Glee: Here Comes The Backlash…!
I have a feeling the makers of Glee must be feeling pretty darn happy with themselves right about now.
They’ve got the hottest freshman series of the year. Ratings are higher than ever. The singles and albums are regular fixtures in the top 10 charts. The show is an international phenomenon (my Brit friends love it!). There’s a successful stage show on the way. And the show is a clear front-runner for September’s Emmys. Golden days right?
Well yes and no. You see the Glee cast and producers should absolutely enjoy this moment and bask in their success. But they should also be careful. Because an inevitable backlash is coming… and how they handle the coming months will decide whether Glee remains a network fixture for much of the decade, or disappears in a short lived blaze of glory.
It’s happened to virtually every hot-out-of-the-box show before. Remember the fantastic first season of Desperate Housewives. The show was unstoppable. And then there was the Vanity Fair catfight, the lukewarm response to Season 2 and poor Alfre Woodard (she deserved so much better). Ditto Lost. Season 1 could do no wrong – and ended with the tantalizing introduction of the Hatch. Then 10 eps into the second series millions of us tuned out, convinced the shows makers had no grand plan and frustrated by what had become deathly dull pacing. Ugly Betty, ABC’s Thursday night hit, soon became too campy and outrageous for mainstream America. And of course Heroes – which 4 years ago was a media phenomenon and died a sad and lonely death just this week.
Lots of lessons to learn here and if the makers of Glee look carefully the signs of a growing backlash are already building. The ‘Newsweek gay actors article’ showed just how talked about the show has become, but am I the only one finding show creator Ryan Murphy’s reaction a tad pompous and holier than thou?
Then there’s the behavior of the cast. Lea Michelle made headlines after acting like a diva at the Time 100 awards. Matthew Morrison has been fighting rumors of on set affairs and disparaging comments he allegedly made regarding a possible Britney Spears episode. Everyone is apparently tired and burned out. And key critics and even other TV shows are starting to take pot shots at the show’s success (witness the recent edition of Community in which Joel McHale et al excitedly attacked the college Glee club).
For me these are all signs of a growing Glee backlash and worth taking seriously. If the stories become bigger than the show itself it’ll feel like we live in an all-Glee-all-the-time world! And trust me – ratings will fall.
But it’s not inevitable. Here’s 5 simple preventative measures I’d suggest the Glee producers enact straight away. You see – I got your backs!
Keep The Key Creatives. Tempting as it might seem, now is not the time for the key creatives behind Glee to pursue other projects. When Marc Cherry took his eye of Desperate Housewives the show lost its must-see status. Ditto Heroes. Fastest way for Glee to fail is for the people who made the show a success in the first place to take on other projects too quickly. So, Fox, whatever you’re paying Ryan Murphy and co, double it and lock them to their desks! Now!
Dial Down The Diva-ness. Lea Michelle may play a diva on screen – but no one wants to put up with one on set. Lea smartly did damage control on the Time story super fast – but beware – the press is going to be looking for more and more examples of bad behavior in the months to come – so don’t give them any ammunition.
The Desperate Housewives got their acts together pretty fast after season one’s shenanigans. Ditto the Sex and the City girls – despite all the rumors of on set rancor no proof had ever been produced. If the Glee cast are smart they’ll make sure the show remains the story – not behind the scenes antics – because if tabloid exposure gets too much, trust me, people will turn off. Seeing Glee on every magazine and tabloid cover week in week out – will hurt ratings. Guaranteed.
Listen To The Critics. I’m a big Glee fan but as my weekly Quick Takes illustrate I’ve got a lot of problems with the show – as do many other critics. Fact is, the show is good – but it can be a real mess at times – inconsistent storytelling, too large a cast, shoehorned in songs and plot repetition. In Season 2 people are going to pull the show apart even more. So LISTEN to what people are saying and make improvements now. Desperate Housewives smartly did, and came back with a sensational season three. Look and learn!
Stop Selling. It must be tempting for Fox to want to plaster the Glee cast on every product possible and release as many records as possible. In a word don’t. This season alone will have yielded 4 cast albums, and over 100 singles. Wow! That’s even more prolific than Lady Gaga!
But for every great track the Glee cast release (for example Someone To Love or Gives You Hell) there’s whole lot of rubbish too (who really bought Ice Ice Baby and You’re Having My Baby? Own up people). My advice – stop the gimmicky songs, the already over-covered tracks (Heart’s Alone) and the temptation for song stunt specials (Madonna worked well – but Billy Joel and Courtney Love? Really?) And don’t let the tour, the books and the stage shows overwhelm the core product – yet. They can all come down the line… For now, less is more!
Stay Under The Covers. And finally, as tempting as it might be, fight the urge to get the Glee cast on every single magazine cover out there. Now is the time to dial back the press coverage – not encourage it. Rolling Stone and Entertainment Weekly are one thing – but seeing Chris, Amber and Cory on the cover of every tabloid rag is quite another. At the same time limit behind the scenes visits, sneak peeks and storyline secrets. At this point press coverage is guaranteed. No need to encourage it!
So that’s my take on how to keep Glee hot for years to come. I may be a critic but I love the show too – and want to see its continued success… but what do you think? Do you sense a backlash is coming? What advice would you give to ABC and the show’s makers… start sending over those comments now…!
|Print article||This entry was posted by Richard Drew on May 14, 2010 at 10:33 pm, and is filed under COMEDY, OPINION. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.|
about 4 years ago - 1 comment
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You know him best as whiny, wheelchair bound Artie Abrams on Glee (probably my least favorite character on the Fox show)
But you may or may not know that actor Kevin McHale had a whole OTHER musical career before his Glee days.
Kevin used to be part of a boyband called NLT (which stands for Not Like Them) a fairly unsuccessful outfit that also featured the Perez Hilton protege Travis Garland.
NLT released four singles in total and they pretty much all bombed. But the videos still live on online and show a whole other side of McHale that’s pretty much never seen on the Fox high school musical…
Personally I can kind of see why the songs never took off – they’re totally forgettable and generic – and the first video is a pure N*Sync rip off. But what do you think? Bland boy band pop – or do you see something special?
Start weighing in all you Gleeks…!