Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Why Rachel Berry's a role model

I'm not done with Glee. Not yet. I've already said what I thought about the show so I won't say it again. But I still think Rachel Berry (played by the incredible Lea Michele) is one of the best things to happen to television in years.

Here is an article explaining why she's such an amazing role model:

"All of the pieces were there for her character to be a power-hungry manipulator in the mold of a Tracy Flick or a sad-sack Cinderella of a social outcast who only comes alive and sheds her wallflower ways when she sings. But Rachel Berry is neither. She’s written as a complex, mercurial character. She films MySpace Le Mis tributes in her bedroom and announces to the school celibacy club that, believe it or not, high school girls want sex every bit as much as boys do. She can throw a diva hissy fit over not getting a coveted solo in one scene and then extend her hand in friendship to her former tormentor and the girlfriend of her crush in the next. And I love her for it.

How utterly refreshing is it to see a young female primetime character whose entire focus or major story arc doesn’t revolve around relationship drama and/or getting/keeping/deceiving/ditching a boy? Sure, Rachel pines for the sweetly dumb Finn, but she’s pragmatically resigned to his current status as Quinn’s baby daddy-to-be. And Rachel has bigger fish to fry anyway. She’s convinced that she’s going to be a star and damned if girl doesn’t have the ambition, confidence and straight-up vocal chops to back up her Broadway dreams.

Sure, Rachel’s got her flaws. She’s bossy, abrasive and high maintenance, but these are all tempered by self awareness. She knows she’s bossy, abrasive and high maintenance and will candidly own up to it. And she’s also achingly vulnerable – admitting that she wants glee club to succeed because being part of something special makes you special by proxy, confiding in Puck that her problem is that she wants everything too much and harboring an unspoken but all-too-evident fear that it’s only for the sake of her talent that people deign to associate with her at all. The insecurity behind the theatrics is more than enough to offset her occasion bouts of know-it-all-ism and social tone deafness.

Glee might be a giddy, implausible (Terri’s fake pregnancy, Sue Sylvester’s, well, everything), over-the-top romp, but Rachel rings true as complicated young woman who knows exactly who she is, but still struggles to balance meeting her own self-imposed type-A expectations with her desire for peer acceptance and friendship. TV and especially young women who watch TV need more Rachel Berrys to relate to."

And here's proof of Lea Michele's talent, her rendition of Don't Rain on My Parade. Lea is the only person who has ever made me consider giving Broadway theatre yet another chance. Lea has just been nominated for a Golden Globe. My vote goes to her.