Another thing I take issue with is the facile, broad, borderline offensive way they approach the "issues" these characters have. In a recent episode, the kid in the wheelchair gets told about a procedure that could possibly fix his spine and allow him to pursue his ultimate dream of dancing. After a few scenes the show seems to suggest that he did the procedure and they have him leap out of his chair and do an elaborate dance number in the middle of a shopping mall. Obviously, the bait and switch comes, and that was merely a dream sequence. I guess that scene was supposed to feel cathartic, but I came away from it feeling deeply offended at the nonchalance the writers and creators have when dealing with this character's very real situation. There are many other examples of this approach (the one girl's pregnancy, the other girl's search for her mother). I'd like to note that I do know the names of these characters, but the writing of the show generally does not allow any person on screen a life beyond his or her basic archetype, so naming them almost seems beside the point.
The thing I have the biggest problem with is the tone this show takes. I have no problem with the notion of a show with a sunny attitude towards life and all its problems and complexity. The issue I take is when a show grazes over the "problems and complexity" part and jumps straight to the sunny attitude. If this show didn't present people that would appear to have real life problems; if it didn't pretend to address serious issues in an attempt to create the facade of depth; if it was merely a show about young kids with big dreams singing in the school's glee club, I could get behind it and appreciate its positive outlook. The creators made a conscious decision to address things like teenage pregnancy, sexual identity and other real life concerns, only to fail to actually address any of them with any thoughtfulness or care. Thus, the show's happy tone feels like it hasn't been earned and ultimately comes out feeling forced and delusional. In order to "smile though your heart is aching", you have to understand the ache.