In high school, I took everything way too seriously.
I hadn’t yet been correctly diagnosed with POTS, and all that extra adrenaline and cortisol running through my veins (as a result of not being medically managed) made me incredibly high-strung and (even more) type-A.
For instance, I remember one particular incident in a weekly staff meeting of the high school newspaper, of which I was editor my junior and senior years. My friends who served as the photography team would not stop talking while I was trying to get everyone involved in coming up with ideas about what to write for the next issue. I yelled at them.
Friend 1’s very mature reaction to this was to say, “God! Why do you take everything so <flippin’> seriously?”
To which I replied: “This might just be some dumb school club to you, but this is what I want to do with the rest of my life.”
They shut up for the rest of the meeting, but boy did it get around what a “serious” (here meaning “crazy”) person I was.
It’s amazing that I never ended up with a Slushie to the face.
Glee debuted in 2009, not long after I had finished high school in 2007. I was still reeling from my new POTSie diagnosis (which also debuted in 2009), and was at that yucky stage in the process where you can’t help but fixate on what would have happened if you had only known—and therefore had been able to do something about it—sooner.
Watching Glee, with its merry band of misfit glee club performers, was just what I needed.
The main character, Rachel Berry, is not always an easy character to watch. She takes everything about glee club way too seriously, because to others it might just be some dumb school club, but to her, this is what she wants to do with the rest of her life.
So, you know, I get her.
The Glee club is at the bottom of the social totem pole at the fictional McKinley high school, and as such, they are tortured by the popular kids by being decked in the face with Slushies from the local convenience store. At the beginning, it’s really just Rachel who gets a face full of flavored ice melt. But it doesn’t stop her. She has dreams of Broadway and she is going to get there no matter what!
Rachel, in full-on survivalist mode (so familiar!), is a singular character. She doesn’t have friends. She has ambition.
However, through the Glee club and the magic of television, Rachel eventually evolves into a more well-rounded character, capable of having relationships and learning important life lessons along the road to super stardom. Don’t get me wrong, she never loses her ambition; rather, she just learns that it doesn’t have to be the only thing in her life.
Glee officially ends its run on the FOX network tomorrow night at 8/7c in a 2-hour finale. I’m bummed.
The last few seasons following the death of male lead Corey Monteith (in 2013) were not very good. It feels like the writers lost their direction, and it has spiraled downwards into a vortex of jokes that aren’t really funny and pop culture references that are too obscure to catch half the time. It is time for it to end.
Still, though, for all its faults, Glee really meant something to me. It helped me work out my hanging-on high school angst. It helped me realize that even Rachel Berrys can grow up and be likeable characters without sacrificing their true ambitious selves.
Plus, there was that episode where they all dressed up in Lady Gaga outfits and sang Bad Romance.
Coincidentally, the final episodes of this season have been about Rachel finally (finally!) letting go of high school (she graduated a few seasons ago, but came back to coach the glee club herself after a series of poor choices in New York City). It has really made me think about how much I hold onto as well. High school has a weird way of burning itself into your brain in uncomfortable ways, and even still, I sometimes get what can only be described as trippy flashbacks. I think a lot of people do. (I hope a lot of people do, and it’s not just me…) It makes me slightly nauseous—I mean, nostalgic.
To borrow from another get-over-your-high-school-self heroine, from the movie Never Been Kissed, it’s about time I once and for all declare, “I’m not Josie Grosie anymore!”
But, I think, I will always be just a little bit of a Rachel Berry. ❤
If you are a Gleek! like me, are you bummed that the show is ending? What was your favorite episode?
Never watched Glee? If you haven’t, go out and watch Season 1 on Netflix, right now- it’s wonderful. Season 2 is pretty good too. After that though, I forgive you for letting it go.