Glee: “The art of losing”

On the season finale of Glee, New Directions lost the regional glee club competition. In fact, they didn’t even place in the top two despite Sue Sylvester’s secret support. And to be honest prior to the episode airing I was kind of hoping, from a storytelling point of view, that they would lose. But just because I thought losing would be best for season 2 didn’t mean that I wasn’t rooting for them.

I like to support the underdog and especially after the fantastic Journey melody I really thought they had a shot at pulling off the upset. However, Vocal Adrenaline was awesome. Technically it seemed like Jesse did more of the singing then the rest of the club, but their entire performance was just better in terms of choreography and storytelling. Also Queen totally has the potential to trump Journey every time.

To my surprise though, when Sue announced Vocal Adrenaline as the winner, it was like a gut punch.

The Gleek in all of us

I really cared about the glee club kids, more than I thought. It’s not that I’m uncaring but I’ve tried to keep the show at an arm’s length and remain critical of it despite being a fan from the very beginning. I love TV but I try not to get too distracted by the exciting shiny things – like fun song and dance numbers when analyzing an episode, season, or series. I mean overall the first season has been all over the place in terms of storytelling, but the show is original and because it can’t be compared to anything on TV right now, or most anything at all, it seems like the show often gets a free pass for its plot inconsistencies. Glee

Despite my tendency to be critical of television, I can really relate to these characters though. I’ve never really been involved in the performing arts but as someone who grew up playing sports I know what it feels like to give it your all and still come up short. I’ve never been the MVP or part of a championship team, but that never stopped me from putting my heart and soul into every challenge despite repeatedly losing. And that’s why I think it hurt watching them come up short.

In fact, the one theme that has been consistent throughout the entire freshman season is that most of us are losers. Okay, so that might be a bit of an overstatement but since it’s not possible for everyone to be a winner, it’s more likely that many of us are far more familiar with the feeling of losing. The fact that we are not all winners is a true sentiment, but not one that is generally taught to us or even one that is so overtly perpetuated in entertainment. It’s not that Glee is the only fictional show on television to play with this theme, but the difference is in the delivery. The sad truth is sugarcoated in song and dance.

Hell, they even performed Beck’s “Loser” in the penultimate episode. Granted, the end of Glee‘s season finale veered dangerously close to an after-school special when the kids said they won because of Mr. Shue, but then again this is TV and at the end of the day I suppose its not the worst thing in the world to win a participation trophy. Plus, there’s always next season.


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