Brand new episodes of Glee are only a few weeks away and though news about the fifth season is flying fast and furious — guest stars! love interests! real life romance! — fan response to the Glee gossip has been unusually muted, measured, practically demure. It’s almost as if Gleeks, like the show itself, aren’t exactly sure what to expect after Cory Monteith‘s tribute episode, which will take place after two Beatles-themed episodes and will punctuate the end of the show as we know it.
Glee is a show that lesbian and bisexual women love, and love to hate. Some days, it has charmed us. Some days, it has insulted us. Some days, it has patronized us. Some days, it has changed us. But has it built up enough goodwill to cover its multitude of sins and hang onto us? I actually asked some AfterEllen’s most faithful Glee viewers how they feel about the coming season, simply by asking: Will you watch it?
Here’s what they had to say:
Dana Piccoli: Glee. The word still warms my heart in a way that no other show does. I spent a lot of time with Glee last season doing Dana Does it with Glee, and I think in a ways, that helped me grown even more affectionate towards it. That is not to say that the show hasn’t royally pissed me off in more ways than I can count. I’m not happy how they handled many things, but I also decided a long time ago that I was going to stick with Glee until the end. Cory Monteith’s tragic passing is something that will certainly loom over this next season in a big way. I feel almost a sense of solidarity with the show and the cast, knowing that if they can push through and find some light in all of this, so can the fans.
I’m hoping that Glee does what it does best, and finds a way to let its heart shine through. I want to know what happens when Santana finally meets someone new (Demi Lovato! Holy shit!). I want to see Kurt and Blaine forgive and fall for each other again. I also want to see Rachel find her way in this world. I think it’s going to be a very emotional, very intense season, and I wouldn’t miss it for the world. I understand why some people have given up on the show. That is certainly any fans prerogative. Sometimes though, I think of all the lovely things Glee has brought to our television screens, and our culture. Glee changed the world. It helped make a whole generation more accepting. It gave us courage and told us that it’s OK to land on your face once in a while. It’s not perfect, but it is perfectly unique. I’ll be watching.
Valerie Anne: For me, Glee has always been about the music. It’s about celebrating talent, and the cast has gobs of it. They used to be really great at using themes to weave songs into the storyline, which was amazing, but even now when they force things just to use currently popular songs, the performances themselves are usually wonderful. The mashups make my heart soar, the cheesy dancing and matchy outfits make me giggle. (Also, I’m a sucker for the original songs about relentless optimism and friendship.) The storylines used to be a little deeper and more meaningful, but even now that it’s a new After School Special every week and the only continuity they had last season was that awful catfishing storyline, they haven’t completely lost their heart, and they certainly haven’t lost their talent. I still feel an inexplicably intense loyalty to this show.
It’s kind of done what its core characters have done, hasn’t it? It started out a little misfit show about outcasts in a glee club, singing songs from musicals kids these days have never heard. But now it’s this powerful force that everyone is talking about, whether or not they like it. Also, besides maybe Degrassi, what other show has L, G, B and T main characters? Sure, they muck it up sometimes, but I think it was Heather Hogan, actually, who said it— when Glee gets it right, they get it so right. And they top it off with an impeccably vocalized song! Those moments make it worth it for me. Which is why I feel compelled to stick by it and see it through, probably until the bitter end.
Lucy Hallowell: I have 17—yup 17—episodes from last year sitting on my DVR waiting for me to watch them. I don’t know exactly what it was that made Glee lose me. Some was the new kids, some was the usual Glee nonsense where story lines made no sense or just didn’t matter to me, some was that I just didn’t have the some love for the characters (seriously, what did they do to Rachel and where was Quinn?). But there is that certain Glee-ness that keeps me from deleting those suckers off the old DVR without watching.
I want to see the AfterEllen shout-out, I want to see the Quinntana at the wedding (or whatever was going on) and I guess that’s the thing with Glee. I kinda gave it up but only kinda because it has a way of worming back (like that girl you hate that you like). The odds are good that for season five I’ll do what I did for season four which is record the damn episodes in case I want to watch and just read the Hogan recaps because those, unlike Glee, are never a let down.
Elaine Atwell: It’s one of only a handful of shows my girlfriend and I both watch, so I’ll stick around as long as she does. But I always look forward to it with a mixture of anticipation and dread.
Heather Hogan: Dana actually wrote what I haven’t been able to put into words even in my own head (she has a way with that; it’s why I have drafted her as my own personal fan fiction writer). I feel a surprising solidarity with the Glee cast because of Cory Monteith’s death, which is something I find legitimately shocking on account of I’m not the kind of person to co-opt a tragedy and I’ve never been really dialed into the cast of the show as much as the characters on the show. I think it opened up my eyes to what this show means to the wide world outside of lesbian fandom. And Valerie also spoke to the absolute heart of it for me: Glee has given us lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender characters. Sometimes they’ve given them to us in a way that makes our heads explode. But sometimes they’ve given them such sweet nuance that it still makes me teary just thinking about it.
So yes, I’m going to watch Glee season five. And hope, hope, hope they get more things right than wrong.