A gleeful retrospective look
by Rey Galvan (Staff Writer) – 3/27/15
Before it aired over 100 episodes and more than 700 musical performances, a musical comedy/drama TV show aired its pilot and broke barriers by becoming the first prime-time television series in its genre to become a success from the moment the last ten minutes aired a heartfelt, energetic rendition of Journey’s hit song “Don’t Stop Believin,” which ultimately becoming the song that reeled audiences in.
Six years later, the phenomenon had its final curtain call as the series came to an end on March 20, 2015, with the fans saying goodbye to the wonderfully talented cast that sang their way into fans’ hearts. For the loyal fans that have stayed with Glee since its beginning, the show has taught them many important lessons that they will never forget, and for others, it opened new opportunities for them. As fictional glee club coordinator Lillian Adler’s plaque stated, “By its very definition, Glee is about opening yourself up to joy.”
The hit musical dramedy centers on McKinley High Spanish Teacher Will Schuester, played by Matthew Morrison, who decides to take on the school’s extinct glee club and raise it to its former glory. In doing so, he must help an initial group of underdogs led by an ambitious Rachel Berry (played by Lea Michele), divas in the making Kurt Hummel and Mercedes Jones (played by Chris Colfer and Amber Riley), wheelchair nerd Artie Abrams (played by Kevin McHale), and goth Asian chick Tina Cohen Chang (played by Jenna Ushkowitz) to find their voice, to find self-acceptance, and to have strength with dealing with everyday lives by enjoying musical lessons every week. But, what really starts the glee club and gets the team to work together is the recruitment of hesitant, talented quarterback Finn Hudson (played by Cory Monteith), who lifts the club off its feet with his popularity recruiting other future members.
One person who has trouble letting go is junior Cecilia Martinez, who has been a faithful Gleek (what Glee fans call themselves) since the show’s second season aired. She remarked on the show’s impact on her and how the show maintained a weekly lesson while sending an overall message about self-acceptance and not judging but rather accepting others.
Glee has been known to tap into controversial, trending issues in all six seasons, including teen pregnancy, coming out, education budget cuts, suicide, bullying, abuse, and much more. All the lessons would be tied in with musical selections provided by the members of the glee club, the New Directions. Besides the musical lessons, Martinez shared that she liked the show especially because of one character, Santana Lopez (played by Naya Rivera). Besides that, she commented on how, “The show was funny and the storylines were pretty good. In fact, what appealed to me about it was how I have never seen a show like it.”
Sophomores Emily Claros and Michelle Vo agreed, with Vo stating, “I loved the Santana discovering she was a lesbian storyline, to be able to see someone find herself was the best storyline Glee did.” Claros agreed with her discussing how one of the last few episodes in the current season, focusing on tolerance, was a major step for the show and society itself.
Although Glee has been a great success, it fell in a deep hole when its protagonist Finn Hudson died from drug overdose in July 2013, straining the whole show’s future storylines. For many, it became the very reason why they didn’t watch the fifth season, ultimately the ratings came in, and it was decided the next season would be the final season. Martinez agrees that part of the show’s downfall in the final seasons was because of low ratings affected by Monteith’s death.
The show’s final season has left many reminiscing on many things, but the important thing for them, including Claros, was, “The show has demonstrated how the characters have struggled through all the drama and personal lives, but in the end they found themselves.” Vo was quick to agree, commenting how it became more relatable because of the demonstration of social problems that every high school student or teenager faces in their daily lives.
Glee has impacted many people, and the show will become a legacy for all of their fans, including Martinez and Vo, who will feel sad when the show reaches its impending end. Claros, on the other hand, is happy as she peacefully states, “I’m happy because they gave their viewers life lessons and used great virtues. It helped me find self-acceptance for myself.”
In the end, Glee became something special for each of these girls and has become something more than a show that everyone watches. Martinez shared, “People will still think about it and revisit it. Glee will live on.”
As Glee female protagonist Rachel Berry said in the pilot, “Being a part of something special makes you special, right?”