I am a Gleek.
This statement will cause one of three reactions for anyone reading this column.
Option No. 1: You’re enthralled. You love the television show “Glee”, think Glee club instructor Mr. Schue is the dreamiest thing to grace the silver screen since George Clooney was on “E.R.” and only hope that Quinn will stop being so evil and just let Finn and Rachel be together, for goodness sake.
Option No. 2: You hate the show; side with Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters, whose opinions of the phenomenon and its creator are far too vulgar for this column; and avoid Twitter on Tuesday nights.
And then there’s option No. 3, in which you ask yourself, “What on earth is a Gleek?”
If you fall into category No. 1, I applaud you, for “Glee” is my guilty pleasure to end all guilty pleasures. I can’t get enough of it and, though the plot lines can be quite silly, I adore the show. If No. 3 is where you reside on the “Glee” radar, then I can only say, please pull yourself out of the rock under which you are living.
And then there are the haters who find themselves applauding the rock stars that give creator Ryan Murphy and all Gleeks the metaphorical bird by not allowing the show to perform their songs.
Slash gave Murphy the negative when the show had dreams of using a Guns N' Roses tune. Kings of Leon also said "no" to “Glee”. For anyone who lives in St. Louis or had hopes of seeing a great night of live music when the guys came to Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, only to leave after several songs because of alleged pigeon poop, their denial of “Glee” isn’t super surprising.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been a fan of the band for years; I just wish they would open up their hearts and discography so I could hear the Glee character Puck attempt to pull off “Taper Jean Girl.”
Former Nirvana drummer and current Foo Fighters frontman Grohl is the most recent artist to stab all Gleeks in the heart. To a certain extent, I can see Grohl’s point. For some, “Glee” might seem like a grown-up version of Kidz Bop (a terrible set of CDs featuring a children’s choir doing top 40 hits), which isn’t anything an artist should feel obligated to be a part of.
But as Murphy has said, “You can make fun of Glee all you want, but at its heart, what we really do is turn kids on to music." I am acutely aware that my obsession with “Glee” puts me into a demographic that’s home to many 12-year-old girls who also have Bieber Fever and obsess over everything Disney Channel. I just can’t help but agree with Murphy.
Without the show, the generation that I somewhat embarrassingly identify with probably wouldn’t have come to know and love renditions of the Journey catalog, Queen classics, John Lennon’s “Imagine”, Barbra Streisand essentials or even old Britney Spears. And to be fair, it’s not like “Glee” is some sort of charity. According to a blog post from The New York Times, the show costs roughly 50 percent more than the average prime-time drama because of the high fees paid for music rights.
But money aside, it’s what “Glee” means to its fans that is truly noteworthy. The show is not only about being an oddball in a Midwestern high school, but also about letting your love of music rise above your passion for anything else.
“Glee” is a world in which the popular girls choose show choir over cheerleading, the quarterback sticks up for the kid in the wheelchair and the hunk goes for the overweight girl with the killer confidence — and freakishly great wrestling skills. As the adorable Glee Club instructor Mr. Schue said, “Glee is about being yourself, even when the whole world wishes you were someone different.” It’s about using music to express yourself and as a way to feel great.
I realize that not everything entertaining needs to have so much sunshine and so many rainbows, and that’s where the angry rock star argument stems from. I watch “Dexter,” was obsessed with “LOST” and can’t get enough of “Mad Men.” But sometimes, it’s nice to not have to heighten your stress, anxiety and negative emotions when you plop down in front of the television. For some, this escapism comes in the form of reality shows or sports. For me, it’s “Glee.”
So all I’d like to say to the Dave Grohls and Kings of Leons of the world is, have a heart. You might be too cool for “Glee,” but the rest of us aren’t and, in the end, we’re all in it for the music.
Amanda Koellner is a senior in the magazine sequence at the Missouri School of Journalism. She is a columnist and community conversationalist for the Missourian and a music department editor for Vox.