The first time I saw Glee, I had tears in my eyes and goosebumps on my arms. It was a reaction that I had nearly every time I watched the show to the point where my husband would walk through the room, see me with the tissue box and say, “oh, you’re watching Glee, aren’t you?”
He couldn’t understand why I would watch a show that seemed to make me so miserable week after week. But that’s because he didn’t know what it was like to be an overweight teen with bad hair, glasses, and a love for the dramatic in a high school full of privileged, good-looking kids.
Like the kids of Glee, I felt utterly alone when I wasn’t really. There were other kids who were worse off than me and a small group who made those four years tolerable. Those few friends – Cheryl, Cindy, Tony, Pam, Merri, Allison – they were my Glee Club. And it’s funny because, like the characters in Glee, we weren’t all that much alike. The theater geek, the cheerleader, the goth chick and the boy in the wheelchair; all brought together by the magical force that is music.
And then there’s Mr. Shue. He was the man behind the magic. My Mr. Shue was my independent study teacher in Jr. High. His name was Larry Rubin and he did for me what Will Schuester did for the kids of McKinley High. He taught me that it was good to dream and to reach beyond what was expected. Mr. Rubin made me believe that I could be a writer and a director when I was only 15.
This is the power of Glee.
Right here I must admit that I stopped watching when Rachel and the gang graduated. Even though Rachel’s experience mirrored my own attempt to break into the biz in New York, I couldn’t get behind it. At that point, there were no more goosebumps or tears, so I stopped tuning in. That’s why I almost didn’t bother watching the series finale but something told me that I should. . . and I did. . . and it was goosebumps and tears all over again.
I thought the creative team did an amazing job of revisiting the past and showing us the future. I thought Sue’s storyline was too wacky but the others were perfect. I especially loved Kurt and Blaine singing “I’m a Believer” to a room full of little kids. I’m also amazed by the effort that went into Rachel’s Tony Award sequence.
I was a little worried about how they’d honor Finn’s passing, but it was softly, elegant. My only complaint is that I wanted more group numbers and more time with the original cast members. Most of them showed up for the final song but we only got a quick glance at Puck, Mike, and several others.
The series ended with a joyous rendition of One Republic’s “I Lived” and the words “See the world not as it is, but as it should be.”
Goodbye Glee. You did the world a lot of good. Thanks for the smiles and the tears. Like Rachel, Kurt, Mercedes, Finn and all the rest – you made different special.