'Glee," Fox's punchy musical comedy about a high school choir, could have been a hot, campy mess.
Instead, it's generating major buzz for its bright, shiny, astoundingly catchy musical renditions that are every bit the key to the show's popularity.
There have been more than 1.1 million downloads on iTunes of songs featured on "Glee" after its first four episodes, and 10 "Glee" songs currently sit comfortably in the iTunes Top 200. The first volume "Glee" soundtrack is set for release on November 3.
Cast versions of songs like Heart's "Alone" and Queen's "Somebody to Love" are making 70s and 80s music fans nostalgic and weepy all over again.
Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" is enjoying a second renaissance after being featured in the "Sopranos" finale and again in the "Glee" premiere.
More recent hits from Rihanna, Kanye West and Carrie Underwood keep the playlist fresh and relevant.
"Glee" makes the most of its best attribute -- its voices -- by leaking several of its featured songs prior to each episode and selling them on iTunes for mass consumption and personal sing-alongs.
This turns out to be its saving grace, because when you take away the singing and dancing, the plots are plain vanilla and the storylines start to feel like simple filler.
The songs keep you wanting more, in part, because the characters aren't as well-tuned as their voices are.
Unlike "American Idol," a show that is ostensibly about singing but finds its heart in the contestants' personal backstories, "Glee" seems focused solely on performance, and its characters become secondary.
It is well-stocked with typical high school types --Rachel (Lea Michele), the self-absorbed songbird; Finn (Cory Monteith), the jock-turned-glee-club star ("American Pie" anyone?); and Kurt (Chris Colfer), the show-tune loving, fashion-plate-wannabe outsider.
But, while a show that involves people literally breaking into song is hardly realistic, some of the stories have been a real stretch.
The sassy black girl with the voice from heaven (Mercedes, played by Amber Riley) falling for the skinny, Beyonce-worshiping, obviously gay Kurt? Come on.
Or how about the optimistic leader of New Directions, teacher Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison), starting a new group called "The Acafellas," which includes both teachers and students, who perform questionable numbers like Bel Biv Devoe's "Poison" and Color Me Badd's "I Wanna Sex U Up"?
Just last week, Will brought back a dropout from 10 years before (impeccably played by Kristin Chenoweth in a guest role) to invigorate New Directions. No one seemed put off by her sitting in on Will's Spanish class or taking the lead at New Directions' first performance.
Funny? Definitely, but really stretching it.
So if the drama can't keep up with the soundtrack, is "Glee" doomed to die on the vine?
When its songs are selling like hotcakes on iTunes, maybe the lack of a quality storyline allows the show to withstand a few punches in the ratings -- or at least buy it some time to develop some decent plotlines.
this article is criticizing the wrong stuff. like no mention of that stupid baby plot? or characters quitting glee like every episode? or that mercedes, artie and...the asian girl (see? i don't even remember her name!) have done nothing so far? also why in the preview is rachel complaining about "funk" when it was HER idea to do "push it"!?
and idk who subtitled this article, wtf?
ETA: can't wait for their cover of this.