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Why “Glee” Works And Others Don’t

As I watched the final notes of the last episode in the premiere season of Fox’s “Glee” I was reminded why it’s a great show. The week that followed the fall finale, saw NBC launch a show called “The Sing Off.” By their account, the show is part “American Idol” and part “Glee,” ironically both Fox shows.
With Nick Lachey on the stage as the host I realized why this show would fail and what we loved so much about “Glee.” Built on much more than music, “Glee” has sucked America in, winning them over on the stories these characters are involved in. The music is simply the way they express their feelings.

The entire idea of singing is that characters can express exactly what they wish to express. Without the story in “Glee” there would be no reason to care. Of course, the stories in the show are simple, and extremely predictable. We all new after two episodes that Will Schuester would leave his wife and fall for Emma Pillsbury. We knew that once Quinn’s baby wasn’t Finn’s that he would leave her.

No one will take issue with the simplistic stories because at the end of the day the music is what keeps us coming back. I am not ashamed to admit that I have gotten goosebumps repeadidly during the various songs performed by the group. Particularly during songs like “My Life Would Suck Without You,” “Defying Gravity” and “Keep Holding On.” Each of these songs struck a certain emotional chord in my body and caused the reaction. The great part is each fan was probably touched by a different moment.
What made these songs touch America in such a deep way was the story. Although many people say it is weak, it is what makes the songs mean something. “My Life Would Suck Without You,” the final song of the fall, wouldn’t of meant as much if we weren’t already set up with Schuester not being at sectionals. “Keep Holding On” wouldn’t be as significant if it wasn’t for the relationship between Quinn, Finn and Rachel.

This is what shows like “The Sing Off” will miss out on. No matter how many people watch, the audience will never make the same emotional connection because there is no reason to. The story story is what makes you care about the characters and in turn keeps you coming back to watch week after week and seeking out the songs on iTunes.

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