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Gleek convert

Kristen Durbin | Monday, October 11, 2010

I’m not going to lie. I was reluctant to jump on the Glee bandwagon when the show’s popularity skyrocketed last fall. I had seen the pilot months before the fall premier, and while I was amused by the show’s basically ridiculous premise, I really wasn’t sure how I felt about network TV’s first foray into the cultish, campy world of show choir.

My three years as a singer-dancer in Wheeling High School’s New Dawns show choir immersed me into a strange, hairspray-soaked realm of vocally trained teenagers that seems entirely foreign to outsiders, so I hoped that Glee would accurately convey all of the quirky intricacies of show choir to the masses even though I knew I was probably setting myself up for disappointment.

I continued to resist the temptation to indulge my curiosity for the first few months of the year, but once my fellow former show choir members began to rave about the show, I finally allowed myself to watch a few isolated episodes with my friends last Thanksgiving. At this point, teen pregnancy, conniving wives and wannabe divas had penetrated the show’s plot, so needless to say, I was confused. Who was Quinn Fabray’s baby daddy? Why was Terri Schuester lying to her attractive, talented husband (and here I admit to my crush on Will Schuester and his perfectly coiffed hair)? My curiosity grew and grew with each scene in spite of the show’s inaccuracies in portraying the cult of show choir.

My perfectionism interfered with these juicy burning questions and raised several points of contention: great show choirs have at least fifty singer-dancers! They can’t learn that many songs in a week! They need a professionally trained choreographer! It’s called show choir, not glee club! Songs don’t have to revolve around soloists! There’s no way almost every song can parallel Rachel Berry’s life so closely! Real show choir competitions have more than three competitors!

Ultimately, these nitpicky qualms proved ineffectual against the magnetic grip of Glee, its overproduced renditions of popular tunes and the juicy drama surrounding its characters. I was compelled to watch the entire first season over the course of two lazy summer weeks. The show (and Sue Sylvester’s scathing jabs at Mr. Schue’s shiny locks) even caught my 18-year-old, athletically inclined brother’s attention. At this point, I knew Glee was a unique morsel of pop culture that was worth keeping up with.

Even though I still consciously note the show’s flaws and grossly exaggerated depiction of high school and life in general (read: John Stamos as a dentist? Yeah, right.), I’m proud to be a Gleek. I thoroughly enjoyed being blasted back to my third-grade past during the Britney Spears-themed episode, and I bond with my floormates about the latest gossip surrounding Rachel, Finn, Quinn and the rest of the Glee gang.

As a converted skeptic, I sincerely hope that the remaining haters watch at least one episode of Glee before completely ruling out the most entertaining show on T.V. You may just find you have a new guilty pleasure to look forward to on Tuesday nights.


The views expressed in the Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

Contact Kristen Durbin at [email protected]