Tonight, with what is expected to be a very emotional 2-hours series finale (episodes 6×12 “2009” and 6×13 “Dreams come true”), the journey of Glee will finally come to an END.
Either you liked the series or not, it’s the end of an era. Here’s why.
Tv shows about teenagers and their high-school days have existed since the beginning of times. But, historically, they have always been about the “cool” kids of the school. Or at least the “wannabe cool”. Let’s think about Beverly Hills 90210, Melrose Place, Dawson’s Creek, the O.C., just to mention the ones I grow up with. The main point of those series was to talk about the everyday life (and problems) of any other (American) teenager.
Then there was Buffy. As far as I remember, that was the first series that started to explore the theme of the “underdogs”. At least in its first few seasons. But then the kids grew out of school and the show followed more adults themes. (And we all loved it anyway)
After Buffy came Ugly Betty, the story of a very special “loser”. But she was already out of school at the beginning of the series, so it doesn’t really count.
When Glee came out in 2009, on the other hand, it felt like the first tv show that REALLY addressed the issue of teenagers social cliques in the schools, taking the side and celebrating the lowest one, the so-called “losers”.
Forget the singing and the dancing, the real reason why Glee was immediately successful it’s because it spoke to all those teenagers who felt marginalized, by telling them: “Listen, you don’t have to worry about what the others think about you because, in the bigger scheme of things, it doesn’t matter. Just be yourself and follow your dreams and if you are passionate enough, you have as many opportunities as anyone else to become whoever you want to be.”
I think this message is beautifully conveyed by the show’s first original song, a real pop masterpiece: Loser Like Me.
It’s when I first heard this song that I really understood what Glee was really about. Then, yes, of course those guys are also amazing at singing and dancing, both covers and original songs, and it is not casual that most of them will keep pursuing artistic careers in music rather than television or movies, and broke a few musical records along their 6 years run.
I happened to assist to one of their summer concerts in New York, back in 2011, in one of the many sold-out dates of their international tour: you must have been there to breathe that collective feeling of BELONGING, the enthusiasm of so many young people (and a lot of kids with their parents, as well!) who probably never went to a concert but suddenly fit in this foreign environment because they had more in common with those thousands of strangers than they ever had with their school peers.
I never felt an outcast at school, and I was already 25 at the time, and yet it was truly one of the most overwheling experiences of my life.
If you wish to get a feeling of what it was like, I really encourage you to watch Glee: the 3D concert movie because it really does a great job of explaining the Glee phenomenon.
That being said, I feel like something “broke” at the end of season 3 and season 4 marked the beginning of the end.
That’s the season when the oldest members of the Glee club started their life after school. The idea of following them outside their home-city was undoubtely interesting, but -like so many others- I feel like something didn’t work there and maybe it’s still too early to understand what it really was.
Then, the tragedy: on July 2013 Cory Monteith, one of the stars of the show, was found dead by an overdose at only 31 years of age. Monteith, one of the fans favorite, was the living proof of the show’s message “Anybody can make it”: he had a difficult childhood and as a teenager had to overcome his drugs addiction problems but he eventually won and realized his Hollywood dream.
The series paid a terrificly emotional tribute to him in episode 5×03 “The Quarterback” celebrating his life rather than mourning his death, but it’s undeniable that, with him, the Glee spirit somehow died as well.
I personally wasn’t able to watch past that episode.
Someday I will, but not yet.
I’ll conclude this post leaving you with the very first song the Glee kids performed together, because that’s what Glee means to me: Don’t stop believing.
What will you keep with you from these 6 years of this tv show?