Pop Culture / What I Think

Why ‘Glee’ Mattered

GLEE____This_Time___Full_Performance__-_YouTube

While I haven’t watched since the first three seasons, ‘Glee’ officially ends its run tonight.

After six seasons, the show says good-bye in a special two-hour event. When the show first premiered, it changed television. The format was fresh and the talent strong – I could even stand Lea Michele back then. We found Finn foxy and watched Kurt blossom as gay youth do.

glee-last-song

But what made the show so special was that it brought LGBTQ issues to the mainstream. The religious right has hated the show due to the attention it has given to bullying, same-sex relationships, physical disabilities, transgender issues and all-around relevant topics that we have faced in the 2010s. It exposed America to the hate and discrimination that all of us in the LGBTQ community have faced. Cory Monteith‘s death from a drug overdose reminded us that what we see on the surface may not represent the demons who lie underneath.

It revived the Journey song ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ as too many groups to count lip synced and copied the ‘Glee’ version of the song (and its choreography). When I saw ‘Rock of Ages’ on Broadway, the closing number was that song. While likely a coincidence, the ROA cast did not do justice to the song. After all, it had a larger audience on ‘Glee.’ The show covered songs from the childhood of every living generation. I don’t think I had listened to Paul Anka’s ‘We’re Having a Baby’ until Finn sang it in season 2 since it came out in the 1970s.

‘Glee’ seemed to spawn movies like ‘Pitch Perfect,’ and likely led to revival of high school glee clubs everywhere.

Tonight, the show is over. And it mattered.

As we walk down memory lane, here is the first musical number (‘Don’t Stop Believing’) and the last – Lea performing a ballad written by castmate Darren Criss.

Will you be watching?


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