In a tribute to the trials and tribulations of teendom, Glee’s Super Bowl episode sees New Directions hook it up with McKinley High’s slushy-throwing football dicks for a spectacular half time mash-up, of Michael Jackson’s Thriller with Heads Will Roll by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
Inspired by MJ’s 1980s horror-themed Thriller video, New Directions and their beefy counterparts perform as teen zombies – not so far fetched an idea in light of the fact that counterfeit is the name of the High School game. It’s much easier to get through High School by complying with the rules prescribed by the gods of cool (aka mass media) who wield the weapon of all-consuming fear in a bid to enforce zombified mind-control. In other words, Mr Schue grants the pupils from McKinley High the freedom to act themselves, and they do so with precise authenticity. For a sixteen-year-old, letting labels dictate decision as well as the avoidance of critical thought are merely methods of self-preservation. Why not make a song and dance about it?
Although the Super Bowl episode is a reminder of High School’s expert ability to use the fear of the un-cool as a cloning device, it also challenges the exclusivity of High School’s rigid prescriptions – with girls playing football, footballers singing and dancing, and cheerleaders giving up their uniform for the greater good. “What?” you say! – yes, occasionally teens do break the mould. But only occasionally, as Dave Karofsky reminds us at the end;
This is High School. People’s memories for good stuff lasts about as long as their Facebook Status.