Friday, October 8, 2010

Rocky Horror Glee Show: A Preemptive Strike

So, if you hadn't heard, some TV show that some people apparently like to watch is putting on a episode centered around some campy rock musical that some of us like to shadowcast.

I've never watched Glee. I've been a Rocky Horror fan/performer/cultist for 8 years.

I'm not going to comment extensively until I've seen the episode, but I just wanted to put it out there: this is... interesting.

Rocky Horror has always danced in strange circles around the mainstream. If you were a young adult in the 70s, you definitely know about it, and have probably been to it a few times. If you're super conservative, it's the devil. If you're reasonably liberal, you'll recognize that, yes, it's fairly transgressive, but not the most out-there subculture on the planet.

But my totally uninformed guess would be that the average Glee viewer - or at least a sizable portion of its audience - is not familiar with it.

This could go lots of different ways. The unfamiliar audience could see it as just another set of old rock n roll chestnuts that the show has dug up, and, man, weren't they freaky in the Seventies?

It could get backlash. Even if they don't watch the show, conservative media like to jump on any chance to make controversy. (Well, all media, really.) If not for the fact that Glee airs on Fox, it would be right up Fox News' alley to have a news segment about the controversial episode that features cross-dressing, cannibalism, incest and orgies. (Or at least, that features music from a movie that features those things.)

It could increase the actual Rocky Horror's popularity, particularly if they at all mention that, you know, there are still people putting it on, every weekend, in a large city near you. Us Rocky kids are probably both dreaming of and dreading the possibility of an upsurge in popularity; for one thing, we love an audience, and for another, we love to scoff at normals.

The real interesting thing to me is that this is probably the closest brush with the mainstream Rocky Horror has had in a while. It will be an interesting test to see if still has any power whatsoever to shock. After all, there are, in a way, two Rocky Horrors: theres the movie as it is seen by most not-straightlaced-people, as a fun, weird, Halloweeny diversion; and then there's the cult, featuring folks (like me) who are most likely to inspire a why's-it-such-a-big-deal-to-them? reaction.

We'll see, I guess.


Cody G. said...

I just started getting into Glee and I can't wait for it. The Britney Spears episode already got a retarded amount of controversy from parents who think that a bunch of twenty-somethings playing teens singing, dressing, and dancing like Britney (with significantly less skin being shown) isn't appropriate for the TV-14 crowd it's so generously rated for.

But that episode also got the highest amount of viewers throughout the shows history, and it deserved it. Controversy brings viewers, so I imagine the Rocky Horror episode will do nothing but skyrocket the amount of viewers it gets.

Also, I think Time Warp is at least fairly recognizable. But that may be because I happened to make friends with a huge group of kids at Florida State that found Rocky Horror to be their equivalent of the bible.

Roma said...

I wouldn't worry about this making that big of a negative splash. And I think you underestimate Glee fans, at least in age. Glee attracts much of the same crowd as RHPS.

Keep in mind that Fox used to air Rocky Horror on Halloween, as did VH1. Rocky's not that far from mainstream. Drew Carey show paid homage to it back in the 90s.

Also, Glee just featured an episode with two cheerleaders making out. I don't think anyone considers them to toting family values even now.