The Glee Project: 101 “Individuality”

Season 1 Episode 1
Airdate: June 12, 2011

glee projectRemember back during the first season of Glee, when it aired right after America Idol, and consequently, a lot of people dismissed it as some dumb America Idol type show without even bothering to watch it? That was very unfair. Glee is a dumb show, but it has nothing to do with American Idol.

No, The Glee Empire has its own reality TV talent competition, The Glee Project. So I guess Glee is trying to be an American Idol type show.

The producers’ justification for The Glee Project is that the current class is set to graduate at the end of the this coming season, so the show needs find new talent. Degrassi handles this problem by making each semester four years long, and maybe Glee should do the same, because I worry that bringing in a whole new cast is going to work as well as Saved by the Bell: the New Class.

Glee’s apparently going to find the new cast by putting them through a humiliating reality TV show, because that works so well for the record and modeling and Donald Trump industries. Actually, the prize isn’t even getting hired as a new cast member, it’s the opportunity to appear in seven episodes as a guest and have Ryan Murphy, the mental patient who created Glee, craft a character based on you. This looks like it could be a big break for one lucky winner, except I am skeptical that the prize will include having any lines to speak. When this contest is all over, I have a hunch whoever wins is going to just be an extra for seven episodes.

Glee Project 101

The action begins as the young contestants enter the room one by one, introduce themselves to us, and then meet each other, except they all act like they sort of already know each other and have been friends for a while. This is the standard way to begin a reality competition. Isn’t it sort of horrible that reality TV has been a big enough part of our culture that it has a standard and familiar format?

Let’s meet the kids. The youngest are 18 and oldest are 22, making them all around college age, if they hadn’t chosen to skip college to pursue long shot dreams of stardom. This will be a joy to watch because they are at the perfect age to to see break down as their dreams are crushed.

Alex is the black guy. In addition to his name, his voice could also belong to a man or woman. It’s a very high pitched and he says he is often mistaken for a woman. What is the deal with black guys’ voices? They are either incredibly deep like Barry White or high pitched like Michael Jackson. You don’t find a whole lot of middle range.

Bryce is either black or Pacific Islander. I think his race is whatever The Rock’s is. That’s all I can say about him because he will be eliminated at the end of this episode. I don’t mean to spoil that for you. If you have any interest in this show, you should probably watch the episode before you read this.

Cameron wants to be Rivers Cuomo, apparently. I assume Cameron is also a virgin who masturbates to pictures of Japanese girls, so Rivers is his hero. Weezer’s music made a lot more sense to me when I realized Rivers Cuomo has an Asian fetish. Seriously, half their songs are about how much Rivers wants an Asian girl. The other half are about what a loser Rivers is. Johnny has pointed out that Rivers even wrote a song about the time he enrolled in Harvard after he was already established as a famous musician, but still nobody wanted to hang out with him.

Damian is an Irish.

Ellis is 18 but looks like a 10-year-old girl. She has a super baby face and is very short. She is also sick of looking like she is 10. It makes it hard to meet guys who are not pedophiles. She looks like the actress they use to lure the predators into the To Catch a Predator house. I wonder if she knows Chris Hansen.

Emily is some sort of Mexican. I don’t know which, not that it matters. Every country down there is Mexico. It’s all Mexico until you get to Brazil and then all the rest of those countries are Brazil. Fuck Carmen Sandiego, it’s true.

Hannah is fat and ginger. I don’t know which one is going to be her “woe is me” trait. She sure can pack in the potatoes.

Lindsay is a girl who says she was originally not interested in Glee (until she saw a chance to be famous). “How many times has there been a TV musical and it’s just bombed?” she asks. I don’t know…once? The only one I can think of Cop Rock. I’m not even sure there has been another TV musical to appear in Lindsay’s lifetime. What is she talking about?

Does Alvin and the Chipmunks count? Because that show was hit.

Marissa is also a ginger, but looks decent enough, regardless.

Matheus is a hobbit.

McKynleigh is mulatto. You can tell because she has a first name that is completely made up and hard to pronounce, like a black woman. But it is fake Irish sounding instead of fake French sounding, like half of white woman born since 1989.

Samuel is that guy from The Black Eyed Peas who looks like he came out of the Matrix.

Glee Project 101

Robert Ulrich, the casting director for Glee, is going to be guiding/criticizing the kids through this competition. The Quickfire Challenge Immunity Challenge Reward Challenge Homework Assignment is for each contestant to sing a line from “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours” by Stevie Wonder. Darren Chris, who plays Blaine, is introduced as the guest judge.

Robert tells the kids that a role on Glee is an “incredible gift.” I don’t think you can call it a gift if they have to compete for it. This isn’t like every Christmas when I was a kid, and Robert Ulrich isn’t getting as much of a kick out of this as my dad would.

It’s a prize, dude, get over yourself. I’ve gotten the impression that the people who make Glee think their show is a bigger deal than it is. You’re making a TV show, that’s all. You are not single-handedly legalizing gay marriage state by state. You’re not Lady Gaga.

Anyway, the Hobbit wins the challenge, which means he will get to rehearse with Blaine and get a featured part in the big group number, a music video for “Firework” by whichever piece of computer software writes Katy Perry’s songs.

Glee Project 101

The kids meet with Glee choreographers, who ask them to describe themselves. The kids do as I described them above, only less mean. Then the choreographers try to teach them the steps for the video, but none of them can dance, which pisses off the choreographers.

Then they record their vocals in the recording studio. The woman who is overseeing the session is coaching the kids along, which means everyone is putting more effort into this one single song than Katy Perry and her crew have for all of her songs put together.

“I’m a classically trained singer,” Lindsay tells us in confessional. “I have one of the best voices here. That’s why I’m, like, nailing it.” Wow, she’s bringing out the Rachel bitch factor.

Glee Project 101

Then we move onto to the filming of the video. The director says he has worked with a number of hip hop stars…so a Katy Perry song for a Glee spinoff is right up his alley?

Glee Project 101

The concept for the video is that each kid will express their individuality during a yearbook photo shoot. Robert and the director are creeped out when Ellis dials her playing a child act up to 11. Come on, lady. It doesn’t even make sense to do that when you are supposed to be in a high school.

After the video shoot, the kids head back to their lounge and discuss what has happened. Cameron goes all reality TV bitch and tells Hannah that she was the weakest person. He’s all, “I’m not trying to upset you, I’m just telling y’all like it is.” I am surprised we didn’t see him in the confessional saying, “I’m not here to make friends. I’m here to win.” Finger snap!

Also, Matheus is sitting next to somebody, but the camera angle makes it looks like he is a puppet and the guy next to him has his hand up his butt. I would show you, but instead of screencapping this show, I’m just using whatever promotional pictures are on the Oxygen website. If that doesn’t count as fair use, then nothing on this website is and I should give up now.

Glee Project 101

The three kids who were judged the weakest and up for elimination are Ellis, Bryce and Damian. We are told that Bryce is up there because he had an attitude problem, but we were never shown him having an attitude problem. They should have showed us something about that. The only thing I could see that looked like he had a bad attitude was when the other contestants were talking, you could see Bryce in the background and he was using a pool stick on a foosball table. That is sick.

Each of the three are assigned a song to sing to convince the judges to let them stay. Ellis is assigned some musical song I don’t know because musicals are boring, Damian will have to sing “Jesse’s Girl” and Bryce is given a Bruno Mars song because he kind of looks like Bruno Mars.

Robert reminds us that this contest is not just about being a good singer, “It is about finding someone who will inspire the writers to write for them.” Since this is Glee, that should read: It is about finding someone who will inspire the “writers” to “write” for them.

Glee Project 101

Ryan Murphy, the man who created Glee while in prison, is there with Robert and the choreographer to judge the three singers. Mr. Murphy is wearing this wool cap thing, so either he is a white boy who desires to break into rap music, or he is a 55-year-old breast cancer patient who lost her hair to chemo.

Damian tells us he is worried as he has never heard “Jesse’s Girl” before, but still gives a good rendition. Ryan notices that instead of singing “I wish I had Jesse’s girl”, Damian mistakenly went, “I wish I was Jesse’s girl.”

Damian is embarrassed, but Ryan jokes, “I could write for that…and I have.” God help the transgender community if Ryan Murphy thinks Glee needs a trans character.

Anyway, Bryce is the first contestant eliminated from the show, which is fitting because he looks like that kid from the first season who barely spoke in 22 episodes and wasn’t hired back for season 2.