To Glee or Not To Glee…That is the Question!

Glee raked in 19 Emmy and 11 Golden Globe nominations (the most nominated series of the year), taking home four Emmy and two Grammy Awards in 2010. Parents, be afraid. Be very afraid… This mesmerizing, toe-tapping musical comedy-drama advertised to teens, focuses on inclusion for the high school glee club members as they sort out their relationships, sexuality and awkward social quandaries.  Being a former theatre major, I tuned in week after week, excited to escape with the vocally-talented characters as they spun innovative twists on popular show tunes. However, I found myself emotionally connecting with the misfortunes of the students. Each slushie in the face, or slam into the locker from the popular kids unleashed the desire to defend my dejected friends.  Then season two rolled around. The opening scene panned across two cheerleaders lying in bed, the brunette stating, “I love your sweet lady-kisses.”(Insert vinyl screech.)  My heart pounded as I jumped for the remote, praying my soon-to-be 12-year-old wasn’t within earshot of my bedroom. I deleted Glee from my queue.

You see, in the first season, I shrugged at the inappropriate cheating, emotional affair, premarital sex or storyline about the distraught boy struggling with same-sex attractions. It’s in most shows these days; I’ve seen that before. But this bedroom shot pushed me past my desensitization meter. Months passed, and Glee was voted the season’s number 1 Culture series among Teens and a Top 3 series among Adults 18-49. If 13 million viewers thought Glee was a hit, I considered giving it another try. I mean, maybe it was just a random shock value thing. I caught up with the beautiful cast of characters, and loved each R&B/modern rock mashup (aka: intertwining two completely different music genres into one), and even enjoyed the guest appearances by stars like Gwyneth Paltrow. So, when the waves of doctrine were slipped in, I mentally disputed them and moved on. I sang along, my inner drama queen secretly wishing she could dance on stage with the multicultural cast.

But the next day, guilt sank in. Running through my head was the new make-out scene between the brunette and blonde cheerleaders I’d watched the night before. After ingesting weekly bits of inappropriate Culture, it squiggled the lines so much that when the edgy scene aired, I again, tolerated it. Later that day, a friend confided that her 15-year-old daughter thought she was into girls. Shame filled my heart. Could these evocative episodes give birth to thoughts influencing our kids? When Glee’s pilot was originally picked up in 2008, Ryan Murphy, one of the creators, said, “It’s a 9 p.m. show, it’s not designed for 8 p.m.” Yet, he intended for the family to watch together. “It’s sweet, but it will appeal to both kids and adults – it’s written for both of them,” Murphy added.

So, what happened? Glee rules the 8 o’clock hour Tuesday nights? Parents Television Council dubbed Glee the: “Worst Show of the Week.” They called it “an edgy, sexually-charged adult series that is inappropriate for teenagers.” I asked a friend in the film industry what she thought. She said, “You would be amazed who calls the shots. Most of the studios are owned by very wealthy, more often conservative/Republican executives. I’ve met them and what they care about is shock = ratings = money. They have market research backing every action they do.” She explained the executives said things like: “Well, the parents are going to get really mad about this scene, but the kids are gonna love it! So, what can we do to keep the parents okay with things? Oh, I know, put some more really well done and wholesome Motown songs in there, or favorite 80’s covers – the parents of that age-demographic love that stuff according to our recent study!” I blinked, ashamed. Hook, line and sinker, I fell for it. The Enemy so easily slips into our minds and homes, deceiving us into believing that a little bit of evil doesn’t matter.

Romans 12:2 says to no longer copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you. My Life starts at home, with my kids. As our world inches closer to the days of Noah and Lot, where sexual perversion and rampant violence are the norm, I have to wonder if my TV represents the channel allowing Sodomites and Gomorrites into my home, persuading me to adjust my moral compass. If I’m holding unswervingly to the hope I profess, I’m thinking plopping down on the couch, watching compromising material is not spurring my kids on toward love and good deeds. However, my head is not in the sand. This content needs to be gingerly addressed, but that’s not the job of a perfectly proportioned cheerleader.

Whether an activist or pacifist, filled with disgust or compassion for our world, the point is–Glee doesn’t offer any redemptive message. Call a spade a spade. Glee is simply an adult show wrapped in a Justin Bieber Bow.

Dabney can be reached at: [email protected]

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