Thursday, Jul 24, 2014 11:38 pm est

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

Posted on December 5, 2013 | by Isabel Jones


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


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.