Recently, many television shows have come to an end, and this Friday night marks the end of another pop culture phenomenon: Glee is ending its run after six seasons.
Glee is iconic as it re-taught the world how to sing.
As soon as Glee premiered, glee clubs sprang up at schools everywhere (including at my own school co-started by yours truly) and made appearances in pop culture (Google Jimmy Fallon Emmys 2010). Tweens and teens now loved the songs that their parents had loved from 80s classic rock.
The premise of Glee is that teacher Will Schuster attempts to revive his high school’s glee club. He recruits a group of misfits who learn about themselves through song.
One of those students, Rachel Berry, is a bullied star on the rise and knows that her talents are more important than what others think of her. As she tells Will, “Being a part of something special makes you special.” From the start, Rachel Berry caught my attention. Her magnificent rendition of “On My Own” from “the seminal Broadway classic Les Mis” showed so much beneath the surface of its obvious beauty.
Glee’s pilot is one of my favorite episodes of television, because the dialogue is fantastic and funny and the characters are memorable: Sue Sylvester, for example, the multi-faceted but mostly evil cheerleading coach has one of the most complex story arcs in recent television memory.
I love this pilot because it shows the vulnerability of the most popular of teenagers and the strength and tenacity of those who are less favorable in the eyes of their peers.
Popular quarterback Finn is dragged into the glee club so he wouldn’t get in trouble for alleged drug possession.
Upon hearing this news, Finn says, “Every day of my life, I expect more out of myself. See, I might look confident and everything, but I struggle with the same things other kids do: peer pressure, back-ne.” That line is the thesis of the entire show.
Glee has dealt with themes that many teens struggle with, including death, pregnancy, abusive relationships and sexuality. The one consistent facet of Glee was the power of the music.
My favorite musical moment was at the beginning of the fifth season’s third episode when the show mourned the loss of actor Cory Monteith, who died of a drug overdose, and the loss of his character Finn.
The episode “The Quarterback” opened with the song “Seasons of Love” from Rent.
Various new cast members started the song and as it built up, the original cast members who returned to film this episode appeared to sing the rest.
All the characters sang from their hearts as they mourned the loss of not only a character but a real person.
At the end of the song, they turned around and looked at a picture of Finn in his football uniform.
Thank you Glee for your incredible stories, characters and songs.
Even though you weren’t the best toward the end, you taught a generation of teenagers that, though life doesn’t always provide the best situations, friendship and music can bring out that true person beneath the surface and guide him or her in a “new direction.”