Last night Glee took on Rocky Horror show. The reactions have ranged from outrage to, well, glee.
I’ve seen head-shaking of the nothing-is-sacred variety. I’ve seen reactions by people who love both Glee and Rocky Horror and think that combining the two is the best thing since pockets. I’ve seen opinions from people who are annoyed that Dr. Frank-N-Furter was played by an actress. But one of my favorite drag queens, Pandora Boxx, tweeted this morning that she loved the episode and thought that Mercedes as Frank-N-Furter was an interesting twist.
I was a little nervous about watching it because Rocky Horror occupies a special place in my cold little heart. I think that has something to do with the shock and awe I experienced when I was first introduced to it. I first learned about Rocky Horror in high school. One of my co-workers was such a big fan of the show that he’d made an audio tape of the film and listened to it endlessly when he was in the car. Since this was the guy who drove me home from work, I got to hear the movie before I even saw it.
He identified, I remember, pretty strongly with the Eddie character (that’s Meatloaf in the movie, folks), and in retrospect, I think he probably volunteered to drive me home from work because he was in the market for his very own Columbia. I later borrowed a friend’s copy of the movie and made sure my parents were out before watching it. I didn’t want to share it with my brother, but he muscled his way into the living room anyway and we watched it together. And we said “eeewwwww,” several times, but kept watching. Then we watched it again. And then we rewound the tape to the Time Warp and attempted to dance it in our parents’ tiny living room. The in-song dance instructions didn’t really help at all. It was like trying to do the Humpty Dance. But we danced anyhow. It’s amazing we didn’t break one of my mom’s lamps.We kept that movie until my friend demanded I give it back.
But I digress. People tend to get annoyed whenever they feel mainstream culture is co-opting a cult phenomenon. One of my high school classmates summed it up neatly in his Facebook status last night:
“2 things will happen tomorrow based on Glee:
1) Millions of kids who don’t know Rocky Horror will pretend they know what it is.
2)The kids that already knew what Rocky Horror was will continue to hate those other kids.”
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t identify with the kids in group two. That said, I actually liked the Glee episode. It didn’t take itself terribly seriously, and it didn’t matter to me who was playing Frank-N-Furter, because it was supposed to be a high school production, and high school productions use any and all available actors. And of course, it’s the same awesome music. I thought “Touch-a Touch-a Touch Me” was done well, and “The Time Warp” is still a weakness of mine. It still gives me chills, no matter who is singing it.