Sitting Through the 'Glee' Movie Three Times, or Why I Hate Ryan Murphy

“Glee” is one of my favorite shows on TV, somewhere below “Breaking Bad” and “Community” but above “The Office” and “How I Met Your Mother.” To many, any credibility I may have gained by sh*tting all over “Entourage” and praising “The Critic” has been lost with that statement—very few things are as loaded as “Glee fan”—but although I’m often times not proud of it, I am a fan of the show (not a Gleek, however).

That being said, Glee: The 3D Concert Movie, which opened this past Friday, looked TERRIBLE — like everything I enjoy about the show had been stripped away, replaced by loud, pointless guitar solos, thousands of screeching pubescent tweens, and an extra dimension for Artie the Wheelchair Kid to white-boy rap. (John Wayne Gacy would have loved it.) So, with a curiosity to scratch, I went to a screening of the movie on a rainy Sunday afternoon, in Times Square, by myself, and sat through the film not once, not twice, but thrice, as a sort of endurance test. [Let’s call it punishment for liking the show in the first place. –Ed.] And my hunches weren’t wrong. It only reinforced why I hate “Glee” co-creator Ryan Murphy so much.

I was one of about twenty people at the 4:15 p.m. showing, and surprisingly/sadly, not the only person who went by his lonesome. I counted at least five lonely hearts, both male and female, who attended the movie solo. I didn’t feel like a total creep being there by myself, because I was on assignment, but as for the guy in his 20s sitting in the back row, all the way against the wall, let’s just say I wouldn’t want to have to clean the theater after the mess he probably made during Brittany’s performance of “I’m a Slave 4 U.”

(One of the few highlights of the movie was Brittany (Heather Morris) admitting that her boobs must look amazing in 3D, and well, they did. I saw Crazy, Stupid, Love a few weeks ago, and the reaction that female members of that audience had to Ryan Gosling taking his shirt off was the same as male attendees of the “Glee” movie had when Brittany strips off her trench coat, revealing this outfit.)

The second and third showings had more people, and with more people came more singing, dancing, clapping, and even a sniffle or two after Kurt the Gay One and Rachel the Hot One sang “Happy Days Are Here Again/Get Happy.” I can’t think of a worse place to get footloose (the trailer of which I saw three f**king times) than in a movie theater, surrounded by dim outlines of other people, and yet a few stood up during Santana the Hotter One’s cover of “Valerie” (awkward). My favorite person was the woman who stayed in her seated the entire time but continuously shimmied and shook the entire film; she was having either a great time or a seizure.

(Semi-speaking of: is every movie theater in the country required by law to include Time Crisis, and its pre-game seizure warning, and Terminator Salvation in its video game arcade? Oh, the quarters I’ve wasted on Time Crisis, trying to shoot those robotic insects, money that could have been better spent on buying a full plate of Chinese food that’s always given away in free samples in the food court, rather than going back and forth dozens of time to fill myself up. Wonderful General Tso’s.)

The musical performances, taken from a recent concert at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, NJ, were separated by stories of real-life “Glee” fans that have gone through tough times, and how the show has helped them cope. I’m a cynical person, so I thought the segments were pandering pieces of crap meant to force-feed a message about how amazing and life-affirming “Glee” is. But so did the rest of the crowd. Groans filled the theater when the film cut back to the self-proclaimed “dwarf” and her quest to become prom queen.

Which brings me to the Murphy hate.

Michael Stipe-look alike Ryan Murphy is one of the most vain, infuriating people in Hollywood, because he’s clearly talented (“Popular” proves this is to be true, as does the “Glee” pilot and a handful of other episodes), but he knows this and he’ll flaunt it for anyone who’ll listen. It’s not enough to make a simple concert movie, with fun musical performances—no, let’s make it in 3D and interject it with a story of a gay guy who came out before he wanted to, and how he learned to accept himself because of Murphy’s show. Why do a realistic episode about how tough high school is when you can instead finger Madonna’s ego for 44 minutes?

One of the reasons why I like “Glee” so much is because at its core, it’s really depressing. Mr. Schuester, who was the show’s main character before drifting off into a sea of hair jokes, is a failed performer who now vicariously lives out his dreams through the students he teaches, many of whom will never leave Ohio. They might be talented in that podunk town, but they’re nothing compared to the rising stars in California and New York. When Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan, the other two “Glee” writers, pen an episode of the show, it’s usually an honest depiction of how although you may think you’ve found The One in high school, it’s likely you’ll move on, your former lover will stay in their home town, and you’ll both forget about one another. When it’s Murphy’s turn, it’s an entire episode about how risqué The Rocky Horror Picture Show is.

By the end of my third viewing of Glee: The 3D Concert Movie, I was practically seething at Murphy, blaming him and not director Kevin Tancharoen for what I had just spent 252 minutes of my life on. When Murphy was going through his idiotic pissing match with Kings of Leon (another reason why I hate him: he made me side with Kings of Leon), he told The Hollywood Reporter, “You can make fun of ‘Glee’ all you want, but at its heart, what we really do is turn kids on to music.” Maybe that was the show’s intention at the beginning, Mr. Murphy, but what you so often turn “Glee” into is no less disturbing than the ear-slashing scene with Rosie O’Donnell on your old show, “Nip/Tuck.” (Which you also f**ked up.)

Ryan Murphy has good ideas; it’s just that after he comes up with them, he feels he has to make them bigger, and therefore, more ridiculous. He’s the M. Night Shyamalan of the TV world (although Murphy has dipped into film as well, with the repulsive Eat, Pray, Love), someone whose ego gets in the way of a quality product. Mr. Murphy, if you’re reading this—and you probably are, because you’re the kind of person who has a Google Alert for their own name—please stop getting in the way of yourself. Come up with an idea, and then let someone else do the actual work. Don’t you dare mess up Connie Britton.