Tonight was the first time I have ever enjoyed Glee.

If you’ve read my review of last May’s pilot episode you’ll know how disappointed I was to not love the dorky geek-fest right out of the gate. I love musical theatre, I love Ryan Murphy, I love highschool shows, I even have a pre-existing love for at least 4 of the main cast members- I really should love Glee, but I found myself wanting to turn my TV off partway through (something that I never want to do, unless I’m watching Private Practice).

Over the past 2 weeks (since Glee‘s fall premiere) I have found myself having to explain why I don’t like the show to multiple smart and interesting people who are already proclaiming it their favourite show on the air: it’s stereotypical, it’s overly dubbed, it’s not very innovative, it plays on annoyingly postmodern themes of outsider status, it unfairly vilifies the popular kids, it demands pathos for characters who haven’t earned it, etc, etc, etc…

And while all those things still apply, this week I actually enjoyed my Glee experience. First of all, my love of Matthew Morrison (Will) is the best thing the show has going for it, then put him in a boy band (the guiltiest of all my guilty pleasures) and I’m already having fun. Add a sweet (if unrealistic and somewhat self-pitying) story about underrated glee club members Mercedes and Kurt and the beginnings of the humanization of queen bee Quinn and jerky jock Puck (who has an AMAZING name, by the way) and you have the makings of something I might be able to like some day.

I said after the pilot that I’ll be watching Glee no matter what, hoping that one day it will win me over. So maybe it’s started today. Little by little, maybe they can flesh out their awkward characters into people I can actually root for, and deepen their typical villains into characters unto themselves. Maybe then I can celebrate Glee for what it was always meant to be: a show that can make me smile.