It's official: The end of an era is nigh. Glee returns for its final season January 9, and yes, that's a Friday. The fact that Fox has decided to air Glee on Fridays seems a bit like a bad omen, as Friday programming for people over the age of 12 has never been known for its must-see qualities. But I'm hoping it means Ryan Murphy & Co. are putting Glee in a spot where it has nothing to lose... where they don't have to worry about pleasing so many people, and the juggling of unfulfilling storylines that dragged the series (and the ratings) down in the last three seasons. Because even the biggest Glee fan can tell you that they're coming back to Season 6 with more of a sense of duty than a sense of hope for a return to form.
But still, we want good things for Glee. We want a Glee that we remember (and probably idealize), and that's why we're sticking around for a sixth season. I personally thought Glee produced some of its better episodes in the last three seasons while full-time in New York, but I also didn't love most of the overarching plot developments created there. Mercedes and Sam fall in love in a week? OK. Kurt and Blaine are each other's own OTP, but kind of seem like they hate each other? That's life, I guess. But if you think I will ever get over Rachel achieving her dream and then deciding she had a different dream and turning her back on all of her responsibilities, and an entire Broadway cast and crew, I will absolutely will not.
I will, however, take it as a slight consolation, that her return to McKinley High after a six month time jump into Season 6 serves surely means her miserable failure in L.A. There are also a few other things I'd like to request for a short, sweet, and of course, sassy final Glee season.
Cut the Crap, Berry
Rachel has never been the easiest to like, but she was always a character to root for, because she rooted so hard for herself. For her to achieve her Broadway dream, and then throw it all away — she quite literally turned her back on Broadway — felt a but like a slap in the face to all of the fans who has been rooting for her. It's totally understandable to reach a goal and then find out it wasn't exactly what you expected; but giving up and quitting a Broadway show felt like a whole new level of selfish, even for Rachel Berry. In Season 6, I'm hoping for a Rachel Berry who's been humbled. The move to have her take over the Glee teaching wheel at McKinley feels like a strong one to create a marriage between the ambitious Rachel we've always known and the one who will surely feel like her entire life is crashing in around her. Now is the perfect time for Ms. Berry to take pride in others' work as much as her own.
Keep the Storylines Tight
And this is where we come to the new kids of McKinley High that we've been promised by Ryan Murphy. Many of Glee's problems came with the influx of new high school characters, but those problems can't exactly be blamed on those characters. It was more splitting the time between New York and McKinley that spread storylines, and therefore character development, thin. From the new kids, I'm hoping for engaging actors and clearly defined characters who can easily work into plot points with the original cast: New Directions coach, Rachel; Warblers coach, Blaine; and Vocal Adrenaline (traitor) coach, Will. The previously released character descriptions for the new New Directions — chubby underdog with a voice like Otis Redding, "post-Glee-gay" football stud, female Warbler reject, hyper-positive male and female Cheerio twins — and the recent casting of endearing YouTube star, Noah Guthrie, all sound pretty positive.
Less Romance, More Music
And let's not just worry about where these kids came from; let's just get them in there and get them singing and dancing. For example, everyone had major heart eyes for Mike Chang before the kids ever even uttered a line. I swear, if I see one new kid love triangle...
Back to Basics
Because the heart of Glee is its music, and at the heart of its music, are the underdogs who sing it. Many of the original cast members will be returning to Season 6 in an uncomfortable point in their lives and that's a good thing. Success did not treat Rachel Berry well, or rather, Rachel Berry did not treat success well. But she can get past that. A detour to Lima to show some new kids how to use mashups and power ballads to grow as people might be just what she (and Blaine) need to stop being so terrible. Which brings me to my next point...
Feature the Characters' good sides
Glee never stopped being funny, and never stopped having great music, but it did start a pretty bad habit of making its characters intolerably awful, making them angel-saints for an episode, and then having them go back to slapping each other (literally) again. It's time to bring some consistency back to Rachel, Kurt, and the gang, and with only 11 episodes left, why not make them consistently good? This sixth season is happening because, after a of ups and downs, Glee fans need a happy ending. Let's see just enough conflict to promote character growth, and other than that: rainbows, butterflies, life's candy, and the sun's a ball of butter.
You know what? Thinking about all of the opportunity for this final little season has gotten me really excited about it. Make us proud, Glee!
Images: Eddy Chen/FOX; giphy (5)