Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Glee Project

It's no secret that I have have a very love/hate relationship with Glee. What I don't have a love/hate relationship with is The Glee Project- I just flat out love it. I'm a sucker for summer reality TV, throw in an eclectic group of singing and dancing kids, the people who make Glee great (choreographers, music directors, supporting actors guesting as mentors) and minimize the importance of lunatic creator Ryan Murphy (only in the final 10 minutes of each episode) and you've got a winning combination. Every week those kids are given some sort of ridiculous "assignment" made out of a word that doesn't exist ("Pairability"? Really?) and they have to make music videos, some give a "last chance" performance and one "isn't called back" for the chance at a 7-episode guest stint on season 3 of Glee- it's ridiculous. And great. It's ridiculously great.

Here's the deal with the kids who are left and what they would bring to the show:

He's the only one who would bring something totally different to the show. He's got that weird charisma that you can't really explain and are intellectually opposed to but can't really ignore. He's got the vocals, isn't awkward as hell, has no major hangups and also isn't a lunatic. These are major pluses on this show (not guarantees). He would also bring a much-needed confident character onto Glee. He's who I'd cast, but he isn't my favourite.

He's my favourite. He's got a Northern Irish accent so thick that it's not uncommon for them to give him subtitles. But he's also got a beautiful low voice, an adorable baby face and spoke up on behalf of Matheus when he really didn't need to against Alex's bullying (even when Matheus had made his week much harder than it needed to be). Also his duet with Hannah was just plain cute, he can't dance to save his life and takes a slushie like a pro. Since I'm assuming he can't fake an American accent, Damian would be either a transfer or an exchange student at McKinley and they might struggle writing him dialogue. But he'd be a great male voice for a cast that doesn't have many strong ones and he'd be a refreshing character in the lovestory mix. His babyface doesn't altogether not resemble Chris Colfer's though, so he might be a strange presence next to him on screen. To be honest I'm not sure I'd cast him, I just really like him.

No that wasn't too harsh a word, "bullying" was what it was. Here's where we run into an issue, Alex, I'm sure, has had a tough go of it. He's chubby, he's black, he's gay- none of these things make a small town adolescence particularly easy. Glee loves kids who've had a tough go of it, they're automatic heroes in Murphyland. But Alex is no hero. Sure his "And I Am Telling You" brought down the house, but he's a jerk. He's mean and belittling to the other contestants (all of them, not just the ones that mention it), self-important and annoying. He also flat out doesn't try very hard then saves himself by pulling out a high production number. That's just not something I can get behind. This kid isn't ready for the massive global microphone of a role on Glee, he needs to grow up first. (In more practical ways, he also simply won't read well on screen- he's not very likable and would tread all over territory that's already covered by breakout star Kurt and should-be breakout star Mercedes).

I don't quite get it when it comes to Cameron. The judges are obsessed with him and I once had a friend challenge me in an argument over Facebook chat, saying "You are NOT down on my boy Cameron!" So apparently I'm not supposed to be down on Cameron because he is people's "boy"? I don't get it. I don't dislike him at all (though if he can't kiss another actor he really can't be on the show!) but once you're in the bottom 3 a third time it's time to go home. Sure he's got a cool look (a sort of hipster Troutymouth/philosophy major thing) and can play the guitar (so can Puck). And I'll grant you that song he wrote was really darn good. But Glee doesn't let the kids write their own songs. They need a guy who can actually sing (as it currently stands 100% of the girls can out-sing 100% of the guys, Darren Criss excepted,- it's sad). I could see McKinley getting a hipster/crazy Christian, and his showing in "Vulnerability" week proved that he doesn't have major issues- which would be a nice change. But I just don't think he's nearly as special as the producers and judges seem to think he is. I personally know about 5 Camerons but I don't know a single Damian, Samuel or Hannah.

I actually did think I knew quite a few Hannahs. I didn't think she was particularly special. But that's because I had the misfortune of tuning in for the first time during "Vulnerability" week when she had to shutup and wear a sandwich board that said "Fat" on it. That's all she got to do. So she was boring, because no one can be interesting when "Fat" is their only adjective (see Zizes, she's "mean" and "fat"- see? more interesting!). Then came "Danceability", and by god have I loved Hannah ever since! This girl is hilarious and ballsy and just plain cool. She works until she's red-faced and frizz-haired and doesn't take for granted that it'll work. She knows when she's bad at things, stews in her own worry then lets it go and just performs with everything she's got. She's got catchphrases, a head on her shoulders, a dash of self-confidence and is the go-to girl for the rap solo. Bad Ass. She might seem like she's on old territory on Glee, and she most likely would be if she won and Ryan Murphy wrote her a trademark contrite "I'm fat- feel bad about it!" story or an ode to the chocolate bar. But if they just wrote Hannah and all her people-magnet ways, she could be a TV force to be reckoned with and a new character the little box has never seen before.

Less bad ass is Lindsay. She gets a bad rap for being "fake" but her problem is nothing more or less than she tries too hard, not in a "Damian trying to memorize dance moves" kind of way. Lindsay approaches the competition like it's a game to be played strategically. For example, kissing Cameron in their "Baby it's Cold Outside" duet was unnecessary, inappropriate for the scene and not fair to her partner. If the director had told her to, sure, why not? But just to show up Marissa and Samuel? That's not cool. All she had to do was deliver a performance that was half as good as the Blaine/Kurt rendition and she'd've been home free. But she over thought it. Probably the best singer left in the competition, Lindsay would be a bit of a blank slate character for the writers because she doesn't carry with her a distinct "thing" like the other contestants. In terms of generic pretty girls they've got a mean one (Santana), a dumb one (Brittany), an icey/soulful princess (Quinn) and an annoying "good girl" (Rachel). Do they need another one?

PS: "Pairability" marked the SECOND appearance of world's-coolest-dude Darren Criss (the perfect man for duet week- he's 1/2 of the most convincing chemistry on the show while playing against his own sexual orientation). I've also seen (the woman behind my favourite recurring character) Dot-Marie Jones, Harry Shum Jr (the best new directions member!) and Max Adler (whose sweet and soft persona surprised me, though I'm not actually sure I wasn't expecting it. I officially love him). Amazing mentors all around.

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