The inevitable eulogy for Glee

So this week Glee is ending.  And I’m sad.

I started watching Glee in a very on-and-off kind of way–I skipped episodes, I fast-forwarded the Finn and Rachel stuff that I didn’t care about–while my friends were really into it.  And then I got really into it, and most of my friends stopped watching.  So I got on Tumblr, where the meta is deep and the fanfiction lives, and I blogged about it here a bit.

Really, I could sit here and explain why I love the show–the weird, distorted, but recognizable echoes it has to my high school experience; my love for things that are ambitious but, partly because of that, deeply flawed; the fact that I am a sucker for huge musical numbers; Kurt Hummel–but I think I’ve done that before, here and elsewhere, and it feels too defensive.

I think one of the weird lessons I’ve learned from this odd fannish experience is that I do, actually, have guilty pleasures–for a long time I claimed I didn’t believe in them, you like what you like, own your cheese.  But that only worked when everyone, including me, agreed that this thing I liked was silly or bad.

See, I don’t think Glee is stupid, or poorly-written, or too over-the-top [1].  When I finally fell in love with it, I fell hard and fast and was all in, flaws and all.  But the things I love about it are things that other people … well, didn’t.  And so I shut up about a lot of it, feeling weird and guilty for liking it (and that is, for the most part, on my head more than anyone else’s).

Seriously, thank god for Tumblr.  I think at least half my love for Glee is love for the weird little corner of fandom in which I lurk, with the bizarre, ambitious, beautifully written fan fiction and the color meta and the obsessive focus on what each character has in his or her bedroom and the commentary about Brittany and Kurt’s neuro-atypicality.

Which brings me to something Glee and its fandom reminded me of more than taught me:  it doesn’t actually matter if the writers intended it or not; if you can back up your thesis with examples from the text, your interpretation is valid.  I actually think the writers intend a lot of the stuff they do on Glee (there’s been a lot of groundwork laid that’s paid off [2]), but even if they don’t mean to hint that Kurt’s on the spectrum, even if the costume department isn’t dressing people in green when they’re insecure, who cares?  If someone can back up a claim, it’s a valid interpretation.  This is, like, a founding principle of a degree in English–and why not apply it to every form of narrative in the world?  How come Lost fans get all the fun? [3]

The past few years of my life, pretty much the run of Glee, have been rather stressful.  Not the worst time, but rocky, just the same.  And I’ll be honest:  I knew that the show and the stuff surrounding it–the blogs, the fanfic, the music–were all things I used to escape that stress.  It gave me stuff to think about, stuff to sing along with in the car so that I couldn’t brood; it gave me things to laugh at [4], and it made me cry (dammit, Romy Rosemont).  It also gave me a place where I can be a dorky fangirl about more stuff than Glee, led me to a lot of new music (not just its own soundtrack, but artists I’d never heard of that I checked out because people I follow listen to them), and is at least part of the reason I do yoga every night.

So, yeah.  I’m going to miss it, like I miss Buffy and Lost [5]; it’s one of those shows that will have a narrative around it–Buffy got me through grad school; Lost got me through my pregnancy (which is ironic as all hell); Glee got me through stuff I’m not ready to write about on the internet (but which is comparable to the rest; no major trauma here).

And I will forever be sad that I don’t get my David Bowie tribute episode (with Chris Colfer singing “Life On Mars?”) or Puck and Artie singing “Girls” by the Beastie Boys.  Hell, the other night “Lifetime Piling Up” by the Talking Heads came on, and I thought that would be an awesome Glee montage-type song.

But I did get an all-boys acapella version of “Whistle”; I got the best choir room scene in the world from “It’s Not Right, but It’s Okay,” and, dude, they covered “Far From Over” by Frank freaking Stallone, that was the best early birthday present ever.  I’m not sure I can really complain.

I don’t know if they’ll stick the landing.  This season has been a wild ride of cracktastic beauty and odd emotional resonances; I hope the last two episodes are like that.  But even if they don’t, it’s all right, because I’ll hop online and see what other people thought, read the meta and the fix-it fic, and … I don’t know.  Wait to see what other show comes along to fall into this space in my brain.  It won’t be exactly the same, but it’ll be interesting.


1 [back] It’s John Irving-esque “outsized reality,” which is the first rung on the ladder of magic realism, and I kind of want to write an essay on this because I’ve seen the theatre of the absurd stuff floating around, but I haven’t quite seen my take on it anywhere.  Well, we’ll see.  There are lots of essays I’d like to write.  :) 

2 [back] Look, I wasn’t shocked that Kurt and Blaine broke up after season 5.

3[back]Speaking of Lost … I think the best thing  I got out of my edging into this Glee fandom thing was the beta gig on Because You Left (go read it!).  Which is still going–we’re getting closer to Part 3 being done and ready to post, and then there’s Part 4–and is still so much fun.  I will miss the capslocking and the random cryptic emails about head canon and Lost connections during the actual episodes, but it’s nice to know this isn’t totally over. Plus, I keep telling myself that Lost fandom is still alive and kicking, so …

4[back] That “now talk at me while I eat” thing springs immediately to mind, as does the scene where Artie tells the guys he has chlamydia.

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