Not all that gleeful…

I’ll admit, I may have watched a few episodes of Glee over the past few years. I may even admit that I have actually enjoyed some of what I’ve watched. I’ve mentioned on the blog that my oldest goes to an arts high school near where we live, and this particular high school is the same school that Matthew Morrison (Mr. Will Shuester) attended. Matthew is a gracious alumni to the school, and so we’ve checked out the show a few times. It’s a very big deal that one of their alumni has done so well, and the school is very proud. I might even have Matthew’s solo album on hand here as well, because I’m nothing if not supportive of the kids who have gone to my daughter’s school, right?

I’ve been hearing a horrible, nasty rumor for months now that Glee is going to do a Duran Duran song or medley. I won’t lie, shivers went down my spine when I first read the rumor, and no, they weren’t good ones. I felt a terrible sense of foreboding, and so it took deep mental preparation (as well as the preparation of a reasonably large vodka martini) before the show began last night.

For the uninitiated, Glee is about a high school “Show” choir. This isn’t the choir of our generation where kids wear robes and stand on risers as they compete or sing concerts. No, Show Choir is a completely different animal. Show choir is as much about the theatrics as it is the singing – it’s similar to a musical but without dialogue and plenty of dancing. Naturally, the television take is that these kids are supposed to be the nerds of the school, but somehow because they are all together – they transcend the labels that come with participating in such a group, and they seem like the cool kids, even though they still get plenty of “slushie” tossed in their faces by the football team. The premise of the show isn’t horrible, but the execution is downright cheesy, and in my expert opinion as the closet marching band nerd I really am under this “super cool adult blogger” exterior – it’s gotten worse over the years the show has been on the air and at this point is an embarrassment.  The saving grace of the entire show (the ONLY reason to watch at all in my opinion) are the well-executed musical numbers. A select of the performances I’ve seen are outstanding and even go the distance to upgrade the original song to a better level. Most of the numbers are great. Then there are the stinky few that make you wonder why they bothered at all.

So before the show even began last night, I was hearing horrific rumors that the songs they’d chosen were Rio and Hungry Like the Wolf. Of course they’d choose those songs.  To begin with, the entire world is apparently on some sort of mission to make sure a single day never goes by that I don’t hear HLTW. I can be at the grocery store, minding my own business and it’ll come on. I heard it at the gas station the other day as I was filling my tank. The winery I visited over the weekend had it playing outside as I was enjoying a glass of wine with my husband.  I’ll have you all know that song even played when I was giving birth to my youngest, and it wasn’t a particularly easy birth – I literally flatlined on the table and that was the song I heard as I was coming back “to”. (I am so not kidding about this. I thought I was arriving in hell!) So sure, why wouldn’t it be on Glee? As for Rio – it’s pretty much a given, as that’s the main Duran Duran song outside of the aforementioned HLTW that every American citizen has to know. I think it must be some sort of preschool graduation requirement at this point. The truly frightening thing was that I’d read they were going to mash the songs together. I still get chills when I think about it.

Promptly at 8pm I took my spot on the couch next to my daughter, called the bartender for my martini, and prepared to face-palm my way through the show. As it turns out, I didn’t have to wait long. I really wish I’d had my husband take video of my response, because I just don’t think I can properly describe the type of horror that went through my body as my eyes and ears were assaulted by witnessing HLTW and Rio being smooshed together. I really can’t go on enough about how truly awful the entire idea to force those songs together really was – and I wondered why they’d even be so mean to even do that. Did someone on their staff feel as though Rio and HLTW personally attacked them at some point and this was their chance for revenge?? I know that Glee does song medleys quite often, and I know they do like to put new spins on songs so that they can showcase more than just one song by any particular artist. My problem is that there shouldn’t ever be a time when I hear Rio with “I smell like I sound” in the background. (Although in this case, I didn’t even have to be in the same room with the singer to know that what he was singing was indeed truthful.)  If the singing weren’t enough, we were treated to dance moves that not even Simon LeBon could replicate. I watch this show regularly enough to know that these kids really can dance, although some better than others. Let’s just say that I couldn’t decide if they were trying to do an impression a la Simon LeBon, or if they just didn’t know the dance. It didn’t help the song at all when the camera panned to show that Jane Lynch was singing right along (I love her character with all of my heart, but not even that could save this mess), or that Matthew Morrison genuinely looked happy to have someone singing Rio in his classroom. I’ll say it again – nothing was able to save this train wreck. It was as though whomever thought up this mess felt that Duran Duran was the cheesiest 80’s band out there, and this was that person’s way of making it even worse so it matched the cheesy-ness of the show. If that was the goal, it worked brilliantly. I can honestly say that this ranked right up there with the Jonas Brothers singing Rio completely off key for me. Even my daughter, after she was finished laughing hysterically, agreed that it was truly awful in every way. To make matters worse, I watched the entire show, and the very last song of the show was Gotye’s Somebody I Used to Know.  It was done beautifully.  It’s a shame they couldn’t have afforded Duran Duran the same luxury and dignity.

At 9pm, I promptly switched the channel and took to Facebook and Twitter to see what others thought.  There are actually fans out there that thought it was great.  I give those fans full credit for seeing the good in what I believe ranks up there with one of the worst Glee performances to date.

For those of you who thought you’d escape, fear not.  The video is up on YouTube and I have brought it here for your pleasure.  Misery loves company.

For those who think I’m being harsh, watch what they did with Gotye’s Somebody I Used to Know.

I’ve searched and searched, but I can’t seem to find Rockapella’s medley of Duran Duran on YouTube or anywhere online for that matter.  If you have the inclination, you should do a search and find it, because that is what could have easily been done by the cast of Glee, and it would have been a perfect way to do the band proper justice.

-R

**I feel the need to edit this post due to a large amount of comments I’ve gotten elsewhere in a relatively short period of time about this blog.

This is just a REVIEW.  This isn’t about me being a fan of Duran Duran, or even about Duran Duran songs.  It’s a critique of a performance that took place on a show. However, to constantly remind that we should all be thankful that a show is recognizing Duran Duran has absolutely nothing to do with a review.  I’d like someone to show me a review where a critic takes into account that a particular band or show has taken the time to create another album.  That simply doesn’t enter into the picture, and I wouldn’t be doing my job as a writer if I just allowed myself to be in full fan mode all of the time, even when our readers insist otherwise.

Secondly, this is one blog.  One person’s view.  There are thousands of fans out there.  I’m sure many of you enjoyed the song. That is OK. I don’t worry about that – nor should anyone else. My review should be read for the comedic benefit, and just realize that it’s not rocket science. It’s a television show, and it was one two minute portion of the show at that.

8 thoughts on “Not all that gleeful…”

  1. Ok A&R,
    I took a deep breath and decided to open up the clips you provided, sans martini. My daughter and up and coming duranie and I took the leap and said “let's do this”. Her reaction? “what a horrible mash up! They could've done so much better!” my reaction, admittedly was initially, “ok, it's not as bad as I thought it would be.” but then when I watched the 2nd clip you provided, I wholeheartedly agree with you. Why wasn't the inverse done? That is, take one of DD's songs chosen for the show, and treat it with respect, on a stage, in a true performance style Glee is known for and still having fun with it but in good taste.

    I,too, have stopped watching Glee for some time now. While I did like the take on rocky horror, I imagine fans, like my daughter, did not care much for the Glee version either.
    So, I sit here with lots of questions going through my mind as many duranies may be doing as well today in response to this [i don't even know what word I can use to refer to it]. I guess in some ways, I can see how Glee covering DD can be a positive thing as there are many young viewers unfamiliar with the band. Perhaps this episode will viewed as positive and cause an interest in their viewer demographics to seek out the real versions of the mashed up songs performed, that they will like the songs, find they like more songs, and become fans of DD. this is better marketing that the previous blog that fooled us all 10 days ago on how to increase younger fan base.
    In other ways, I can see seasoned fans and duranies screaming to high heaven and perhaps going as far as launching a boycott of the show, network, you name it.
    Well, it's out there. I'm not offended or embarrassed by it. If I were the band, I would probably be laughing. I hope they are. Let's face it. It's exposure. It's press. It draws attention to them in its appeal to a younger crowd. If I were of Tiger Beat age again, and this was my first introduction to DD, I admit, I would think it was pretty cool. Since I know better, it isn't cool. Glee did not give justice and respect due to my band. But no outrage here.
    I am curious though what impact the episode will have on their primary viewers. That is what I hope DDM will be watching and what I am interested in, too. Will this episode create a new fan base? Will it cause increase in record sales/downloads of Rio, etc?

    I'm looking forward to reading other comments here.

  2. You know, it's just one of those things I suppose. Sometimes ideas work out, and sometimes they don't. The fact is though – I wasn't reviewing the fact that the band got promotion out of this. I honestly couldn't care less about that. I really don't believe that any kid that age is going to think the band is that cool from this show, but that has nothing to do with what was or was not done with the performance. It's that in the same way when I was 15 I was into my own music and not what my mom and dad were listening to or ever did listen to – it's that way for these kids. THAT'S FINE.

    I'm actually a Rocky Horror fan and I thought they did that episode quite well. I also really liked what they did with Madonna, but I know of fans who hated it. It happens. The point is that it's one persons opinion at one point in time. People take this very seriously when the reality is – what I say doesn't really matter at the end of the day!!! Read the blog. Laugh. Call me names. It's just an opinion, and as I'm finding myself continuing to say all day now – it's not even about the damn BAND! -R

  3. I don't watch Glee at all. I find it quite dull. Having said that, I was unsure of watching the video but I did.

    I can't say I hated it like Rhondaa or I liked it like others. It was what I expected from the show, so no surprises for me. I can't rate it with other performances cos I stay away from it.

    The music alone wasn't bad since I heard the full track the other day and liked the mashed chorus. I definitely won't be watching the video again though anytime soon.

  4. I get it. I enjoyed reading about YOUR experience and YOUR review of the episode. And I giggled reading it, too. Everyone will have an opinion about the episode and unfortunately, disagreement will come about and get tiresome, bothersome, and downright attack.
    My comments here are in response to your edit to original blog and to those whom that addendum is intended for:

    I have many a bumper sticker on my car, but this one so applies “freedom of speech means the freedom to disagree.” what also needs to be included as fine print on that or maybe large for some, is that disagreement does not come with any rights to attack, harm, belittle, or demean others. Discourse is a discussion people. Agree or disagree with me, it doesn't matter. I believe in the rights of all to express opinions. It is the manner in which disagreements are expressed and responded to that concern me as there is a matter of boundaries.
    Remember what you said about a strange April it's been? There was a full moon on the 6th. Plus or minus 3 days gives you an idea of behavior changes. Unless there's a lunar anomaly I am unaware of……..

    So what I'm saying is, opinions are great. How boring if we all thought, felt, behaved the same way. But really, there is no good excuse for crossing the line when one disagrees with another's opinion. Ever hear the phrase “agree to disagree” ? It's not a personal attack. Step back, think, then speak, then listen, then think again.

  5. I did not watch it until now when I viewed your youtube link….EEK….train wreck is correct. I choose not to watch it as I KNEW and could have bet everything I own that they would do HLTW & Rio….I am sooo tired of DD always being recognized for those 2 songs….don't even get me started on that. I also knew that it would be a cheesy rendition of it and didn't want to have any part of that. I am sorry that people feel the need to lash out at you for your review and opinion! Please don't stop blogging…I love stoppin by here daily to receive your “DD State of the Union”. Don't let them get to you…there are plenty of us supportive Duranies out there that got your backs…just remember that!!! 🙂

  6. Ummm…well…I liked the Glee rendition of HLTW/Rio.

    I don't bother watching Glee on a regular basis. Its first season was when the storyline and singing were at their prime, IMO…then it turned stupid. I first saw the DD/Glee clip on YouTube and I hated the episode's scene–so cringeworthy and CHEESY!! But the song mash itself was decent. I immediately found a YouTube clip that removed the annoying visuals and only had the audio. So much better!!

    I liked how they wove the two songs together in a seamless fashion (taking the HLTW verses and blending it with the Rio chorus). I have to admit, though, that I favoured the Rio part over the HLTW one. Rio makes me thing of summer, celebration, brimming with optimism and being “sunny” all round. I got that feeling from Glee's version. The HLTW was autotuned within an inch of its life but, meh, my ears didn't dwell on that flaw for long. I thought the song was upbeat and fun–just like the DD original–but in its own characteristic “Glee” manner.

    As for the heavy reaction that Rhonda got for giving her honest personal opinion: *some* Duranies need to grow the eff up. Seriously. They are taking their devotion to Duran Duran way, way too seriously. I don't like nor support the tactic of “exposure at any cost”. That approach is why we have so many D-list, pathetic “celebrities” cramming up the airwaves with their pointless lives as our meagre entertainment. On occasion, DD does something that leaves much to be desired and many fans begging for that unique DD essence and quality to return (in this case, it happens to be a TV show giving tribute to the band). Are we to LIE to ourselves and others about how we truly feel or blindly support anything Duran-related to maintain harmony within the fan community? That's BS. I'll tell you right now…I HATE THE LIBERTY AND RED CARPET MASSACRE ALBUMS! HATE THEM!!! I refuse to own those CDs let alone TOUCH them with my bare hands because they're utter pieces of crap. If you happen to like those albums, well…to each his own, I say. No need to “correct” or chastise me for having an opposing view. As with the Glee rendition, I happen to like the song but R. doesn't. SO WHAT? Is my status as a fan so weak that I have to retaliate against her just because she expressed an opinion that differs from mine? The negative reaction comes across as being so juvenile. Is it any wonder why Duranies aren't taken seriously most of the time with this kind of petty bickering?

    Anyways, sorry for blabbing on there. Had to get the thoughts off my chest.

  7. I'm glad you liked it! We're all different. It's OK – my opinion was only my own, and I honestly didn't expect everyone to agree with me. A lot of people love RCM and think I'm being overly judgmental and harsh. Maybe. I just think the band could have done better. I also think that Glee could have done better. In both cases, I know they've got it in them. 😉 Thanks for commenting!!! -R

We (Amanda and Rhonda) appreciate discussion and differences of opinion. We respectfully ask that you fully read the blog before bitching us out. If you're only here to take us down a notch, note that we moderate replies (meaning we're not printing rude comments). Thanks a bunch!

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