Glee: The Musical Theatre Geek and the Cool Guy


We romance lovers like our heroines brainy, don’t we?

There are many reasons to watch Fox’s new show Glee and  high school heroine Rachel is just one of them.  Rachel is the classic socially awkward over-achiever  and – hello, romance stereotype it may be – a heroine who I’m rooting for.  Big time.  Rachel has a thing for popular guy Finn who also has a thing for Rachel, despite the fact that his pregnant cheerleader girlfriend has him believing that he’s the father of her baby.  Which is a pretty strong indication that Finn’s bulb is a bit on the dim side since she also convinced him that her pregnancy resulted from a hot tub ejaculation incident.  I really hate it when that happens.

In this clip, though, Rachel has a new suitor.  Another popular guy who also, in true high school soap opera fashion, happens to be the real father of the cheerleader’s baby.  Sigh away, Rachel, because I think this version of Sweet Caroline is adorable.

For me, the brainy, socially awkward, over-achiever is a heroine type of which I’ll never get tired.  And when she gets the cool guy – whether he’s a duke or a SEAL or a high school quarterback – I love, love, love it.  It’s a plot that works for me pretty much all the time.

Are you watching Glee?  Who do you think Rachel will end up with – adorable Puck or adorable Finn?  And where do you stand on the longing looks between Will and the guidance counselor?  Does being trapped in a loveless marriage with a certifiably crazy ass wife who’s only pretending to be pregnant constitute an excuse?  And, for special bonus points, is there a heroine type that always works for you?

-Sandy AAR

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25 Responses to Glee: The Musical Theatre Geek and the Cool Guy

  1. AAR Rachel says:

    I agree that this Glee piece has a lot of energy and warmth and Mark Salling is very appealing singing it. Puck’s undiluted motivation for the performance – to get in Rachel’s pants – is a bit less romantic, though.

    This is actually the only episode of Glee I’ve seen. I enjoyed most of the musical pieces, but thought the characters were high school cardboard without any of the nuance of Buffy or Veronica Mars. I can’t decide if I will watch again.

  2. AAR Rachel says:

    I forgot to mention – I had no idea Neil Diamond was Jewish until I saw the Glee clip, or that Diamond was his real name. I found a an older video on youtube of him singing Sweet Caroline, and it’s like watching a mash up of Peter Gallagher and Mike Myers.

  3. Anna says:

    I was a music geek in High School – band, choir, show choir, musical theater – and I even majored in music in college. And although I love the musical numbers on Glee, I find myself annoyed by some of the characters, particularly Rachel. I just have issues with her attitude that she’s the best, and if need be she’ll manipulate to get her way. For example, the first episode when she got the music teacher fired, and most notably, the episode where she quit the glee club because the director gave another girl a solo, and “duh!” everyone knows Rachel is supposed to get ALL the solos. Then the director and the other kids are supposed to grovel to her to get her back. No way! Now, admittedly, that was a nice way to get Kristin Chenowith on the show, but I was still more than annoyed at Rachel’s behavior.

    I haven’t watched it in a few weeks now, so maybe that is a character arc where she’ll change. There are plenty of great things about her character I do like. I just really have issues with manipulative people, and unless there is a really good reason for the behavior (which there wasn’t) or the manipulator will learn a lesson (which I’m not sure really happened since Rachel jumped back in to save the day – and her ego) then I’m not interested.

  4. mdegraffen says:

    I adore Glee, have watched it from the beginning. If you don’t go back and watch the previous episodes you are cheating yourself of some great music. The plot can be a bit odd, but the performances are magic.

  5. Calila says:

    I absolutely love Glee! I think Rachel will end up with Finn. Altough Puck is awesome I just don’t see it between them. Also all for Emma and Will, the crazy wife justifies it for me in this case.

    As for what heroine type always works for me….I’d say the brainy, opinionated, less-than-perfect heroine is always a rootable one for me.

  6. I’ve been watching GLEE since the beginning. Seeing this clip again got me to quivering for Mark Salling in a way that I haven’t yet in the show–but that’s because this clip is a little out of context.

    His motivations aren’t that pure (but then again, he’s a hormonal high school guy–what can I expect?), but he’s certainly smarter than both Shue and Finn–both of whom are being totally lied to by their women. I just want to shake both of them.

    As for Rachel…yes, she’s a little manipulative, and I didn’t like her at first. But I’m beginning to respect her. No, she’s not perfect (no one is), but the way she deals with Quinn in the face of Quinn’s mean girls attitude is one testament to her true character. And yeah, she’s got an ego.

    BUT what else does she have? She’s got to cling to something in the face of constant Slushy Facials and whispers and being the butt of gossip and jokes, etc.

    So I’m liking her better. She’s got confidence and knows who she is–and doesn’t take a back seat to anyone when she knows she’s the best. But she’s a good person at heart.

    I’m waiting for Shue to wake the heck up and dump his wife (talk about manipulative!).

  7. Katie Mack says:

    What Colleen said.

  8. Lynda X says:

    I LOVE “Glee.” I ADORE it. I especially love its portrayal of high school kids. Yes, Rachel was/is kind of a prima donna (because after all, what does she have–from her point of view–EXCEPT her voice), but she evolves. If you’re lucky, that’s what happens to high school kids. They come to realize things about themselves, others, and the world, and they change. I love that Puck is caught between an idealism (wanting to “date” Rachel because she’s Jewish, like he is) and cynicism (pursuing any woman available for sex). This series captures the changeability of high school kids and their intensity. I don’t find it unbelievable that Finn would believe his girl friend’s explanation of her pregnancy. Sex Ed teachers stress that kids can get pregnant in ways that are not official intercourse. One of the appealing things about high school kids is that they believe their friends, especially the ones they love, even if they tell tales that no one could. There is a vulnerability about h.s. kids that this series captures perfectly, IMO. I can’t remember a better treatment of a kid coming out of the closet as was done earlier this season, which you can still see if you go to the website on Fox. It’s “Preggers” which is touching and hilarious.

  9. carol irvin says:

    No one has mentioned Sue, the teacher and coach for the cheerleaders. I think she is absolutely hilarious. She is my favorite character.

    Rachel has THE solo voice for the troop and their only hope of WINNING the finals is to use her voice as their lead soloist. I would imagine if you were on an Olympic team and you were say, the strongest swimmer or the strongest runner, that you might be pretty strident in demands too. Otherwise, all of you are going to LOSE. She has her eye on the prize more than the others but she isn’t also on the football team or the cheerleading squad. This is all she’s got for her future.

    I lost a lot of belief in Finn when he believed hook, line and sinker that he could get a girl pregnant by ejaculation in a hot tub. He is at the end of high school. Certainly he has had to pass biology and chemistry. Of course, on the other hand, he and a whole bunch of the others were members of an abstinence club too, although only he apparently took the club seriously–again, a dim bulb? I think his character is being written very inconsistently and the writers need to get together on him. Really, he should be in remedial everything rather than considering college scholarships!

  10. Katie Mack says:

    Carol — I can’t believe I forgot about Sue Sylvester! Jane Lynch is brilliant and incredibly funny in that role.

  11. Carli says:

    Love Rachel. Love Puck .

  12. AAR Sandy says:

    I agree that Glee offers a nuanced portrait of the horrors and the joys of high school. It’s also somewhat skewed in its viewpoint, which is what Ryan Murphy does. I’ve been a fan of Nip/Tuck (for most of the show’s run) and that slightly off-kilter perspective is typical of that show, too. Will’s wife is played by an actress who also played a wacky (though that word doesn’t do Gina justice) character in that show and it brought home to me the similar sensibility of both.

    It’s real, but not really.

    I always liked Rachel, perhaps because of the slushy facials as Colleen pointed out.

    And Lynda X, I thought that Finn buying the hot tub story was just sort of a Ryan Murphy-ism as opposed to any kind of reality.

    Love Jane Lynch, too. It’s an indication of how good this show is that she doesn’t completely steal it.

  13. Maureen says:

    I like Glee a lot and I love the music and the fun. Rachel irritated me in the beginning but she has grown on me. Puck is far more interesting than Finn and I would prefer to see Rachel with Puck but she will pick Finn.
    As as for Sue? Her character is wonderful. Jane Lynch must have a great time with that role.

    Despite how much I like the show, I have a hard time watching it. My XH started an affair with a co-worker who “understood him better” and he left me for her. I am not crazy, I don’t fake pregnancies, etc.. and I don’t think an affair has any justification whatsoever. It is hard to see Will and Emma have that emotional connection and it is even harder to know that most of the viewing audience sees nothing wrong with this. They may not be physical with each other, but they are emotionally involved. Too bad the writers feel that this storyline is necessary. off my soapbox now.

  14. Val says:

    I started watching Glee because my teenage daughter but now I’m hooked too! Love all the musical numbers. Don’t really care who Rachel ‘ends up with’ – she’s in high school either relationship would last 6 months tops. I just had to put my 2 cents in about Ken Tanaka – who I find to be sort of a lovable mug. He’s so sincere in his feelings for Emma. I feel so bad for him! Seems like Emma never really gives him a chance. If she doesn’t like him then fine, but please stop stringing him along. I hope something better works out for him. Like suddenly his football team starts winning…

  15. Cindy says:

    Gotta agree with Carol above – Sue is the best thing about “Glee”
    From her tv news editorial when she mocks the weaklings she hates to hear complain: “I’m riddled with this disease. I was in that Tsunami.”
    I do love the music too, though. ADORED the football team doing Beyonce’s “Single Ladies”
    I like the smart heroines who are also sensible enough to know how to behave socially – Rachel’s ok, but Elizabeth Bennett is a better kind of smart to me. (Not really sporting to compare anyone to Lizzie, though, is it?)

  16. maggie b. says:

    More Puck!!! Sweet Caroline was wonderful and I want more, more, more of this character.

    Love Glee, although I don’t really look at the characters so much as “real” as I look at them as satirical caricature. Finn for example is the dumb jock so desperate to have sex with his girlfriend that he joins the abstinence club to please her. Helloo?? Rachel is obviously the geek diva and I think Lea Michele does a great job of portraying that.

    As for the adults, I wish they would concentrate on Sue and Will as teachers/rivals and keep their private lives out of it. I would LOVE to see the other teens — like Artie or Tina or Brittany or Santana (B and S are the other two cheerleaders in the club) get the air time currently given to Emma/Will and Terri/Will. I didn’t even know the name of the boy who loves to dance is Mike, that’s how little air time he gets! While Quinn, Mercedes and Kurt certainly pull more airtime than Artie, Tina, Brittany, Mike or Santana I would also like to see more of them. Regulating Will to his role as Glee Teacher and keeping the story lines on the kids would be a step in the right direction for me. These are such talented singer/dancers — more of them is better!

    As far as Emma, I can’t stand her. She is cruel to Mr. Tanaka, and as even Terri said, she isn’t an innocent little lamb in all this. She knows good and well that is somebody else’s husband — even if that someone else isn’t exactly wonderful. In fact, both Terri and Emma make me dislike Will. He is the type of hero I hate to read about — a waffler who pines for one girl while not being man enough to deal with the one he’s got. When Tanka confronted him about Emma all he said was that he hadn’t discouraged her — he didn’t say, “you’re right I love her and need to straighten up my own life so I can be with her”. I think in many ways Emma’s little crush is an ego boost for him. Like a high school “popular” guy who likes girls crushing on him, winks at them in the halls and flirts while all the while knowing he wants nothing to do with them. It’s the kind of using we expect adults to be beyond. Then again, these are all satirical caricature (imo) and make us see the little nasty flaws in ourselves in a whole new light. To that extent Terri and Emma work perfectly. I hate to say some of things they represent are actually traits I know in real life women. And Emma’s wardrobe is hilarious. I actually know of several teachers who dress like this!

    On an aside, did anybody else buy the Glee CD last week? (Ancient tech I know but for some reason I am attached. ) I’ve been loving it though I have found three quibbles:

    1) They didn’t include the boys and girls mashups on this. That was my fave episode and I LOVED those mashups.
    2) Finn and Will’s voices are weak. Mercedes, Puck and Rachel show who the real musical stars are.
    3) The song they picked for Artie? Awful!

    maggie b.

  17. carol irvin says:

    I agree that the satirical factor on the characters is huge. I think the writers got carried away with Will’s wife though. They are so over the top with her that it is more like that other HBO show about the woman with the multiple personalities. I think the wife is the only character I could really dump to make it a better show. Every time she is on, the show goes downhill. The things she does are so preposterous that ETs joining the Glee team would be more believable. We have her getting hired as school nurse and she’s not a nurse. We have her blackmailing an OB-GYN to give her a fraudulent sonogram while Will is there–somehow he doesn’t he worry about Will’s suing him for this piece of fraud months from now. Not to mention: certainly Will must be able to tell a difference between a pillow and her belly. He’s married to her, lives with her, sleeps with her–how do you keep a secret like that? Emma the teacher would be an ok character if Will’s wife were eliminated. Will makes Finn look bright when you add all of this up!!! I guess the affair aspect doesn’t bother me because I don’t really believe Will’s wife exists given the insane plotting and writing concerning her. As for the coach and Emma, she may not be great for treating him the way she does. However, for a guy who is supposed to be “molding men” out on the field, he sure is a wimp. Usually these coach types are long married and with at least 2.4 kids so he could use some rewriting too.

  18. AAR Rachel says:

    I watched the rest of the Glee eps available at the Fox site over the weekend, and thought most of them were better than this particular episode. Especially liked Preggers and The Rhodes Not Taken. Kristin Chenowith was amazing, and her performance really highlighted how these kids, while talented, are just starting to feel their way as performers.

    Anyway, I have to say I don’t actually like any of these characters as people, really, but the show is entertaining. I find the same thing to be true with House.

  19. carol irvin says:

    I don’t really think of any of these characters as “people”, especially since they are so broadly written and satirized. Fictional characters only resemble real people so we can suspend our tendency towards disbelief in the stories. This is basic creative writing 101 in college: create a state where your readers/viewers willingly enter a state of suspended disbelief in real world and believe (for a short time) in fictional world instead. If someone wants real people in print or motion, then one watches documentaries or reads non-fiction.

  20. Jennifer says:

    Love this show — it’s totally awesome and the music rocks. Rachel is fun to root for, even though she occasionally makes me cringe. I do hope she ends up with Puck because Finn is just too dumb for me to want to see with Rachel. He’s sweet, but he needs the dumb cheerleader who raised her wrong right hand. NOT smartypants Rachel.

    Of course, I see Puck and Rachel as a long-term deal, NOT this season or even next. I see Rachel getting Finn, but not being as happy as she would expect.

  21. Between me and my wife we would have to say this is an very informative post that should get mentioning elsewhere. This is for 2 types of people: current writers who are considering a other job, and people trying to prefer to become a writer.

  22. Joe Lamos says:

    I really love this show.. I have watched all episodes and I can’t wait for the next one…!

  23. kim says:

    puck and rachel should be together..totally

    and it’s not just because they’re two hot Jews.. it’s just that.. they could totally make an epic storyline together..

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