Knowing that GLEE was going to tackle the 1975 cult classic THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE, I was a bit curious how they were going to make the show’s gender-bending adult material palatable for what is essentially a TV show about high school students.
As GLEE hits Season Two, the balance between karaoke and reinventing classic songs has lately fallen into the bland karaoke treatment. And with the latest CD (and digital release) THE ROCKY HORROR GLEE SHOW, we get predominantly karaoke. Good karaoke, mind you, but karaoke nonetheless.
After a couple of bumpy weeks, GLEE gets back to basics with a solid story that forces the show choir kids to put on their best “Duets” for a free meal at a restaurant called bread sticks. The competition really brings out the best (and some times worst) in the students, as they all vie for the prize. It also allows the show to focus on the characters themselves in simple and effective ways.
When you’re going to take on religion, take it on head first and do something powerful with it or humorous. Don’t do something like GLEE does with “Grilled Cheesus” a rather sucky episode that has its intentions in the right place, but yet again doesn’t know how to deliver the goods. Falling somewhere between sappy (Kurt’s dad has a brain aneurysm and is in critical condition in the hospital) and silly (Finn prays to the image of Jesus that ends up burned into the toast of his grilled cheese) it’s a weird blend of spiritualism and comedy that never quite comes together.
Consider this the Madonna episode without the really cool music. GLEE tackles Britney Spears, but what’s immediately evident is her imprint on pop culture is more about fashion and style, rather than substance. It’s a debate raged in this episode “Britney/Brittany.” Mr. Schuester (Matthew Morrison) hates Spears and what she stands for, as do other students, but some of them want to express their inner Britney.
The Season Two premiere of GLEE turned out to be a mixed bag. Storywise, “Audition” had a laser focus, a mission. It achieved it in an interesting way and it shifted and moved some important story pieces around so characters could continue to grow and learn.