Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ryan Murphy, Get Over Yourself

I recently stumbled upon this article on I'm going to be frank, made me livid.

First a little background.

I refuse to watch Glee. There's a couple of reasons for this. First, I have performed in musicals, and toured in musical productions. I find the form grating in the extreme, and a subset of the purveyors of that form to be among the most annoying people I've ever endured as a performer. The sad fact is, this small group, with their high drama and insistence on their artistic validity also provides the type of character ideally suited for a show of this style. I am not making a blanket statement about all musical theatre performers, because I know many, in fact, the majority, who are hard-working, talented, and not prone to self-aggrandizement or being difficult for it's own sake.

(and no, it's not a "gay thing," let's nip that shit in the bud, right now. The single, most annoying, musical theatre "diva" I ever worked with was a totally straight guy...And, if any of my former musical cohorts are reading this and wondering...if I have any contact with you whatsoever, it's not you.)

I spent enough time locked up on buses with those people that I will NEVER find watching them on TV a form of entertainment, in any form.

Second. The music on Glee makes me sick. The fact that they take divergent forms of music and perform them on TV isn't the problem. The problem is, the process is to rob that music of it's individuality and fire and funnel it into a sad approximation of what you'd hear in a Disney "tween" sitcom. That's right, Hanna Montana-level bubblegum pop. This show doesn't honor much of the music performed on screen, it robs it of it's soul. Overprocessed, auto-tuned monstrosities.

I don't hold anyone to task for allowing their songs to be on the show...hey, it's your music. If you want to allow Ryan Murphy and his crew to vanilla-ize it, go to town, and some songs are just bubblegum pop, so...who cares? I'm sure the checks help. That said, it makes me EXTREMELY sad that Springsteen is apparently considering it.

(Don't do it, boss...DON'T DO IT!!!!)

Anyway, whatever...Not my kind of show. I understand a lot of people like it, and that's great for them, and Ryan Murphy's pocketbook. I don't, and my dislike is very deep. Live and let live, different strokes, etc. It's just a damn TV show...

But that ends when you start acting like a dick. Acting like your show is far more important than it really is.

So, I read Ryan Murphy's little meltdown about people turning Glee down in their requests to butcher, er, use their songs. Y'know what, Mr. Murphy? You are pathetic. I look at this quote:
A 7-year-old kid can see someone close to their age singing a Kings of Leon song, which will maybe make them want to join a glee club or pick up a musical instrument," Murphy explained. "It’s like, OK, hate on arts education. You can make fun of Glee all you want, but at its heart, what we really do is turn kids on to music.”
And his comments about Slash, who was quite upfront about not wanting Guns 'N Roses songs on Glee.
"Usually I find that people who make those comments, their careers are over; they’re uneducated and quite stupid,"
What comment? That Glee reminds him of High School Musical, and High School Musical makes Grease! look like a work of utter genius and deep social meaning? Sounds like a pretty rational and reasoned comment to me. Opinion? Oh hell yes,'s his music, and he doesn't have to let you play with it in a context that he does not approve of.

Would you ever see these guys on Glee? Would you want to?
Plus, your "turn kids on to music" line?...It's garbage. Seeing the "Welcome to the Jungle" video on MTV did quite a good job of turning me onto music all on it's own. Your show's been on the air for, what? Three years? Trust me, Mr. Murphy, Ugly, sweaty guys, playing ugly, sweaty music has been turning kids on to music since Chuck Berry, or earlier. That's at least half a century of rock and roll inspiring young people to be creative before you came in, scrubbed it clean and packaged it like a toothpaste commercial. I also hazard to guess it will still be, long after Glee ends up in endless re-runs on TV Land.

Not to mention, and this is the bottom line...Who in their right mind would EVER want a kid's first exposure to "Paradise City," "Sex on Fire" or "Sweet Child 'O Mine" to be a bunch of toothy, plastic-smiled kids dancing around in technicolor outfits. Some music isn't supposed to be "safe," or for everyone. Some music is supposed to be harsh, angry, messy and a bit scary. To think that your show would be able to do justice to that, or even want to, is asinine.

Ryan Murphy, you are not "saving music," I can give you deserved credit for all sorts of things, bringing young homosexuals on TV in a huge way, for instance, and making them part of the tapestry of the oh-so homogenized teen environment you've crafted. Good on you for that. Saving music, however? Hardly. In fact, I would come pretty close to telling you that your whitewashed versions of great songs are killing the individuality of the music that is getting out to the youth of America. The fact that people are buying an Osmond-dental-program version of "Don't Stop Believing," instead of the Journey original is gut-wrenching to me.

So, when you stomp your feet and call people "uneducated" because they tell you "no," I can only come to the conclusion that you are one of these entitled baby divas from your show, and I feel soiled even having taken this much time to write about you and your one-show destruction of popular music. Hating Glee isn't a slam on arts education, Glee isn't the high temple of arts education, and, frankly, if it is, God help the arts.

1 comment:

  1. You can't hear it (this being the internet and all) but I'm applauding.