The right way and wrong way to not like “Glee”
People who don't like "Glee" can generally be divided into two groups.
Some find it glib, shallow and saccharine. Others, sadly, dislike everything they perceive as gay. (These peoples' list of gay-seeming things usually includes singing, dancing, and going to school, the main activities on "Glee").
The latter group makes it hard for those of us in the former to admit that "Glee" isn't our thing. We agree the show deserves praise for promoting positive images of gay youth and music education in schools. But we think it can be as contrived and formulaic as the shows it tries to counterbalance, with its endless guest stars, heavy-handed theme episodes and slick renditions of songs we always like less afterwards.
Adding to our conflicted feelings is the way the creator of "Glee," Ryan Murphy, handles criticism. Yes, his show makes the world a better place for lots of scared, lonely kids. But he also seems to think that gives him the right to use — and sometimes ruin — any song he likes.
How to summarize our complicated thoughts on "Glee"? How about this: We're glad it's on. We're glad it's popular, if that provides a sense of refuge.
But we really wish it were better.
Here are some of the strange bedfellows who don't like "Glee" — and their reasons:
Slash: The guitar hero said that "Glee" was "worse than 'Grease'" — which is one of the harshest English-language insults. Slash also said he refused to let the show use "Guns N Roses" songs. Murphy fired back, “Usually I find that people who make those comments, their careers are over; they’re uneducated and quite stupid.”
Jezebel's Sadie Stein: Way ahead of the curve, Stein wittily called out the show in 2009 for "cardboard cliche" characters, especially female characters, and perpetrating high school stereotypes. She also called it a "smug, G-rated 'Election' on uppers with 2-D characterizations." (Murphy was too shamed to respond. Or he missed the post.)
Kings of Leon: When the band politely declined to let "Glee" use its song "Use Somebody" — and admitted that they thought the song was over-promoted — Murphy called them "self-centered a–holes" and accusing them of "hat[ing] on arts education. Kings of Leon could have won the fight by letting Murphy's overreaction speak for itself, but drummer Nathan Followill unwisely delivered a Twitter riposte that struck many as homophobic: "Dear Ryan Murphy, let it go. See a therapist, get a manicure, buy a new bra. Zip your lip and focus on educating 7yr olds how to say f—."
We Hate Glee on Facebook: The group, from which we grabbed the middle-finger image (above), is apparently based in Australia and is swimming in "Glee" hate. And meme love. Posters on the page also despise Rebecca Black's "Friday." A recent status update opined, "
Victoria Jackson: The born-again ex-"Saturday Night Live" star only rallied people to the show when she said that it overdoes the "gay thing" and complained that "secular humanism rules the airwaves." "Glee" critics had to puzzle out the old proverb/Dick Tracy conundrum: "Is the enemy of my enemy my friend?" Not in this case.
Dave Grohl: It felt like Grohl was grasping for headlines (which we dutifully provided) when he ripped Murphy for ripping Slash and Kings of Leon. He kind of came off like the guy who tries to jump into a fight right after security arrives. Still, his simple point is a valid one: "It’s every band’s right, you shouldn’t have to do f—ing 'Glee.'”