You can definitely split my life into different sections, particularly by the things I’ve liked over the years. If you would like a visual guide, here it is:
For the next few weeks, I’m going to reflect back on my life and how it was affected by some of the stuff featured in the graphic above. First up, I’m going to talk about something that recently ended, my Glee period.
I was sixteen when I first started watching Glee. Before that, I wasn’t into television at all (unless you count the many VHS tapes of Pokemon my parents bought for me as a child), and every time my friends talked about Glee in our morning carpool I never knew what to think of it. It was sort of the thorn in my side as they gushed about it every single week.
What the heck is a “Puckleberry”?
Who was covering what by Journey?
Yeah, the lead guy (Cory Monteith) is super cute, but what is this show?
Those questions ran through my mind at every mention of Glee. My ninth grade honors English teacher recommended the show to me saying that “it would be something I would like” as I was heavily involved in band, theater, and dabbled in choir a little bit in middle school. He even gave me the first few episodes to watch. However, me being a super hipster and picky individual, I watched a little bit of the pilot, but never really gave it a chance.
When I moved to Manila in the summer of 2010, well after season one ended, I was stuck in a rut. I had just left Yokosuka, Japan, which was my home for almost ten years. My dad was shipped off to Afghanistan, I didn’t have friends, felt lonely, it was hot and humid, my Tagalog was (and still sort of is) terrible, and I was stressing about how I was unceremoniously thrown into the International Baccalaureate program at my new school, not knowing what the hell it was. I didn’t know what to turn to.
One hot summer day, I stumbled upon an article that said that one of my favorite internet stars, Darren Criss, was going to have a recurring role as one of the main characters’ mentors and friends in the show’s second season. I knew Criss from A Very Potter Musical, a Harry Potter parody created by the now Chicago-based theater company, StarKid, and loved him as the title character. So, with that in mind, I decided to watch Glee (also because I knew that cutie Cory Monteith was in it. I wasn’t into the show before, but I was totally into Cory Monteith) and catch up before season two began.
After watching the pilot all the way through, I was hooked. I couldn’t stop. And so, my torrid love affair with Glee began. I managed to catch up on everything before the second season started. I fell in love with the characters and every single one of their flaws. I empathized with their struggles, soared with their successes–I watched as they all found their home in the Glee Club. I suddenly didn’t feel so alone anymore. It was like I had found my escape, my television home away from reality. Every time I didn’t feel like I was ever good enough, every time I wanted to cry into a pillow, every time I was stressed beyond belief, I turned to the show.
I felt such a deep connection to it. It championed the fine arts as I was someone who spoke against school administrations for slashing budgets for music, dance and theater programs – programs I probably would have ended up a soulless automaton without. The perseverance of Will Schuester and the Glee Club to remain an integral part of McKinley High’s environment led me to work even harder in one of the only arts classes my high school offered, theater. My Theory of Knowledge presentation during my senior year was about the preservation of the performing arts in schools and their importance.
What made me relate to the show even more was that the characters were my age (though the actors being about 5-10 years older than me was kind of weird). In a sense, I grew up with these characters. I even ended up graduating the same time Finn, Rachel, Kurt, Mercedes, Mike, Puck, Santana, and Quinn did on the show. It was pretty bittersweet. A lot of my major life milestones matched big ones on the show.
Glee was also a major source of inspiration for me writing-wise. I wrote so much fanfiction for Glee (particularly for the Kurt/Blaine pairing) and always thought of really cool alternative universe plots (I wrote a dystopian fic before and I was particularly proud of that one). I wrote and wrote, even jotting down notes during class in high school to work with when I got home.
Of course, I grew out of my Glee phase by the end of my freshman year of college. I kind of got sick of its lack of continuity (WHERE IS BETH CORCORAN?) and shoddy writing starting the latter half of season three and on until the end. However, the characters did stay with me – Kurt Hummel and Rachel Berry in particular. Oh, man, I loved them. (I even got to meet Chris Colfer twice and Lea Michele once during this long phase of mine.) A lot.
While I do have many criticisms about the show in general, I’m not going to deny the large impact the show has had on me, and how much the cast has inspired me. It’s always good to do a healthy critique of the things you like and things you need to get out of your life, and Glee was one of those things I really needed to kick out (for personal reasons I’d rather talk about some other time, mostly dealing with the fandom in general).
Well, I hope you enjoyed that little trip down memory lane! I’ll be talking about other stuff soon. Peace out.