Friday, March 19, 2010

Glee (Or Big Girls CAN Dance)

I've been pretty impressed by the TV show Glee, now showing on UK TV on E4.  Not only is it, fun, funny and full of song and dance routines (which I can't get enough of), it's clear that they've made a real effort to make the main cast as inclusive as possible (fat kids, disabled kids, pretty kids, geeky kids, popular kids - all, and more, are represented), and although the main cast are pitched as a group of mis-fits, it doesn't come across as piss-taking at the expense of the talented cast.

Of course, me being me, my favourite character in the series is Mercedes Jones, the token fat-girl (and token black-girl), played by the delightful Amber Riley - a character with so much self-confidence that she delcares in the very first episode "I'm Beyonce, I ain't no Kelly Rowland."  The character of Mercedes provides a strong, beautiful role-model for plus-size girls, and I just love the fact that there hasn't (thus-far at least) been any sort of effort to make apologies for her size - Mercedes often takes the main singing parts and boy can she sing!

Glee's Mercedes Jones aka Amber Riley

This week's episode was particularly good on the fat and fabulous front, due to the guest number from Jane Adams Correctional Facility's Glee club, who perform Destiny's Child's 'Bootylicious' - aside from the fact that the ep. focuses on how Adams' use of 'Hairography' is supposedly there to distract from poor performances (and let's face it, the maker's of Glee wouldn't show a dance routine where the dancer's weren't on form), the dancers in this routine take the showcasing of fat talent futher than the original cast - mixed in with the usual 'athletic' body type that people normally think of as a 'dancer's body' are a variety of body types, including, as one of the main singers/dancers Chatonja (sorry, but google failed to tell me the actress's name) - a young woman who can sing, dance and do the splits and is also far larger than anyone I've ever seen dancing in popular media in any way other than as an exercise of 'let's laugh at the fatty' - couple that with the costume choice actually affording us flashes of her stomach (*shock* - how is this even allowed on TV!) and the show found yet another way to leave me with a warm fuzzy feeling.

The Jane Adams Glee Club (Chatonja 1st step, centre)

Glee does delight in stereotypes, but so far delights in throwing them to the four winds.
I love it!