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The Glee Project: Too Beautiful for This World

by Rachel Stein July 17, 2013 2:47 pm
<i>The Glee Project</i>: Too Beautiful for This World

While it would be disingenuous for us here at TWoP to write anything in praise of Cory Monteith after we so openly snarked on his performance as Glee's Finn Hudson, our hearts do go out to his loved ones. But the cancellation of The Glee Project? Now there's something we can gush about.

The Glee Project was essentially Schadenfreude: The Television Series. Very quickly into Season 1 -- probably Episode 2, when Matheus and his rock-hard abs sang "Gives You Hell" by The All-American Rejects -- we were hooked, confidently declaring the spin-off reality series far better than Glee itself. We'd laugh when Ryan Murphy encouraged the hopefuls to be unique, only to blatantly send a kid home when it became clear that he had no idea how to write for their typecast, or lack of typecast (sucks to be you, Aylin and Lily Mae). We sent around gifs and supercuts of Zach Woodlee doing that T rex. arms self-hug thing to each other throughout the week. In private, I humiliatingly got goose bumps and definitely cried a bit at several performances (virtually all of which are thankfully on YouTube, if you're interested in wasting your entire afternoon). But the best part of all, by far, was the schadenfreude.

Though Carla did a fantastic job recapping Season 2 of the The Glee Proejct, I urge you to find Season 2, Episode 8 "Tenacity" somehow, somewhere and watch it. It's the series' quintessential installment, where the outstandingly obnoxious young adults are challenged with performing in a zero-cut music video set in what is clearly the gym class from Hell. Menial phys-ed tricks had to be executed dozens of times, the tears were aplenty and by the end of it, everyone hated themselves, each other and Glee. Even watching the music video on its own without much context, you can just tell these nerds exhaustedly lip-syncing "Eye of the Tiger" are pissed. It's absolutely perfect.

Otherwise, I'll miss the drama camp aspect to The Glee Project. Sure, the winners and oftentimes, even losers, of the show got the pretty stellar prize of nabbing a sizable role on Glee (though the mileage varied for each competitor, given how lazy the Glee writers were feeling that particular season), but even without the stakes, I'd still watch the hell out of a crop of misfits embracing if not exploiting (and in some cases, clearly making up) their own disadvantages for the sake of coming across as interesting, edgy or, at the very least, good for TV. VH1 attempted to capture the magic of Glee Project with its own "Off Pitch," a candid reality series about an adult show choir, but it missed the nuances and structure that made Glee Project a ripe, perfect tomato that you just want to chuck at a fake-crying 20-year-old man singing Cole Porter. And unless Glee has a change of heart, or in the unlikely and arguably nonsensical event that Oxygen decides to keep the entire show but replaces the promise of a Glee role (though Zach Woodlee and Nikki Anders are non-negotiable and absolutely must be part of Season 3) with a cash prize, not even the strongest rendition of Avril Lavigne's "Keep Holding On" will bring Glee Project back, nor capture the show's magic. On the bright side, you know we'll make it through, we'll make it through.

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