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'Glee' Podcast

Jill Cowan and Rajesh Srinivasan disagree on the value of 'Glee.'

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Love It:

It is a fundamental truth of the universe that television is the most mindless form of entertainment. Sure, there are exceptions, but there's a reason HBO stands for "Home Box Office." You simply can't hold all TV to the intellectual standards of something like "The Wire," because then what real TV would the world have left? We all need a break from flawless epic-ness eventually.

That's where "Glee" comes in. It is everything television for pure entertainment's sake should be. It's funny and dramatic, without being actually depressing. The cast is hot ... and diverse. It has Jane Lynch. The dialogue isn't perfect, but its funny moments are hilarious, not to mention supremely quotable-which is important for those Facebook-usin' kids today and their post-Hulu-session status updates. And, of course, the best part is the music.

Each episode features fabulous, ridiculous song-and-dance numbers. For people who grew up qualifying their love of musicals with a sheepish "I know it's dorky but ..." this show is a godsend.

"Glee" is like the camp-tastic love child of the village hussy (teen TV dramedy) and the geek next door (musical theater).

Now, that baby is finding its footing in a world that finally recognizes it for who it really is-joy incarnate, tempered with a dash of self-aware irony. With guest appearances from the likes of Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel, "Glee" has taken musical theater nerddom and brought it to the masses.

OK, maybe the various plotlines get a little tenuous, and maybe a few of the musical numbers are a tad forced. But what can I say? "The heart wants what the heart wants," as Sue Sylvester says in a well-placed allusion to Woody Allen. And my heart wants to see football players doing the "Single Ladies" dance.

-Jill Cowan

Hate It:

Maybe I just hold television to too high of a standard. Maybe I shouldn't expect creative plots or innovation from a show like "Glee." And maybe all the show ever aimed to be was "'High School Musical' for adults," as a friend put it.

But I refuse to believe that "Glee" cannot be a better show. Perhaps that's because it showed so much potential at the beginning. Early episodes like "Preggers" proved that "Glee" can be witty, pretty and not totally shitty. Even though the "Single Ladies" segments of that episode were absolutely ridiculous, they were entertaining and amusing. In the latest episode, I had to skip past two of the musical performances because they were so cringe worthy.

Most of the time, the musical segments seem forced. TV writers can't base a show's plot around a set of random musical numbers, because if you do, your show will lack cohesion.

"Glee" writers treat subplots like a spoiled child treats his room full of toys, constantly picking a new favorite only to abandon it for something else a day later. What has Ken been up to in the last two episodes? What about Kurt's relationship with his father? How can the writers seemingly trash the subplot with Sue's sister only to casually bring it up again in the latest episode? I hope that the writers have more faith in their audience's collective memory.

The saving grace is Jane Lynch, who can take awful writing and make something out of it with her deadpan delivery. But a single character shouldn't be the only reason I'm watching a show (unless that show is "House"). The saddest thing is that "Glee" will have a long life, while great works like "Pushing Daisies"-a show with musical numbers which was funnier and smarter than "Glee"-will remain six feet underground.

-Rajesh Srinivasan

Tags: GLEE

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