Thursday, October 28, 2010

And You Never Thought That Rocky Horror Could Get Cheesier...

I'm sure most of you are sick of hearing about RHPS, but considering it's Halloween in a couple of days, and the midnight showing of Rocky is tomorrow + I'm pumped, AND the Rocky Horror Glee Show was aired recently (AND I changed my profile pic for the occasion), I think it's necessary that I address it. So be warned.

Before I delve into "respectful criticism" of this episode, I think it's important that I determine how happy I am that Rocky Horror was payed homage to at all. ANY RHPS reference to me is great, and the fact that a hugely popular show like Glee decided to base an ENTIRE EPISODE on it was fantastic. I'm sure Ryan Murphy, the creator of Glee, is a huge fan which is evident in even the small details of this episode.

For example, when Emma (the school's guidance councillor) performs "Touch-a Touch-a Touch me," there's a part where different characters' faces are right in the camera, mimicking being on top of her. Each yells "creature of the night!" and I was happy/surprised that this was included in Glee because it seems a little risque for TV. Also, this song was apparently the song that Jayma Mays, who plays Emma, auditioned for the show with. Very cool.

I also enjoyed that the scene in the movie where the characters go "Janet! Dr. Scott! Janet! Brad! Rocky! Grr!" three times was repeated in the show, and Sue Sylvester remarks, "This play is terrible!"

I loved Kurt as Riff-Raff (even though it wasn't my first choice of character for him)! He had the Riff-Raff voice & movements down-pat. I read in an interview that he gave that he is a huge Rocky fan and that he was dying to play the part of Riff-Raff, so that's all fine and dandy.

Finally, I thought it was awesome that Barry Bostwick and Meatloaf cameo-d in the episode. Yay for that. Oh, I also forgot to mention the highlight of the episode: Mr. Schuester with his shirt off. Thank you, Glee, for making me believe that there may in fact be hot teachers like him out there.

I thought the show missed the whole point of RHPS. It's about sex, it's about being provocative, and it's about "pushing the envelope" which Glee outright denies. The lyrics are altered because they aren't appropriate for a high school shit. But changing "I'm just a sweet transvestite from transsexual Transylvania" to "sensational Transylvania" ruined the whole song for me. Other examples are changing "heavy petting" to "heavy sweating"; "and if any grows" to "and if anything shows"; and "seat wetting" to "bad fretting." Okay, okay, I do get that it's airing on Fox T.V. and that these songs had to be censored for a specific reason. But that's like taking the Bible and changing Jesus dying on a cross to Jesus getting carbon-monoxide poisoning. Ha, I just compared Rocky Horror to the Bible. Maybe that's because Rocky Horror is just as important as the Bible to me.

Mercedes, the token black diva kid (have a ever talked about how everyone on Glee is a stereotype? Well, they are) plays Frank-n-furter. She sings "Sweet Transvestite" in such an Aretha Franklin diva-esque way that it tramples on the meaning and significance of what the Frank character actually represents. I guess picking a girl to dress up as a transvestite (and covering her up to look a little more conservative -- not that I'd want to see her in skimpy clothes!) is a little more "safe" for TV. But, really, the main reason why I enjoy Rocky is....wait for it....the transvestites. As stereotypical as it sounds, I would have wanted Kurt to play Frank (yes, let's of course pick the gay kid to play him, just like we'd pick Artie, the kid in the wheelchair to play Dr. Scott). I just think that Kurt is the best male singer, that he has a lot of sass, and that he'd have the confidence to play the part of Frank amazingly.

You would think after 37 years from when The Rocky Horror Show was first performed in London, that audiences would be a little more tolerant of the so-called "racy" themes? In a time where this generation is supposedly more open and accepting of displaying sexuality on television and saying words like "transsexual"? Apparently not. (Think: Adam Lambert).

I'm also concerned about the fact that Glee has officially cheesified Rocky, if Rocky could be even more cheesy than it already is. Just like Glee takes songs like "Gold Digger," "Don't Stop Believin'," and "Empire State of Mind" and drastically turns them into pop-ish, bubbly, Sharon Lois & Bram hits (please tell me you know who Sharon, Lois, and Bram are! Or I'll have to give you a quick synopsis!), I think that The Rocky Horror Glee Show Soundtrack has lost the rawness, intensity, and sexuality that the original oozes with. Kids are going to buy the album, thinking "oohh, this Rocky Horror thing sounds cool" or claim to know exactly what RHPS is after merely viewing this episode. On the other hand, if this episode of Glee gets kids watching the original movie, than that's fantastic too, I guess.

So, what you have learned from me, hopefully, is that as much as Glee is apparently "risque" in devoting an entire episode to the cult classic, they are also not very transgressive in their portrayal of it. Plus, you have successfully been introduced to Sharon, Lois & Bram.

They were definitely a huge hit in Canada, I think people were familiar with them in the States too? I'm not too sure. They received many awards in Canadian entertainment (probably because they are awesome, and because nobody has really heard of any Canadian artists other than Celine Dion, Shania Twain, and sigh, Nickelback & Justin Bieber). But they were pretty much MY ENTIRE CHILDHOOD. Their TV show called "The Elephant Show," was how I measured time. I would ask my parents, "How long until we go to the zoo?" and they would say, "Three elephant shows," meaning one hour and a half (each show = 30 mins, so 30 x 3 = 1 1/2 hours. Genius, I know). I would dance around the living room with my sister to their wonderfully cheesy songs (my favourites were "Skinamarinky Dinky Dink," and "Shake it Like a Milkshake") and I even saw them in concert -- the highlight of my life. I actually wanted Sharon to adopt me because, well, unlike my mom, she was always happy, she hugged everyone all the time, and she had cool flashy earrings.

Anyways, be excited for me! Tomorrow night is the midnight showing for Rocky Horror and myself and most of my girlfriends who are going are dressing up as Franks! I know that I am contradicting myself immensely, after bashing Mercedes for playing him on Glee, but the difference here is that we are aware of what we are doing. We are aware of what Frank represents and the implications of dressing up as him. And we love him.


  1. the elephant show?!?! why have i never heard of this before...

  2. Well most kids don't even know that phones used to have cords or that the internet is only about 15 years old or have never heard of "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"! Why would they know anything about Rocky Horror Picture Show?

  3. That's a very good point. It's actually kind of ridiculous if you consider that the Internet is only about 15 years old...

  4. Yuck, I hate it when stuff like that gets censored.

    I used to love Sharon, Lois and Bram!!! An elephant never forgets!!

  5. We just bought that Sharon, Lois, and Bram cd for my son :)

  6. I've never heard of Sharon, Lois and Bram. Perhaps they didn't make the leap across the pond. I feel left out.

    I haven't seen the Glee episode of Rocky, but I understand what you're saying. Rocky is sexy and provocative and supposed to be that way, I can't imagine Glee being a vehicle for that.

  7. i just DON'T understand why she could say transvestite, but not transexual. what is the logic?! also i heard john stamos was supposed to play frank and the network said absolutely not. lame.
    my opinion is, if you don't like, and you think it's offensive, there are 300 million other channels... GO WATCH ONE OF THEM! :P