I'll let you in on a little secret, it's not the music. Sure, that might have been what got me hooked in the first place. I defy any fan of Journey not to have been sucked in after the ending of the pilot episode.
But as the show has worn on I have found that only a third to half of the songs of each episode are songs I even recognize, let alone like. Yes, I have a top forty radio station on my presets in my car, but I am a rampant station surfer when I drive. The stations that get left on for any length of time are the country stations and the classic rock station, and the station that "plays what we want" which is usually a random mix of new and old and generally not the superstar of the moment. I only stay on the top forty station if I land on it when it is playing a song I already know. I like to sing along in the car. It's hard to do that to songs you don't know.
Anyway. While the music aspect of the show is still (mostly) fun, it hasn't been the driving force of the series for very long. Though I did enjoy last night's move of using original songs for the big competition. I could, however, totally have done without the writers forcing the glee members' failed attempts on us (show stopping numbers such as My Headband, Only Child, and Trouty Lips). That was more tedious than amusing. I will forgive them though because the show opened with a pop tune that I do love, followed up shortly thereafter by my favorite Beatles song of all time.
But really this show has been more about the characters and their various journeys for some time now, and I am okay with that. As I said in a previous post, when they get an aspect of real life right on Glee, they tend to really nail it.
But at some point over the last season this show has found its footing as a very real and unabridged, unabashed, honest look at what it is to be a gay kid in high school these days (or to be realizing you might be gay and figuring out what the heck to do next). I am absolutely amazed and delighted at the progression Kurt has gone through over the course of the series so far, and I feel like the writers are taking him down a very true path. with more still to come. A recent episode found him resolutely refusing to engage in sex ed of any sort because, as he put it, he prefers romance and didn't want to think about all of the other stuff just yet. His friend's concern over this lack of knowledge, and lack of desire to gain knowledge, was amazing and touching. The conversations between Blaine and Kurt's father and then Kurt's father and Kurt himself were heartfelt and perfectly done.
After last night, Kurt looks to be embarking on his first real relationship, and with a trusted and reliable friend. I cannot even begin to stress how important this is. If the writers handle this correctly, whether the relationship has a happy ending or not, then there are so many scared, confused, and lonely kids out there who will benefit from this story arc in their own lives.
The writers aren't just confining the explorations of sexuality to Kurt either. The story line unfolding with Brittany and Santana also rings very true and has potential to lead many teens out there to ask themselves some important questions about their lives, and hopefully point them in the right direction to safely find the answers.
I also have to say, I was very impressed with the final original number, "Loser Like Me," because it conveyed a truth that I have been shouting at the bullies on this show since it started. Every superstar that these high school kids look up to started out pretty much just like the gleeks, AV nerds, drama club kids, etc. When they announced earlier in the season that the theme for regionals was "anthems" my first thought was that the perfect song for them to do would be Good Charlotte's "The Anthem," but I think they did even better with their own song.
So yeah, I know that a lot of people see Glee as a silly little show, and it is quite often that, I won't even try to deny the fact. I know there is mainly a lot of focus on the musical aspect of the series, and that some people feel like the characters' stories get in the way of the "real" show, or are just set pieces to provide an excuse for singing. But Glee is so, so much more than that, and the longer it can keep flying below the radar shielded by silliness and musical distraction, the more people will have a chance to hear some of the actual messages this wonderful show is sending out.