Why does a TV show that ran from 2009 to 2015 have so much control over the internet in 2020? What spell has Matthew Morrison cast over TikTok?
Glee, the now-infamous musical TV show that followed the stars of a fictional high school show choir through its highest highs and lowest lows, became a cultural phenomenon once again when the world entered quarantine.
Not only was it prominently featured on Netflix during time no one really had anything better to do, but it also provided a sort of nostalgia for those who watched it through its first run, but with a twist. People began to realize several years later that the show was even more exaggerated (and problematic) than they remembered.
For instance, footage of dummies in the audience of a competition scene went viral. A screencap of the show’s villain, cheerleading Coach Sue Sylvester, has also become an un-killable meme.
Notably, Lea Michele, the star of the show who played aspiring Broadway legend Rachel Berry, got called out in June by a fellow cast member for on-set racist behavior. She apologized for her actions, but not before losing brand partnerships.
The character that got the most hate by far, though, was one William Schuester — the break-dancing, rapping, bad-decision-making show choir instructor everyone loved to hate. He delivered cringe-y lines like, “You’re all minorities, you’re in the glee club,” and people’s qualms about him didn’t stop there.
In a TikTok from October, user @mic.tok humorously accused the fictional Schuester of a serious of crimes, including “using child soldiers” and “directing attacks toward civilians,” all while sharing clips of his unusual dance numbers involving his students. The list of the fictional character’s creepy moments goes on.
Criticism for the character then trickled down to the actor himself.
A satirical Change.org petition titled “Send Matthew Morrison to Guantanamo Bay” has received more than 18,000 signatures. Many TikTok videos of him now come with a content warning to “watch at your own risk.”
Jokes aside, Morrison himself came under fire after paying tribute to Naya Rivera, his former Glee castmate who died in July. Though his homage to her seemed heartfelt, it reminded fans of his not-so-heartwarming tribute to late co-stars Cory Monteith and Mark Salling.
He captioned that post with two angel emojis surrounding a sad face emoji, meant to represent Monteith, Salling and himself.
It didn’t help his case when his ex-fiancée Chrishell Stause, an adored member of the cast of the smash-hit reality show Selling Sunset, alluded to their former relationship in a negative manner.
“I didn’t know who I was at 25, and I didn’t know what I wanted because actually, if I ended up with the person I was with when I was 25, I would want to kill myself,” she said on the show. “And yeah you can Google that. You were a d**k! Sorry.”
What seems to be the icing on the cake for this anti-Morrison season — or star on the top of the tree, as it were — is the fact that he is starring in Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch Musical!, which is set to air live on NBC on Dec. 9.
His dance moves from that have been re-posted many times on TikTok.
Many folks weren’t fans of his full costume either, which debuted during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
It seems that the same thing that has happened to Hamilton creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda — the meme-ification of a person once involved in a prestigious show — has happened to Morrison.
Miranda’s lip-biting selfies went viral earlier this year, even after he bagged a number of Tonys, Grammys and Emmys for his work. He was seen as someone who was trying too hard, just as Morrison, a SAG Award winner and Emmy nominee for his work on Glee, is now.
The two even beatboxed and danced together once.
There you have it — there is no musical achievement safe from the critical eye of TikTok users. Maybe that’s for the best.
If you enjoyed this story, check out the best memes of 2020.
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