Those who have been reading the blog for at least awhile should remember I have talked about "Glee" before, around the end of its last season (although episodes air in such random spurts with long breaks it can be hard to know what season we technically are in now). I have not yet talked about but also regularly watch "Hardcore Pawn", which seems to have a season finale followed a season premiere with a month of each other so that's another one I cannot say for sure what season we are in. Both shows have fun moments, dramatic bits of yelling, and both tend to go a little over-the-top. With "Glee" I'll discuss my thoughts on this new season in general while also sharing my opinion on the, "Shooting Star" episode because everyone else is too. "Hardcore Pawn" has so many episodes that just sort of blend into one immense tale I'll give my thoughts about the series so far as a whole. Let's get this show on the road then!
Glee Season 4 (apparently) and the "Shooting Star" Episode
Ever since the other students graduated/left the school at the end of last season I was truly excited by the prospect of getting new students and never seeing the character of Rachel Berry again. Sadly, of all the "graduated" characters the show chose to follow closely, Lea Michele's got the screen-time. One consolation is we still get to see Kurt, and eventually during the season Finn showed up. Still, while we have some old characters still around such as Tina (who cares?) and Brittany (meh) it is the new cast members who've truly kept me from giving up on the show.
|Just. Go. Away.
Then the new students came in such as Marley (a sweet kid), Jake (a half-brother of Puckerman who is just as hot-headed but has a kind heart), Kitty (a huge bitch), and my personal favorite, Ryder (more on him in a minute). These new characters not only were interesting, but unlike some of the duller and older members of "Glee" this batch of folk feel fresh. We've never seen them, they have new problems, new dreams, and don't just whine all the time like Tina. Plus, dear God can they act.
Everyone on Glee sings great, but while all are fine actors only a few have ever made me really "feel" when watching the show. Season 3's finale where Finn sends Rachel to New York? I actually really felt the sadness and despair Finn was showing even if I despise his love interest. That episode where Kurt and Blaine break-up? My heart was giving me the same sensation those characters felt. When certain people on the show are given a chance sometimes they really shine in regards to their acting. That makes it all the more of a wonderful surprise how well the new "students" do at making me care about them. Marley has had a rough life but is such a wonderful person, Jake isn't sure where he fits in but is making his way in the world, and Ryder, man is he awesome.
|Best new character on the show, no question.
All the numerous plots and characters "Glee" constantly juggles make for a very busy show. This made it all the more jarring when everything seemed to screech to a halt in the sudden swerve the show took last episode. Everything was going like a normal "Glee" episode with jokes, drama, et al. Then suddenly out of nowhere shots ring out and shit gets real. I didn't have any clue this was going to be a "school shooting" episode of "Glee" but that little disclaimer about how the episode dealt with school violence at the beginning should have tipped me off.
Once the shots ring out, lights are turned off, and everyone hides, the show turns from a dramedy to feeling like a horror flick. The super-serious nature of the characters crying in fear truly put my girlfriend and I on the edge of our seats. Then "Glee" decides to have its cake and not only eat it too, but just straight cop-out. We learn there was no school-shooter, it was an accident that happened when one of Sue Sylvester's students brought a gun to school and accidentally fired it--with Jane Lynch's character covering for them. Really? I mean REALLY? You want to impart a message to us about school violence, "Glee," but don't even have the balls to actually have there be an incident of actual school violence? Again, having its cake and eating it too.
|The all-time best character thanks to the amazing Jane Lynch; you deserved a better exit!
"Shooting Star" is a perfect illustration of why I both really enjoy and also sometimes just hate "Glee". For every moment of great acting there is a crappy song. For every important message there is a silly plot development. It is like the show takes two steps forward and one step back. Cast members actually graduate and leave the show--two steps forward, but then a bunch of them are still on the show--one step back. The episode brings up the very real issue of school violence--two steps forward, but chooses to make it little more than cheap plot device instead of encouraging conversation or imparting much of a message--one step back, and it goes on like this forever.
|Flaws and all, you're still pretty snazzy, "Glee".
"Glee" is a good show, I just wish when it had the chance to be even better it would take advantage of such opportunities instead of acting wimpy and reliant on old ways. I'm still going to be watching, but mainly because I love the new characters and crave those occasional moments "Glee" really makes me feel something. The singing and majority of plots I could take or leave.
"Shooting Star": 2.5 out of 5 stars.
"Glee" Season 4 in General (so far): 4 out of 5 stars.
When it is on: 9PM Eastern, on Thursdays
Hardcore Pawn AKA A Modern Greek Tragedy for Our Times
"Hardcore Pawn" is about one man trying valiantly to keep his stores successsfull despite his children doing more harm than good, his employees being terrible at their jobs (or just flat-out robbing him), and his customers seeming to often come in with a chip on their shoulder that they feel can only be dealt with by yelling insults at the top of their lungs until they are escorted from the store. Les is basically Caesar in Shakespeare's play and everyone else is all the folk who stabbed Caesar.
|Et tu, Seth?
"Hardcore Pawn" is always fun to watch. Seeing Les try as hard as he can to keep things going smoothly is both sad to witness and makes for engaging television. Tru TV has made another pawn show called "Hardcore Pawn: Chicago" and despite it being somewhat fun and having idiot customers, it is missing something. That something is the chemistry the Gold family brings to the screen when we see them in their store and how we always are sitting there rooting for Les even when everything goes wrong. "Hardcore Pawn" is a one-of-a-kind gem in the wasteland that is reality television, and if you haven't seen it I encourage you to do so. That way you too can see this real-life play that is all at once full of hilarity, rage, and weird knick-knacks.
Series as a whole so far: 4.5 out of 5 stars.
When it is on: 9PM Eastern, basically every Tuesday.
When I sat down to write this I thought I would just post some quick thoughts on "Glee" and "Hardcore Pawn". Clearly, I had more to say about the shows than I initially thought I did. However, whether you watch "Glee", "Hardcore Pawn", both of them, or neither, the important thing is that each of the shows are full of interesting people (both real and fictional) with captivating stories--and isn't watching the stories we love what television is truly about? Well, that and selling us useless junk during late-night infomercials? Yes, yes it is.