On this week’s episode of Glee, The New Directions are exploring their “guilty pleasures” — songs they don’t want to admit they love, but they do. There’s just one problem. These songs kinda sound more like the guilty pleasures of someone in their 40s.
Are we really supposed to believe that 17-year-old Sam Evans is listening to Barry Manilow’s “Copacabana”? Would a high school student even know who Barry Manilow is — or Wham, for that matter?
The newest song on the song list for Season 4, Episode 17: “Guilty Pleasures” is The Spice Girls’ “Wannabe,” which was released in 1996. To put that into perspective, the seniors at McKinley High School were infants when that song was popular.
We can excuse the appearance of ABBA’s “Mamma Mia” on this week’s playlist, if only for the fact that it’s the title song in a popular — and recent — jukebox musical of the same name. But aside from that exception, the rest of the list just doesn’t sound like guilty pleasures a bunch of teenagers could or would claim.
That’s not to say kids aren’t aware of pop culture that’s older than them. You don’t have to be a child of the ‘60s to know a few Beatles tunes, after all. Still, you’d think these kids would want to sing some songs that were written while they were alive.
This isn’t the first time we’ve noticed a disconnect between Glee’s music and the age of its characters and core audience. In Episode 15: “Girls (and Boys) on Film” — the title of which alludes to a 32-year-old Duran Duran song, btw — the newest movie songs these kids could come up with came from Moulin Rouge, which was released when the glee kids were roughly six years old. Ghost, the origin of the sexy pottery scene between Ryder (Blake Jenner) and Jake (Jacob Artist) — oh, and Marley (Melissa Benoist) was there too, we think — came out in 1990. And Animal House, source of the show’s 500th song, came out in 1978.
And now, with Rachel auditioning for Funny Girl, a musical that debuted on Broadway nearly 50 years ago, we can’t help but feel that Glee’s music producers need to check their freshness date.
What do you think — is Glee’s music out of touch with its young viewers?