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Glee-ning Writing Lessons From Last Night’s TV

May 19, 2010

Opinions about Glee are sharply divided. Many of the criticisms are understandable, but I remain an unabashed fan. No matter how preposterous, cheesy, or predictable the show gets, it never fails to make me smile. It seemed only natural, then, to find a way to turn my Gleek-y adoration into something (vaguely-loosely-kinda-sorta) related to writing. I’ll do my best to keep this a spoiler-free zone, but there will be vague mentions of last night’s episode, so steer clear if you’re uber-cautious and haven’t seen it yet. (Though, really, if you haven’t seen it yet, what are you doing here? Why aren’t you here?)

This most recent Glee-ful hour, already bound to be squee-worthy courtesy of Joss Whedon’s guest directing stint, was jam-packed with all sorts of other delights. Neil Patrick Harris. Molly Shannon. Idina Menzel. Jonathan Groff. A dance number that simultaneously kicked ass and broke my heart. LES-FREAKIN’-MIS.

Excuse me, I think I’m having heart palpitations.

Ahem. Point being, it was one busy episode — but I never questioned it. The TV Powers That Be just kept piling on the awesome, and I loved every second of it. Perhaps another kind of show would have slowed the pacing, spread out the guest stars, toned down the emotional musical showdowns. But Glee isn’t that kind of show, nor would I ever want it to be.

So what, exactly, is the writing lesson I’m attempting to draw from this? Don’t hold back, especially not in the early stages. Try everything out. Throw in four guest stars, an angry rock duet, and a flash mob — or the equivalent of those things within the context of your writing world. Pile on the awesome. Glee certainly isn’t letting its detractors stomp on its spirit, so why should you let anything or anyone stomp on yours?

And really, what do you have to lose?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 19, 2010 2:42 pm

    True, sometimes you’ll grab your audience just by being different.

    Thanks for sharing this advice – though I probably still won’t watch Glee even if Joss Whedon is guest directing.

    • May 19, 2010 5:09 pm

      I’m not sure different for different’s sake is necessarily a good thing — I was more thinking about not placing arbitrary creative limits on yourself. But there are definitely a multitude of ways to grab an audience. :)

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