An innocuous little show popped up on America’s tv screens late last year. Its name is “Glee” and it’s full of vibrant teens dealing with the gentle challenges of high school life. These are fresh-faced kids, hard working and motivated, who can break into song at the drop of a sweaty football. But is there more to this sugary pop of a series? Should parents be concerned about any subtext of adult themes and situations? What makes this show so popular?
An in-depth analysis of Glee will certainly raise the eyebrows of parents across America. It contains a surprising number of mature scenarios– from pre-marital sex to drug use, from adultery to abortion, from premature ejaculation to explicit homosexual experimentation. Glee goes out of its way to appear wholesome at first glance. The first 15 minutes of every episode is quite polite and that’s part of its success. It is colorful and cheerful with a scent of innocence. The message it seems to send is that teens should stay in school and aim for college. Yet beyond that (once the adults in the room tune out), it descends into a much darker place.
The Parents Television Council warns that Glee contains, “gratuitous sex, explicit dialogue, violent content, and obscene language. It is completely unsuitable for children.” This is reason enough parents should be tuning their teens out of Glee. But I would go even further— the ethical and social risks that Glee poses are so severe that it is unworthy of a home on a national network and should be removed from broadcast. I sincerely believe that no person or organization should continue to finance this show.
SEXUALITY, SPORTS AND SHOWTUNES
To understand the dangerous implications of this poorly conceived series, let me start with the characters. They are just not believable. All the women students look to be in their late 20s or early 30s in real life. The teachers aren’t the suffering and hardened types you’ll find in real American public schools. This rosy little place of Glee is devoid of gun violence, sexting, drug dealing, suicide and larger questions of faith.
Instead of a real world high school, we have a fantasyland of happy, shirtless teens hanging out in the showers or dancing on million dollar stages. Why must the producers of this show have so many shots of the football team in the locker room? They’re constantly dropping their shorts and jumping into a steamy shower, showing off tight biceps or lathering themselves all over with a fresh bar of soap. Is this some crafty attempt to appeal to the homosexual segment of the show’s audience? Is it really appropriate for today’s male teens to let this sort of softcore utopia influence them?
Additionally, the show has far too many musical numbers. From R&B hits to showtunes to classic rock & roll, the boys and girls of Glee really can put on a performance. But it’s not convincing on that million-dollar stage. They come across as trying too hard with their exaggerated facial expressions and hip posturings, the soaring voices ranges. They’ve clearly been coached. The singing is just too finely polished. The dance numbers are too excruciatingly choreographed. No high school kids can put on these sorts of shows at the spur of a moment. These things require years of gut-wrenching training.
Ultimately, these ad hoc songfests give children a very false impression about talent and success. They are led to believe if they just spin around and shout, they’re creating world-class music. They are led to believe we live in a world where anybody and everybody can succeed as long as they have heart. But this is far from true. Some people are born with the vocal chords for music, others have the bodies for football and others have the brains for math. That is reality. But this show is a drug of false expectations that will inevitably harm our children. It convinces impressionable teens to avoid serious career training in favor of having “fun” in the “arts.” Also, the music numbers just drag down the plot of the show.
On a related note, Glee’s actors constantly make the argument that excelling at athletics does not contribute anything to the college application process. They posit the theory that a singing club will make you more likely to get into Ohio State or Princeton. This is false and it’s reckless for the creators of this show to promote such disinformation. Athletics have been a proven stepping-stone for academic and business success for over a century. The number of athletes who have gone on to full scholarships at the very best universities in this country are legion and legendary. Nothing even close could be said of a minor high school singing club. If children take this belief to heart, it could wind up seriously hurting their chances of college survival as well as their health (sports are essential for keeping fit, strong and attractive!).
Another major fault with the show is its fawning celebration of teenage homosexuality and consumer indulgence. Again the show makes the case that accepting the gay lifestyle and making yourself as outrageous as possible will help you achieve something despite whatever social limitations you may have. Disregarding any sense of fair play, the show does not offer any alternative to the gay lifestyle argument. There are no teens cured of their relentless and wild male sex desires, there are no moral figures on hand to give a comforting hand, there are no popular boys who say, “I don’t want to hurt my family anymore and I love Jesus, so I am going to stop doing gay things with guys in the bathroom.”
THE GOLDEN GIRLS CONNECTION
Recently, I wrote about studies that revealed the dangerous influence that the 1980s tv show “The Golden Girls” had on American men now in their 30s, 40s and 50s (see “The Golden Girls: How One TV Show Turned A Generation Of American Boys Into Homosexuals”). The link between watching the Girls and increased risks of homosexual behavior was made abundantly meaningful. In a nutshell, the Golden Girls turned a generation away from procreation. It made our American boys into the most raunchy, campy, carnal people on the planet. If, as a society, we could have returned to the 80s with what we know now and stop that show, American culture might be drastically different today.
As I write about Glee now in 2010, I can’t help but think that America is on the threshold of another dramatic cultural shift. If we let this show continue, our children will find a way to watch it. It is a drug that is that addictive. If our children continue to watch, they will undoubtedly be influenced by its radical same-sex messages. A generation from now, when these children become adults, what kind of country will the United States be? How many middle-aged men will find themselves in a dead-end Glee-based lifestyle? Will they be ostentatious and sensitive, their dreams smashed up against a wall crying out to have that giant hole in their souls stuffed with some musky foreign thrill? Will they be violating what’s left of our traditional cultural landscape with unimaginable high-tech perversions, drenching, nay drowing the bright young men of tomorrow in their relentless sauces of net porn and showtunes, maximized liberties and stem-cell party drugs? Will male sports just become an excuse for gay locker room orgies? How long until these types also legislate to destroy the beauty of marriage, the safety of religion, the rights of the righteous? Look into the eyes of a young Kurt Hummel. Is that not the face our of future’s polymorphously perverse intellectual terrorist? Change the channel my friends. Change the channel and change the world!
PARENT’S GUIDE TO THE CAST OF GLEE
- Football Player Finn: An implausible character who goes both ways— glee club geek and handsome football star. He reminds one of the old lady Sophia on The Golden Girls– a bit of a cute, befuddled sidekick with some comic lines, but not a central character in the best scenes on the show. I truly feel for the actor who performs this poorly-written role, though I do enjoy his deft moves on the football field.
- Sue the Cheerleading Coach: Her acting comes across as pretentious and egomaniacal and possibly too masculine (is this intentional?). Tone it down a bit, that’s my advice. Bea Arthur of The Golden Girls has already done everything and anything you could possibly imagine doing in your career, Sue.
- Jewish Rachel: This girl is beautiful (and 30). I don’t understand why she’s playing like she’s ugly and unpopular! When gay people write tv dramas they often have no clue about what real women are like.
- Artie, Wheelchair: I don’t believe he sings. The lip-synching is frighteningly obvious and a sad footnote to this show. Couldn’t they have gotten an actual talented singer for this role? Plus, he needs a sidekick or a funny catchphrase.
- Mercedes Jones: Her sassy attitude does not set the right example for today’s young girls. She does sing well, and I appreciate that but I really don’t think this show is the right fit for her career. She really sticks out like a sore thumb. I could see her in a church choir, however. Or maybe play the wheelchair role?
- Quinn, Slutty Cheerleader: She is most definitely the “Blanche Devereaux” of Glee.
- Gay Kurt Hummel: I am afraid the makers of this show have dangerously indulged this young man’s fetish for expensive outfits. Children watching may be tempted to experiment with similar radical wardrobe choices. Why is everything he wears so bright and tight? Are we supposed to guess at the source of his income for such extravagance? Why did he quit football team? Will the writers of this show actually force him to do an on-air homosexual kiss or even worse? Sadly, with his clothing obsession and sassy attitude, Kurt Hummel may be destined to become this generation’s Betty White.
- Football Coach: Is it really necessary to have a man his age in such small shorts so often? Is this supposed to be funny?
- Will Schuster, Head of Glee Club: This effeminate charlatan is a surprising choice for the horndog adulterer. For many adults, he is not convincing in the least. Personally, I do not believe in having homosexual educators (or adult actors, for that matter) in such intimate, private contact with young people. Please, we do not need to see any more half-hearted and frankly laughable sex scenes involving this wet noodle.
- Victor Matlin: I really don’t know why he is on this show. He was in Titanic! I find the hugging with his son unseemly.