A somewhat odd amalgam of an idea co-created by Ryan Murphy, head writer of Nip/Tuck, Glee combines romantic comedy and mocking satire with coming-of-age awkwardness and some breathtakingly good musical numbers into a singular blend of fun that’s broad appeal will likely be catnip for older and younger viewers alike.
Matthew Morrison stars as former Glee club alum Will Schuester. Once bushy tailed and starry-eyed Will now teaches high school Spanish by day and acts as doormat to his yuppie shrew of a wife (Jessalyn Gilsig) who fritters their money on a crafts addiction while nagging him to quit teaching to become an accountant. Desperate to do something halfway meaningful, Schuester looks to revive the mothballed glee club despite unhelpful ribbing from his fellow teachers and widespread apathy from much of the student body.
Tonally the show is absolutely all over the place and moves from sequences of bright enthusiasm to mean-spirited mockery at the flick of a switch. While it doesn’t always gel together as smoothly as it might, the writing remains sharp throughout. Lea Michelle is a little tough to buy as the ostracized plain-Jane as she’s blatantly drop dead gorgeous, but the rest of the cast are just the right kind of ugly ducklings that can facilitate the “look, they’re beautiful” makeover this kind of show will likely require.
But Glee’s secret weapon, and the thing that will likely ensure its longevity, is the song and dance numbers. Wow, these kids can sing! And whether its checking out the competition at a rival high school or just easing into rehearsals with some show tunes, it’s all you can do not to jump out of your seat and start whirling around the living room delivering a shrieking rendition of “You’re The One That I Want.”
Glee: Road to Sectionals offers Glee fans juicy extras. The show features both new and old hit songs that are remade with the actors voices. The show has been getting a lot of attention and the Season One DVD is already being released (something very unusual for a show in its freshman year). The extras on the DVD give Glee fans a lot of fun material. The coolest piece of video we get are the audition tapes from Lea Michelle, Chris Colfer, and Cory Monteith. Monteith gives the weirdest audition tape by playing on cups and cans like a pair of drums rather than singing. Prodcuers said he was hired for being both likable and different from other auditions.
We are also given the background history of Glee. It was originally written as a movie, but producer Ryan Murphy thought that the show would work more as a television show. He pitched it to the studio and they put the show right into pre-production. There is also extra footage of the entire cast arriving in New York for the launch of the show. The cast shoots the video from their own point of view. Most of them are new to New York. Amber Riley gets lost in the city. The best part of the individual videos is when Matthew Morrison stands in front of a Glee poster and tells pedestrians to watch the show. He goes unnoticed for a long time. Jane Lynch is given a lot of time in the extra footage as she shows that she is nothing like her character Sue Sylvester.
We are also shown the uncoordinated cast members' attempt to study the dance routines. The backstage footage of the rehearsals is mixed with the actual show footage to show how the entire process comes together. Overall, the DVD gives the obsessive “Gleeks,” as they like to call themselves, fun footage that will make them love the show more. The actors seem to be enjoying the whole process of making the show and it is cool to see newcomers get the chance to hit it big.
Starring: Matthew Morrison, Lea Michele, Cory Monteith, Jayma Mays
Created By: Ryan Murphy, Brad Fulchuck, Ian Brennan