On Glee, “glease” is the word (though it’s not really a word at all).
But off the show, people have used a different word to describe the SALT Glee project: misguided.
Last month, we took our mission to the gleeks on Reddit. For fans of a show about tolerance, they all didn’t necessarily accept paying for college as a valuable plot (“pretty much the most boring thing ever,” one said).
After weathering that slushie to the face, I thought I’d list actual plots worthy of someone crying “snooze” (the show did spend half a season on a fake pregnancy…). However, I didn’t want to stoop to Sue Sylvester territory.
Instead, I accept that some won’t want tuition talk on the show—but that won’t stop me from trying to make it happen. And since Glee went retro with Grease, it seemed like the perfect time to look back at this season’s missed opportunities for financial aid-themed songs.
“CALL ME MAYBE”
How the show used it: As an audition for members of the glee club to become “the new Rachel.”
How they could have used it: As a plea tothefinancial aid office.
One thing students sometimes don’t know is that they can negotiate financial aid awards. If unforeseen events take place after an award is calculated, students may be eligible for additional aid.
It sounds odd to pair this topic with an ode to “ripped jeans” and “hair flowing”, but Rachel could make it work as a slowed-down power ballad. Let’s say one of her dads lost his job; she could meet the financial aid officer, think getting more money seems “crazy,” and sit by the phone hoping for a call to keep her in school. (Note: this still wouldn’t be the most forced version of “Call Me, Maybe.”)
How the show used it: As Jake and Kitty’s audition for Grease.
How they could have used it: To start a conversation between parents and their kids about paying for school.
It’s never easy for families to discuss money—but everybody should talk about it. This season, Glee introduced the coolest parent since Burt Hummel: Marley’s lunch-lady mom. We already know their family struggles with money (they change the tags in her Wal-Mart sweaters). Why not escalate those issues to paying for college?
It could “start with a whisper” that Marley could never afford school; then her mom could detail the options (scholarships, Pell grants) to help them. Fortunately, Glee may get another shot at this one: “Little Talks” is gaining radio airplay, meaning it will probably end up in a future episode.
“BEAUTY SCHOOL DROPOUT”
How the show used it: As it originally appeared in Grease.
How the show could have used it: As an actual lesson about dropping out of school.
I admit it: The two songs above require some shoehorning to fit plot points. But “Beauty School Dropout”? This would have been the perfect opportunity to talk about the responsibilities of student loan borrowers.
When someone drops out of school, any money they borrowed is still due in full. Many borrowers don’t understand this—and end up in default. Couldn’t one last night’s returning college students have dropped out of school?
Truth be told, I’m holding out hope that this story could still happen: Does anyone else think Mike Chang took an awful lot of time off to choreograph a high school’s musical? Maybe Glee and paying for school could go together after all.
How would you update Glee’s songs this season to make them about financial aid? Share them in the comments.
(Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr)