Typically with these “What I Watched (or Read)” posts, I write about the writing lessons I learned watching a particular television show, movie or reading a book. In the case of the well publicized MJ episode of Glee, it was about more than writing lessons, there were life lessons to be learned as well.
If you’ve been a faithful three season follower of Glee, you know that a big part of the show is the large dreams these kids have. They want to stand tall in the spotlight. They want to be recognized as talented. (For me, this is part of what makes it so relate-able.)
However, they are not sitting around daydreaming about the bright lights and big city, they are working the tails off. Whether it’s to make it to or even win a national competition or (the big topic of this year’s season) getting into a good college, They’re fighting hard to achieve what they want.
High School Sucks.
I wish there was a nicer way to say that, but there isn’t. The very same four years that young people are expected to lay the foundation for the rest of their life they are going through the extreme hormone rushes of puberty and their body is changing shape and form at lightening speed. And if you think the interpersonal relationships are the same as when we were there, you’d be wrong. Bullying is worse. Violence is even more common place. And labeling someone an outcast has become an easier (and more torturous thing to endure) thanks to social media.
Good music and good story can coexist in the same episode.
The idea of doing an episode that features the music of one musician is not new for Glee. In fact, most of the second season was centered around these theme episodes. However, in season two I noticed there was a rule of thumb to the episodes. They either had great music or great story. The two just couldn’t seem to meld right. This streak was not broken, but shattered with the MJ episode.
It would have been hard for cast and crew to strike out when there were so many iconic songs to choose from, but the storyline of the episode, which fit and advanced the storyline of the season resonated with the music, and then to top it off with making a few well placed nods to the king of pop (see picture above referencing “Bad” and the dance-off between New Directions and The Warblers.) were brilliant.
And the final lesson is “Black and White.”
The more we are different, the more we are the same. As the final tribute of the episode declared loud and clear. It was a wake up call to treat others with respect and kindness, and to look at the human condition as opposed to winning at all costs. Most of all, it was presented brilliantly. If you haven’t seen it yet. Take a look:
Glee: Michael Jackson episode — Black and White (Full Video)