Ryan Murphy, the creator of “Glee” and “Nip/Tuck” before it, has got to be the gayest guy in television right now. Dude is backseat at a rest stop in the middle of nowheregay. Murphy seems completely incapable of creating a show (or directing a movie; see Running with Scissors) without spraying his gay all over the goddamn place. Look at “Nip/Tuck”: It’s ostensibly a show about plastic surgeons running a partnership rife with family dramas, serial killers, drug abuse, and bizarre procedures. But what it’s really about is Sean and Christian’s sweaty man love for one another. Hell, is there a single main character on that show that hasn’t been involved in a gay relationship of some sort at some point during the show? And as for the new Fox show, “Glee”?
How many ways can I say it, folks: Gay.
And thank the Gay Baby Jesus for it. In a network environment that shits out procedurals and lawyers shows like it’s been eating cops on the cob for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, it’s refreshing to finally watch a show infused with a little gay. Sure, you may find a few shows on network TV with gay characters, but there aren’t any shows on NBC, Fox, CBS, or ABC that are actually gay. It’s a shame, too. Because the world needs more gay, goddamnit. We should all own our gay. Take off your tops and show us your gay! Sit on somebody’s shoulders and throw your gay at the stage. You don’t have to be an uphill gardener to fly your gay flag, people. Fly it proud. Sorry homosexuals, but you guys don’t have the market cornered anymore. There’s enough gay to go around. And just because some of us prefer a nice pair of breasts and the soft touch of a woman doesn’t mean we can’t be a little gay. Gayness is not just a sexual orientation. Gayness, like Whiteness, doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with one’s love of penis. It’s a state of mind, folks. Ironically, being gay is about removing that dick from your ass and loosening up a bit; it’s about getting some enjoyment out of things that aren’t football or geek-related. It’s about appreciating the beauty of life, diving into it, and grabbing it by its balls. It’s about flair. And drama. And overreacting. And hating yourself just a little bit afterward.
And it’s about the fucking Glee Club performing the most heart-stopping version of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” that you have ever heard.
If you passed up on the opportunity to see Fox’s new show, “Glee,” last night just because you knew what it was about (a high school Glee Club) or because it came on after “American Idol” (who can blame you?), then you missed one of the best hour-long drama pilots since “Friday Night Lights,” (another irony: “FNL” is a macho tearjerker, the perfect show for straight men who want to let out a little of that repressed gay building up inside). But don’t worry — the next episode of the show won’t air again until the Fall, so you have all summer to catch the pilot online. And you should. Because, it’s association with the Fox network notwithstanding, it’s a great goddamn show.
Set in Midwestern Ohio, “Glee” stars the fauxmo Broadway star, Matthew Morrison, who plays the winsome Will Shuester, a dedicated and devoted teacher and a former member of a high-school glee club national championship team who wants nothing more than to resurrect the crumbling school’s performance choir, a landfill for rejects, losers, and dorks. The catch? Belonging to the Glee Club means immediate ostracization, which makes it difficult to Will to recruit any talent. Also, all of the school’s attention (and budget) is dedicated to the football and cheerleading squads, hog-tying Will’s hands behind his back, ball-gag firmly in place (Medieval gay. Love it!). Will does manage, however, through some clever blackmail to coerce the high-school quarterback, Finn, to join Glee Club, where he discovers the gay boy deep down inside. The glee club also features Rachel (another Broadway star, Lea Michele), the most talented of the bunch, the product of two (gay) dads and a turkey baster, but who spends too much of her time trying to find stardom on her Myspace page. There’s also the teenage soul singer, the homosexual kid with a hell of a falsetto, and even the show’s Martha Dumptruck, a nerdy McLovin in a wheelchair.
There’s also some teacher politics involved — Jane Lynch is the hilariously acid-tongued, ball-busting cheerleading coach (essentially, reprising her role from Role Models), and a cleanliness obsessed guidance counselor (Jayma Mays) who has a crush on Will. Will, however, is married to a soul-crushing shrew (Jessalyn Gilsig), who wants him to give up teaching and his low-paying dreams and go into accounting to better support their eventual family and her Pottery Barn habit.
And yes: It does all sound a little cliché — it’s a classic high-school underdog story about rising up above the idiotic caste system and eventually triumphing over the popular kids. But it works. It works because it’s fueled by an amazing level of energy, a wry sense of humor, clever writing, and the occasionally authentic touching moment. “Glee” is full of eccentricities, but it doesn’t belabor them. It’s a solid show built around characters and not situations, bouncing along with verve and raw emotion, rooting itself in well-worn themes, but bringing new life to them. And though it’s about a glee club (one that can rock out with its clam out), it’s mostly about how cool owning your uncoolness can be. Which is to say: It’s gay. And goddamnit: It’s proud of it.
Dustin Rowles is the publisher of Pajiba. You can email him or leave a comment below.