Saturday, May 29, 2010

How "Glee" Creates Drama ("Theatricality")

How Glee Creates Drama (Theatricality)

A month ago, I came down with a severe case of writer's block.

Why? Besides going through my first major crisis as an adult, I came to a startling realization: I have no idea how to create drama. Not in the overarching plotline - that's easy for almost anybody. But creating an engaging, gripping story has almost nothing to with its main plotline. It's the dozens, even hundreds of tiny conflicts, contradictions, and idiosyncrasies that breathe life into a story.

With that in mind, Fox's Glee has dominated my free time lately. In my personal life, I avoid drama like the plague. As a writer, it's water in my creative desert. And what makes Glee a great show isn't its unique approach to the TV musical, or high school creativity. It's the brilliant, diverse cast of characters, and their struggle to cope with everyday trivialities. Glee's continuing plotline - winning the national Glee competition - is hardly mentioned in its last episode, "Theatricality." And yet, it was a completely successful episode.