The TV show “Glee” made a splashy return to the airwaves this month, with new characters and extensive choir numbers. Fans quickly took to their blogs to celebrate the implausible survival of the series, while some journalists, political pundits and religious leaders condemned the peculiar show for its poor ethical choices and subversive messages. The insults directed at Governor Sarah Palin were a particular sore point for many reporters, as was the homoerotic shirtless dance scene starring 80s pop icon Madonna.
Glee, which began as a second-tier show about singing high school students, has built a strong audience among children and teens who are drawn to its quirky personalities and adult humor. This success has lead many television experts to take a closer look at the series, resulting in Christwire’s advisory report, “What Every Parent Should Know About The TV Show Glee,” which was widely distributed across the world wide web. Most parents seemed concerned that Glee was promoting homosexuality, atheism and careers in the arts while dismissing Christianity and traditional athletics. Others found the show far too unrealistic and thus a negative influence on children who could be tempted to pursue vanity projects.
The Sarah Palin/Madonna Fiasco
One of the most egregious acts in Glee’s history occurred on the first episode of this season. In a highly controversial scene, Lesbian Sue Sylvester mocked Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin by calling her “stupid.” Critics were outraged, pointing out that it was highly inappropriate to introduce secret political messages in a children’s show. Others suggested that campaign finance laws make such political advertising possibly against federal law. John Nolte of the popular gossip blog, “Big Hollywood” spoke for many parents when he stated:
“The creators are all about getting between you and your kids with their political and social agendas. They know Palin is a growing political force and nothing’s off the table when it comes to marginalizing her — even at the expense of their own show’s entertainment value — even at the expense of audience share.” —John Notle, “Big Hollywood”.
The second episode poses a different problem for critics. For the most part, it lacks a plot. Composed almost entirely of singing numbers, there was little meat to this show. Its central focus (and a huge draw for the homosexual audience) was a lengthy scene involving 80s pop star Madonna. The premise here is that the cast needs to make a raunchy music video and calls on Madonna for help. Many will remember the notorious performer from her younger days when she introduced sadomasochistic sex to the music business for big bucks. Her return in this episode seems almost instructional, as if she’s teaching a new generation how to sell their young flesh to a hungry adult audience. Today, the billionaire performer Madonna has renounced her America citizenship and lives in an English castle with several boys that she adopted from Africa and an extensive crew of servants that services her every whim.
The Madonna video scene was shot in voluptuous black and white. The camera focuses on various young men, some ethnic, who dance a striptease while singing about the ladies fashion magazine “Vogue” (made famous by the movie “Devil Wears Prada”). Madonna dances alongside these children (some of whom are probably not much older than her own sons). She visibly lusts after them, reaching out to grab their bare bodies. Her giant tongue makes obscene gestures as these boys move in a pinnacle of sexual energy, throwing their thin arms in the air as if they’re as weightless as doves. The homosexual character Kurt appears, flaunting his naked body and batting his eyelashes in a sexual frenzy. He gyrates his pelvis in alluring ways as if begging the young men of America to rub up against their television screens in passion and sympathy. But all that promise comes to naught. The scene climaxes abruptly, adding absolutely nothing to the plot of the show.
“Weighty” Character Issues
Both supporters and detractors alike were surprised to see the actors on this show return with bloated, haggard looks. Football player Finn in particular looks like he has gained 30 pounds. To combat this, Glee’s wardrobe department has taken to dressing him in black to hide his obvious weight problem. Unfortunately, he is clumsy in his new chunky frame, stomping around the stage recklessly and always looking as if he might fall over. He has lost his grace and surely there will be no shower scenes this season featuring a bare-chested Finn. One has to wonder if the fame has gone to his head or if Hollywood alcohol parties are the cause of his incredible girth. Is there a chance this boy will go down the John Travolta/Val Kilmer route of gaining over a 100 pounds and from there on playing middle-aged hoodlums?
Will Schuster and Emma Pillsbury (the woman he cheats on his wife with) both reappeared looking surprisingly pale and haggard. Makeup cannot hide the deep lines on their faces nor their rough, jagged chins. In fact, it is an excess of face powder that makes both actors look uniquely ridiculous, like circus clowns decorated in a dark room. The leathery texture of their skin is reminiscent of the Marlboro man and leads one to wonder if they’ve both taken up smoking cigarettes or worse. Other actors who have gained a significant amount of weight and look bad in their makeup include the Football Coach, Sue Sylvester and Rachel, the girl of Jewish descent.
On the topic of the Jewish girl Rachel, her lack of singing ability was made painfully clear with the awkward lip-synching in the first episode of the season. The voice pumped through America’s tv speakers didn’t even sound close to hers. To cover up this fiasco, the show’s directors created an offensive plot that included lesbianism, codependency and prostitution (the character Sue sells her body to the school’s Hindu principal). How realistic is it to have a Jewish character in Ohio in the first place? This is still a glaring error that the show has not addressed.
As this season already proves, the essential problem of Glee is that it represents excess. The show is too much. Too campy, too showy, too loud. There is too much homosexuality, too much overacting and too much music. The secret political messages are excessive and just plain wrong. The whole “arts education” agenda is off track with mainstream America. We don’t want to be told that musical choir is more important than competitive athletics in high school life. It’s not decent and it’s not fair. Where are the dissenting opinions? This show does not allow for freedom of speech, no one is given an opportunity to present an alternative to the lust and sex and immorality. Glee presents only a single view of high school life, a very slanted and opinionated view that does not permit Christian values or America decency to peek in. This could be why the producers are so comfortable around the actors’ weight gain, because maybe in their minds being muscled and sporty has no relevance to the careers in the arts that this show is secretly trying to promote through glee club.