Thursday, August 26, 2010

Glee-ful Tirade

On more than one of our numerous visits to places of healthcare, I joked with a pediatric health care professional or two about "Scrubs". You know, when I was done asking about E's heart or medicine, yadda yadda yadda, I would ask: So how much is "Scrubs" like the real-life medicine? Folks who have worked in adult care health care had a range of answers. Several said something pertaining to the raw panic and pressure of internship and residency being captured well. My OB/GYN thinks it's funny as Hell, especially the part about catching the baby and punting it like a football. Hmmm...
You get a different reaction to the show when you ask someone who treats only children, though. The pediatric nurses usually scoffed or flat-out rolled their eyes, and told me: "I hate that show."

I could never see how. It's a hilarious, well-written show about your own profession! What could be bad about a show that highlights what YOU do all day? Silly nurses.

Then, after a year of sleeping through TV, I caught up with "Glee". And the Music teacher in me? She hates that show.

Disclaimer: We're going to leave technical stuff like plot arcs out of this. Sophisticated taste I have not, but I think "Scrubs" is fabulously written. "Glee", well...let's not pick on it for the writing. It's on Fox for God' sake. The plots of the episodes are... what they are. Ok, it's not like any traditional musical could claim to make complete sense either. "We're having a problem with this new nun candidate, Maria. Let's sing about it."

We're going to get into meatier stuff. Mainly, the stuff I shout at the TV when I do get to watch this fabulously tuneful train wreck.

Why I yell at the TV when I watch "Glee":

  • Where is the technical crew, the wireless mics, the mic checks, and for that matter, the auto-tune on the mixer board? WHERE is the mixer board? They just start singing and it sounds like their perfectly trained pop vocals are ringing out in a fabulous studio... not a crappy classroom with peg board for acoustic shell...oh, wait.

  • Solo girl. What's her name? Yeah, in real life, solo girl would be taken down by all the other girls' mommies, who want their babies to have solos too. A teacher has to be fair, even in a pop group. They gotta share the solo wealth, even if it is not really best spread around to the mamma's girls. Solo girl could not, would not, get away with carrying every song. Pipes like that or not. She does have decent pipes! But again, auto-tune is her friend, you just can't see the sound engineer. Because he's not in that classroom, he's in a studio in L. A.

  • Hey Music teachers! Isn't it awesome that whenever you want to do a pop tune - any tune for that matter - you always have just the right instrumentation and arrangements for your small ensemble of polished accompanists? It is SO wonderful how every choir, big or small, has a fully-staffed ensemble - and supposedly the money in their budget to pay them! You never have to pull somebody's grandmother or your church organist, right? *Sigh*

  • For that matter, what about the performance rights? Shhh! Maybe nobody will notice the photocopied music, either. Wait, what music? I haven't seen every episode, but I've seen them glance at sheet music about twice.

  • I love Jane Lynch. Her cheerleading coach character is crazy, because the show would be boring without an antagonist. And I have known a couple monkey-crazy teachers in my short teaching career. But teachers do NOT get at each other's throats quite like that. We have to spend time, you know, teaching. We do fight, because people who work in close quarters in jobs that can be stressful - they fight. But teachers do not do crap like that crazy coach gets away with. Just like doctors do not surf down the hospital halls on gurneys. Right. Right?

  • The big deal that is made about the cheerleader, the football player, the unlikely choir member, joining the choir... it's just not necessary or relevant anymore. Kids participate cross-curricularly all the time. I've been to a lot of homecoming games and I've seen a lot of kids pulled up to be on the court right out of the band, some still in uniform - the cool ones! I am pretty naive, but I will still stand up and claim in boldface type that participation in Music programs stopped being a source of high school embarrassment a looooong time ago, if it ever was such social suicide in the first place. Who made up this myth, and why does every bit of media about high school perpetuate it. I tell ya, if not for "American Pie"...
Or maybe that's just me, seeing as I was "cool" enough to carry off membership in Band, Orchestra, Chorus, Ceremonial Brass Band, and the musical. And that was just high school, baby! Ok, off my Music Ed. soap box. That said, excuse me, while I hit Amazon. I need to buy the first season of Glee, like, now. I need to, uh, fully analyze this ridiculous show, in the name of Music Education. It certainly has nothing to do with wanting to watch the Halo/Walking on Sunshine mash-up over and over.

Glee-Halo/Walking on Sunshine mashup from Lacey Albin on Vimeo.

1 comment:

tomtion said...

Very similar to "Fame" about a quarter-century ago. Every conflict with a teacher resolved by the student performing some 80s type pop tune during one of those in seemingly countless school assemblies. (Sure, it was a performing arts school but every week???), teacher all smiles, maybe I won't flunk the kid in biology, she sure can sing, can't she?

There has never been a tv show about classrooms and teachers that wasn't totally ridiculous. The bell always rings conveniently at the end of the scene that began when class began making that class period about five minutes long.

Movies don't do much better. Teachers are either saints, burn-outs or idiots. I'm lookin' at you, Mr Holland.

As for "Glee", musicals always force you to suspend reality. The act of people stopping whatever they're doing to sing and dance, those phantom orchestras. We were expected to believe the Monkees and Partridge Family got their multi-piece sound from bare bones accompaniment?

Wouldn't it be fun just once to see a movie musical that refused to play by those made-up rules? Where someone breaks into song (accapella, of course) and see the quizzical looks of passersby?

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