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'Glee': It's not that it's gotten bad, it's just that it can do anything it wants... over and over and over...

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When Glee premiered, I was a big supporter of the show — it struck me as fresh, innovative, funny, and occasionally touching. Now in its second season, Glee regularly makes my skin crawl — it srikes me as repetitive, preachy, mawkish, and only occasionally funny.

From the comments I’m reading on EW.com and elsewhere, some of you feel the same way.

So what’s happened to Glee? Well, it became a huge hit. That means it acquired more creative freedom from its network. And that freedom became its trap. Glee has been indulging its worst instincts. I don’t mean the much-derided theme-shows — I actually enjoyed the Britney Spears episode more than any other this season thus far. I mean ones like last week’s “Grilled Cheesus,” which approached the subject of faith with all the tedious even-handedness of a United Nations meeting. No point of view was left behind: Believers and non-believers; religions galore were celebrated; and Kurt’s dad had to go into a coma to prove that the combined force of gargantuan Glee good-will, when dampened with tears, could provide salvation. If the episode had been any more loudly inspirational, I would have fallen asleep. All that, plus we were tortured with a Glee cover of a Billy Joel song.

I keep watching Glee not only out of professional duty, but out of genuine curiosity about where the show is headed each week, and in search of reasons for why and how it’s become so strident.