Thursday, March 26, 2015

A Love Letter to Glee

Dear Glee,

I know it has been nearly a week since your final episode aired. If I had been a better blogger I would have planned ahead and posted this a week ago before the final episode. Or at least had it ready for Monday morning. But alas - I am not a good blogger. Just ask my readers. But please don't take this as any lack of affection.

I remember the first time I heard your cover of "Don't Stop Believin'." It was in the middle of the summer and I had taken the youth of small town Missouri on our yearly excursion to 6 Flags. It was the end of the day and we were waiting for a few of the teenagers to get off of a roller coaster so we could head home when I heard the "Da da da da da da da da Just a small town girl..." over the speakers. I thought "Is this some kind of new High School Musical thing? But that doesn't sound like Vanessa Hudgens. Huh." This wasn't an insult by any means. I love me some HSM.  Little did I know...

Don't judge readers, you know you love HSM  too. We're all in this together!

Flash forward a few months. I was talking with my friend Laura one day and she asked "Have you watched that new show Glee?" I told her I had heard about it and had been intending to give it a try, but just hadn't yet. She told me I had to watch it because this show was basically me as a TV show.

Poor Laura. She had no idea what was created because of that conversation.

What can I say about Glee now that it's over? I'm sitting here on a Thursday morning and I'm thinking to myself "Glee isn't on tomorrow night, what am I supposed to do now?" Those of us die-hard fans (Gleeks) have gone through a lot over the last six seasons. Ridiculous covers of songs, inconsistent writing at times, actors dying (CORY!!!! WAAAAAHHHH!), characters changing sexuality every time you turn around... yeah, you can say we've been through a lot. Let's be honest, not many of us have hung in there and lasted this long. But we are a fandom of endurance, let me tell you. But I love it.

Here are a few of the reasons I love you, Glee, so much (if you haven't seen the final episode
/season, consider this your spoiler warning):

- I was able to watch covers of songs from musicals - and it was "cool!" Glee let musical theatre take the spotlight and show people that yes, Broadway is pretty freaking amazing and you should love it too. 

- Actual Broadway performers were allowed to take the spotlight and make a name for themselves. Lea Michele, Matthew Morrison, Idina Menzel, Kristin Chenoweth, Johnathan Groff, etc. While some people may have heard of Idina and Kristin, but some of the others? Unless you're a Broadway nerd like me, they didn't get much attention. Now, because of Glee, they could take the spotlight and grace the world with their voices.

- I loved seeing their take on popular songs each week. I avoided watching/listening to the new songs before the episodes aired at all costs because part of the fun for me was being surprised at which song they would pull out of their pockets to somehow twist into the plot (sometimes it was perfect other times... not so much). I can genuinely say there are some versions of songs where I truly love the Glee version better than the original. 

I'm looking at you "Teenage Dream." Let's be honest - when Kurt walked into Dalton Academy and saw the Warblers and met Blaine for the first time, that cover blew us all away. THEN when they reprised it in season 4 with an emotional acoustic version? Beautiful.

Which brings me to my next point...

- Oh, hi there Darren Criss. 

For the record, I was a Darren Criss fan long before he was on Glee. I watched A Very Potter Musical and I remember being all "That guy playing Harry Potter is really cute. Wait... he plays guitar? Wait... he wrote the show? Wait... he covers Disney songs too???? WHO IS THIS AMAZING PERSON THAT I MUST MARRY SOMEDAY?"

Needless to say, when I saw he was going to be on Glee, I was pretty excited. Now, he gets to be on Broadway and basically do whatever he wants.

- But look at all of the other young actors/singers who got to have a chance! I loved being able to see new talent and letting them start their own careers. It'll be interesting to see where the rest of the cast ends up.

- I loved the humor of Glee. I loved how ridiculous it was and how they always made fun of themselves and the actors and plot lines and how it was just plain silly at times. I can genuinely say I literally LOL'd every episode.

- Sue Sylvester. Need I say more?

- Rachel Berry. I know not everyone liked her - and I get it. She was obnoxious and annoying and awful. But I loved her. I loved how much she wanted to be on Broadway and how she endured all of the bullying at school. I loved her drive. It was who I wished I was brave enough to be... just maybe a bit nicer. Especially towards the beginning. What I noticed though was how much I cared about her ending. 

In the last episode she sang a song written by Darren Criss (he actually wrote it FOR her and had always wanted to write a song specifically for Lea Michelle) called "This Time." It was beautiful. I remember thinking about Rachel and my thoughts about her character. I wanted her to be happy. I wanted her to succeed on Broadway. I wanted her to learn and grow as a person. Then I realized - which guy she ended up with was the last thing on my mind. I cared to an extent, but not really. 

I was Rachel and Finn all the way, don't get me wrong. But in a weird way, Rachel without Finn was almost a good thing. It's rare when the main female character in a major TV show can walk away at the end and her love life isn't necessarily at the forefront of your mind. 

For the record, the more I think about Rachel and Jesse St. James ending up together the more I like it. I had always wondered what it would be like if they actually gave them a chance. I could write a whole blog post for that. But I'll spare you. That's what Tumblr is for.

- And finally, since this blog post is long enough and people who don't care about Glee quit reading long ago, your message of love and acceptance. Yes, at times it was cheesy. Sometimes you were off point. There were topics and issues you could have handled better. But it all came from a place of innocence and wanting people to accept each other for who they are. So many fans were inspired by the diverse cast and the many messages this show gave. 

I think Sue Sylvester said it best in the last episode. She was talking to Kurt and Blaine, and she said how she may not have always agreed with them, or how they went about things. BUT, it got conversation going and she didn't even know she had an opinion about certain things until she met Kurt and Blaine.

That's what's important I feel like. You don't have to agree with everything. You don't have to like how people go about things. But it got you to think, didn't it? It got conversation going. Conversations we need to have.

So, thank you Glee. Thank you for the music, characters, crazy plots, and helping us all to get the conversation going and learn to love and accept one another.


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