor | Ann is a liberal studies sophomore who lived in Florence during her freshman year. She plans on double-majoring in journalism and political science and is always busy. She is constantly making lists and she loves to laugh.


Daniel Yeom

Daniel started at the Features desk of WSN last Spring, writing restaurant reviews whilst indulging on free food and consequently getting fat. Last Fall, he was the dining editor, and he this semester he is senior editor. Daniel is in Gallatin (living the dream) studying Food & Travel Narratives, incorporating aspects of Food Studies, Journalism, and Media, Culture, and Communication. He loves food more than life itself.

Hannah Luu

Deputy Multimedia Editor | Hannah Luu is a ridiculously great Deputy Multimedia Editor. She is a sophomore from Northern California. If you think Northern California means San Francisco you might need to closely examine a map. She is passionate about NPR and being half Asian.

  • How to join:

    The Washington Square News holds open weekly budget meetings at its office located at 838 Broadway every Sunday. All are welcome to attend, no matter your background in journalism, writing, or reporting. Specific times for meetings by desk are listed below. If you wish to talk to an editor before you attend, feel free to check out the Staff page.

    5 P.M. 6 P.M. 6 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 7 P.M.

    Applying for an editor position: Applications for editor positions during the fall or spring semesters are available twice each academic year and can be found here when posted. Applications for the Fall 2012 semester are closed, but check back for Spring 2013. Those who wish to apply are urged to publish pieces in the newspaper and contact current editors for shadowing.

    History of the Washington Square News:

    The Washington Square News is the official daily student newspaper of New York University and serves the NYU, Greenwich Village, and East Village communities. Founded as an independent newspaper in 1973, the WSN allows its undergraduate writers and photographers to cover campus and city news and continues to grow its strong body of award-winning journalists and photographers.

  • The WSN has a circulation of about 60,000 and can be found in over a hundred purple bins distributed throughout campus. It is published Monday through Thursday during the fall and spring semesters and online on Friday, with additional special issues published in the summer. The newspaper recently revamped its website during the Fall 2012 semester.

    Like few campus newspapers in the country, the paper is editorially and financially independent from the university and is solely responsible for selling advertisements to fund its production. The WSN, including its senior staff, is run solely by current undergraduate students and the business-division is largely student-operated as well.

    A Board of Directors comprised of alumni, NYU professors and working news media professionals serves as advisors to the paper. Board members have no control in the WSN's editorial policy or newsroom operations. Alumni of the newspaper are established and leading journalists in such news organizations as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NBC news, ABC news, Fox News, and USA Today.