Saying goodbye to “Glee”

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Editor’s note: It was pointed out that a section of this piece comes across as not in support of Klaine. That was certainly not our intention. Just as Brittana, the Klaine coupling has been vital the LGBTQ community. Straight, gay, queer alike have all been moved by the characters on Glee. We referenced Klaine’s straight fandom as an example of how impactful they have been, not as an representation of their sole fandom.

I’ll admit it: After a year of vlogging about Glee, and then recapping the second half of Season 5, I was suffering from Glee-tigue. My normally affable demeanor became more cynical and I found myself looking for reasons to give Glee a hard time. Not that there is a shortage. (Dammit, there I go again.)

Here’s the deal, though: After watching the promos and pictures for the final season which begins airing on January 9th, I’ve decided just like Glee, to go back to my roots—to watch Glee with the hopeful optimism and joy that I did when it first debuted in 2009.

Why? Because I’ve come to realize by reading all the tweets, Tumblr posts, and fanfics, that deep down inside, so many fans still really do want to love Glee. As someone who reports on the show (and does carry a torch for it, in some ways) I owe it to you gentle readers to give Glee a proper sendoff.

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This doesn’t mean I think that Glee hasn’t earned its ire. Glee has gotten many things wrong along the way. The show attempted to be everything to everyone, and that usually ends up pleasing no one. What could have been tender moments started become platitudes, losing their bite and their reach. In 2011, Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk turned their attention to American Horror Story, and one can’t help but feel that the shiny new thing took some of their attention away from Glee.

Glee also has a huge cast, and it’s just damn near impossible to give anyone a worthy storyline when you are suddenly slicing the pizza a hundred ways. Storylines were started and abandoned, leaving a jumble of half-assed plots and jilted characters. When fans complained, the writers and showruners pushed back, and goodwill was damaged. They gave us Quintana when we’d been clamoring for Faberry! (Wait, I don’t actually think anyone complained about that.)

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They also lost Cory Monteith. The impact of that can never be truly overstated. Losing not only one of their leading men, but a friend and castmate to a tragic death, could have easily derailed Glee. However, they decided to keep going.

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We could sit here and discuss all the ways we feel slighted by Glee, but it’s also important to remember how it changed television and the world, too. Glee put young LBGTQ characters on television screens across the world. For many people, Kurt Hummel and Santana Lopez were their first experiences with a gay person who felt more like a friend. Understanding breeds kindness. Think of all the kids whose lives were filled with much more kindness because of that. Klaine became a rallying cry across the globe. Brittana reflected the lives that many of us had lived, of falling in love with your best friend. Burt Hummel was an example to parents of gay kids, that a little bit of understanding and a lot of love could go a long way. Let’s also not forget all the amazing music that has come out of Glee. It’s easy to look past how truly talented that cast is, when all we can think about are Glee‘s missteps. 

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In this final season, Brittana, the relationship that exists and blossomed because to the love and encouragement of fans, gets their big happy ending.  The original cast goes back to McKinley and retraces their successes and failures. Maybe this is the best thing after all. Rachel, Kurt, Brittany, Santana, Artie, Mercedes, Puck, and Quinn, all back in that room that was capable of bringing its audience so much joy. I promise to watch and recap this final season with much more compassion. It may not be perfect, but I want Glee to succeed. I always have, I think I may have just lost sight of that for a while. I hope you will join me. 

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