I am not at all ashamed to admit that I watch the television show Glee each week. In fact, not only do I watch it, but I throughly enjoy it and I look forward to it every 7 days. However, when I am watching Glee, it is for relaxation and entertainment purposes. I’m not scrutinizing the shows content, analyzing its symbols, or critiquing its editing technique. I’m watching to simply enjoy myself and in order to do that, I end up surrendering myself to the show and therefore accepting all its unrealistic elements, stylistic choices, and even possible imperfections. However, this last time I watched Glee, I decided to watch the show like normal and then rewatch that same episode, but this time searching for things I had never noticed before. I watched it as if I were a television critic and as the creator/producer of content that I hope to one day become.
For starters I noticed that there is background music at the beginning of each episode. It’s the same music each time, but it fits so seamlessly into the background that I had never consciously been aware of it before. There is dialogue spoken over this music, and the most interesting thing about this choice of music is that it is not typical soundtrack music with instrumentals, but instead the music is primarily voices. The music is essentially provided by an upbeat choir, and the pitch of their voices rises with the drama of the scene. It’s an effective tool that helps to provide easy transitions from one scene to the next as well as helps to heighten the drama of the dialogue.
I also took note of something that I normally would never think to even notice before- camera movement. I studied how the camera moved in certain scenes and what the style was for camera movement throughout the whole episode. I realized that there are a lot of camera movements in general, such as pans and zooms, rather than quick cuts. In large-scale scenes with many characters for example, the camera tends to move up and down and across the scene to establish setting, instead of just cutting to different shots of the environment.
Finally, what I noticed that surprised me the most out of anything else is that during a competition on stage, the glee team (New Directions) has a lot more people performing with them then the audience is familiar with. I noticed that there are extras added in during performances (regionals in this episode’s case) who are not present in other scenes throughout the show when the team is at school or at practice. These people are mixed in with the bunch to create the illusion that there are more people than there really are on their glee team. The video I have added here is of one of the team’s performances where it is obvious that there are more people on stage than who are actually in the club.
Normally as a viewer I simply accept what I see is happening on my screen and I go with it because I want to believe it and I want to be entertained. I had fun taking a different perspective for once though and I was able to pick up on a few interesting elements that I never would have noticed if I hadn’t. I learned a lot as a viewer but also as a producer. From now on I choose to be an active and educated viewer rather than just a mindless one. I challenge you to do the same.