Nov 20, 2010

Rachel Berry / the desperate wannabe Broadway superstar

Lea Michele plays the female lead of Glee, Rachel Berry. Rachel Berry is the female lead of the Glee club. And she wouldn't have it any other way. She's been pursuing the spotlight since the moment she was born and probably before that, too. She was raised by her two gaydads and she always puts a little golden star after her name. It's a metaphor, you know. In the club, she always gets the big solos and if someone threats that position, she kind of freaks out. She used to get slushied a lot, but now she's living the ultimate romantic high school comedy cliché, as she's dating the quarterback of the football team. Though I think now they both get slushied... Oh well.

Rachel is annoying. But it's okay, we forgive her, because that's a part of the whole thing and a universally acknowledged truth! I feel that especially in season 2 she's become funnier and more likable, maybe because the character has developed a bit, or because I now look at those irritating comments from the point of view of humour. She has never been one of my favourites, but I guess that's just my old tendencies of disliking the main characters kicking in. Like, she gets more attention in the show than I'd have interest to follow her. She hasn't had any major storylines this season, which in a way makes it easier for me to enjoy the moments when she does get attention. Though of course she still gets to sing a lot. Which brings us to the next subject.

Having been performing on Broadway since she was eight, Lea Michele is obviously the most experienced and technically best singer of the young actors of Glee. And yeah, the girl can sing, well, even I can hear that. But that doesn't make her performances my personal favourites. Why? Well, first there's the matter I already discussed above, meaning my little leading character syndrome. Simply put, after a while I just got tired of her singing because she got to do it all the time.

Secondly, and most importantly, there is always that theatricality about her perfomances. Which is of course a vital part of the character of Rachel, always aiming for Broadway, and also a part of Michele, who has practically grown up on Broadway, and learned to be dramatic and exaggerated when on stage. And that's totally cool and only appropriate. (Wow. Just had a deja vu. Does this mean I'm repetitive...? Hope not.) She's so polished and professional it's almost boring. The thing is, it does not appeal to me as much as - well, this is just a random example (...random my ass...) - the subtle and seemingly effortless performing of Chris Colfer. Of which I'm not going to say more right now, because in the future there will be a lot more praise for him than anyone can stand. I apologize in advance. But I don't mean it. Haha.

One more thing about her singing. Anyone who's watched even one episode of Glee knows she makes faces when she sings. Which is okay by me, if it enables her to sing like that, but I can't help that sometimes it annoys me, a lot. But hey, live and let live. I mean make faces and let make faces. I mean.... damn. The phrase didn't work like I hoped I would. Anyway.

Here is one of my favourites performances by Rachel. That's a really really good version of the song. If you want a proof that the girl can sing live too, see this video from the Tony Awards.

Another nice scene, this one's from the second season, with the new character Sunshine. A great example of how Rachel being annoying can be funny. "You like me sing very much!" (P.S. It's Rachel vs. Sunshine. Who wins? Well, Sue Sylvester, of course.)

"I'm like Tinkerbell, Finn, I need applause to live!"

"I won my first dance competition when I was three months old."

"Well, I do have something that I've been working on since I was four."

"Aside from nudity and the exploitation of animals, I'll pretty much do anything to break into the business."


Marja said...

Rachel's charachter is so annoying. Everytime I think she might have some redeeming qualities, she soon proves me wrong. Her constant limelight hogging is so unattractive. Bleh! But I have to agree that she sure can sing.

Eeva said...

Yep, indeed. I guess we can hope she'll some day surprise us and actually become likable! But that wouldn't be Rachel anymore, on the other hand. Well, as long as she lets other people enjoy the centre stage too, I guess I can put up with her. Most of the time.