If the Glee phenomenon has so far passed you by, you must have been stuck on an oil tanker in the Gulf of Aden. After a smash-hit first series, the musical comedy show is back next month with a second helping of singing cheerleaders, dance routines and socially awkward teenagers fuelled by the American Dream (and plenty of slushies).
It’s predictable, easily digestible and, just like Big Brother or Facebook (which your academic core also tries to resist), it manages to worm its way firmly into your life whether you like it or not. Resistance is futile. Watch a couple of episodes and you’ll be exposing that inner hairbrush songster before you know it.
It’s fair to say Glee has conquered the mainstream while also acquiring a cult following (they call themselves ‘Gleeks’), and has picked up a ridiculously large stream of celebrity endorsees including Lady Gaga, Kanye West, Coldplay, The Rolling Stones and Madonna, who have offered their music for use on the show.
‘The Golden Globes were probably the first time we realised it was something more,’ says Jenna Ushkowitz, who plays rock chick Tina (the one who fakes a stutter for the first nine episodes). ‘To be only 13 episodes in and win a Golden Globe is an incredible honour.’
The first show of the new season opens with an audition for newbies, introducing more high-school ‘losers’ to the all-singing, all-dancing club, and through them highlighting inequalities in the American system. ‘It’s very realistic, but I think [the show] is intensified,’ says Amber Riley, aka the voluptuous Mercedes; in season one, she’s the central character in an episode focusing on self-image. ‘It’s about being at home with your body and at home with yourself,’ Amber tells us. ‘It definitely reflects society in every aspect.’ Each character acts as a voice for a new topic. ‘I’ve had a lot of messages from families and kids out there watching Kurt,’ says actor Chris Colfer, who plays the fashion-obsessed teenager who came out in series one. ‘[People in the same situation have said] it has helped my family accept me.’
While the show relays serious messages, the emphasis is on fun, comedy and dancing around your living room, and is set to remain so for season two. ‘It’s sweet: it’s not saccharine, it’s not cheesy, but it’s true,’ says Cory Monteith, who plays heartthrob Finn. ‘There’s something real about all these situations, all the storylines, all the plot points that people can relate to in their real lives, in their daily lives. It’s a musical comedy satire rooted in truth.’
Glee season two begins on November 6 at 8pm on America Plus. Subsequent episodes will air every Saturday at 8pm
A few of the rumours we’ve heard about the new series
Season two is allegedly Britney Spears mayhem, with a full episode devoted to the pop queen (and a guest appearance), and the cast reenacting versions of ‘Toxic’, ‘Hit me Baby One More Time’ and ‘Stronger’. There’s also a rumour of Susan Boyle, Gwyneth Paltrow and Justin Timberlake as guest stars, a Rocky Horror Show episode, and the ever-popular duets episode (this time with ‘River Deep – Mountain High’ by Tina Turner). It’s only the start of the second season and there’s already talk of a possible 3D feature film. Soon there’ll be Glee dolls, Glee video games and, no doubt, Glee rehab clinics…
Glee in figures
42 to 45
Length (in minutes) of each episode
Cost per episode
Number of writers
Number of regular characters (to date)
Awards and nominations (to date)