Published on Wednesday, January 18, 2017 by Lucy Raleigh
Linoleum floor tiles, walls of lockers, crowded hallways, clique after clique after clique… At the thought of these things, the typical high school tends to comes to mind. Of course not all high schools are the same, especially not when the students and staff spontaneously break into song at any given opportunity. One particular high school that fits this description is the one and only McKinley High School in Lima, Ohio, also known as the home of the show choir group or glee club New Directions. Though McKinley is the fictional home of a fictional show choir, the story of a group of outcasts finding common ground and friendship through show tunes is all the more real to me. In May 2009 when Fox’s Glee first aired, I was starstruck. Of course, at eight years old, I had no real concept of what high school was like, and thanks to Glee, all of my expectations became unrealistic.
Though I was unable to fully understand the high school themes of cliques, relationships, and fierce social hierarchy the first time I watched the show, by the time I finished all six seasons for quite possibly the eighth time, I found the characters more relatable than ever before. Fame-obsessed central character Rachel Berry (played by Lea Michelle) does anything she can to earn solos in the club, whether it be at the expense of the rest of the group or simply to get herself in the spotlight. More often than not I hear people talk about how Rachel is their least favorite character, and I can understand why. She is extremely needy and whiny, but she is probably the most driven of all of the characters in the show. For all of the years I have been watching the show, I have seen myself in many different aspects of her, and I highly admire her desire to succeed and be the best. Of course, I have to give credit to the characters constantly struggling to get out from behind Rachel’s shadow like Kurt Hummel (Chris Colfer) and Mercedes Jones (Amber Riley). Though both members of the club are just as, if not more, talented than Rachel, they often struggle to get their chance at the spotlight. Through every well-earned balad or occasional duet, Mercedes and Kurt each have their moments of stardom, sharing the limelight with Rachel.
I think that if faced with the question of who my favorite Glee character was, I would, to this day, never be able to answer that question. There are some that I can’t really defend or say that I like, but characters like Rachel and Kurt hold a special place in my heart. From Kurt’s challenges as the only “out” kid at school and enduring relentless harassment from peers, to Rachel’s struggle to maintain the spotlight and prove herself a star, the two characters never fail to make my heart feel warm and fuzzy with every solo, heartfelt duet, or obstacle that comes their way.
In 2015, Glee finally saw it’s finale, leaving me and so many other fans temporarily without purpose. I wasn’t too sure how I was going to go on without tuning in to my favorite show and staying up late on a school night once a week, but given that my family and I were so obsessed with the show, we had all of the seasons on DVD safe at home, and I knew I would be okay. Nowadays, all six seasons of Glee are on Netflix and readily available to binge-watch at any given moment (and I am proud to say that I have taken advantage of that opportunity more times than I can count).
People ask me why I am obsessed with Glee and I typically start off with the simple answer: it’s the best show ever. Of course, this is highly debatable (for some people), but I continue my argument with solid evidence. The music is amazing and all of the actors are so talented. Every singe time I hear Rachel belt a Barbra Streisand balad chills run up and down my spine, and every time Mercedes sings any song my whole body fills with joy and is covered by goosebumps. Not only are the actors extremely talented, the writing is intelligent and hilarious. Characters like Brittany S. Pierce (Heather Morris) and Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch) have some of the best and wittiest jokes out of the whole show, ranging from Brittany’s unexpected puns to Sue’s attacks on glee club director Will Schuester’s (Matthew Morrison) wavy and over-gelled hair.
Out of all of the reasons for loving the show as much as I do, I think that the spirit and attitude of family and friendship that the shows takes on is the most inspiring. I may not be talented enough to be a part of my school’s glee club, let alone be a star soloist, but I know that I can take the inspiration gained from the show to form strong friendships and make the most of my high school experience.
Whether or not you are living the high school experience at the moment, there are many things that Glee holds in store for viewers of all ages. From show tunes to teen and adult drama to life lessons, Fox’s Glee remains timeless in its messages, no matter how sometimes-dated the soundtrack can be.