Ryan Murphy Wants 'Glee' to Return to its Roots, But That's Basically Impossible
The Glee of today may not be the show that we once knew, but Ryan Murphy wants to take the final Glee season back to its roots. In an interview with TVLine, co-creator Murphy talked about the sixth and last season of the hit show, and discussed his desire to have it return to where it began — with better storylines, higher ratings, and critics who actually praised it.
I’m sort of reinvigorated about it. It’s getting back to what I was initially interested in with the show, which was arts in school. The last season is really about the importance of arts education in our high schools.
There's no denying that arts in school is an important topic worth exploring — after all, in the past, Glee has helped get glee clubs recognition. After the show premiered, high schools across the country began adding glee singing classes to schedules, and that's big considering we're in a time that schools generally make cuts to arts programs. Unfortunately, though, I don't think this task of returning the show to its foundation is as easy as Murphy wants it to be.
For one, this is a markedly different show since it premiered. Cory Monteith's tragic and unexpected death changed it a lot — fans may have liked the way the show handled his death, but it feels impossible to take the show back to its roots when Monteith was such a big part of that beginning.
Not to mention how hard an "arts in school" theme is going to be now that Glee has left McKinley High School behind for good. By moving the show from Ohio to New York, Murphy got rid of the biggest way to keep that arts in high school story line available. You could argue that he could play the same theme out with Blaine and Kurt's school NYADA, or Artie's film school, but college is a different playing field than high school; and these characters went to specialized schools for the arts. It's not revolutionary, like they're in state school muddling their way through biology while fitting singing classes in on the side, or something — it's just about art school kids.
While arts in college is still important, at that point a lot of people have already chosen whether or not they want their paths to contain creative outlets. High school is where the arts in school debate remains most important, especially since public high schools tend to have significantly less funding for such activities than universities do.
Yet, Glee has chosen to extract itself from that conversation.
Additionally putting a roadblock in this plan is the fact that Murphy also had Rachel Berry (Lea Michele) drop out of school to instead pursue her career on Broadway — effectively adding one less character that's even in school. In fact, of the characters that made the move to NYC, more than half of them are not in school: Sam, Rachel, Santana, and Mercedes are all exploring their options outside of higher learning. There's nothing wrong with that, of course, but it doesn't exactly make the most compelling case for a return to the roots of an "arts in schools" theme.
But where I'm doubtful, Ryan Murphy seems confident. "I think people will like it," he said of the show's sixth season direction.
We can only hope.
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