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Saturday December 16th 2017

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Can Glee come back from the brink?

By Shelby Powell–

Glee, the hit musical from the Fox Network, is one of the most polarizing television shows of the last five years. At once sickeningly sweet and curiously cynical, it follows a group of lovable misfits that start their own glee club in a high school that doesn’t respect or appreciate them. The group sings their way through bullying, racism, and questions about sexuality.

The series premiered in 2009 to great acclaim from audiences and critics alike, allowing the show to amass a devoted following that rivals the Twilight fandom. The critics found Glee original and fresh, a new take on a dead genre. The music was integrated cleverly into the plot of the show but didn’t overtake it. Fans, almost all of them feeling somehow misunderstood themselves, immediately attached to a show that celebrated those who marched to the beat of their own drum.

Glee, however, fell into the trap that has plagued many shows of its stature. The high expectations led to an uneven first season and an incoherent second season. It seemed, to an objective observer, that money became the primary goal and storytelling took a backseat. In order to be sold for 99 cents a piece in the iTunes store, the songs became the feature and stopped making sense for the story. There was no narrative stringing the episodes together. Glee was going downhill fast.

Once a critical darling, television columnists were crying foul. In an attempt to change the tide, the writing staff was overhauled. Former writers from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Chuck have been added. Shonda Rhimes, producer of Grey’s Anatomy, is now a consultant. It’s interesting to note how all of these new staff members come from shows with strong storytelling backgrounds.

Now three episodes into the third season, it is easy to see that something is different on Fox’s moneymaker. Character backgrounds are clearer and unresolved storylines are being taken care of. They are trying, that much is clear, but the ratings have been the lowest in the show’s run. The problems are being fixed but the fans that gave up might be too frustrated to come back and see the Glee Club win another trophy.