Written by Muchacha Motorista
The only thing I knew about Glee when I started watching Glee – The Complete First Season was what my friends told me: mainly how excited they were before each episode. Aaaaaand… that’s it. But with only that, I decided to give it a try.
The show surrounds an Ohio high school glee club with members ranging from talented egotists and outcasts, to football players and cheerleaders. As one would expect, there are romances and unrequited love, identity crises and inspiring speeches about being true to yourself. The musical aspect of the show, with relevant usage of fresh songs, helps to make it unique. I found the pilot somewhat slow, kind of cute, but not highly intriguing. By the second episode, though, the characters were pulling me in. And that seems to be the main draw of the show– the characters (and their multi-faceted actors). They turn out to be as important as the music (or moreso). Overall, the show is a little cheesy, extremely cute, genuinely sweet… and pulled me in much quicker than I expected.
Obviously, those considering purchasing Glee – The Complete First Season are not coming to it from the same angle as I did. You were probably more like my friends, looking forward to each episode last season, excited to hear the music and find out how romances and rivalries would play out. So you’re likely wondering if it is worth getting the entire DVD set. What else will it add to your “Gleek” experience?
The bonus features on this seven-disc set are numerous and appear on two of the discs (4 and 7), so that those on disc 4 don’t give anything away from the end of the show, and disc 7 does include clips from the entire season. If you’re a Glee superfan, you won’t be disappointed. The first extra, “Welcome to McKinley!,” is funny in a Check it Out! way; a mock entrance video for eighth graders presented by the principal and made to look low-budget and amateurish in a cute way. The “Glee Music Video,” is essentially a long commercial, but the focus of finding “someone to love” is endearing nonetheless.
There are full-length (in-show) audition pieces from Rachel and Mercedes that showcase their amazing vocal abilities (but where are the others characters’ auditions?). There are two extras one after the other for Jane Lynch, who plays the unlikeable and hilarious Sue. One is “Jane Lynch, A to Glee” and the other is “Meet Jane Lynch.” The latter has her discussing her character with an interesting perspective but I have no idea why the two aren’t combined. There are a number of “Things you don’t know about…” pieces that are not only uninteresting, but puzzling as to why they are on here. Jayma likes cats, Cory likes blue, Amber likes pizza, and Chris has a blue car. That adds a lot, huh?
There are other extras, based on dressing like the characters, how they learned the dances, a sing-along karaoke section, etc. My two favorites are the Glee Music Jukebox, perfect for those who are just enamored with the songs, and the Fox Movie Channel’s Casting Session. The casting session segment is very interesting, and really brings a lot of depth to one’s understanding of how the show came to be. Gary Newman, Chairman of FOX says, “The idea of a musical on television, well, it’s just rarely been done and almost never successfully,” when talking about how the show was pitched. I thought Kevin Reilly (President of Entertainment at FOX) had a perfect explanation of why the show works as a musical: “That is the distinction between doing a musical and a comedy with music. This is not something where characters spontaneously break out into song. They sing in an organic setting… it is very sweet and yet it is snarky.”
So for people who’ve never seen it, rent it… or rent the first disc or two and decide if it is your cup of tea. If you’re not sucked in by the end of the first disc (first four episodes), then the show is probably not for you. But if you like it, you’d do fine to consider buying the hearty seven-disc set and take your time savoring it. And if you already consider yourself a Gleek, then hey, do something nice for yourself (you deserve it), and get Glee: The Complete First Season to enjoy again and again. Maybe you can even lend it to friends and bring them into the club.