Glee and cringe comedy

Although it relies heavily on the tropes of teen soap operas, the musical series Glee is often seen as a comedy. What is interesting about it, though, is that most of the humor appears to be what is often referred to as "cringe" humor. Cringe humor is so-called because it entails a character acting in provocative or foolish ways and causing the audience to laugh at them instead of with them. In the case of Glee, some of the more famous examples of cringe include the teenage characters attempting to perform "sexy" dance numbers, and the one-liners provided by Jane Lynch and Matthew Morrison, who play the most prominent teachers. Some YouTubers have even taken to compiling the most cringey scenes from Glee and giving their videos names like "Glee out of context" or "Glee scenes that give me secondhand embarrassment."

So, is Glee a cringe comedy? Or is it a soap opera that just happens to have cringey humor in it? Is there something about the premise or cast of Glee that naturally lends itself to cringe humor?

  • As someone who never got into Glee or really saw the appeal this did catch my eye. I'd love an exploration of the genre of cringe comedy and how Glee fits into the greater canon. – Sunni Ago 1 year ago
  • Another example could be Riverdale (tbh Riverdale is an article in of itself). You could argue about the different scales of cringe. In Glee, I find that the comedy is self-aware and knew that it was ridiculous at time. Whereas in Riverdale it crossed the line where you don't know if the writers are serious or satirical. – shaymichel20 1 year ago
  • Glee was also produced by Ryan Murphy (of American Horror Story, Ratched, Hollywood, etc), and upon a recent re-watch my friends and I were wondering if it might be considered a camp satire about heteronormativity. All of the pregnancy plotlines, Sue's obvious lesbian vibes & Shuster's obvious gay vibes serving beard couple realness, all of the revealing of the farces of heterosexual normality -- this show really just magnifies the absurdity of 'straight culture' (hence the cringe). – alex 1 year ago

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