Look, every show starts out with shells of ideas of characters. The jock, the head cheerleader, the gay kid, the dumb blonde, the drill sergeant teacher. Right? And then, through the magic of writing and acting and editing and directing, the types of characters become actual characters. They break out of the tired molds and come to life and they want things and they need things and they fall down and they break apart and they get back up and they learn and they grow and they love and they lose and the fictional bodies they inhabit blossom into authentic, organic, three-dimensional characters that reflect our real-life natures back at us. It’s one of the most beautiful things about stories, how real they can be. And you know when it happens. When you’re watching a new show, you can just feel the moment when characters spring to life and break free.
And the problem with Glee — no, a problem with Glee is that they destroy their characters and their fictional universe on the regular to make the same damn point over and over and over again. These characters aren’t growing, they’re not learning, they’re not living. They’re just puppets that get shoved into the closet between episodes and then trotted back out again as blank slates when it’s time to remind everyone that, “Hey, surprise! It’s OK to be different!” At this point, it’s impossible to even say these characters are acting out of character because every week the writers grab a lesson out of the communal recycling heap and shove it at whoever hasn’t had a solo in a while and call it growth. Who cares if that character learned that lesson in season one! And season two! And season three! They didn’t learn it to the new Adele song!
I’ve never seen a show with a more talented cast and a more passionate fan base, and these writers just squander it, over and over and over.
You know how you can prove the point that transgender teenagers and gay teenagers and teenagers with Down’s Syndrome and teenagers in wheelchairs and poor teenagers and whatever other thing are really just awesome people like all other people and deserve the same amount of love and respect? Show them love and respect! It’s not some kind of revolutionary concept. You want to prove the point that a male-to-female transgender person can play an awesome Rizzo? Just freaking cast her in the part of Rizzo and let her crush it! There! Point proven!
One more thing and I swear I’m going to hush. But it is a gift, as a writer, to be able to create a character or a couple that comes to life. It’s magic. It really is magic. It’s what writers want. It’s what writers strive for. It’s the actual thing that matters. And so when a writer makes that magic and then turns around and goes, “Ugh, why does the audience care so much? It’s fiction,” it is the most insulting and disingenuous thing, and it really gets my goat.