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With the latest American TV fad being a cross between High School Musical and Mean Girls, Bridget Fitzsimons declares herself a fully-fledged Gleek

Every once in a while, there comes something that makes you smile, brightens your day and drags you back from the brink of insanity. For me, Glee, a new television show from the US is keeping me from going mad from too many hours in the library.

Glee imageFor those of you not familiar with Glee, it is a simple show, chronicling the misadventures of the members of a newly re-formed high school Glee Club named New Directions. This, in normal English, is a club dedicated to performing various songs in a showy style incorporating costumes, dance routines and incredible vocals. It sounds simple, but trust me, it’s AMAZING.

There’s just so much to like about Glee. While some could dismiss it as a simpering imitator to the High School Musical franchise, it’s so much more. Glee packs a punch in its dark humour and is completely willing to laugh at its own camp nature. There are predictable characters in the jock, cheerleader, pushy singing girl, diva-acting black girl with the big voice and overly flamboyant gay kid, but the actors manage to bring their characters out of their stereotypical boxes for the most part.

As well as being funny, the characters in this show are undoubtedly talented. Belting out a range of songs from popular anthems like Don’t Stop Believing, to Broadway classics like West Side Story’s ‘Tonight’, the club definitely impress with their vocal range. Problems are raised in the programme’s overuse of leads Finn (Corey Monteith) and Rachel (Lea Michele), but hopefully the makers will realise the vocal potential of some of their lesser-used stars, most notably in wheelchair user Artie (Kevin McHale).

The show’s star is undoubtedly fascist cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester, played by The 40 Year Old Virgin’s Jane Lynch. Personified by her sarcasm and acidic put-downs, Sue proves to be the real laugh-out-loud moment of the show. Similarly, a surprise cameo from Broadway and The West Wing star Kristen Chenoweth as an alcoholic former glee club member only adds to the comedic quality of the show.

TV3 have bought the rights to Glee and hope to air it between the end of 2009 and the start of 2010; similarly, British digital channel E4 will be broadcasting it from 2010. For those not able to wait, the first ten episodes are already widely available online.

Even if it’s not obvious now, it’s assured that everyone will be card-carrying Gleeks by the middle of next year.  Take that Sweetman you non-believer.

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