I took myself to see the Glee movie this afternoon. I’ll start by owning to the fact that I am a complete and total geek. I went by myself to see a 3D movie of a live concert of a TV show that, just by itself, easily qualifies me for serious geek status. That’s not the point of this post, though. The movie interspersed footage of the concert with stories of or brief interviews or clips of fans of the show, primarily teenagers positively affected by the show, which I thought was very sweet. One particular person, shown for only a short moment, however, was the one who I really related to.
I’ll pause here to explain a few things about the show – only enough to make this story make sense for those who’ve never seen it. First of all, one of the central characters of the show is Rachel Berry. Rachel is, above all else, a performer, and intends to let nothing get in her way of fulfilling her dream and becoming a star on Broadway. Second of all, this past season, there was a special episode titled “Born This Way” that focused on the students dealing with and embracing those aspects of themselves that they’ve wrestled with, or been unhappy about. The final musical number, using the eponymous Lady Gaga song, had all the choir members (and their teacher) wearing white t-shirts emblazoned with a word or phrase naming that something that they struggle with. Unsurprisingly, many of the fans pictured in the movie were wearing similar shirts. Some of them wore shirts identical to those in the show – “Likes Boys” was particularly popular, although I think it loses most, if not all, of its significance, when it’s worn by a girl, not a teenage boy, as it was on the show; but I digress – but a few were original, and the one that caught my eye and attention was one that read “Not On Stage.” The wearer was given a few seconds on screen; “In high school, I wanted to be just like Rachel Berry,” she said, “but I’ve now joined the Marines, so I’m not on stage.” She then saluted the camera, and that was that.
What was unspoken, or at least un-shown in the film, was the thought that, while the Marines might be exactly where she wants to be, not being on stage was a sacrifice she had to make to get there, and, while no-one has to worry about my joining the Marines or any branch of the military in this lifetime, I know exactly how she feels.