I am an unabashed fan of Glee. The music is mostly good. The acting is mostly acceptable. The show is mostly entertaining. It has, however, gotten much worse over the few seasons that it has been on television.
The pilot episode of Glee is one of the best episodes of television that I have seen. View this clip from the ending (ignore the German) as proof:
The song matches the tone of the episode perfectly. The music is clean. There is no drama! In essence, the music of the episode is what the episode is about. This is the most important factor for consideration. You see, Glee started off as a show about music. Though there was relationship drama in the series from its beginning, it was not focused around it. The show was a show about a musical group and their journey together. We were excited to go to regionals with them! We wanted to see them perform.
As the show progressed, however, it became more about the drama and relationship status of the protagonists than the music. As the latest season draws to a close, the music is barely discussed anymore. Yes, the group is preparing for the national spotlight, but what have the most recent shows been about? Pregnancy. Texting. Drama. Relationships.
Worst of all, Glee has become a show about “issues.” We are constantly barraged with topical issues for the cast of Glee to contend with that have some passing relevance to teen life. These issues have run the gamut from pregnancy, to suicide, to homosexuality, to texting while driving, to sex. Although these topics are all relevant to teens in high school, Glee uses them as cheap tools in order to create a moment of learning for the audience.
The message is transparent. While it is respectable that they are attempting to reach the teen base with a positive message, the creators of Glee have done so at the expense of my viewership, at the least. These issues have created an environment within Glee that turns it into an episodic melodrama, as opposed to a musical saga.