Monday, September 27, 2010

September Q & A: TV

Today we get a couple TV related questions from Jasmine, who writes, “Have you watched Glee yet?”

I sure have, and I am a huge fan. I’ve always been a big musical nut, so the concept of a musical TV show certainly has a great deal of appeal to me. Add to that that it’s probably the most light-hearted and cheerful shows I’ve ever seen (despite the occasional foray into more serious subject matter, like gay bashing and teen pregnancy), and Fox has a clear winner on their hands that they’ll no doubt be cancelling soon just to spite me.

That’s not to say that the show is perfect, of course. While I get that it’s about a glee club, and glee clubs aren’t really known for doing obscure songs, it would be nice if every single song on the show didn’t have to be a major multi-platinum hit. While I’m not expecting them to suddenly bust out a song by the Teardrop Explodes or Love or someone, they could at least occasionally do something by a semi-popular indie band like the Arcade Fire, Vampire Weekend, or the Decemberists. Hell, they even have a goth girl in the glee club, and did an entire episode based around how it should be okay for her to be a goth because she’s just expressing her individuality, and what goth music did they use to promote this? No, not Bauhaus or Sisters of Mercy or Depeche Mode or the Cure. Nope, the whole episode was about Lady Gaga, because who says goth better than that? Also, I don’t care how energetically Matthew Morrison dances to it, the Thong Song is neither a great nor a good song (the show tries to claim both).

Of course, that’s not really a huge issue (unless it goes on for five seasons, in which case they will seriously need to expand their musical expertise a bit more), and as long as Jane Lynch stays as wonderfully hostile and insane as she was for the entire first season, I’m sure the show will do just fine for itself.

Also, “Why do you like The Big Bang Theory?”

The main reason is simply how it’s the single best repository of nerd humor that has ever made it to TV. Every single episode is awash in great jokes about comic books, science fiction, physics, and other wonderful nerd jokes that tend to go right over the heads of non-nerds. Indeed, I think my single favorite moment from season three came when Sheldon, drunk on wine, decided to bust out a Tom Lehrer song while giving an acceptance speech. Simply put, when the nerdy four of the five main characters are all bouncing off one another, it is one of the funniest shows out there.

Of course, my saying that tends to highlight the show’s greatest weakness, which is Penny. I get what the mindset is behind her character: she’s a combination sexy love interest and a gateway to the “real” world for the nerd crew. Unfortunately, in practice we just get a character that’s trying so hard to be hot that she’s almost never actually funny (which I think one can agree is generally a problem on a comedy), and the “real world” we witness generally never seems to evolve beyond stock stereotypes of high school (which, curiously, you can also witness in Glee) of big muscular bullies tormenting all the nerds. Not to mention I’m pretty sure Penny is meant to be an average person, and instead she’s borderline retarded (it’s possible that me and my friends are a great deal smarter than the average person, but I’ve seen myself and my friends in action and I don’t buy that for a moment), so roughly half of her interactions with the nerds basically consist of the nerds saying something smart and her going “Huh?” I don’t know how much of the show’s audience would not be watching the show without her, but I personally wouldn’t mind in the slightest if she got phased out completely, freeing up more time for Sheldon, Leonard, Raj, and Howard.

No comments: