Fox's Glee…is one of the most stylistically bold broadcast network shows since Twin Peaks. That might seem an unlikely claim on first glance: Glee is a feather-light comedy at least 70 percent of the time, and a glib, mannered one at that. From its wistful-kooky incidental music to its subtext-as-text quips (Noah "Puck" Puckerman: "That Rachel chick makes me wanna light myself on fire, but she can sing"), Glee is shellacked in cuteness. And its subject matter—the private and public melodramas of high school students and teachers—is the stuff that dismissive reactions are made of.
What's radical about the series—which was created by Nip/Tuck mastermind Ryan Murphy—is its direct, at times nearly primordial sincerity, expressed mostly in its musical numbers. The musical moments seem indebted to English writer-producer Dennis Potter (Pennies From Heaven), who used fantasy lip-sync interludes to explore the feelings that repressed middle-class English citizens could not otherwise show. Similar moments on Glee stand in opposition to the majority of American popular culture, which fears simple, sincere expressions of feeling the way little boys fear cooties.
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