I watch “Glee,” but mostly I leave it on Hulu while I read my morning blogs or finish my Brit Lit homework. I like the music. Most of the time. There’s always going to be a place in my heart for over-processed, smooth covers of grittier songs. It’s sort of like how I have “Gossip Girl” running while I write this, because the growing implausibilities (even within the suspension-of-disbelief-implausible-universe it takes place in) make me crazy, and the writing bores me, but the clothes are so awesome. And Ed Westwick is so beautiful. And the sex between Chuck and Blair is reaching pretty awesome Nancy Botwin-esque proportions.
I digress. Earlier today at work, I watched “Glee.” I also analyzed four Shakespearean sonnets, so I feel like my mind hasn’t totally become mush yet. I really want to like the show, because there are lots of things it does right, like have not an all-white cast, make music the forefront of a network television show, and have a vaguely diverse–at least on the surface–character group of handicapped, gay, Jewish, Christian, Down-syndromed, etc people. Right on. It’s a start, for sure. Except that the white characters still get far more screen time and song time than the characters of color, the black girl is not skinny and has attitude, and the gay kid, while secure, smart, and complete with a jock dad who just happens to accept him, is that classic “gay type” who loves to sing and wear sequins. I think there is a place for stereotypes and cliches, because some of the time they come out of truthful places, and there are certainly real people who are like Rachel, Artie, Kurt, and Mercedes. But it would, of course, be nice if there were also a skinny black girl who is a total nerd and writes “Star Trek” fan fiction, or if the bully/football player/crushing on Kurt (?) guy were a major character, or if Coach Bieste were actually happily married with four kids, or if Sam were bi. There are improvements to be made before “Glee” can even say it’s as good at diversity as “Grey’s Anatomy,” which is decent at diversity but has been slowly getting worse.
I wonder if “Glee” would be able to be more creative, more genuinely “diverse,” if it weren’t on a network. And if it weren’t so popular. I desperately want the sexuality part of the overall storyline to be more like “The History Boys.” I want the angst and the characterization to be more like Sloppy Firsts and Very LeFreak. I want the episodes less like Aesop’s fables and more like a literary short story, with more subtle lesson-teaching. And I want the creators to understand that black people can be both Beyoncé and Carlton. There is so much room for improvement.