By Situation Theatre 11/2/14
Following the sudden losses of Philip Seymour Hoffman and Corey Monteith, Glee creator Ryan Murphy has replaced the entire cast with members of political hip-hop groups Public Enemy and Dead-Prez. Concerned these deaths may be symptomatic of the very escapism and psychic numbing that the show promotes, the remaining episodes of Season Five will confront some of the deepest injustices plaguing the United States.
The revamped Glee club features teen singing sensations Artie (Stic-man), Tina (Professor Griff), and Marley (Flavor Flav). Storylines and songs will be drawn from albums such as It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, The Evil Empire of Everything and Revolutionary but Gangsta.
The remaining plotlines for this season have been leaked to warn the show’s tween-dominated audience of the radical shift. In Episode 9, New Directions incite a riot in the school hall when they give a sterling rendition of the Dead Prez classic “They Schools”. Episode 10 uses the exoneration of George Zimmerman to spotlight the institutionalised racism of the US legal system, with the Glee club’s cover of “Fuck the Law” winning the Regional round of the Midwest Show Choir Championships.
Another episode sees the kids from William McKinley High School share their perspective of globalization as 21st century imperialism at the Showcase. Their version of “Globalisation (Scene of the Crime)” is lucky to beat the Portland Scale Blazers’s superb rendition of Rihanna’s “Diamonds”. The Blazers are initially awarded first place but later disqualified for failing to disclose the political and moral minefield tied to conflict minerals.
In the season finale, under the direction of a radicalised Will Schuester (played by Black Panther co-founder Bobby Seale), the horny teens bring down the house at the National Championships with a well choreographed version of “We Need a Revolution”, singing “Mutha fuck they constitution...the system ain't gonna change unless we make it change”. The lyrics are so powerful and the dance lines so tight, they inspire a revolutionary movement to overthrow the state. This episode is a cliffhanger though so we’ll have to wait until Season Six airs to find out if it is successful. A positive outcome for the revolution is almost guaranteed by the fortitude of Will Schuester and his young stars.