The devil has blonde hair and coaches cheerleading.
I learned this by watching Glee, the incredibly popular Fox show that blends comedy, drama, dancing, singing and all the pain, suffering and cliches a high school can offer on television.
Although the show is not perfect and sometimes suffers from overproduced music and predictability, it is pretty darned good. Some of the characters began as cliches, including the all-American boy football player, the snotty, blonde head cheerleader and the insane over-achieving drama queen, but continue to develop in unexpected ways.
As usual, however, it seems the main characters are just the frosting. It’s the secondary characters and hilarious, over-the-top one-liners that make Glee fun to watch, particularly the evil blonde cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch).
The plot of the show is pretty simple: High school Spanish teacher Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison) takes over the school’s glee club (show choir for us Minnesotans) to try and make it good again. Coach Sylvester doesn’t like how much money this takes from her spoiled champion cheerleaders, so she decides to destroy Schuester and the glee club. Meanwhile, the kids in the club are all in love with each other or have the usual mundane popularity issues that make high school a sink of pain and misery.
Lynch’s Sylvester is the gem of the show, being so evil that O Fortuna sometimes plays when she shows up onscreen. She pushes kids around (literally) and rules her cheerleaders with an iron fist of suffering and random terror, saying appalling things to pretty much everyone, and getting away with it.
Sue is a cartoon supervillain. Here are a few of her lines, and they’re not her best. They’re representative of pretty much everything she says.
Sue: Bringing down this club may be easier than I thought. I am engorged with venom and triumph.
Sue: Schuester! I’ll need to see that set list for Sectionals after all. I want it on my desk warm from the laminator at 5:00 P.M., and if it is one minute late, I will go to the animal shelter and get you a kitty cat. I will let you fall in love with that kitty cat. And then, on some dark, cold night I will steal away into your home and punch you in the FACE.
Sue: Dear Journal, Feeling listless again today. It began at dawn, when I tried to make a smoothie out of beef bones, breaking my juicer. And then at Cheerios practice, disaster. It was unmistakable. It was like spotting the first spark on the Hindenburg. A quiver. That quiver will lose us Nationals. Without a championship, I’ll lose my endorsements, and without those endorsements, I won’t be able to buy my hovercraft.
Two other especially funny secondary characters are Santana and Brittany, a cheerleader so dim she thinks the square root of four is rainbows. And Santana is not much better. Both of them say appallingly hilarious things on a regular basis, things that make you wince and giggle at the same time.
Santana: Did you know dolphins are just gay sharks?
Brittany: Sometimes I forget my middle name.
And then there’s Schuester’s selfish, manipulative and utterly appalling wife, Terri.
Terri: But Will, I’m on my feet four hours a day, three times a week here. Now I have to go home and cook dinner for myself?
Terri: It’s always been my personal dream to cut down my own Christmas tree. How many Christmas trees will we have in the backyard? And do they come in different colours because… well obviously we’re starting a family and I have a real sense that it’s going to be a girl.
The show is absolutely packed with awful, funny one-liners, and it’s so over-the-top and cheesily delightful.