The reason I have never had a boyfriend is because I spent the last six years of my life mentally, physically and emotionally committed to “Glee,” and watching that damn show takes just as much time, effort and selfless sacrifice as a full-blown relationship. It is the only thing in my life that is constant; it’s the one thing that’s always there for me when I need it to be.
And that’s not to say that “Glee” is always good to me. Because God knows that’s not always the case. “Glee” and I have had our differences. We’ve had our ups and downs and flops and failures, and more than once, I’ve wanted to just give up and walk away.
But “Glee” is like that first doomed love — you know it won’t go on forever, but you’ll do anything to make it last as long as possible.
And alas, now that there are only two weeks left of the soul-sucking, heart-wrenching, all-consuming series, I am a complete and utter mess.
I have watched every single episode of “Glee” as they have aired from day one, which is something in which I take pride in the age of binge-watching. But when I tell people that I still watch “Glee,” even though the general hype surrounding the show has wavered since season four, they often ask: “Oh, should I keep watching it? Does it get better?”
Upon hearing those four fatal words, I take action. I grab their wrist and shield them from oncoming debris, unscrew the manhole cover and lead them into my state-of-the-art bomb shelter, cover them in foil blankets and connect them to an oxygen tank and leave them there, unexposed from the harsh reality of the world that Ryan Murphy — known affectionately by the fans as Satan — has created.
They say that if you love someone, let them go. Bullshit. If you REALLY love someone, never let them watch “Glee.”
It takes about an hour and a half to actually watch the episode, taking to account pauses for emotional distress, oncoming plot-induced panic attacks and general anger. Then, once the episode is over, there’s about a 15-minute window of freaking out over the preview for next week’s episode. Then there’s another 15 minutes spent rewinding the episode and rewatching the best songs, followed by 30 minutes of realizing how much shit has actually gone down and attempting to process the many insane, intersecting plot points at once. The remainder of the time is spent in the spiral paradox of exclaiming, “I love ‘Glee!’ ” and “Fuck ‘Glee’…” over and over until the emotion overwhelms you and you cry yourself to sleep.
And as you slumber, Ryan Murphy probably sits at home, happily petting the hairless cat I imagine he owns, basking in his power as the evil genius mastermind he was born to be.
Only Gleeks understand why bursting into tears is an appropriate response to hearing “Teenage Dream” on the radio. Only Gleeks understand why weddings are never a good idea, unless it’s “A Wedding” — in that case, it was about damn time. Only Gleeks will suffer through season four’s “Gangnam Style” and experimental puppet episode and complain about how much they hate it but keep watching every week because they’re too invested.
Gleeks know the pain of shipping — and not the kind that is $9.99 with purchase. We understand how unrealistic it is to think that it’s feasible to fly from New York to Ohio every week at a moment’s notice, and we understand the true meaning of Christmas — the annual Klaine duet.
“Glee” is one of the few success stories in the post-“High School Musical” experiment to normalize the genre of the TV musical. And while the show is often mocked for its perceived premise — “I have so many problems, I need to sing about them!” — Gleeks know that “Glee” isn’t just about the music. It’s about being the underdog. It’s about overcoming struggle. It’s about that overarching sense of optimism that comes from seeing the light in the darkest of places.
And most importantly, it’s about peaking in high school.
Rosemarie Alejandrino writes Monday’s arts column on popular culture. Contact her at [email protected]