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'Glee' Rant: Sue Sylvester's Music Video Career Should End Now

by Joel Keller, posted May 5th 2010 6:03PM
Jane Lynch in 'Glee' - 'Bad Reputation'Now that we're four episodes into 'Glee's' return to the airwaves, it seems that its most ardent fans are satisfied with the turn the show's taken since it went on its winter hiatus. More music, more Rachel romance drama, less fake pregnancies, and most of all, more of Sue Sylvester.

I'm all for seeing more of Jane Lynch on the show because ... well, because she's Jane Lynch, that's why. I just don't want to see her singing and dancing every other week.

That hasn't been the case during the last three episodes, though; in two of those episodes, the producers have given large chunks of screen time to full-length, high-concept music video remakes starring Lynch. Two weeks ago, Sue subbed for the Material Girl in 'Vogue,' and yesterday she had a duet with Olivia Newton-John on a redo of ONJ's hit 'Physical.'

That should be plenty for one season, don't you think?

Three reasons why this trend needs to be put to a stop:

1. The videos came too close together. After all the hype and hoopla surrounding Sue as Madonna in 'Vogue' -- FOX was so damned excited about the video that they jumped the gun and showed it a week early, during the 'Glee' spring premiere -- what was the purpose of coming right back two episodes later with another full-length video remake? Couldn't the producers have thought of a better way to utilize ONJ? Or have they decided that one silly, out-of-context musical number after another is what the Gleeks want to see?

I would have had ONJ visit Sue at McKinley High and either teach the Gleeksters the moves from 'You're The One That I Want' from 'Grease' -- over Sue's objections -- or maybe help Sue with the Cheerios in some capacity. Doing yet another video felt repetitive.

2. Videos aren't the best use of Lynch's talents. I'm not saying that Jane Lynch can't sing and dance. I'm just saying that Lynch has done so well on the show because both her dramatic and her comedic acting have made Sue into a multifaceted character, despite moments where it seemed like she was drifting into Snidely Whiplash territory.

Think about some of the quiet moments Sue had with her sister Jean in this very same episode. Here, we saw a vulnerable Sue who wasn't too proud to seek advice from her sister. This is after it was established earlier in the season that Sue treated her sister, who has Down syndrome, with as much or more respect than almost anyone in her life.

Lynch has been able to pull off this deepening of her character and has made it look easy. And, while I don't doubt that she can sing and dance, I'd rather see more character exploration from Sue and Jane than overproduced singing that sounds like it comes from a computer.

3. The show needs to get back to storytelling. It seems like the last three episodes have been a diversion from what the storyline of this second half was supposed to be, namely regionals and the introduction of the dreaded Vocal Adrenaline. We really haven't seen much of them, or Idina Menzel as their feisty coach, so far, have we? It feels like the story part of the show is moving very slowly, and I'm starting to wonder if it's because ten percent or more of the episodes so far have been given over to music videos and other flights of fancy.

I'm curious to hear what the Gleeks -- and non-Gleeks -- out there think. Are Ryan Murphy and company going overboard with the music videos?

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Actually Jane Lynch can sing quite beautifully, I think. In A Mighty Wind, she was the female lead in The New Main Street Singers and then when she sang a capella in 40-year old Virgin, it was very good.

May 06 2010 at 1:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Sure, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Olivia Newton-John, are all easy to translate into Gleek. But, what about more hardcore rock gods? Iggy Pop? Alice Cooper? I'm not saying GLEE will never cover "School's Out for Summer" (there is a season finale coming, right?), but what about full episodes devoted to these guys? Somehow, I don't think they're the right demographic. We come up with some other suggestions that may not make it on GLEE - but the plot possibilities would be amazing: http://thesmogger.com/2010/05/05/glee-in-the-hands-of-a-rock-junkie-what-a-scary-place-weve-foun/

May 06 2010 at 1:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think the auto tune was cranked because it had to be. This show continues to mine new levels of suckitude. First, the songs they've picked have been awful ever since they came back. I'm starting to get the unmistakable scent of Fox executives in the song selection. Contrast the last three weeks with "Gold Digger" "Somebody to Love" or even "Don't Stop Believing" from the early season. I much prefer Quinn hot and mean to pregnant, nice, and boring. They're lost as to what to do with her - one of the breakout stars from the early season. Kurt is annoying annoying annoying. The only improvement I can see at all is the blonde chreerio woman. That girl can dance.

I really want to like this show, but they're making it sooooo hard.

May 06 2010 at 7:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have no idea if Lynch can sing, and that's after seeing the "Physical" video. Her voice had the auto-tune cranked so high it was nothing more than a computer singing. Not on Olivia's voice--she sounded like a human being. I have to assume the auto-tune was on maximum for a reason, though.
And I think they're in danger of over-using Sue Sylvester. She works best in small doses, or as a catalyst for the "plot". As a main character, she's tiring, even humanized with her sister.
Rachel's boyfriend storylines don't make any sense anymore. They're aggressively making me dislike the character.

May 05 2010 at 10:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm tired of the music videos too. It disrupts the storytelling - you know how characters on Glee don't just break into song and dance (like I guess they would on High School Musical)? Well, the music video seems like their way of doing that, but still being able to say "we don't just break into song and dance".

The only time it works is if someone is showing their video to the class (like Rachel did with Run Joey Run). Yes, I get that Kurt, et al., were watching Sue's Physical video and that was part of the storyline, but it just doesn't work for me.

I'm actually tired of Rachel and her romance storylines. For the first part of the series, she was okay (as Suzy Pepper said "mildly attractive and extremely grating". But after the hiatus, I wish Rachel's family would up and move out of Lima forever (and Rachel going with them). That's how annoying I'm finding that character...

May 05 2010 at 10:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I agree. The only reason I let it slide was because of the man candy in the ONJ video.

May 05 2010 at 8:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
King Zilch

Yeah, this came way too quickly after "Vogue." This gimmick needs to be nipped in the bud quick.

There were two things about this specific one that bugged me. First, and I know this is kinda silly, "celebrity" cameos like ONJ could become this show's downfall; it stretches credibility if every reasonably famous singer on earth just happens to show up at this podunk high school.

Second, while Jane Lynch is talented to an almost obscene degree...she's not a singer. I'm assuming that's why she was auto-tuned like the love child of Cher and T-Pain. "Vogue" worked beautifully because the talk-singing style was right in her range, but she doesn't have the, ahem, Vocal Adrenaline to match a songbird like Olivia.

Boy, David Geddes has gotta be having a good day today, eh?

May 05 2010 at 7:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Wow. I guess it's true what they say, everyone IS a critic! I'm a Gleek and I support Sue's video remakes. Seriously, who is being harmed by having the character play against type? Certainly not meeeeeeeeeee!

May 05 2010 at 7:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Don't think you have much to worry about, really. In terms of Sue, I think this will be the last of such videos for a while. Whether they drop the idea of "music video" kind of things all together, I don't know.

May 05 2010 at 6:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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