Raise your right hand to your forehead with your index finger to the ceiling and your thumb out to make your hand into the shape of an “L.”
Congratulations you have just been admitted to the ranks of the “Glee” viewers, also known as “Gleeks.”
“Glee” is a musical comedy show that airs for an hour after “American Idol” on Fox every Tuesday at 9 p.m.. The show centers around a high school and the outcasts that make up its Glee Club.
“It gives us an identity,” says junior, Veronica Gomez. “It’s like my favorite thing on TV right now. It’s like the Superbowl.”
Recently resumed after its four-month hiatus, “Glee” debuted in its new Tuesday time-slot with an 88 percent increase in total viewers over the prior season’s average. Groups of Gleeks have begun coming together with cult-like dedication just to watch it.
The one truth on their minds: they just can’t get enough.
Between the music, DVD’s, concerts, and online episodes, “Glee” is a cross-media powerhouse that is making great strides in how we view television.
“We’re addicted to the drama and talent. They’re hitting all markets, and all of the characters have an insane amount of depth,” said junior Jasmine Beatty.
The show stands apart due to the large audience it attracts in the 18-49 demographic without being a reality show, according to Nielsen ratings. Part of the reason for this success may lie in its advertising strategies through Hulu, TV spots, viral marketing, and its advertisement campaigns.
“It attracts an immature audience and a smart audience. It’s an intellectual show with quirky one liners,” said junior Jessica Hendricks.
Another way “Glee” broadcasts itself is through the music from each episode.
In 2009 the “Glee” cast had 25 singles on the Billboards Hot 100 list, according to Gary Trust at Billboard. It was the most by any artist since the Beatles, who had 31 in 1964.
Jasmine Beatty, Veronica Gomez, and junior Stacey Gomez all own music from the show. Hendricks and junior Veronica Brothwell listen by streaming the tracks online through Hulu, YouTube and Groove Shark.
“I love it because of the music, because they can do the music in a way that’s like ‘High School Musical,’ but for adults,” said Stacey Gomez.
The popularity of the music has driven Fox to create a concert tour for the Glee cast which is scheduled to begin May 15. The tour will hit four cities and have a total of thirteen performances; the New York and Los Angeles shows of the line-up have already sold-out, according to Ann Donahue at Billboard.
Not only do the show’s covers receive attention, so do the original recordings by the artist. Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’ went up 41% in sales and Rihanna’s Take a Bow went up 189% after the covers aired on,“Glee,” according to Jill Serjeant at Reuters magazine.
“People are more likely to get into [the original artists] music. After the Madonna episode I listened to ‘Frozen.’ I wanted to see what was up with Madonna,” said Hendricks.
Another extension of the show’s media hold is reflected in the DVD sales of the first season, entitled, Road to Sectionals. Veronica Gomez, Brothwell, and Beatty each own the release.
Gomez, Gomez, Beatty, Brothwell and Hendricks each admitted to having a Glee “crush”with their top picks being the characters: Will Schuester, Finn, and Sue Sylvester. Sue Sylvester is the iconically ruthless yet hilarious coach of the cheerleading squad who is known for her insulting one-liners.
“You think this is hard? I’m living with Hepatitis, that’s hard!” said Jane Lynch as Sue Sylvester in the pilot episode.
Besides the well-liked reoccurring characters, Glee has had a number of celebrity guest stars. Singer Eve and Broadway star Idina Menzel have each starred as the coaches for rival show choirs. Singer Josh Groban has appeared in an episode and Broadway’s Kristin Chenoweth has had her own story arcs and songs as well.
“If you have a good story and talented creators, good people will come. Even talented people are looking for work; it’s a well written show,” said Hendricks.
”Glee” can’t be everyone’s favorite, however. Junior Dana Applebaum, who sometimes, watches the show, says it can be a little cheesy.
“I think it’s a little unrealistic. I don’t not watch it, but I think the story lines are a little far-fetched,” said Applebaum.
And the audience seems to be limited to mostly females females. Most of the viewers interviewed were women and their boyfriends, like Hendricks and her boyfriend Jon Meyers.
“I think it appeals to everyone and guys are just afraid of liking it,” said Meyers.
Another drawback to ”Glee” can be its representations of stereotypes and relationships.
“Cheerleading sluts, mean jocks… though I love that Puck hooks up with MILF’s,” said Beatty. (Can you re-phrase this quote to make it a complete sentence that is relevant to the sentence above?)
Veronica Gomez says simply this of the relationships of the show: “the girls get screwed.”
Perhaps, but at least for now, the Gleeks are addicted.
“As long as they have talented people in the show and as long as they don’t sell out, the hype will continue,” said Hendricks.
A new development in the realm and hype of “Glee” has been the addition of a contest for viewers to turn in videos of personal performances. The best three performers voted for on Myspace will get to join the cast next season. This adds a whole new level of “American Idol” like popularity to the world of “Glee.”
“If it ends I’ll cry,” said Veronica Gomez.