Face-Off: Glee vs. High School Musical

As much as I appreciate the toe-tapping, wholesome fun of Disney’s High School Musical, the in-your-face sarcasm and sexual awkwardness of Fox’s Glee rings truer. I’m easily hooked in by the radio-ready tunes of both, and if you’re a fan of the big group sing, you won’t be disappointed in it either. The question is, do you like your musicals sweet or with a tangy twist?

The difference is in the approach: High School Musical is a rosy-cheeked Clearasil commercial. Glee is pimples and warts with a little bit of athlete’s foot all rolled into one. Granted, I find the big clean houses and trouble-free world of High School Musical appealing—it reminds me of the Annette Funicello surf movies of the '50s. But Glee is more like my actual high school experience, chock full of character building and squeamishly uncomfortable moments. Nobody bursts into song in the cafeteria or on the basketball court.

Eventually, they do sing but only on stage during Glee club. It’s catchy, inspirational, and between you and me, sometimes inappropriate for younger audiences. The kids here are fighting their hormones and sexual urges as well as school bullies and mean teachers. Still, it does resonate with teens, and if yours is ready to graduate from High School Musical, Glee hits just the right note.


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