Glee

Rocky Horror = Glee Fail

In l978, when I was about seven years old, my older sister took me to The Rocky Horror Picture Show. She was supposed to be babysitting me at home, but decided to sneak out with her friends to see Rocky Horror at The Village Gate Theater in Greenwich Village, without permission.

I had no idea what I was going to see. I heard Rocky Horror and I was worried it would be a scary film. What did I know? I was seven. I don’t even know if kids were allowed inside that night. But we slipped in with the crowd anyway and no one said a word.

I honestly didn’t remember much about the film itself, because the audience keep me more than entertained. At that time, people dressed in character to see Rocky Horror, and they took it very seriously. And when the film started and everyone in the audience spoke along with the actors in the film, I was mesmerized. They sang the songs, they threw water, they lit candles and cigarette lighters during certain scenes. By the time we left, I was soaked and covered with popcorn.

Of course when my mother found out my sister had taken me there, my sister was seriously grounded. I didn’t understand why, though. To this day, I don’t remember anything obscene about the film. Different, yes. But not obscene. And I don’t think it affected me much one way or the other, except for the fact that it was the first time I saw a transvestite in a movie. And, I haven’t seen many transvestites in movies since then.

So when I heard Glee was doing a Rocky Horror show, I couldn’t wait to see it. As usual, the performances were great. I’m never disappointed in how Glee puts it all together. But I was disappointed when no one wanted to play the part of the transvestite. I would have thought the part, though a bit cliche for him, would have been perfect for Curt. And being that his character is so open and political about standing up for what he believes in, I would have thought he’d jump at a chance to play one of the most famous transvestites in the history of film. But he declined, with what I thought was a lame excuse. And then everyone else declined, including John Stamos, which didn’t surprise me at all. He’s too macho; he’s too cool (smile). Only he’s not too cool to wear a transvestite costume in the privacy of his own bedroom. What was that all about?

Ultimately, when the girl (can’t remember her name) asked to play the part of the transvestite, I felt like switching to another channel. I know they handled it well, and played upon our emotions by giving her the part because she’d always wanted to play a lead role. But it was more than disappointing, especially for a show that always seems to be on top of their game when it comes to the LGBT community. But this time I felt manipulated, as if they were trying to pull something over on me. Once again, I felt as if the T in LGBT had been pushed aside. And as a gay man who has never even worn drag for Halloween because I’m so conservative, I think that says something about how the T folks probably felt last night. Let’s face it, any of those talented guys could have played the transvestite. Patrick Swayze did it once, and very well, too. But the Glee guys opted out with some very lame excuses. And even if the kids felt awkward about doing this, the teacher should have stepped up and taken the part himself.

The way they handled whether or not it was even appropriate for high school kids to do Rocky Horror seemed to be valid at first. It was real. But maybe a little too real? Schools in TV shows like Glee are nothing like real schools as far as teachers and administration are concerned. And what people love most is that shows like Glee are so unrealistic and exaggerated. But all that going back and forth about morals and ethics, and then the blond kid says he’s worried about his “nuttage” showing, seemed just as lame as Curt’s excuse for not wanting to be a transvestite.

The hard part, for me, was that the performances were excellent and yet the storyline was so weak. I’m not sure if that was really John Stamos singing, but even he came off looking good, which says a lot. And if they hadn’t been so cowardly with the transvestite part, I wouldn’t even be writing this post and titling it “Gleefail.”

Evidently, I wasn’t the only one who thought this was Gleefail. In this post, someone even goes so far as to say: “But Glee would have trouble addressing this issue (transvestites) without it taking over the show and making it no longer “family fun” or whatever, so it mostly just decides to toss in some jokes about transsexuals and call it a day. It’s more offensive than if the show had simply ignored the whole thing to begin with.”

No More Tim Urban?

Was I shocked last night. Seriously. With about three or four average contestants left on AI, Tim Urban is the one who went home last night? I didn’t think he’d go to the final two (I think Bowersox will win), but I was hoping he’d at least survive the next two or three weeks.

Unfortunately, Tim Urban was one of the few reasons I watched the show this season. The quirky, cheesy Ford commercials they force the contestants to do had reached the level of intolerance for me. And when they sing those awful group songs, I just switch to another channel until they are over. But more than that, the songs these contestants are choosing this year are the worst in the history of the show.

I have a feeling that American Idol has seen better days, and now it’s time for Glee to take over.

What Do Romance Writers Have in Common with the TV Show, Glee?

Absolutely nothing.

Don’t get me wrong. I watch Glee and I enjoy the music. But as far as the storyline goes, I’ve never seen such absolute poetic license in my entire life. The things these TV writers get away with leaves my mouth hanging open.

This past week I worked on edits for a book that’s due to be released before Halloween. It’s an LGBT take on the old book and movie, “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.” The book I’m working on is a contemporary, paranormal romance. The main character is a former child star who moves to Provincetown to start a new life. In the original manuscript, I left his financial status open and ambiguous. He was the star of a successful sitcom; he has plenty of money; he doesn’t have to work. I thought that was enough. But the editor thought it was too ambiguous and I revised this part of the book with more valid details that were believable. The editor was right, and I think the character’s history is more believable now.

This sort of thing happens all the time. When a romance book goes to an editor, everything is triple checked to make sure it’s believable. We take a certain amount of license, but we try hard to get the facts right. We do this for the readers, and we never assume anything.

Last night, during Glee, one of the characters got a job as a school nurse. She never went to nursing school, had never worked near a medical environment, and her general background was in retail. But she got a job, on Glee, as the school nurse. If I were to write this in a romance, the romance reviewers would be off to battle and my blond hair would be flying all over the Internet. But more than that, I can say for sure that no public school system in this country would ever hire a retail clerk, in only one day, as a school nurse. School nurses, especially these days, are vetted and interviewed. And it’s not a simple process.

Now, this character on Glee could have been written into the storyline as a school cafeteria worker, which would have been fine. It would have blended with her past experience and they still could have worked her motives into the plot. It just leaves me wondering if these TV writers are stupid, uninformed, or they just don’t care.

Another one of the many things that make me wonder about Glee, is their approach toward infidelity. If I wrote a romance with blatant infidelity, the readers and reviewers would be ready for battle again. I’ve taken a few chances in the past. I wrote about a character who had affairs while he was on a break with his lover, and I’ve taken flack for it. In a romance book, infidelity in any form is a definite turn off.

But in Glee, they don’t seem to care about infidelity. One single, flaky school teacher is getting seriously involved with a married school teacher, and the writers make the married guy look like a saint. They portray this guy’s wife as a total creep who deserves to be cheated on. And they make the single school teacher appear as a vulnerable, wise angel, with a few unrealistic quirks. The wife really is a creep. But wouldn’t it be nicer if they made the husband realize this and leave the creep before he started to get involved with another school teacher on the sly?

On another level, I’m really tired of seeing school teachers portrayed as these pathetic, downtrodden types. In both Glee and Hung, the writers give the impression that school teachers, in general, are nothing more than poor slobs looking for something better in life. It’s misleading at best. I know a lot of school teachers. A dear friend, Joanne, is a school teacher in a public school in Brooklyn. She and the teachers I know love what they do and they are far from being poor slobs. They aren’t making millions, but they are making decent salaries, with good benefits, in very hard economic times. I know that teachers’ salaries vary in different parts of the country, as do living standards. But I also know that most teachers love and respect what they do.

I’ll still keep watching Glee. Partly for the music, and partly to see how far they will go. I have a feeling that they are going to raise infidelity to a much higher level. Higher than any steamy romance novel ever written.