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To ‘Glee,’ With (Sometimes Grudging) Love

Fox’s “Glee” finished its wild, uneven, maddening, convulsive, periodically wonderful first season on Tuesday night, and I confess that when the cast broke into a rendition of “To Sir, With Love” — the title song of a movie released 43 years ago — it brought a tear to my eye.

Glee Producer Ryan Murphy’s show — an over-the-top mix of wacky comedy and an unabashed love for music and musicals — has benefited from success, emboldening the producers to try bigger and better production numbers. The song from that Sidney Poitier movie followed a Journey medley that should be lighting up iTune downloads even as we speak (or rather, I speak).

As the season progressed, the series also mercifully put its awful wife-faking-pregnancy storyline behind it, and found some humanity in Jane Lynch’s performance as the cheerleading coach with delusions of grandeur. I like Jessalyn Gilsig as an actress, but given the absurdity of her character, let’s hope we never see her on this particular show again.

Mostly, though, “Glee” has been all about the music, and when that’s good, everything else is forgivable.

TV Guide critic Matt Roush has called the show a “wonderful mess.” On Tuesday, at least, it lived up more to the first half of that description than the latter.

So have a good summer vacation, kids. Can’t wait to see how you keep this high-wire act going next year.

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