Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Problem with Glee

Warning: Graphic and Gross Content. Read at your own stomach's peril.

I feel better right now because I threw up this morning. Yesterday, I felt bad all day and thought that I would vomit but didn't. Honestly, I think it's worse to feel like your going to but can't. Then this morning I felt a little off and then BLECK. It's funny how it works that way. You think "Oh, I'm going to." and then you sit next to the toilet several times. Nothing. And the next day you're like "Oh, I need to eat something. I feel funny." And you do and then say "wow, I still feel funny." And then Bleck. I don't understand my body anymore. The corresponding feeling should go with the corresponding reaction, but it doesn't. Speaking of things that vomit (there's an episode where the students get drunk and vomit).

I admit I like Glee. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's the fact that there are underdogs who are singers, and there are some redeeming factors to it. Glee teaches tolerance and that unwanted pregnancy doesn't end up in abortion. Overall, Glee doesn't have many redeeming factors.

The biggest one is the overall sexual content. This show airs on Fox during family prime time hours yet the sexual content is well…wow. You see moments of making out followed by ejaculations, making out by homosexuals and lesbians, very graphic discussions about sex, and of course there are numerous musical numbers that could give a married woman tips on bedroom foreplay. While I understand that highschool is a time of sexual exploration and development, Glee makes the argument that being a virgin is nearly impossible and even prudish.

During Season 1, one of the main characters, Rachael, makes the statement that abstinence only programs and sex education programs have the same high rates of teenagers having sex. I agree that they don't work, but I think that's because abstinence only programs are a joke. They bomb teenagers with a barrage of false information about sex and feeling guilty about having sexual feelings. The bottom line is that sexual feelings are normal, you want a healthy relationship, pregnancy does happen, and stds and sti's are rampant. Sex education programs are good about explaining all this but they make it sound acceptable to have protected sex without making abstinence a viable option. Many other studies suggest that a good and knowledgeable abstinence only program works better than a pro-contraception one at preventing HIV and AIDS. And this is not something that Glee promotes.

Nor does the show promote healthy relationships even among married couples. Perhaps they are trying to create a farce and showing bad relationships, but honestly, let's be balanced. Are there any good relationships based on trust illustrated in Glee? Not really. There is a secondary adult relationship, but nothing that shows up strongly throughout the series. The most prevalent relationships have issues with trust. The major adult character's wife lies to him and that ends in divorce while he flirts with a co-worker. The teenagers have no clue (well they are teens).

Other problems with Glee arise from the anti-Christian undertones. In the second season, Gwyneth Paltrow plays a substitute. When confronting another teacher's sexuality, she asks her if she's a papist. Not necessarily a nasty comment, but in the following episode one of the judges at regionals is a nun. She says that she is "new" and that she became a nun so that she could "have a place to live and stay off the pole." The "nun" is wearing the type of habit you would get for a Halloween costume. And nuns who are postulates or novices do not wear that type of habit. Nuns don't typically join a convent simply to have a place to live and shape up. I'm sure that there are nuns who used to be strippers, but one simply doesn't become a nun to stop stripping. They don't seem to portray the vocation with any more dignity than they do married couples.

Similarly, one of the cheerleaders is a Christian. She wears a cross and is shown praying, but they portray her all wrong. She uses a tactic in her celibacy club where the girls and guys are to kiss and not pop a balloon between them or "the angels will cry." What? She also is the same character to get knocked up over having sex on one occasion which is odd because another cheerleader character who is portrayed as slutty never gets knocked up but only gets an std. I'm confused at what there are trying to get at. You have lots of sex and get a treatable std; you have sex once and are pregnant. If it wasn't the Christian character, I would say okay. But it somehow bothers me.

And what are the actors saying about this? I don't know. The actor who plays Tina Cohen-Chang was raised a Catholic and Darren Criss, who plays the new gay character Blaine, had a Catholic education. Yet they don't seem bothered by all the sexual content. Criss says he's worked with a number of gay actors and has no problem with the life style. I guess his Catholic education didn't teach him any moral values. Not surprised.

What also bothers me is the amount of sex that goes on in this middle-class highschool in Ohio. I grew up middle-class. I wouldn't have dreamed of being alone with my boyfriend long enough to sleep with him. My parents wouldn't have allowed it. So where are the parents? Let's see: two of the characters parents are deceased which is understandable, Rachael's parents are gay (strange since this is not at all common until recently), and as far as I can tell everyone else comes from a traditional two parent household. Where are the parents? What are they doing? Why do they allow their teens to go behind closed doors? Granted Rachael mentions that her two dads are gone so there's a party thrown, but what are the repercussions? Apparently none. I haven't heard that her parents have even noticed that she and her friends drank all their liquor.

And the writers of Glee tout themselves as having a show that shows the pop culture. Really? What pop culture? Because any decent parent would say that this is not normal.

But really I listen to the music rather than the story line. They sing well or do they? Some critics have said that other than the main stars, the other teenagers don't sing well at all. And some critics believe that the show is using auto-tone, a computer program that tunes the pitch of the singers, despite the shows producers' denial. Plus with the influx of guest stars, it looks more like a show that showcases other prominent actors talent.

To top it all off, the show's creator seems so cocky about the greatness of the show. He criticizes many acts including Slash, Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Kings of Leon (who are all Christians) from not wanting their music to be sung by the glee cast. The shows creator says they are making poor decisions. Personally, I think their music is great without the boast from Glee.

I'm also not the only one who see a multitude of flaws. One need not be Catholic or Christian to see that all that sexual content airing during prime time family time is a problem. The Parents' Television Council has given the show a low rating for family broadcasting. They've also gone after the stars of Glee for having risqué photos of themselves taken for GQ magazine. Clearly, they don't see it as a family appropriate show and neither does the network or they would have made the actors sign some sort of modesty clause.

So what's a parent to do? Well, many people point out that Highschool Musical and the rest of the trilogy is a good alternative since it is also about teenagers and music. I've seen the first one and it's good for family viewing. One small problem: the plot. The story is about a couple of teens trying out for their highschool musical. The story ends at the results of the audition, but we never see the musical. Why? It reminds me of the Wizard of Oz. The story is about Dorothy running away because Ms. Gultch wants Toto destroyed. And in the end when she wakes up there's Toto. You never find out if he's destroyed or saved. The content's good, but I still think it needs to be wrapped up (in other words.)

So I still will probably watch Glee, but I'm an adult. I know better. However, I think the show is definitely not for teens or any young children. Sorry fox. I also don't think that I will stop criticizing it either. I think all networks need to hear from parents and Christians and send the message that we like shows based on our morals not just the liberal networks. Fox, bring back shows like Everybody Loves Raymond or Everybody Hates Chris. We want shows that show nuclear families with high moral standards.

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