Why Glee Should Only Be One Season
Glee returns tomorrow night for the second half of its first season. What should be its only season in my book.
I say this as a big fan of the show–a Gleek even perhaps. But I’m about to murder this (off key?). I was about to say (eek) that the show must end on a high note.
But the trajectory from here on appears downhill. Better in my book to go down fighting, leaving one’s mark, them petering out.
Consider the case of Heroes, a mind blowing first season followed by a total careening slide into obscurity (does anybody actually watch that show anymore?). If the ratings ever begin to drop and the writers are forced to make the girls start kissing each other, we’ll know the Heroifciation of Glee is in full swing.
If, as appears likely, the McKinley High club wins the state championship at the end of this year, then abandon all hope for a decent second season. Which second season, I ought to note, has already been (unsurprisingly) confirmed.
Glee is built around the story of a group of outsiders merging with downwardly mobile former jocks for whom the inhumanity of their adolescent aristocratic hierarchy becomes too burdensome (heavy the head that wears the football helmet), thereby forming a fictive kinship family, overcoming the classic social divides of the hellish nightmare that is high school (or I’m just revealing too much of myself there?).
If they win that premise goes out the window. Our singers become popular. Even if they lose the attempt to continue portraying them as outsiders and marginalized figures will I imagine fall flat. The underdog factor is crucial to the show.
This smalll band of brothers and sisters who have no one but each other, a kind of secularized, musicalized, alternative Beloved Community, a Fox-ified, mashed up, quasi-eschatological congregation (they do sing after all)…where will they go after such success?
Either way the underlying relational element seems endangered.
With a victory and entrance into the established pecking order, all of that will disappear. Then the second season will inevitably be built around how the former nerds are now cool and become overly full of themselves, premadonna drama flares between the members, only to eventually learn their humbling lesson by an early exhibition round loss to an upstart hungry school that will remind our protagonists of their season 1 selves. Call this trajectory the Growing Pains-ization of Glee.
Baring a radical course correction or some super genius plot device I can’t imagine, Glee seems sadly destined to become a second season hot mess. Admittedly (if it comes to that), it’ll probably be a hot mess I’ll want to witness. It might even be better in flame out mode than in takeoff.
There is however another way. Run the show for one season only, following the great maxim of entertainment: leave them wanting more. They go one season, win the championship, and walk away.
Declare now that the show is only going to last this season. A show with a built in self-destruct mechanism. Dollhouse for example didn’t get good until it got canceled–the fact that its end was decided and its fate sealed I think forced the writers to hone and focus only on the essentials. Ditto for this season’s 24 (which I think is pretty decent).
There’s too much money in this of course for that scenario to ever happen, but it would be fitting. Like Butters pimpin’…change the game son and leave on top.
The only alternative I see is what we might call the Rocky solution. New Directions lose in the state championship in a split decision grudge match final to the Apollo Creed-esque Vocal Adrenaline. The second season, a la Rocky 2, becomes charged with the comeback seeking fire.
Well if nothing else, League comedic icon Neil Patrick Harris is going to make an appearance. It undoubtedly will be epic.
Speaking of icons…videos below the fold: