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Gleek, Out!

Why candymag.com's TV columnist doesn't support Glee's life choices lately.
photo courtesy of Fox/ETC, GIFs via Tumblr

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Once upon a time, I loved Glee. When the pilot aired in 2009, the novel concept and fresh characters had me so hooked and so mad about waiting for months to see the following episodes. The first season had its ups (Kurt's storyline) and downs (Terri's baby drama), but I was still a proud Gleek.

Then Dapper Darren came along, and I sailed with the Klaine ship all through Sue's pregnancy, Puck and Shelby's fling, and Crazy Quinn. In season four, Glee introduced a boatload of new characters while still hanging on to the Gleeks who'd graduated already. It sounds like a disaster and it is a disaster onscreen (so far).

I clung to hope that it’ll get better with time, but it didn't. It's not that it's so bad, it's good—it's just plain bad, most of the time. I think I'm the only one among my Gleek friends who still watches the show regularly—partly because of Darren Criss, partly because it’s literally my job to do so.

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The last episode featured a shooting incident at McKinley, and for the first time in a long while, I couldn't tear my eyes away from the screen. I felt genuinely scared for them and truly moved by their top-notch performances.

That said, I have, to put it mildly, issues with the shooter's identity. (Although, the way they revealed it was pretty good.) It would be nice to have a solid aftermath episode and a rippling effect throughout the following episodes, but the previews for the next one are all about Rachel Berry's Broadway audition and a dream sequence featuring the original members of the New Directions.

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While a reunion sounds exciting, I think it's more important to deal with the aftermath of the shooting incident. Look at what Grey's Anatomy did with the hospital shooting and the plane crash. Those events had a long-term effect on the characters and kick-started new eras on the long-running show. They didn't happen just for the shock factor. Then again, this is Glee, so, what continuity?

Some might say they have to bring back the NYC storyline since the last episode was set exclusively in Lima. I say if they just let Rachel and the others truly graduate and just come back for special episodes, they wouldn’t have to juggle so many storylines. It's not unheard of; British teen show Skins has had three generations, and they're bringing back three of their most iconic characters for the special Skins Redux. That's how you do transition like a boss.

Fox has yet to renew Glee for season five, spawning rumors that the showrunners are leaving and that negotiations are tricky with Cory Monteith in rehab and Heather Morris reportedly pregnant. The 2009 me would kick myself for saying this, but frankly, I don't care if it gets renewed or not. That is, unless they actually go through with the NYC spin-off and leave McKinley to the more-than-capable hands of the newbies. It's the only happy ending I can think of.

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About the author
Dyan Zarzuela
Council of Cool 9, Managing Editor, Columnist
Stalks celebrities, watches TV, marathons movies, curls up with books, and flails at concerts for a living. Also: semi-hardcore Whovian.
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If you know me, and know me well, I am not the biggest fan of idyllic lifestyles. With a Type A personality, I act immediately upon whatever challenge that needs to be addressed. I actually enjoy keeping my mind preoccupied: doing university work in my favourite cafe then running errands around town, grocery shopping here, updating my accounts there, photocopying documents on the way down the street - all just in time before having a glass of champagne at the bar with my friends come evening.

And so, you could imagine my bewilderment when the next challenge to be faced was an extensive self-quarantine protocol. I didn’t know what to do when my greatest responsibility in this situation was to do nothing at all. My first few attempts to combat my consternation were very much rooted in distraction and imagination. My distractions involved conducting research, writing songs, calling family and friends, filming videos, and eating chocolate! My imaginations and fantasies were centred on travelling, shopping, even clubbing (which I rarely do) for when they find a cure to COVID-19. I did anything and everything that could be considered constructive in order to pass the time, mainly hoping I could just undertake the basic human necessities to survive - that is, eat and sleep the day through - until the next day comes, until the world is closer to becoming a better place, until quarantine ends, until my flight follows through, until I see my family and friends again.

Days in self-isolation and suspended flights turned to weeks and turned to months. By the third extension here in Spain where I study Fashion Business, I had to tell myself this shall be my new normal now, that I was blessed to be healthy, that I was tired of merely existing and missed what it was like to actually live - even if just within four walls. Little by little, I began to find significance in the simple occurrences of the day: the soft glare of the rising sun beaming golden streaks through my bedroom window upon waking up, the fragrance of freshly washed bed sheets that I had painstakingly hung to fit a relatively small clothes rack without crumpling them, the crunch and tanginess of warm toasted bread topped with raspberry marmalade, the buzzing sound of a phone call from home just waiting to be answered, to the caress of a fuzzy sweater to keep warm at night. I realised, “What pleasures to be enjoyed in the pause of slow living!” Through this continued pause, which I loathed at first, I began to appreciate each moment of the day rather than wish it would pass more swiftly, moments I had overlooked so often before the lockdown. I started to find that the challenge of self-isolation was never to pause both the regular routines of life as well as the positive emotions that came with these - as initially, I thought it meant to pause all happiness, so as to withstand a time of endurance in hopes for a better tomorrow, much like a form of delaying gratification. Life is just too fragile these days to delay gratification any further.

Life has paused, but it has not stopped. Believe that like any punctuation mark in a sentence, the pause will provide the right timing of things to take place. Till then, let us not waste our time waiting. Instead, we could be in the moment, seek substance in simplicity (that is, in what we already have), And enjoy the pleasure in pause. “Practice the Pause. When in doubt, pause. When angry, pause. When tired, pause. When stressed, pause. And when you pause, pray.”

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