Why Glee Matters
Moments of actual sincerity shine through
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 9, 2010 1:24 PM CDT
The Glee cast performs in this still from "The Power of Madonna" episode.   (AP Photo/Fox, Michael Yarish, FILE)

(Newser) Glee, which took its season-ending bow last night, might seem like a meaningless confection, but it’s actually an important piece of popular art, writes Matt Zoller Seitz of Salon, calling it “one of the most stylistically bold broadcast network shows since Twin Peaks.” Because in between its all-too-rote dialogue, which mines a familiar “bitchy/glib screwball vein,” it actually dares, in its musical numbers, to “slough off the shackles of ‘reality’ and express raw, complicated emotions.”

That’s refreshing, because most of our pop culture “fears simple, sincere expressions of feeling the way little boys fear cooties.” Maybe that’s why musicals have all but disappeared—“We’re collectively too damned cool for any form of expression that directly communicates deep feeling.” Glee plays out that drama. When the cast isn’t singing, the tone is relentlessly arch, hostile to poetry or empathy. But in those glorious songs, “contemporary Americans can live, however briefly, without the encumbrance of quote marks.”