The One I Just Can't Quit
So, you might remember that about a year or so ago, Battlestar Galatica had its series finale. I watched that (amazing) show all throughout college, and its end came at the end of my time in Virginia. (There's a LJ post about the finale somewhere, but I'm still too emotionally fragile about the last hour of the episode to go hunting for it). It was kind of my secret obsession, since I was essentially staying in every Friday night to watch it live, rather than wait for it to show up online over the next few days. I don't think my sorority sisters would have taken too kindly to the idea of me sitting around sober watching Cylons and humanity have a go at one another, hence the "secret" part. Well, anyway. I loved that show and still do, from all of its moments of euphoric happiness to its dark corners and despair. You know who didn't really love that show? My dad, Papa B, who watched the original BSG when it first aired way back when. Don't get me wrong, he was really into it for the first two or so seasons (weren't we all?) and then it sort of lost him as the later seasons came around. I'll be the first to admit that the plot got muddled and lost the balance between hope/despair that you tend to need in order for your audiences to feel like the characters they love and sympathsize with have a shot at surviving. But--I stuck it out. Through Lee in the fat suit, his weird relationship with Dee, all of the court hearings, all of Starbuck being a nightmare, because I knew how great the show could be and I kept hoping it would get better. Because, you know, even when BSG was at its worst, it was still better than 90% of what was on TV. (It's an easy show for people to make fun of, but I've always felt quite sorry for the people who could never overcome their bias against Sci-Fi to watch it--at its heart, it's not a show about intergalatic battles, but about humanity, and what it means to be human and exist in society.)
Okay, but moving on to the actual point of this post...
Whenever I talked to my dad about the most recent BSG episode, I would get the same exact response from him: "When is this show going to END so I can stop tuning in every week?!" (More accurately, I believe he said, "WHEN IS THIS SHOW GOING TO PUT ME OUT OF MISERY?!") Like me, Papa B was tuning in every week out of loyalty--probably not to the current show, but the original series, and probably not because he cared all that much about the characters anymore, but because he wanted to see where they were going to end up. Valid. The darkness of the show had lost him to the point that tuning in had become perfunctory and almost painful. I never really understood this--I actually remember telling him, "Just stop watching it! I'll tell you how it ends!"
But I think I understand now. Because I feel the same way about the show GLEE.
I love, love, loveeeeeed the pilot episode. It was a bit wobbly in parts--what pilot episode isn't?--but fun and sharp. There was so much going for it: Journey, Lea Michele's voice, an unforgiving sense of humor... you get the picture. They gave a special preview for it just after American Idol, and then forced us to wait 2093840 million months to get the rest of the first season. ANNOYING. But I, along with millions of others waited and waited...
I can't figure out why I still GLEE for the life me. Puck, maybe? The awkward musical numbers, probably? All of the aspects that irked me in the pilot were brought out, storylines were rushed and dumbed down to the point that every episode had to have some kind of moral lesson attached to the end of it. And not only do we have Lessons of the Week, they're lessons delivered with sledgehammers, spelled out over the course of the episode so many times and without any regard to established characterizations and previous episodes. And GOD do I hate Mr. Shuester.
Is there anything redeeming about his character? Last night, while the Glee club was singing To Sir With Love, I wanted to rip my ears off my head and throw them at the screen. Kids, what has this person done for you, other than (in Santana's words from a week or so ago) creep you out, create plans that backfire spectacularly, show off his own singing skills, feel sorry for himself, and get so lost in his own personal lady drama (leave Emma alone, you creeper!) that he ceases to be anything that resembles a good role model?
Even Sue Slyvester, who was one of my favorite character initially, has become so aggravating in recent episodes that I've started to fastforward through her rambling speeches. (She was arguably the best part of last night's episode, especially when you found out about the twist at the end.) They keep introducing these guest characters that are so much more interesting and better formed than the regular characters. Please tell me Jesse is going to be back next season--at least he can sing!
I mean, I guess I watch for the brilliance of Brittany and Santana, as well as to see how they incorporate the songs into each episode... but the show has just been so BAD. It's almost painful to watch, and both Roommate J and I spent the last two episodes wishing one character would get hit by a bus, and another would drive off a cliff.
So why do people do this--stick with something they initially loved, even as it swirls down the crapper? Is it out of loyalty, the belief that things can and will get better, or is it because different things appeal to different people? Clearly, a lot of people are still watching GLEE (don't get me started on the overexposure in the tour, merchandise, albums, etc.), so maybe this is just me being a TV snob...