By Brian Yu, 15, Walnut HS
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The first thing I thought when I tuned into Glee (on Hulu) last month was, “Boy, another musical, with kids in high school. Where haven’t I heard that before?” But as it turns out, I was wrong.

I decided to watch an episode of Glee, the hit show from Fox, to dispel the notion that I didn’t know what the hottest thing was since Taylor Lautner took off his shirt in Twilight. I am now gaga for Glee (and not just because of the awesome Lady Gaga episode).

It’s something I can relate to. Some of the characters seem straight out of my high school life, like Finn, the jock who doesn’t quite fit in, and Tina, the stuttering shy goth. Then there are moments when I went through similar experiences, like revenge and retaliation and overcoming odds, and wait to see how the characters react. That coupled with amazing vocals and choreography and sometimes insane costumes are what make the show special. The cast sings everything from Kiss to Billy Joel to Madonna and even Broadway musicals from Wicked to The Wiz. The show has introduced me to music I’ve never heard before, such as Kiss, Van Halen and Bon Jovi.

Glee started off with football player Finn Hudson (Cory Monteith) as the main character and followed his storyline as he transitions from high school jock into glee club (a show choir) member. This is a lame thing to be, hence the L for loser sign in the promos. As the storyline progresses, you see what’s going on in the other characters’ lives. The glee club is headed by teacher Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison) and features all the outcasts (and even some cool kids) of a stereotypical high school, including a goth teen (Jenna Ushkowitz), a paraplegic (Kevin McHale), a diva (Lea Michele), some cheerleaders (intent on sabotaging from within) and a flamboyantly gay male soprano (Chris Colfer). All this is tied nicely together by the primary villain of the show, the sharp-witted cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch).

My favorite character is Sylvester, who is known for such quips as, “I will no longer be carrying around photo ID. Know why? People should know who I am.” Lynch is comfortable playing the villain. She’s kind of like the bad girl champion all grown up. I just can’t wait to see what evil scheme she’ll pull off next. Her tyrannical exterior is made all the more likeable by the fact that she cares for her older sister, Jean, who has down syndrome, which I admire because it shows her character’s depth.

Glee does a great job of dealing with teen issues, from coming out, to achieving one’s dream to an episode about accepting your body image. The story becomes complicated by gay crushes, a pregnancy, romance, and the politics between Will and Sue. In one episode Mercedes (Amber Riley) struggles with trying to meet the weight requirements of being a cheerleader and begins to starve herself. She is saved by Quinn (Dianna Agron), the hot cheerleader who went through similar experiences. Quinn tells her to just be happy with herself. To me that episode was sincere because it showed Quinn wasn’t perfect either. I had many friends, both guys and girls, who were unhappy with their weight, even though there wasn’t anything wrong with the way they looked. The characters break out into song several times throughout an episode. Songs such as “Beautiful “and “Home” are often a way to deal with those issues.

Glee is sometimes predictable, in the sense that once the problem is introduced you can more or less figure out how the ending is going to turn out. The vocals though, make up for it. Their singing blows the roof off. Each character is capable of performing a solo, although I really do think they should stay away from rapping (Finn and Puck looked like zombies when they rapped in “Funk”). I was sad when the producers had Rachel flub “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus because of laryngitis. Despite not being a huge fan of Miley, I kind of liked the song and would have loved to see Lea perform it.

Although there are a few instances where the lip-synching is off (the actors sing in a recording studio), that doesn’t detract from the show. The show is at times a bit risqué with hints of sex and raunchy musical numbers (“Push It” and “Tell Me Something Good”) in a few of the episodes. To me it doesn’t really achieve anything and the show is fine without it.

My favorite episode is when the cast members dressed up in full Lady Gaga costumes and performed “Bad Romance” and in normal clothes managed to still be amazing in “Poker Face.” It completely brought out the essence of Gaga, the importance of being unique and creative. That episode featured some of her amazing costumes, from the bubble dress to the black triangle shield skirt; even the guys wore some of the costumes. Another favorite of mine was “Dream On,” which featured Neil Patrick Harris. I thought it had a good message of following your dreams.

If you haven’t catched Glee yet I highly urge you to catch up with it on Hulu. “Don’t stop believing” in the power of Glee and tune in next season for more songs, dances and Sue Sylvester.