May 11, 2011

Rewriting TV.

As a writer, I’ve discovered something upsetting. I rewrite television shows as I watch them.

Well, not every television show. If it’s a well-written show like Law & Order Criminal Intent or Mad Men, I don’t bother. But if it’s a good show that’s suffering from inconsistent characterization… well, that’s another matter entirely.

Like Glee. I love Glee. It’s a fun show, punctuated with music and just as over the top as high school seems to you when you’re in it. Really, think back on it – you might not have walked down the hall singing, but I’m pretty sure that having a date to the dance was the biggest thing in the world. And every test failed, every breakup, ever snub seemed like the worst thing that ever happened to you.

And while Glee knocks out a few great episodes a season, the rest waver between good to meh. And usually not because of the overall plot of the episode- it’s the character reactions that make no sense.

Take last night’s Prom episode, “Prom Queen”. (spoilers, if you keep reading)

I can believe that the kids at McKinley would be cruel enough to vote Kurt Prom Queen to embarrass him and hurt him. However, I do not believe that the Kurt Hummel we know would have immediately run out in tears. In my mind, Kurt should have walked up, taken the crown… knocked out his joke and worn a brave face. Maybe bowed out of the dance (I admit I’m a little unhappy that he’s trying to push Karofsky out when he’s obviously not ready). Tensions would have died down, and when he and Blaine had a moment to talk, he would have then broken down crying- and explained that he tried to make things right for Blaine. That he knew they couldn’t just leave, that they couldn’t give the bullies that satisfaction. Just seems much more like Kurt.

Of course, the whole announcement lead to a bigger problem for me. Yes, McKinley is an over the top school. However, Figgins runs the school much like most principals would (except for his fear of vampires). It was extremely hard for me to believe that Figgins wouldn’t have looked at the name and stopped everything right then and there. Not only that, but where was Mr. Shue during all of this? I know that they wanted the kids to have the chance to work out this stuff with minimal interference from the adults, but it seemed unbelievably odd that Will wouldn’t have been there to cheer the kids on.

Also, my last quibble about the events of last night’s episode… I loved that Artie couldn’t actually bring himself to spike the punch, and used lemonade. But Sue was gone from the Prom for all the time and Puck didn’t manage to spike the punch? Because honestly, in my mind I thought that Puck knew that his plan was going to fail and that Artie would get caught, but it’d give him the chance to spike it and be seen spiking it.

Honestly, I love Glee. I get Glee. But every other episode or so, I find myself wondering why these scripts are making it out of the writer’s room with so many glaring errors. I see why they made Quinn revert to being a bitch. There are plenty of girls who see a chance to be popular and take it, even knowing they’re going to step on their friends to do so (and even after a major life change like the pregnancy). But there was never a scene early on in the season where Quinn said so. Instead, she was a bitch and somehow nobody cared- not even Mercedes who’d taken her in.

I don’t mind Finn dumping Rachel and getting back with Quinn. There are plenty of guys who have Betty & Veronica syndrome in high school. And frankly, they’re at least showing that Finn’s trying to do the right thing in both- support Rachel as a friend and try to be a good boyfriend to Quinn. I don’t mind the additional characters. Zises is a good foil, and she gives Puck something to do that doesn’t involve splitting up a relationship. Sam… I could do without. (One note about Sam- in Rumours, it came out that Sam’s family is broke and barely scraping by, so he hocked his guitar. What happened to the Justin Beiber Experience? As silly as it was… he was making a lot of money. It seems odd that Sam wouldn’t start it up again to try to help his family)

It honestly seems as though aside from Kurt, Rachel and Finn, the writers really don’t have a clear image of who the characters are. It seems like they’re in such a rush to get the numbers choreographed, recorded and filmed that they’re skipping over the plots – which are just as important.

I’m not giving up on Glee. The episodes that shine, the moments that make me smile are still worth the DVR spot. But it makes me sad that there’s a writer’s room where in the second season, somehow they just aren’t all on the same page with who the characters are.

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