Melissa Benoist

I touched on her in my Glee post, since she was in at least one of the first videos of Glee songs I discovered, and was known to me from watching a little Supergirl when it first aired. I’ve started watching that as my next series following Glee.

They really wasted her talent, especially in season 5. You could make a case for the focus being on the original cast as they pursued careers and angst post-McKinley. That case would include a relatively short, discrete run for the show, as happened. You could make an alternate case for there to have been less of that and more focus on the Glee club and the high school hijinks. The latter might not have worked with Sue’s continued appetite for destruction of Glee, and all things arts (perhaps the other political agenda of the show: importance of arts in schools).

At any rate, it struck me when I saw her in Glee that she didn’t look that much like the Melissa playing Supergirl. But then during the course of her time on Glee, you could see her completely disappear into a look. When she played a Spice Girl, for instance, she didn’t look at all like herself. There were some serious acting chops, and malleability of look, along with her amazing singing ability. It was almost a shame she went to something where that saw so much less (albeit some) use. Speaking of Flash, even though I saw him as Flash first, it is so hard now to see Barry Allen without seeing that smarmy asshole Sebastian from Glee. Unlike Melissa, he really doesn’t look different.

Lea Michelle may have a bad reputation, but she sure can sing. It wasn’t misplaced to bring Melissa in as “the new Rachel.” The topper is Melissa having done a great job playing Carole King on Broadway, home of Rachel.

Back to the look thing, it’s worth remembering that on Glee she was playing 16 years old or so, rather than early to mid twenties as Supergirl. Of course she seems different. But that’s helped by versatility.

She did get a great storyline with Jake, arguably an underused character, and one who could have returned even though Marley had good reason to go. This intertwined with a storyline with Ryder, and the competition between them. It’s a shame the latter actor ended up with her in real life and turned out to be… not ideal. Shades of Rachel and Finn being together in real life, until he self-destructed. Kitty got to be evil centered around her, and then reform. Speaking of underused people later, Kitty was one. Glad she did come back.

I’m still baffled by Melissa not returning for the finale. Just for that one bit, the dedication. Other commitments, sure, butthat obstructive? The timing seems wrong for it to have been to avoid being in the same place as Blake Jenner.

Anyway, she is my favorite part of Glee, closely followed by most of Brittany, and then probably Quinn, who is arguably underrated as a singer and who got weirdly left out at times. It was her show, essentially, but I’ll never be that keen on most of Rachel.

I look forward to getting into Supergirl extensively. I don’t remember them well, but so far I am on episodes I watched when it was new.

Glee

I just today finished watching the entire series of Glee, which airs 2009-2015. I had poked it with a stick when it was new, because Jayma Mays was on it and we’d loved her brief appearance on Heroes. I didn’t think to comment about it as I watched, but I could write about my thoughts in encyclopedic length. This means I may or may not post many different times about it, as I did when obsessed with Melody.

How did I get sucked into it after all this time? As I discovered Melody existed by seeing music videos to certain favorite Bee Gees songs and parsing that they were from a movie, I started seeing YouTube videos of songs from Glee. Then there were clips, videos of stats about songs, etc. I had watched Supergirl briefly when it was new, and it was a Huge Big Deal that it starred Melissa (WHO??) Benoist. I believe the specific video that grabbed me was one with her in Glee, doing Tell Him with Heather Morris, as Marley and Brittany. I was aware of Cory Monteith’s death, I may have heard something about what happened with Mark Salling, and I knew Lea Michelle was notorious. I didn’t have any idea of Naya Rivera’s death in 2020 until I started seeing the Glee videos on YouTube and seeing it mentioned in comments.

One of the big things that struck me was the political agenda of the show. It was very much a product of its time, and is a fantastic example of politics being upstream of culture. Even agreeing with the main agenda, if it had been any more in your face, I’m not sure I’d still have liked the show. Universal gay marriage exists, and should exist, but the proponents were rather impatient. It should have seen a legislative approach, while the ultimate resolution was legislated by the Supreme Court. Of course, to me marriage isn’t even a government thing at all, ever, and is a contractual association between any two or more people old and mature enough to understand what they are undertaking. The only reason for it ever to involve the government is that traditional marriage does, and presents a shortcut to legal details that otherwise at best require a jumble of paperwork, and a shortcut to benefits bestowed by the government. Some of the latter is to incentivize the creation of new subjects citizens, which takes you back to the presumption of opposite sex, but hey. Social Security survivor benefits? Marriage. That kind of thing, poof, all made automatic. Since the world is as it is, not as it should be, then it makes sense to have legal same sex marriage.

The funny thing is I got the wife hooked on it and she has actually watched the entire thing twice in the time I watched it once. We both fell in love with Brittany. I can see why they picked her up as a regular due in part to audience reaction.

When I did poke the show when it first came out, I somehow saw enough snippets of it to have seen Acafellas, to have seen an instance of “that’s how Sue sees it,” and to wonder how in the world it was going to work having a kid in a wheelchair doing song and dance numbers.

I could write for hours on every detail, so I need to stop soon. Some of the music… Meh. Good job, not my thing, and that does include some (most?) showtunes and old stuff. I eventually figured out the beloved Defying Gravity must be a song from the newfangled musical based loosely on Wizard of Oz. That I call it newfangled tells you a lot about how I perceive it and when it came to be on my radar. I haven’t looked it up to confirm that, or to find out just how old this “new” musical is. I hated most mashups. Ugh! If they were much more intolerable, I might have abandoned watching. And yes Will Schuester, I am part of the America that hates when you rap. Breaking the fourth wall and being self-referential amused me, as did periodically trying to pretend there was any relationship between the school’s finances and the elaborate productions, and as did the whole “band as furniture” thing.

Season 5 was pretty awful, especially after episode 13. The Quarterback was handled nicely, and I cried less than I’d expected. I probably liked season 4 the best, although I wanted more at the school and less in New York. Season 6 got some mojo back, in no small part due to the incredible new kids and a more mature Kitty. Those guys got such short shrift, but the show would arguably have run longer had Cory not self-destructed, a process that was visible in his appearance late in his run.

I’ve bought some songs from the show. Two feature Marley and Jake. I’d never heard of one, and the other one is a favorite of mine, at least as good as the original, which I also got around to buying. The other is The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, which I liked better than the original, perhaps in part because of my age when it was a hit. Nothing else has grabbed me enough yet. Maybe some of the Christmas music later.

The other character we both particularly love is Burt. He is just the best.

Well, that’s about enough for now.