As you know by now, I’m a tad obsessed with Glee, as is much of America (it’s the highest rated new comedy of the season). When you are this fond of something, it’s natural to get picky and critical – you want it to be the best it can be! And with Glee I worry about its long-term prospects; after all, in television it’s a marathon to get yourself to syndication.
So I’ve been working on this list. In particular I was inspired by the episode “Wheels,” which I think was the best of the season so far.
10 ways to make Glee the best it can be
1. Limit the amount of musical numbers, and make sure they serve the story.
One of the complaints the average person has with musicals is that they don’t believe people would just break out into song. Occasionally that’s happened on this show, so…stop it. If people burst into song it should be because they are, in fact, singing at that moment in the plot. As far as the number of songs, I think three is a good limit. In “Wheels” we had just the three numbers, each of which were well integrated into the plot.
2. Always end with a big musical number!
A key facet of this show is that it ends on a high nearly every week, no more perfect than in the pilot episode. Leave us with a knock-out every time, please!
3. Focus on just two or three plot lines per episode.
The problem with some past episodes has been that they get too muddled as we follow a bunch of plot threads which are barely interwoven. “Vitamin D” was a case where there was just too much going on, which left some of the plot dangling a bit.
4. Tone down those love quadrangles.
Almost every great comedy has had some kind of major love connection that’s dragged out for a long time to add some tension. The danger in that is that if you rely on it too much, when the connection finally happens the show starts to falter (see also: Moonlighting, Cheers). So the writers would be wise to not make these groups of lovers (Will/Terri/Ken/Emma and Finn/Quinn/Puck/Rachel) such a heavy focus.
5. Focus on more characters.
On all of the posters, advertisements and such there is a rather large cast shown. Yet since then we’ve been spending so much time on the likes of Finn and Rachel that other characters are getting the short shrift. What’s the story on Mercedes, other than a lack of gaydar? Is there more to Tina than her supposed lisp? What I loved about “Wheels” was that we got some good insight into what Artie is like, and even a bit more on Tina. The second best episode of the season, “Preggers,” was focused on Kurt. Keep that up!
6. Make the characters three-dimensional.
In “Wheels” it took just one brief scene to turn Sue Sylvester from a two-dimensional caricature into a complex woman with hidden motivations. Brilliant! We need more of that.
Another challenge for this show is that the kids will “grow up” and eventually have to move on. Let’s not fall into the same trap as Beverly Hills 90210 or Saved by the Bell! To prepare for that, the writers need to start slowly introducing us to some of the second-stringers like Santana and “other Asian.” An amazing new development has been moving Brittany to the forefront as the classic blond ditz who also has heart. LOVE!
8. Bring an end to the baby drama.
No offense to Quinn Fabray (love that name), but this whole baby subplot is getting tired. In particular it’s ridiculous, because we’re led to believe that Will is so dense he can’t tell his own wife isn’t pregnant, and Finn is such an idiot that he doesn’t know how babies are made. Let’s get to spring break as soon as possible to get this over with. Remember that most sitcoms start to die when the leads get married or have a baby.
9. The adults can’t overshadow the kids.
Yes, this show is meant to be a blend between what’s happening with the teachers and what’s happening with the students. But the show is called Glee, which means it’s about the glee club first and foremost. I’d rather not see another episode like “Acafellas” where it was all about Will, Ken and the like. (Although I don’t mind some more of those cheesy 80’s boy band songs!) The one exception to this rule – Sue Sylvester. Please give us as much of her as possible.
10. Up the competition.
One thing that was so refreshing in some episodes has been the scouting of the competition. We love our kids at McKinley, but it’s fun to see a completely different bunch performing in their own style (see also: Bring It On). I wasn’t totally in love with this week’s episode (“Hairography”), but seeing some of the competition was fun. Can’t wait for sectionals!
That’s my list – let me know what you think, and if you have ideas to add.