Glee has faced a number of issues since the program started back in 2009.
No, I’m not talking about the social issues the show tackles, and attempts to tackle, in the program itself. Rather, I’m talking about issues the show faces generally. The biggest one being that Glee aspires to be a better show than it is.
Don’t get me wrong, I love that it’s a show about a bunch of misfits and loveable losers who don’t have status at their high school. But from the start, Glee has tried reaching to become so much more than that, and has fallen flat. Witness Quinn’s car accident (she survived being hit by a train) — a stronger show would have killed her off as the lesson for its viewers to take away about texting and driving (see The Good Wife and he who shall not be named. Similarly, a more daring show would have seen Karofsky’s suicide bid be successful, instead of not.
The weakest thing that Glee often does though is not follow through on a potential storyline or settle something that could be a multi-episode arc in a single episode. This is why I fear that a line uttered by Sam in last week’s Glee will never be revisited:
“Besides, Mr. Schue said we shouldn’t care what people said, we should just be ourselves. What a load of crap, huh?”
A lightbulb went off for me at that moment. What if Glee decided to be brave and showcase these kids going to New York to make it, and then they don’t? What if they discover that they’re not more special than you or I, but rather, they’re just like us?
Last week’s episode was the first episode of the gang in New York full-time (good-bye Lima losers!), and everybody is doing really, really well. Rachel is starring in a production of Funny Girl, which was her first audition in the Big Apple. Kurt and Blaine are happily attending NYADA, Artie’s at film school, etc.
Moving to the city is hard when you come from a small town. It’s even harder when you realize that all your dreams of the city are likely not going to come true. Sure, for some people it happens, but for many more it doesn’t. It can be defeating and it can be sad, but it can also be liberating to find out that success exists beyond the big city skyscrapers.
So Ryan Murphy, I’m asking you to be brave here. Return our Lima losers to Lima before the series ends next spring. Let them play in the big city, where some of them succeed, but let some of them not. I know the original ending to the series had to be rethought after Cory Monteith’s death last summer, but let Rachel still realizes she belongs in Lima, not on Broadway.
After all, most of us don’t find success on the Broadway stage, we find it right in our own backyards.