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The Television Musical

The Television Musical

Glee’s New Directions

(p.257) 18 The Television Musical
Time in Television Narrative
Jack Harrison
University Press of Mississippi

This chapter examines the temporal narrative experiment taking place in FOX’s Glee. The first section explores how musical conventions are changed by seriality, arguing that the climactic narrative synthesis of the musical film is still relevant to the show, but that the indefinite temporal expansion of television creates opportunities for multiple romantic unions. The second section looks at the cause of the diegetic ruptures—the musical numbers themselves—reading their lyric time against the history of televisual realism to highlight the break from tradition they represent. Finally, in order to begin to address the question of why Glee was the show to bring the musical to television where other series have failed, the third section reads the show’s musical numbers through the lens of Amit Rai’s interval, showing how their circulation, independent of the greater text, has tapped into novel flows of sensation and revenue, particularly through digital downloads.

Keywords:   television shows, television programs, musical numbers, seriality, Amit Rai

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