At what point did Glee became such must-watch viewing for me? At what point did the show go from one I was very middling about – and was even considering not watching over the summer – to one whose new episodes I so eagerly anticipate? Oh, I still spurn the moniker "Gleek," but I do so like the show. They always seem to come up with great songs and manage to overdo their plotlines – which, I think we can all admit are by and large "been there, done that" – thereby making them fun.
Of course, as we all know, Glee returned last week and did so to some seriously good ratings. Now, this week, they're doing their highly publicized Madonna episode. Quite frankly, I wouldn't respect myself if I didn't tell you in advance that it's quite good. As I think I said sometime back in the fall, though, for me the show really mainly works because of the songs, not so much the characters or the plot. Consequently, I wasn't hugely surprised that for me the Madonna episode wasn't great because the Madonna songs were Madonna songs, but much rather because they were just good songs.
Without a doubt, there is certainly something to watching the show do "Vogue" and the various other songs they do in the episode (which I'm not going to give away in advance even if the promos do give away a few — "Vogue" isn't a spoiler because they previewed it last week and it's available online… like at the end of this article). I am at the right age to recall with fondness watching the "world premiere" of a whole bunch of Madonna videos and the umpteen million changes she went through back in the day. But, again, anytime Glee does a song that I remember from back in the day I'm happy. They don't have to be Madonna songs, but the episode for me tends to be better than the rest because I am aware of and like a greater percentage of the songs than in the average episode.
Not to completely negate everything I've just written, but next week, Glee will air an episode entitled "Home." It's an episode where I knew some of the songs, not a huge preponderance, but I still really liked the episode. What makes next week's episode different? Kristin Chenoweth comes back.
There is an actress I completely love. I first saw her on Broadway, but ever since that introduction, she's become one of those people who I've sought out on television, and who, sadly, is never on TV enough. I know, she was a star on Pushing Daisies, and she was a great part of that show, but she only rarely sang on it and if I had my way Chenoweth would sing every time she appears anywhere (not all the time, but every time).
See, I don't feel that way about any of the characters or actors on Glee. As much fun as they are to watch, and as much fun as they are to hear, they are not Kristin Chenoweth. But, that's not really a fair standard is it? They've done well enough that a show I certainly considered not TiVoing after watching the "special preview," or whatever FOX called it last spring, is now one that I hugely look forward to on a weekly basis.
I have, it seems, completely shot myself in the foot by watching "The Power of Madonna" and "Home" early, but that's the sort of disappointment with which I can live. It remains a series that is going to – for me – live and die on a weekly basis with the songs (and special guest singers), but the world of great recorded music is a large one, certainly large enough for the show to last for an awfully long time – way longer than those kids will be in high school. How are they possibly going to deal with that? Maybe Sue and Will are going to do all the singing down the line. Maybe they'll just bring Kristin Chenoweth on permanently (I can dream, can't I)?