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ARTS ISSUE: ‘Glee’s’ excess falls flat with age

Posted on December 5, 2013 | by Isabel Jones

via facebook.com

Five years ago, “Glee” entered the world with a campy, musical touch on a heartwarming and hilariously self-aware tale of high school. America’s jaws — and those of McKinley High students and staff — hit the floor when New Directions performed an overly sexual rendition of Salt-n-Pepa’s “Push It.” The success of this outrageous musical show shocked everyone even more. But “Glee’s” no-holds-barred beginning and unabashed extravagance served it well. The show embraced its limited satirical and emotional boundaries to discuss pressing matters among today’s youth.

However, after each teenage stereotype was liberated and every Madonna hit sung, “Glee” began to run out of steam. The irony that carried the first few seasons faded and storylines like “Why won’t my girlfriend let me under her bra?” became prominent concerns.

This season, the tragedy of Cory Monteith’s passing forced the show to take a hiatus. The long-awaited tribute episode, “The Quarterback,” was flawlessly executed, and stands as one of the most heartbreaking episodes in television history. The boundary between character and actor blurred, and the authentic emotion was incredibly touching.

But the authenticity was fleeting, and “Glee” soon returned to its extravagant roots. The next episode focused on channeling one’s inner Katy Perry or Lady Gaga — a leap that served to highlight how “Glee” is struggling to find its way post-Finn (Monteith). The sentiment of “The Quarterback” feels like an isolated fever dream within “Glee’s” current season. The following episodes neglect the intense emotional height of the tribute episode, and the journey of the characters and audience. The series is simply floundering with the loss of a major character, ignoring the repercussions that come with attempting to revert to the way original style.

This involuntary shift could have been a chance for “Glee” to mature. After “The Quarterback,” New Directions’ plight to learn to twerk before Sectionals feels trivial. The series could have toned down its lavish nature, stripped away from camp and focused on the sincerity that often drives its most effective episodes.

A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, Dec. 5 print edition. Isabel Jones is entertainment editor. Email her at ijones@nyunews.com.

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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