January 11th 2010. I turn on the TV and look for something to watch. I am 36 weeks pregnant with my third child and feeling like a whale. I switch to E4 and see a trailer for some show called Glee. It looks good, mind numbing TV that’s fun and easy to watch.
“We saw the pilot before Christmas, don’t you remember?” my husband asks.
No. I’m pregnant. I can barely remember my own name let alone something I watched weeks ago. Anyway. I decide to give it a go.
By the end of the first episode, I am high on excitement and adrenaline as they burst into Don’t Stop Believing. I am rooting for this team of High School underdogs, particularly Rachel and Kurt. I am rewinding back to the start of the episode and setting up a series link to record them all. I am hooked. I am a Gleek.
The next week, I am seated and ready for the episode, just as excited. Start floating the idea of Quinn or Kurt for baby names, am told no. Feel I am maybe developing a bit of a crush on Matthew Morrison. Blame the baby.
The third week, I am cradling my three day old son. I can’t remember the last time I slept properly. The washing is piling high, my children are living off McDonalds or frozen pizza and my hair hasn’t been washed. But Glee is on.
One whole hour of escapism.
And that’s exactly why I love it so much.
This show has captured my heart for four years. I’ve enjoyed other TV shows; I’ve liked, loved, disliked and cried over other fictional characters, but never on this scale. Glee filled something in me that I didn’t know was missing until I found it there. Who doesn’t want their life to be a musical? I do. I’d love to burst into song when real conversation fails me. I’d love to be friends with Santana or Quinn- though in reality I am much more of a Rachel. I’d love to verbally spar with Sue Sylvester, or dance with Mike Chang. And I’d love to be front and centre for Kurt and Blaine’s wedding when it happens.
“Glee, by its very definition, is about opening yourself up to joy.” And boy is it. Sue Sylvester has always been one of my favourite characters; Jane Lynch’s ability to deliver such cutting one liners, and her on screen partnership with Matthew Morrison is hysterical. Becky Jackson also raises a smile “Mind your own gay business, gay Blaine.” Kurt’s sassiness, Rachel’s love of animal print clothing, Santana’s snarky “My breasts ache with rage” and other killer lines and the all round awesomeness that is Principal Figgins, has had my husband and I in stitches on so many occasions. Who can ever forget “Performing tick and also tock, by Keh-dollar sign-Ha.” The songs lift me, and really, genuinely make me feel happy. I own every single track that has ever been featured on the show, and when I hear the originals I am that person who mutters “Glee did it better.” I am also that person who no longer thinks of Teenage Dream as being a Katy Perry track. It belongs to Darren Criss and all other arguments are invalid. When I was lucky enough to see Glee live in 2011, I was stunned into submission when Lea Michele belted Don’t Rain on My Parade. I was already a lover of her voice but wow. Really, just wow.
The relationships- or ships- on Glee have always been a source of much passion, voracity and feeling throughout the Glee fandom. I always had a soft spot for Finchel, thought Fabrevans was cute and rooted for Wemma. But it was the appearance of a dark, curly haired boy in a Dalton uniform that did it for me. Kurt was my favourite character from the very beginning, but the way he came into his own in season two just cemented his place in my heart. I actually cried when Blaine turned around for the first time on that staircase because I just knew it was the start of something good. Klaine captured my heart completely and utterly and ultimately led me from being hooked on Glee, to being an active part of the fandom and joining Twitter and Tumblr. So yes, I blame them completely.
There have been times, like most of season 4, for example, where I’ve come close to quitting. Where the pleasure of watching has given way to pain and so many tears that I’ve wondered if it’s actually all worth it. But ultimately, I can never walk away, and I’d never want to. Glee actually tackles difficult subjects with incredible tact and sensitivity. Kurt’s coming out, the bullying he endured and the beautiful relationship he has with his dad have given me a much greater understanding of a previously unexplored topic for me. The death of Sue’s sister was handled with poise and dignity, and although sometimes a topic of laughter, Emma’s OCD was also dealt with effectively. The tears I have shed over this show have been many and varied. Tears of happiness, tears of anger, tears of sadness and tears of total and utter heartbreak as we all mourned for the passing of Cory Monteith and Finn Hudson on and off screen.
Glee has also given me friendship. Last year saw me travel from home here in the UK to Nashville, Tennessee to meet a very dear friend and together we watched Darren Criss perform live. People said I was crazy. Maybe. But I’d do it all again in a heartbeat. I used to be firmly in the camp of believing that internet friends couldn’t be real friends. I’m not anymore. The friendships I have made through Glee have transcended the boundaries of fangirling over Klaine into a real, tangible relationship and friendships that are every bit as real as those whom I see face to face. We Gleeks are, for the most part, a good, friendly bunch who like to look out for one another. We squeal virtually and loudly when our OTP’s are filming together, or when song spoilers are released. We sigh, roll our eyes and mutter about Glee logic when storylines are suddenly forgotten, but know that the show wouldn’t be the same without that crazy logic. We laugh together and we cry together and we vehemently defend our ships to anyone who will listen- even Ryan Murphy has been on the receiving end. But we are also thankful for all Glee has taught us. Patience, understanding and acceptance. Determination, passion and courage. The ability to dig deep and hang on tight, to know that no matter where we come from we can do it, we can achieve it. The ability to hope and dream and above all to never stop believing.
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