On Glee

Don't Make Me Over: Mercedes and Tina

By Maria Lima

“The whole point of the club is about expressing
what’s really inside you.”

–Mercedes “Acafellas,” (1-4)

I fell in love with Glee on the first airing of the original pilot, several months prior to the actual airdate for the show. For me, no matter how much I enjoyed the dynamics among the four major teen players, the show wasn’t about Rachel, the over-the-top Jewish American Princess diva with two dads; nor was it about Finn, the jock turned choirboy, nor even about Puck and Quinn and their baby drama. It was about the others, the ones singing backup: Kurt, Artie, Mercedes, and Tina, the ones who truly embodied the role of the outsiders. Glee is about identity. Whether it was Will Schuester (a.k.a. Mr. Schue) discovering his own self-expression by coaching the show choir, or Sue Sylvester, award-winning coach of the Cheerios, finding that trophies could be cold
bedfellows, the show’s first season was about discovering one’s true individuality and one’s place in the world, whether that world is McKinley High or the adult world. It’s no coincidence that the show started with a Journey song (“Don’t Stop Believin’” in “Pilot,” 1-1), ended with a Journey medley (“Journey,” 1-22), and used road metaphors
in several episode titles. This entire season’s theme was one of exploration and pilgrimage, of finding out who each character really was–though also ostensibly about striving to win Regionals and take home that pretty,  …

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