Press Kits Unwrapped: Glee
by Allison Waldman, posted May 18th 2009 4:25PM
When you write about the television business, one of the little perks is receiving the press kit for a new or returning program. Occasionally, some little trinket will be included -- Kona got a whistle for Sit Down, Shut Up, there was a tee-shirt with My Boys -- but for the most part, the thing you remember about a press kit ultimately is the show.
When the press kit for Glee arrived, it made me laugh. The package was like a long, CD box (remember those?), all in red and looking like a typical high school locker. It even had a combination lock, which gave me the willies as I recalled the apprehension I had that first day in school when I wasn't sure I'd remember the combination in time to make it to home room! There was also a small mirror on the left side -- which I guess qualifies as a trinket -- and it caught my smile in its reflection.
I was smiling because when I opened the "locker," there was a speaker inside like you find in some greeting cards. This one didn't play "Blue Suede Shoes" or "White Christmas." It was the wonderful Jane Lynch's voice, and as her character on the show -- cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester -- explaining how things work in high school to the new head of the Glee Club, Spanish teacher Will Schuester:
"High school is a caste system. Your jocks and popular kid, up in the penthouse."
"And where do the glee kids lie?"
Fox's new musical comedy with drama set in high school that creator Ryan Murphy (Nip/Tuck) describes as a hybrid is a special show. It's really, really good, and it will be the talk of next season when it takes it's place in the Fox line up.
Right now it'll be previewing after Tuesday night's American Idol finale (part one). That's correct, a lone episode preview in May for a show that doesn't begin regular airing till the fall. It's an unusual marketing ploy, but Fox has succeeded before doing stuff like this. One year they put the DVD pilot of House, M.D. as an insert in magazines, and look how well that turned out.
Back to the press kit, I loved the locker, as well as the sign-up sheet as if I were going to join New Directions -- Will's new name for Glee Club -- myself. Overall, though, my favorite part was the DVD. The preview of the musical is very much a total entertainment -- songs, dance, comedy, drama. There were also interviews with the cast, introductions to the new, fresh face young stars who had been chosen in an American Idol type of audition process from coast to coast, and a talk with Ryan Murphy about how he came up with Glee.
The bottom line with press kits, of course, is to make you want to write about the show and hype it for the network. Fox has really succeeded with this one. Watch Glee, people, you'll be glad you did.