Arts, Culture & Media

Revenge of the 'Glee!' nerds

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The "Glee" club. (Image: fox.com/glee)

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One of the most talked-about shows of the new television season, "Glee," follows a rag tag group of high school students who come together to form a glee club. The show pokes fun at the high school caste system, but refuses to mock the talent of the students when they belt out numbers like Journey’s "Don't Stop Believin'" and Kayne West's "Gold Digger."

The pilot premeired in the spring, going on hiatus over the summer; giving time for buzz to grow and fans to download songs from the show -- some of the most popular downloads on iTunes.

On "Here and Now," show co-creator Brad Falchuk talked about the tone of the show and how, in a subtle way, it addresses the issue of arts funding for public schools.

"I grew up with John Hughes and there is a certain John Hughes inspiration to it in that there is darkness there, there are moments of great pain -- which sort of is what high school is about," said Falchuk. "But we always wanted there to be hope that at the end, something better will come along. We never leave you feeling too sad."

"Glee" follows the travails of high school Spanish teacher Will Schuester, played by stage actor Matthew Morrison, who yearns for the glory of glee club he experienced as a high school kid. He talks the school principal into letting him start up his own glee club and assembles a group of misfit students -- who sing remarkably well.

While there is an abundance of humor at the expense of the kids as they trudge through high school life, once they perform, things gets serious said Falchuk, "One sort of rule we have is, people get made fun of a lot, for a lot of things; when someone is singing or dancing, there is no irony there. We are just going for it in terms of the joy of it.

"The key is that it's hard to really dislike or look down upon somebody who's that talented, no matter how strange they are or otherwise."

The high school caste system is central to the characters in "Glee" -- the jocks, the cheerleaders, the nerds -- and Falchuk confesses the role he played in high school wasn't the most admirable, "I literally was throwing kids in the dumpster every day -- I'm ashamed to say it."

On the show, the head of the glee club, Will Schuester, competes with other teachers at the school for funding. One of his toughest rivals is the hilariously scary cheerleading coach, Sue Sylvester -- played by Jane Lynch -- who stops at nothing to get her squad, called the "Cheerios" to become an award-winning vehicle.  

Morrison says in this way, the show addresses the lack of funding for the arts in public schools, "The show is really about the arts and the power of the arts, and how the arts can change people's lives. Are we being political -- I guess a little bit -- not intentionally too political, but it's definitely trying to say, 'look, these kids deserve something -- where's that money going? Of all the things it could go to, how could it not go the arts programs?'" 

 

 

"Here and Now" is an essential midday news magazine for those who want the latest news and expanded conversation on today's hot-button topics: public affairs, foreign policy, science and technology, the arts and more.

 

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