‘Shipping Klaine? What Mormons think about Glee

A few weeks ago I finally yielded to the raves of several friends and gave Fox’s hit show Glee a try. Over the past few weeks, my husband and I have raced through all of Season 1 on Netflix. It’s everything my friends said it would be: funny, charming, musical, a bit campy. What struck me immediately was that amid the knowingness and too-smart-to-be-anything-but-cynical vibe that defines everything in our generation, this show stands out as relentlessly cheerful. I searched and scrutinized for the “we’re being so happy ironically angle,” but my search was in vain. This really was earnestly chipper. Je savais what this je ne sais quoi was: it was high-octane Mormon.

That’s right, if BYU-TV thinks they have a patent on happy-go-lucky “see the good in the world,” it’s past time for their lawyers to initiate a barrage of cease and desist letters to Fox headquarters. Yet the litany of reasons why Glee re-runs won’t be syndicated on BYU-TV anytime soon is lengthy and pointed.

There is no doubt that Glee is on a mission to evangelize a liberal philosophy. The astonishingly methodical nature of the show’s sniper strikes on liberal bugaboos makes it impossible that the writers aren’t working from a most-wanted hit list. Producer Ryan Murphy zealously adopts the quintfecta of today’s intersectional feminism: sexism, racism, heterosexism, ableism and sizeism. Throw in school bullying, a gratuitous knock on Sarah Palin, some vicious takedown of abstinence-only programs, rampant casual teen sex, and it’s liberal utopia. Of course, liberalism doesn’t always conflict with Mormonism, and many Mormons (including me) are politically liberal, but we’ll look more at that in a minute. First, a more detailed accounting of Glee’s issue advocacy (keep in mind I’ve only just finished Season 1–surely the list has grown in the first half of Season 2):

  1. Ableism (discrimination against disabled people) is a darling of today’s intersectional feminism (feminism that branches out into other -isms). One of the show’s leading characters is wheelchair-bound Artie. An episode was devoted to the problem of the school not providing him accessible facilities (wheelchair ramps in the auditorium, and an accessible bus for the glee club’s competition travel). Other episodes on theme deal with Artie’s emotional journey in relation to his limitations, another character’s fear in the face of a potentially disabling disease, a weep-worthy performance by an all-deaf glee club singing and signing “Imagine,” and the plight and humanity of a paralyzed former high school football player. Even the show’s melodramatically malevolent villain Sue Sylvester has major soft spots for the two Down’s syndrome people in her life, her sister and one of the cheerleaders.
  2. Glee makes a self-conscious nod to racial diversity by having two Asian glee club members, two Jews, one black one, and one Latina, and many times referring to the characters by these identities.
  3. Sexual double standard, another hot issue in today’s feminism, is an issue the show handles with gusto matching the war on ableism. The show features, predictably, a “stud” football player who has slept around the school, but also a sweet cheerleader Brittany who if anything has bested the stud in exploits. Her behavior is openly recognized and doesn’t seem to cause any special notice, much less derision, from her fellow students. Another female character denounces the school’s abstinence club during their own meeting, declaring that, contrary to some of the club’s teachings, girls want sex as much as boys.
  4. Sizeism/fat shaming, a third favorite topic of young feminism, is tackled in an episode where two new additions to the cheerleading squad (including the one with Down’s) are given an ultimatum to lose weight.
  5. Season 1 features a handful of gratuitous anti-conservative jokes including Sue calling Sarah Palin stupid, and a jerk of a dad excitedly running off to watch Glenn Beck.
  6. Attacking homophobia is a central theme of the show. Chris Colfer’s character, Kurt Hummel, is, as a fellow character calls him, “capital G Gay.” In one episode he comes out of the closet for the first time, to a fellow glee clubber. Several of the show’s most powerful scenes feature his interaction with his more traditionally-minded father, including when Kurt comes out to him. His father, in spite of his traditional inclinations, serves as a model of how to parent a gay teen fully acceptingly. Other queer characters include hyperpromiscuous cheerleader Brittany, who seems just as likely to have sex with women as men, and has an ambiguous but clearly sexual relationship with fellow female cheerleader Santana.
  7. Unquestioned acceptance of extramarital sex happens throughout the show. At one point, several characters collaborate in various configurations to cure the virginity of two glee club members. Numerous similar examples could be listed, including among the high school faculty. Make that nearly unquestioned–the popular cheerleader Quinn Fabray becomes pregnant and suffers various severe consequences as a result, all throughout Season 1. Still, this has no effect on the carefree approach to sex by the other students (or adults). The school’s Abstinence Club is a joke, with goofy, out-of-touch teachings and club President Quinn getting pregnant.
  8. Glee takes on religion and atheism in an episode titled “Grilled Cheesus”. [1] The title is a tip-off that the show isn’t going to do many favors to religion. Producer Ryan Murphy reports being at pains to balance pro-religion and atheist messages in the episode. Assuming that’s true, it shows a total failure on his part to understand religion and sincere, thoughtful people of faith. He shows empathy for losing faith and struggling with theodicy (Sue loses hers after her childhood prayers to cure her sister’s Down’s go unanswered), but the students on the faithful side are such poor representatives (one is moved to fervency by a grilled cheese sandwich (!)) that they cannot provide any real balance in the episode.

While #1 ableism and #4 sizeism are trendy liberal enemies, battling these is hardly limited to liberal philosophy adherents. Common ground can be found on other list items as well. The church recently declared, “We join our voice with others in unreserved condemnation of acts of cruelty or attempts to belittle or mock any group or individual that is different – whether those differences arise from race, religion, mental challenges, social status, sexual orientation or for any other reason. Such actions simply have no place in our society.” So there isn’t as much territory of conflict for politically conservative Mormons, and certainly not for politically liberal Mormons, as the above list might imply. That said, the show’s pervasive acceptance of teen sexuality, even with the nod to Quinn’s consequences, is a serious assault on our traditional morality.

Of course the centerpiece of potential conflict between Mormons and Glee is the issue of homosexuality. Which brings us to the eponymous coupling of this post, Klaine: Kurt Hummel, and his potential love interest Blaine, a confidently out gay student from a neighboring all-boys school [2]. While I haven’t yet watched Season 2, a trip to Fox’s website last week had me stumbling on this preview video of the then-upcoming Christmas episode:

The clip enriches to weapons-grade the duality I am trying to describe in this post: the mixing of a sweet, cheerful Mormony aesthetic with content that runs contrary to the church’s teachings on morality. Aside from the gay aspect, the choreography and delightful melody (update on lyrics: [3]) of this scene exemplify the kind of chaste, playful, purely joyful courtship to which our best BYU-attending sons and daughters aspire.

As much as I, an adult secure in my testimony, delight in watching this clip, I wonder how Mormons should feel about youth watching this show week after week. In my estimation, the producers of Glee have been fantastically successful in their objective of creating an irresistible vehicle for their views, and moreover making those views all but irresistible. Should we be outraged? Worried? Adamantly tuned out? My husband is probably giving up on the series because of what he perceives as continual hammering on gay issues and “issues” generally (but then, I’ve always been the bigger fan of musical theater–by far).

I’d love to hear from casual watchers, Gleeks, and ex-Gleeks in the comments (time for lurkers to de-lurk). I’ll even forgive you the occasional Season 2 spoiler. For my part, I think I’m veering in the direction of being disheartened by the promiscuity, very unperturbed about the gay themes (assuming continued non-promiscuity), and in the end still a sucker for the spirit-lifting happy vibe and thoroughly enjoyable musical numbers.

—–

[1] The “Grilled Cheesus” episode is from Season 2, but an informant (my sister) has insisted that this post really couldn’t be complete without mentioning this episode, so these notes on it are brought to you with help from her.
[2] The first half of the title “Shipping Klaine” is fandom slang for being a fan of a particular relationship.
Update:
[3] See my comment here for an explanation of some problems with the lyrics. For more, see Feministing’s post about problems with this song a couple Christmases ago.

Comments

  1. I consider myself a recovering Gleek. I’m with your husband…all the issues, week after week, have completely turned me off to the show. It’s way too much. Mr. Murphy, we get it. Everyone who doesn’t agree with you is a raging bigot who deserves to be ridiculously portrayed by awful caricatures. I surrender! I won’t watch your show anymore!

    The first half of the first season was great. Now I just watch the good performance videos online. (Gwyneth’s “Forget You” and the “Umbrella/Singin’ in the Rain” mashup were great.) And I skip everything else. (That “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” duet made me cringe.)

  2. Cynthia,

    The clip enriches to weapons-grade the duality I am trying to describe in this post: the mixing of a sweet, cheerful Mormony aesthetic with content that runs contrary to our teachings on morality.

    I think the point the writers of this show are trying to make is that happiness is not always a direct result of following religious principles, and that non-religious people are quite happy in their lives, even when doing things that would seem contrary to the principles of happiness found in someone’s religion. The whole “wickedness was never happiness” thing is what is challenged the most in this kind of situation. What exactly is wickedness, if someone who has homosexual tendencies feels happy as he accepts who he really is?

    As much as I, an adult secure in my testimony, delight in watching this clip, I wonder how we should feel about our youth watching this show week after week. In my estimation, the producers of Glee have been fantastically successful in their objective of creating an irresistible vehicle for their views, and moreover making those views all but irresistible. Should we be outraged? Worried? Adamantly tuned out?

    Personally I don’t watch the show because I find it far too sappy (and I generally like musicals), but the question here is, how far from reality is this particular vision we see in Glee? Aside, obviously from the fact that people don’t generally jump into song and dance at any whim. Does a teenager who happens not to be very religious feel bad and starts self-flaggelation for having had sex with his or her BF/GF? Or do they tend to move on and continue being happy in their lives? Could that teenager actually be happier having had sex? After all, the physical body is designed to start having sex from just after puberty. I don’t particularly have a problem with the notion that other people besides Mormons could live happy lives, including those who are participating in “obvious” wicked activities. Living a moral life does not equal living a happy life exclusively. Even living a successful life.

  3. Rebeckila says:

    Personally I stopped watching because there were conflicts on the DVR that Glee lost and it didn’t seem worth the effort to watch online (special kind of lazy that can’t be bothered to sit at the computer).

    I was kind of disheartened by the show because they were always coniving or sleeping around or maybe just shoving the issues down your throat. I think I liked Sue best just for being honestly “evil” instead of all the deception of everyone else. :)

  4. living in zion says:

    I stopped watching because I had the attention span of a knat and it got predictable. Which is obviously isn’t the truth- I have been a fan of Law and Order for years and that show is nuthin’ but predictable. The real reason we stopped is we watch tv using antenna and when the weather turned bad (cloud cover) and there went Fox. Not interested enough to bother with watching online.
    Sue Sylvester stole the show. She’s the bomb even if she is married to her girlfriend in real life.

  5. American Yak says:

    I’m trying to remember who said it in which general conference a few years back, but I think Glee fulfills prophetic vision in part that media would become more and more sophisticated at hiding agenda and driving nefarious messages, that it will become harder to discern truth in some cases, but we’ll need to all the more. These are my own words, of course, but I remember someone saying this equivalent.

    Aside from my utter disdain for bad musical theater (i.e., Glee included), I was never duped by Glee’s awful agenda, so it’s not often irritated me that much, and I even admit to enjoying a scene or two.

    That said, there are times when the illusion of joy clashes so greatly with the message of “wickedness” (quoting; using the scriptural term), that if find myself annoyingly perturbed or agitated or whatnot. I saw the end of the religion episode and realized just how stupid these people are (was I expecting them to understand religion)?! I also saw the scene where Klain meet, and it’s really hard not to love them, which is the point, right? In other words, the agenda is hidden, nicely disguised by things that ARE good, but tucked away deep (or a few episodes later) is the evil deed…O the careful path they plod.

    That all said, I think you’re most correct about the rising generation. THAT is the target audience, and while many of our children probably get it, many don’t and won’t, and it’s sad that many will and do fall victim to this type of sophistry. Still, an occassional non-political Glee moment (available without the full episode on Hulu, ha) I can appreciate.

    Strange, strange world.

  6. Of course, “Baby It’s Cold Outside” is equally troubling (from a Mormon perspective) for unmarried teens to be singing to each other, regardless of their orientation, is it not?

    (Disclosure: my eighth grade chorus sang this song, which I did not realize was so inappropriate; was it better or worse that we were an all-girls chorus?)

  7. Kevin Barney says:

    I love Glee and watch it regularly. You’re quite right about all the ham-handed issuism, but that doesn’t annoy me. I watch mostly for the musical theater vibe and numbers, which I quite enjoy. And I personally don’t need to wonder about what effects the show might have on my kids, who are both in their 20s and neither of whom watches the show. So in short, I am able to appreciate the Mormon-friendly aspects of the show without being turned off by the Mormon-questionable aspects.

  8. Natalie B. says:

    The musical numbers are spectacular, and the reason I watched season one. That said, I’ve been really turned off by season two because it replaced plot with pervasive, pointless, and morally problematic sexuality and characters who are unlikeable. The only nice character on the show is Brittany.

    Sex was not as prominent in my high school as it is on Glee. I sincerely hope Glee is not an accurate representation of today’s high school.

  9. Julie M. Smith says:

    “the kind of chaste, playful, purely joyful courtship”

    You didn’t listen to the lyrics, did you?

    My kids have known for years to turn off “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” before I have a fit. That song is repulsive.

  10. I was pretty excited about Glee when it first came out, being a huge music fan, especially of cheesy music, but I don’t think I made it past the second episode. The characters are annoying and the music production too overdone.

  11. I love Glee. I don’t watch much television–my time spent in front of the TV or watching TV shows online is less than 3 hours a week, and Glee is the only program I make a point of watching on-air, much less watching online if I happen to miss an episode.

    I don’t have kids, and don’t have much contact with youth, and I honestly haven’t thought about Glee in terms of being a show for youth, for all that it’s set in a High School. From a moral standpoint, there have been a few episodes of Glee that have made me uncomfortable–Will should have lost his job over the way he was interacting with his students in the Halloween episode of season 2, for instance. The episodes paying homage to various popular singers (Britany Spears, Madonna, Lady Gaga) also tend to get uncomfortable, but that’s as much due to the dialogue that comes straight from the artist-in-question’s publicist as for the overtly sexual musical numbers. “Grilled Cheesus” was painful enough that I turned off the TV. Upon watching it later online, however, it actually managed the whole balance thing fairly well. The eponymous “Grilled Cheesus” showed that faith needs to be based on something real, “Faith precedes the miracle” and all that. The show ends with an avowed atheist going to church with his Christian friend.

    Overall, I like the message of tolerance of Glee. I like the Klaine storyline (which, spoiler, has yet to turn romantic. The song you linked to is Blaine practicing for a performance later. With a girl. The next scene involves Will walking into the room as Blaine walks out. Will asks Kurt if he is anybody special. Kurt answers “Just a friend, but he is gay, so it’s a step in the right direction”.) Klaine grew out of a anti-bullying message, with Blaine giving Kurt the courage to stand up to a football player who’s bullying culminated in a threat on Kurt’s life. Seriously. And considering that Kurt’s previous love interest is straight with shades of homophobia it’s a huge improvement. Consider the implications of what would happen if Kurt and Finn ended up together.

    Like I said, I don’t have kids. I like to think that if I did I’d be the kind of parent who taught my children correct principles then let them choose for themselves. I would hope those principles included tolerance and love for those who don’t share our values and beliefs.

  12. Mark Brown says:

    ESO makes a very good point. In the recent past I attended a ward Christmas party where part of the after-dinner entertainment was watching one of the Laurels (in a skimpy Mrs. Claus costume) sing Santa Cutie to one of the high priests who was dressed up as St. Nick. AWKward! I don’t accept the claim that everything in entertainment media is getting worse and worse. Thirty years ago I remember my stake YW president mother humming the melody to Strangers In The Night as she did her church work. One night stands and random hook-ups were around long before Glee.

  13. Wow. I’m fascinated by the comments so far. As a queer ex-Mormon (don’t worry, I’m not — most of the time, at least — among the angry disaffected!) I see Glee through a very different lens (not unnaturally, if you’ll pardon the bad pun). I won’t launch a dissertation here, but will limit myself to this: seems to me that what’s missing in this conversation so far is the realization that the show, in addition to being sweet and silly, is also somewhat self-mocking.

    Yeah, there’s an obvious liberal agenda — but I don’t find the show particularly sanctimonious in its advocacy. YMMV, of course.

    p.s. I enjoyed the post very much, Cynthia — but I do take issue with equating “rampant casual teen sex” with “liberal utopia.” :-)

  14. #1 captured my and my wife’s view. We really liked it… for a while. Then it was too much of the same. It’s off the subscription list on Hulu.

  15. I like Glee actually, despite not being a fan of musical theatre. I cried in the episode where Kurt came out to his father, and wished that my family had been able to respond to my brother’s admission of his sexual orientation in the same way. Glee clearly has an agenda in this area, but rather than trying to subtly corrupt the youth of America, I think it’s just trying to make the world a kinder place for those who are different, including gay teenagers.

  16. I’ve got several issues with Glee as television:

    * the writing is just not very good;
    * the issue-mongering, whether you agree or disagree with a particular issue, is almost always ham-handed and/or sappy;
    * the music is way, way too overproduced, as are the dance numbers;
    * the show is implausible in almost every way and it’s really distracting;
    * the story lines are soapy in a way that makes Degrassi seem like high art;
    * the lip-synching isn’t even all that good.

    The positives:
    * the performers are, for the most part, really talented.
    * Jane Lynch is wonderful, even if it takes every ounce of talent she has to get the lines written for her out without sounding lame most of the time;
    * sometimes the musical arrangements are interesting (but not most of the time).

  17. MikeInWeHo says:

    Thanks for a great post, Cynthia.

    This clip might make your point even better:

  18. I am a full blown dyed in the wool GLEE watcher. I love the show. I love the ham-handed approach it takes to issues. Do I let my kids watch it? nope. it’s not a kid show. We did let them watch the Christmas Glee episode, it was a delightful show. As for “Baby, It’s cold outside.” well it seems that both my wife an i enjoy that song and we equally enjoyed Kurt and Blaine singing it.
    Mormon’s have come along way recently in trying to understand the ‘gay issue’ but the message is still drowned out by the old voices. recently (as in 4 weeks ago) a dear young friend was told by his Bishop that it would be better for himself to kill himself than truly admit that he is gay/ssa.
    a little disheartening donchya think?

    but then what do i know i’m one of those “progressive” Mormons who probably shouldn’t have a temple recommend (as told to me by my more conservative associates at church).

    Mormon’s don’t have exclusivity rights to happiness. and just because we deem it unworthy doesn’t mean it lacks worth. We as a Mormon community (generally speaking) prefer to have our lives in neat little packages with black and white wrapping. It is sad that Mormons generally do not think or seek beyond the tiny scope we choose to view the world.

    i certainly don’t think that Glee is for everyone. and if you’re not interested. that’s ok with me. I’m not interested in Glenn Beck. so it’s pretty balanced as far as i’m concerned.

    ciao

  19. S.P. Bailey says:

    Glee is just awful.

  20. Have never seen it. Don’t suppose I ever will — that is, I’m not inclined to seek it out, but would probably watch it once if it happened to be on while I was visiting someone.

  21. My wife and I wait for gleesucks.com to finish their review of an episode, then we watch it simply so we can fully enjoy the review. The musical numbers on the show are good about half of the time and mediocre the rest. The plot is horrible; the writing is terrible. The “liberal” themes (to the degree that they’re there) are typically liberal gone wrong. Ryan Murphy just reinforces about every stereotype in the book.

    btw, amazingly the 2nd season finds a way to be so much worse than the 1st. I almost can’t wait for the 3rd to see just how bad it will be when taken to a whole new plane of crapitude.

  22. Persecuted Mormon says:

    My wife and I watched the first couple of shows. The music is fun, but the writing . . . the writing! It’s unoriginal and boring. I was finished after the Kurt episode. Not because I hate the gays (I’m pretty politically liberal), but because of the over-done story line of the flamboyant young man having daddy issues with his conservative father. Gag. Show me something I haven’t seen.

  23. Proud Daughter of Eve says:

    My husband and I really enjoy musicals and we were curious about the show after having heard a lot about it. We don’t have cable though or even rabbit ears for our TV (being in a basement always made that problematical anyway) though so it took awhile for us catch an episode to try. I forget how but we saw the first episode separately and both came away feeling that the music was great but not worth the angst and drama.

    I also saw the first episode of the second season and overall, I just felt like my beliefs were under attack. For the life of me, I couldn’t tell you why. It wasn’t anything specifically about the gay character. (Amusing sidenote: my father-in-law, who is in his 70s and loves the show, thought Kurt was a girl. So did my husband who is in his early 30s and pro-SSM.) I must have sensed the undertone of the producers Issues. I know I was bothered by the complete lack of sympathy for Quinn – and this was just in the first episode where all she does is stop a make-out session to pray, clearly killing the mood. I was braced for her being made out a hypocrite but she was presented as sincere. Sincerely laughable. Guh.

    “The choreography and delightful melody of this scene exemplify the kind of chaste, playful, purely joyful courtship to which our best BYU-attending sons and daughters aspire.” I find it interesting that you’re saying this about a song that’s about date rape (“what’s in this drink?”) and stereotypical male pressure-tactics for sex (“what’s the use in hurting my pride?”).

  24. #9…ahh come on…it’s purely playful to not accept a no and to hint about date rape drugs…that’s courting at it’s finest. amiright?

  25. We watched 1.5 episodes or so. Repulsive and crass are the first words that come to mind.

  26. Cynthia L. says:

    #9 Julie: “You didn’t listen to the lyrics, did you?

    My kids have known for years to turn off “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” before I have a fit. That song is repulsive.”

    Heh. Yes! There is a reason I carefully noted the “choreography” and “delightful melody” and NOT the lyrics. :-) It is a very catchy tune, until, as ESO #6 points out, you actually listen to the lyrics and realize how bad it is (#6: “my eighth grade chorus sang this song, which I did not realize was so inappropriate” eep!).

    #13 SLK: “I won’t launch a dissertation here, but will limit myself to this: seems to me that what’s missing in this conversation so far is the realization that the show, in addition to being sweet and silly, is also somewhat self-mocking.”

    Yes, this is most evident in the show’s mocking of its own take on racial issues (calling the Asians “Asian” and “Other Asian” for several episodes!), but exists everywhere in their approach to issues.

    #13 SLK: “p.s. I enjoyed the post very much, Cynthia — but I do take issue with equating “rampant casual teen sex” with “liberal utopia.” :-)”

    Heh! I meant it as, well, “self-mocking,” but I was worried that exact line went too far. (blame my sister, she told me not to worry, the self-mocking was apparent) Sorry! :-)

  27. I first became aware of “It’s Cold Outside” when reading an essay that Sayyid Qutb wrote about his experiences in America.

    He hated America and he hated the song. I’m not saying America and the song are one and the same – but to him they were clearly synonymous and immoral.

    He went home from his American experience, joined the Muslim Brotherhood, raged against the Egyptian regime and other non-Islamic Arab regimes and was hanged for his trouble.

    Now whenever that song comes on, I think of his anti-American diatribe essay.

  28. Cynthia L. says:

    #26 danithew: Wow! So we can add terrorist-palling-around-with to the list of liberal agenda items in this show! (kidding!!)

  29. BTD Greg #16 summed up my complaints about Glee pretty well. Mostly the breathtaking stupidity of the plots (Will’s wife, whom he shares a bed with, fakes a pregnancy for more than five months and he doesn’t figure it out??) but also the overproduced musical numbers and the relentless issue-pushing. I am actually on board with many of the issues, but the complete lack of subtlety and nuance is annoying even when I agree with the message.

    All that said, I enjoy the show. It has many genuinely great moments and I can overlook the not-so-great stuff and appreciate the good.

  30. Perhaps I should add that Qutb visited America back in 1949. That song has been around for awhile now.

  31. I really enjoy watching “Glee” (it’s the only show my roommate and I can both watch without feeling the need to question the other’s intelligence/moral standing/taste), but far too often, it takes the easy way out. For instance, who could have ever really had a question about Kurt’s sexuality? It would have been (to my mind) more interesting if they had chosen to engage in a more substantive discussion of the extent to which masculinity is essential to being a man–something they sort of addressed in “Furt”, but it was a long time coming. Of course, the show still has genuine issues regarding a more accurate and nuanced view of people of faith, and the amount of sex is seriously overdone (even in my old high school, which had the highest pregnancy rate in the county, no one got as much action as these characters); however, that doesn’t mean that it can’t be an enjoyable show. Besides, Jane Lynch and Dot Jones are priceless.

  32. Here’s a link to a translation of Qutb’s essay (titled: “The America I Have Seen”) at scribd.com

    http://www.scribd.com/Syed-QutubThe-America-I-Have-Seen/d/6412907

    From what he wrote, the song is self-evidently immoral and scandalous. He doesn’t really go into any kind of analysis – just describes the scenario that the song lyrics are about. What really seems to bother Qutb is that he heard the song while attending a church sponsored dance.

    Here’s the pertinent excerpt:

    The dance floor was lit with red and yellow and blue lights, and with a few white lamps. And they danced to the tunes of the gramophone, and the dance floor was replete with tapping feet, enticing legs, arms wrapped around waists, lips pressed to lips, and chests pressed to chests. The atmosphere was full of desire. When the minister descended from his office, he looked intently around the place and at the people, and encouraged those men and women still sitting who
    had not yet participated in this circus to rise and take part. And as he noticed that the white lamps spoiled the romantic, dreamy atmosphere, he set about, with that typical American elegance and levity, dimming them one by one, all
    the while being careful not to interfere with the dance, or bump into any couples dancing on the dance floor. And the place really did appear to become more romantic and passionate. Then he advanced to the gramophone to choose a song that would befit this atmosphere and encourage the males and the females who were still seated to participate. And the Father chose. He chose a famous American song called “But Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” which is composed of a dialogue between a boy and a girl returning from their evening date. The boy took the girl to his home and kept her from leaving. She entreated him to let her return home, for it was getting late, and her mother was waiting but every time she would make an excuse, he would reply to her with this line: but baby, its cold outside! And the minister waited until he saw people stepping to the rhythm of this moving song, and he seemed satisfied and contented. He left the dance floor for his home, leaving the men and the women to enjoy this night in all its pleasure and innocence!

    Every militant Islamist’s worst nightmare, regardless of what decade you are talking about.

  33. Steve Evans says:

    What BTD Greg said.

  34. Thanks, Cynthia, for the clarification. I didn’t really think you were 100% serious about that. :-)

    As for the several complaints that Glee isn’t realistic: Well, DUH. Criminently, It’s musical comedy. And, like the show or not, if it manages to get people to think, then I’d say it has more worth than a most television shows.

  35. nat kelly says:

    Actually, the only episode of Glee I’ve seen in full was the one where Gwyneth Paltrow sang “Forget You.” I thought the music was fun, but I was really turned off by the fact that it seemed to be all about the emotional immaturity of a bunch of crazy adults, all desperately seeking the kids’ approval. Flash back to parents’ divorce, yes?

    Anyway, I’ll tune in for the performances that get a lot of rave reviews, but I don’t see myself so much making time for the show at large.

  36. MoHoHawaii says:

    Chris Colfer’s character Kurt (the gay one) was added only after the producers auditioned Colfer and decided to add a role for him. There was originally no plan for a gay character.

    I see the theme of the show as the struggle of high-school misfits. It’s popular not because it pushes a liberal agenda but because it engages the audience’s willingness to root for the underdog and to remember their own awkward moments of adolescence. It is also, as the OP says, very, very sweet.

    This post reminded me that same-sex affection is what *really* has Mormons torqued. Kurt is about the only character on Glee who hasn’t had sexual experiences of any kind. The only thing remotely sexual is a schoolgirl crush from afar he’s developed on another character. Contrast that to the amount of sex that almost all of the other characters have had. Clearly, the objection in Mormons to all things gay runs deeper than just issues with the Law of Chastity. It’s gay people–their lives, their affections and their struggle for acceptance– that are seen as objectionable and unwholesome. It doesn’t matter that Kurt is chaste; he’s unwholesome more or less by definition.

    For what it’s worth, all of my active LDS relatives boycott Glee on moral (read: gay) grounds. For myself, liberal gay Mormon that I am, I boycott Glee on the same grounds as comment #16 above. Are believable characters and a passable story arc too much to ask for?

  37. As others have said, I have no problem with most of the overarching issues that are championed (I agree, generally, with almost all of them.), but the constant barrage gets to me. I have a hard time watching more than two in a row.

    Having said that, my kids love the show – and their only issue is the pervasive sex. Some issues need to be handled in a “ham-handed”, over-the-top way to have the point be clear – which is why I don’t mind many of the older Church videos that drive other people crazy.

    Glee is the other side of the Johnny Lingo coin, in some ways.

  38. #37 makes an excellent point – and it’s really sad to me that Kurt is seem as anywhere close to “evil” by many members. He’s living the Gospel as taught at church better than anyone else on the show.

    That might not last, given the plot I assume will develop, but for now . . .

  39. Cynthia L. says:

    I’m really surprised by all the bemoaning of lack of realism. That’s what I love about it! Implausible deceptions in theater (like the fake pregnancy) are as old as Shakespeare and Mozart (hasn’t anyone seen The Marriage of Figaro?). The fake pregnancy did get irritating after a point, but I thought they ended it just in time before it REALLY jumped the shark.

  40. Cynthia L. says:

    #36 Ray: “Glee is the other side of the Johnny Lingo coin, in some ways.”

    Hah! Love it. Well said.

  41. “Glee is the other side of the Johnny Lingo coin, in some ways.”

    This is a really good point. And if BYU-TV decided to start doing original scripted youth-oriented programming, I’d probably have many of the same issues with it that I have with Glee.

    “This post reminded me that same-sex affection is what *really* has Mormons torqued. Kurt is about the only character on Glee who hasn’t had sexual experiences of any kind. The only thing remotely sexual is a schoolgirl crush from afar he’s developed on another character.”

    This is also a really good point. My wife and I were talking about some people we know in the ward who either love or hate Glee. The ones who hate it do tend to hate it because of “the gay thing.” This is kind of strange to me because if you watch the show, the Kurt storylines are generally some of the *least* offensive ones.

  42. Cynthia L. says:

    As a P.S. to my #39, while I can’t understand complaints about realism in plotlines, I do share dissatisfaction with the over-producing of the songs and attendant obvious lip-syncing. I’d take a few vocal slips amid real performances over digitized correction and production, no contest. They’re sweet young performers, supposed to be doing live numbers. Let’s hear that!

  43. MoHoHawaii,

    This post reminded me that same-sex affection is what *really* has Mormons torqued.

    Nope, sorry.* It was the constant gleeful references to oral sex among teens that doomed the show for us.

    *It’s taking nearly all of my energy to not launch into a threadjack about how horribly your assertions in #36 tick me off on a standalone basis.

  44. Cynthia L. says:

    #41: What BTD said. (And most of his #16 as well.)

    (Hey apropos of nothing I just realized that I forgot to include musical overachiever Rachel’s same-sex parents in my list.)

  45. Since Ray and BTD Greg both chimed in to agree with MoHoHawaii’s assertion, I’ll clarify myself:

    I live in a ward full of Glee-boycotters. To the extent that my wife and I have zero interest in watching it after watching 1.5 episodes, I suppose we are among them. In all of the conversations I have either heard or participated in, none of them have revolved around the “gay” thing at all. Quite far from it, in fact–I’ve heard many say the same things you are saying–that the gay plotline is one of the more innocent/clean of the bunch. What everyone talks about is a) the non-stop hetero promiscuity, 2) the pathetic behavior from adult characters, and 3) the characterization of religious people.

    As tempting as it is to dismiss Mormon outrage at Glee as being homophobic or all about teh gay, that’s not only the easy route, but it’s sloppy, lazy, and uninformed. There are plenty of reasons that are entirely unrelated to Klaine for Mormons–or anyone under the sun–to hate Glee.

  46. Cynthia L. says:

    #43 Scott and MoHoHawaii: I have to agree with Scott that I think your #35 is unfair in its generalization to all Mormons who dislike the show, and even the subset who dislike it because they are morally disgusted by it. There are ample reasons to be disgusted by it that have nothing to do with the gay themes. Witness SLK not wanting even far left liberalism associated with liking “rampant casual teen sex.” :-)

    At the same time, of course, there are Mormons who simply have a knee-jerk “ick” reaction and don’t want gays represented as sympathetic. Sure. I think that’s sad. Let’s not set that up as a strawman of everyone though. One-note comments of that sort are decidedly unwelcome here.

  47. I’m a man and I eat meat so I don’t watch Glee.

    Except, of course, when my wife watches it and I happen to be in the same room, which means I’ve watched almost every episode because she is a Glee fanatic.

    For what it’s worth, Glee seems tame to me and I’m a fairly conservative Mormon. I’m not sure if that’s because the show does not take itself seriously so it’s hard for me to do so or if it’s because I was born and lived in and around the bay area for many years, so anything seems tame compared to Telegraph Ave.

    In any case, if people are worked up over a storyline that subtly pushes a gay agenda by presenting gay relationships as normal, shouldn’t we be a lot more concerned about Modern Family, the best comedy on television?

  48. Ah, just cross-posted with Scott to say largely the same thing. (Stupid BlackBerry keyboard! Kids are monopolizing desktop for pbskids.org…)

  49. I’m rather conservative and I dont’ know anyone who hates glee because of “the gay thing” whatever that means. I do know quite a few who have mentioned the oral sex and the constant references and manipulation to get sex.

  50. I’m a man and I eat meat so I don’t watch Glee. Except, of course, when my wife watches it and I happen to be in the same room, which means I’ve watched almost every episode because she is a Glee fanatic.

    DSmith, sounds like we are members of the same club.

  51. D. Fletcher says:

    Sorry, Glee is awful. It’s not even good singing.

  52. Latter-day Guy says:

    I think Glee fulfills prophetic vision in part that media would become more and more sophisticated at hiding agenda…

    Uh, no. Citing Glee as an example of hidden agenda makes as much sense as citing the KKK as an example of closet racism.

    FWIW, I love the show. Then again, I’m not a parent. It’s ridiculously campy and over-the-top, the music is saccharine and over-produced, the plot-lines are completely unbelievable, and I enjoy every minute. Sue Sylvester is my hero.

  53. I watched two or three episodes after hearing rave reviews about the show at the onset. Words cannot describe how much I hate this show. I should admit that I don’t like musical theater, but I tried to hang on to give the story a chance. How disappointing.
    It saddens me that this is my 16 year old neice’s favorite show (it saddens me even more that my sister lets her watch it, but its not my place to advise her how to raise her kids.) I think the (almost) complete lack of consequences for immoral behavior is ridiculous.

    I think the point the writers of this show are trying to make is that happiness is not always a direct result of following religious principles, and that non-religious people are quite happy in their lives, even when doing things that would seem contrary to the principles of happiness found in someone’s religion.

    While I think that the extremes that religious folks paint it (that righteousness (always equals) happiness, and wickedness (never equals) happiness) is also unrealistic, my experience being friends with many people of different religions and no religions makes me believe very strongly that living according to religious morality often leads to a much happier life. Those of my friends of both Mormon as well as other Christian, and even Muslim religious beliefs tend to be very happy people when compared to my many friends who live amoral lives, both those who are religious as well as those who are not.
    Obviously my experience is completely anectodal, but I’ve seen a lot of evidence of “wickedness never was happiness” in my life.

  54. MikeInWeHo says:

    “I see the theme of the show as the struggle of high-school misfits.”

    Good point. Religious conservatives view GLEE as a means to advance the dreaded Agenda (homosexuality, extramarital sex, et. al.). But a strong argument can be made that its core message is about embracing the outcast, actually a very Christian theme. So it makes sense that Mormons might feel ambivalent. If you believe homosexual behavior is sinful yet feel good when Kurt’s dad accepts him (not just Kurt-as-son, but his gay identity, desire for a boyfriend, etc), maybe you’re experiencing some cognitive dissonance. This ain’t no love-the-sinner-not-the-sin pseudo-acceptance of a gay child.

    Dissonance is unpleasant, and working through it is hard. Far easier to push it away. Thanks for not doing that with this post, Cynthia.

  55. Hmm… I love this show. And I work with the YW, and almost universally, they love it too. It deals with a lot of things (gay classmates, sex, issues with parents, etc.) that they deal with, too. It might not be a perfect mirror to today’s high schools, but part of the reason it’s so popular is because it is definitely relate-able to those of that same generation. It might be campy and over the top, but it (surprisingly) does hit some issues on the head.

    ESO (#6), I love your comment. High-five.

  56. Scott B., I never said I agree totally with MoHoHawaii’s comment. I certainly never said all Mormon’s hate it strictly – or even mostly – because of the gay sub-plot. I only said he made a good point about “many members” – and I can’t imagine that’s a controversial statement.

    I already said it’s the sexual barrage that bothers me the most. If we’re going to throw around insults (“sloppy, lazy and uninformed”), let’s at least be careful about accuracy, ok?

  57. D. Fletcher says:

    Glee would have much more impact if the characters seemed real. Teenagers face real problems. Instead, the show makes a joke out of everyone. Jane Lynch is the best cast member, if only because she knows how to play the joke.

  58. Going off of an underdeveloped thread in the post, what (specifically) is it that people found offensive about religious portrayals in Glee? While a lot of the episode dealing with religion is exaggerated for laughs, I thought the takeaway with Kurt accepting the good intentions of his religious friends was respectful (and much better than the cliche of Kurt suddenly finding faith through his crisis).

  59. MikeInWeHo says:

    “…..tend to be very happy people when compared to my many friends who live amoral lives….”

    That may be observer bias, B.Russ. I could paint a very opposite picture based on my observations over the years.

  60. I’m often critical of portrayals of teenage sexuality in the media, but the teen pregnancy rate in my high school class was almost 15 percent. In Arizona, just outside of Mesa and Gilbert, less than ten years ago. If 15 percent were knocked up, how many more were sexually active?

    I like the music, and some of the way characters deal with situations really strikes a chord with me. Putting “Bohemian Rhapsody” with Quinn’s birth scene was AMAZING. Glee has its problems and is far from perfect, but I enjoy it.

  61. Danithew (#32), If Qutb’s experience was at all representative, it is no wonder that mainstream Protestantism all but self destructed in America in the succeeding years. A church that promotes premarital sex? How convenient.

  62. D. Fletcher says:

    I’m pretty amused by the comments here about “Baby it’s Cold Outside.” It comes from a 1950 MGM musical, and even though it might be suggestive, it’s pretty harmless. Ever listen to the words of “Let It Snow”?

  63. This conversation feels astonishingly prudish, even with some commenters trying to hide their prudishness behind faux-cultural critique.

    It is interesting how discrimination (regardless of the targeted group) is so associated with liberalism. What does that say about conservatism?

  64. 54 – “embracing the outcast, actually a very Christian theme”

    I don’t think you’d find a Mormon who would not cheer if the show depicted outcasts being embraced by a loving men & women of God who encourage them to turn away from sin and strive to live the “good life” (from a religious perspective). As it is, embracing an outcast and encouraging them to continue behavior which you mind morally wrong is not brave by a long shot. Love them and encourage them to be more moral.

    It amazes me how many people forget the “go and sin no more” part, when it’s is so intrinsic in every instance in the scriptuers (adulterous woman, lost sheep, prodigal son).

  65. MoHoHawaii says:

    Re #56 (Ray) I certainly never said all Mormons hate it strictly – or even mostly – because of the gay sub-plot.

    Funny. I don’t think I said that either. (Speaking of strawmen….)

  66. #62 DFletcher: It isn’t at all the suggestiveness that bothers me. To the extent that the song represents a mutually consenting flirtation/seduction, I think it’s adorable. The problem is a few lines that go wildly against modern feminist ideas of consent, and are frustrating to a lot of progress made on understanding date rape and taking it seriously. The crux of it is idea that she says no but means yes. Feminists have spent years and years trying to hammer in that “no means no.” I think interpreting the “whats in this drink?” line as referring to date rape drug (as comment #23 did) is anachronistic (I’m assuming date rape drug didn’t exist in the 1940s). I think it just meant that the drink was spiked with alcohol. Still, the implication that he is getting her drunk to take advantage of her, and that’s supposed to be sort of sexy and sort of ok with her, go against everything we’ve tried to accomplish on date rape education.

  67. #65: Sorry, MoHoHawaii. Probably too harsh on my part.

  68. Cynthia (#66), I have always interpreted the song to be communicating that the girl is struggling with her own passions vs. her better judgment. i.e. She is listing all these pragmatic reasons for leaving, but she actually does want to stay and she’s making her own excuses to explain the internal conflict.

    “Maybe just a cigarette more” – I know, dated and totally not cool for Mormons, but considering the period smoking was a staple activity.

    “Maybe just a half a drink more” – I have always assumed it was understood that a “drink” was a cocktail.

    “What’s in this drink?” – Assuming she knows she’s drinking alcohol, maybe trying to make sense of why she still wants to stay in spite of the laundry list of reasons to leave she’s been giving. It must be stronger than a normal drink.

    “No means no” issues are definitely serious and I’m not making light of that, but I think there is also some space for consenting partners (let’s say a married couple to remove moral arguments) to playfully enjoy a cat and mouse game like this without it being inseparable from a date rape game.

  69. Members of married couples don’t generally go home to their parents. The whole song would be meaningless.

  70. Clay, I think you definitely have some points, which is why I say that to the extent it represents a mutually consenting relationship it is cute. But there’s more than enough there to be concerned about having it out there being imbibed by those without a thorough understanding of the issues. Kind of like Glee itself. I can enjoy it. Not sure I want all of America’s teens watching it without debriefing some of the messages.

  71. I disagree that the show is poorly written. It’s not always top-notch, but it’s often good.

    Yes, the show has beaten certain issues to death. I happen to be fairly sympathetic to the show’s perspective on gay issues, yet I find myself exhausted by how overfocussed it is on homosexuality.

    Gwyneth Paltrow was great.

  72. I searched and scrutinized for the “we’re being so happy ironically angle,” but my search was in vain. This really was earnestly chipper.

    I think this is the most important point of the post. For Mormons, if you don’t act “Mormon” (and all the values that come with that), the culture really pushes you toward unhappiness. I’m sure it’s a disjoint for many Mormons to see happiness in its other flavors.

  73. Aaron B(#72) I just lost all respect for your opinion on programming.

  74. 59 – Possibly. I find in unlikely that there is no correlation, and my complete life experience is tainted with the goggles of my belief system to the point that I exagerrate all of my friends pain and grief because I believe them to be living according to a paradigm that I find amoral, and underestimate the pain and grief of those who I aspire to be more like.
    At the same time I don’t see any advantage of eschewing all life experience on the basis that I can’t really know anything due to human biases. Given that, I continue to try to live a moral life to the best I possibly can, largely on the basis that those who seem happiest to me, live charitable, loving, serving, moral lives. And those who are the most miserable shirked responsibilities, forsook religion and morality, and lived a largely “me-based” life.
    I don’t see those consequences play out on Glee according to my (biased) experience. I find that troubling.

  75. I should also note that I definitely don’t believe that religion and morality are the same thing. I definitely think someone can live a moral religionless life and be very happy, moreso the more those morals are in line with a true Christian ideal. I also believe that a religious person could live a very amoral life, but I think that goes without saying.
    My worldview at least. FWIW.

  76. B.Russ (75):

    I think the real question for purposes of this discussion (and what I think Mike was getting at) is whether you believe that nonmarital sex is always immoral, and if so, whether you believe that people who engage in nonmarital sex are less happy than those who do not.

  77. I do not watch Glee. I eat meat, play sports, and am male. I watched it once and that was enough. Silly Silly Silly

    I do tire of the constant lefty agenda pushing on TV.

  78. In the few episodes I’ve watched, I honestly don’t see the cast members as particularly happy, except when they are performing. You have the kids each struggling with his/her own issue, including the continual survival of their program.

    You have their instructor who struggles with his marriage, while having another teacher on the side as a best friend, hoping to step in when the marriage fails.

    You have kids seeking happiness in sexual relationships, without any of the other key issues revolving around those issues being discussed much. Sex is okay, whether heterosexual or homosexual, and you don’t have to worry about STDs, AIDS, or pregnancy, because as with the Brady Bunch, those problems all disappear by the end of the episode.

    Not realistic for those of us who deal with socially struggling people of any type. Yes, the performances are excellent, but to place them in such a phony life environment, where only one side is promoted, is just a method to brainwash children and adults into varnishing over the realities of any decision in life.

  79. #58 Nate W: “Kurt accepting the good intentions of his religious friends” does not constitute any kind of exploration of the mind of people of faith and doesn’t lead to any kind of understanding about why some people choose faith. It puts all the moral actor weight on Kurt, and makes those he “tolerates” into condescended-to objects. Kind of the way (I assume) gays feel when straight people condescend to tolerate their existence. People can watch that episode and think, “yeah, I can see why someone would be atheist.” But how can you watch Finn obsessing over toast–however sincerely–and think, “yeah, I can see why religion is something thoughtful people could embrace, even in today’s world”? I don’t question the producers when they say they thought they were trying to write a character or two like that. I think they just honestly can’t conceive of why religion is something thoughtful people could embrace, and thus they are incapable of writing characters who embody that, no matter how hard they think they’re trying.

  80. But Cynthia L, you haven’t watched it, so you don’t really know, right?

    First, Finn’s character was not religious before he found the grilled cheesus, and he was not presented as a serious religious character. Rather, he seems to have a view of god as a genie that grants wishes. This is not unusual, as Finn is portrayed as being none-too bright. The religious folks in this episode were Mercedes and Quinn were, and they were portrayed sympathetically.

    Second, most of the focus here was on Kurt (it was his dad after all that had the heart attack). It was him who objected to the glee club singing religious songs, and him who objected to his friends praying over his father’s bedside when he had asked them not to. He reacted with about as much grace and poise as a teenager whose father just had a heart attack would be expected to (that is, not very much). Notwithstanding that, he went to church with Mercedes, and concluded that, while he didn’t believe in God, he believed in his friends.

    By the way, this episode had one of the most emotional (and IMO, best) songs that Glee has produced–Kurt is singing about his father:

  81. StillConfused says:

    Season 1 = awesome. Season 2 = not so much. Why do they always kills a good show with sensationalism

  82. D. Fletcher says:

    #77 bbell, could you possibly express your negative opinion without being sexist about it? Glee may be bad, but your bad opinion of it isn’t superior because you are male.

  83. bbell,

    I do tire of the constant lefty agenda pushing on TV.

    I guess that’s why we have a show with someone pulling out guns to shoot at helpless deer. Gotta get those manly feelings roaring again…

  84. #82: WORD.

    Also, bbell, how ironic is it that you complain about having to endure liberal views (promoting equality! oh teh horrorz!), in the same comment where you spew a bunch of sexist, possibly ableist, stuff? Sure, some fraction of TV features lefty pushing, but comments like yours remind us that the entire rest of the universe features constant danger of encountering casual sexist, ableist, racist, sizeist, etc, views. Maybe you were joking, but then, isn’t that the fig leaf Glee uses to cover their agenda-pushing? “Lighten up, it’s just a joke.”

  85. MikeInWeHo says:

    Re: 76
    I’m not sure that’s exactly what I was getting at, but what the heck.

    My point is: Perspective matters more than we realize. Some of the most depressed, self-loathing people I’ve encountered have been Mormons who for some reason or another don’t fit in. Your mileage may vary, but the assertion that these individuals are “me-based” and need to embrace the message of “go and sin no more” seems problematic…..especially when that phrase really means “Do it our way if you want us to accept you in a meaningful way.”

    It seems to me that this mindset is precisely what the writers of GLEE are trying to counter.

  86. geoffsn (#73),

    Why?

    I have to assume you’re referring to my defense of Glee’s writing. I stand by it. Now, I’ll confess I’ve only been a sporadic watcher of the show. Maybe if I had a fuller picture of the series, I’d recognize how bad the writing is. But I doubt it. Plenty of the dialogue is sharp and funny.

    I honestly think that “bad writing” is often a stand-in for “I hate this show but I’m not sure why so I think I’ll say it’s the writing!”

    Also, while yes, the plotlines are ridiculous, so what? Sometimes that sort of thing matters, and sometimes it doesn’t. This is one of those times when it doesn’t, in my opinion. The show knows it’s being ridiculous, and it revels in it. Big woop. (Though I don’t deny that it sometimes takes its politics too seriously).

    I’m reminded of a friend in highschool who complained about a particular Sci-Fi flick that everyone liked as being “unrealistic”. I responded that for that very same reason, I loathed “The Wizard of Oz” cause everyone knows red ruby slippers don’t function as teleportation devices, monkeys don’t really have wings, and horses don’t change colors in real life.

    Please, people.

  87. Huh, I thought Gwyneth Paltrow was one of the most obnoxious guest characters they’ve had. She sings well, but she was so wishy-washy and needy in her push to be liked by the kids.

    I usually like Glee–mostly for the music–but the characters seem to take turns being annoying and unlikeable. While we’re probably more like that in real life than we’d care to admit, watching the characters cycle from disagreeable to contrite after their comeuppance, to agreeable inching back toward disagreeable is really a bit frustrating. I want to see the characters grow in a meaningful way, but they just don’t. If I ignore the soap opera and just enjoy the individual plots it kind of makes it better, but really, I just like the music.

    The promiscuity reads to me like highschool banter–there are those who indulge, some in a very big way, and a lot more who just talk about it. As for the devirginification plot, I had a group of friends in college (interestingly enough, people I sang with in an acapella group) who had much the same attitude toward those of us in the group who remained virgins (including me). While there were no plots to get us to have sex, there was certainly social pressure.

    Shannon Beiste (Dot Jones) is probably my favorite character on the show, though Artie’s up there too. They’re two of the more realistic(ish) characters, at least in terms of the way they deal with their respective outsider status.

  88. [Editor's note: this comment from earlier today was stuck in the spam filter. Sorry.]

    #47 When I mentioned to my father recently that I got Modern Family Season 1 for Christmas and that it was hilarious he said “Yeah, I guess that show would be popular in your area.” (I live in the Bay area of CA)

    Also, I love this clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUCbw240-ps

  89. D. Fletcher says:

    Aaron, Glee is set in a contemporary American high school. It is not a fantasy. The Wizard of Oz is a fantasy story written in 1900.

    Please, Aaron.

  90. Wow, all of you must have just hated Arrested Development then?! (I’m not comparing the two shows outright–just saying that AD has unrealistic storylines, and is set in contemporary America.)

  91. D. Fletcher says:

    Cynthia, they’re not really comparable. I think Glee wants us to take its points about homophobia and teen angst seriously. It doesn’t want us just to laugh at it, it wants us to be moved. This is why it doesn’t work, and why I think it’s bad writing.

    There are some good one liners. That is all I like about the show.

  92. 76 – I’m not convinced that’s what Mike was getting at, and it should be strongly noted that for me: not having sex =/= being moral. I think morality is much bigger than chastity.

    But your question is a good one. For the purposes of this thread, I can simply say: I think that pre-marital sex is always immoral for middle-class American teens. I might even go as far as to say that pre-marital sex is always immoral for teens. I can’t really think of an appropriate circumstance where a teen should be having sex before being in a committed/married relationship. But that isn’t relevant. What is relevant is the characters on the show aren’t looking to get married. And to the extent that I can tell (again I emphasize that I’ve only seen two episodes, seen a couple clips here and there while running on a treadmill at the gym, and heard “Glee-caps” from a radio show I listen to, so I’ll concede that my view might be a little flawwed) much of the sex in the show is outside of committed “loving” relationships where it is part of communication more than just being a physical pleasure. So, unless someone can demonstrate an example otherwise, I would say all the teen sex on Glee would be classified, by me, as immoral.

    whether you believe that people who engage in nonmarital sex are less happy than those who do not.

    As teenagers? Unequivocally. Sex is way too confusing, vulnerable, and dangerous for teenagers to process it properly and not walk away scarred.

    On a similar point The human brain doesn’t reach full development until early 20s. The last things to develop are the regions that measure risk and understand consequence. If for no other reason, this would seem like excuse enough to hope that teens would avoid sex – which is riddled with risk (emotional, physical, and pregnant-al)

  93. AaronB (#86) You really do need to see several episodes to fully appreciate how bad the writing is. The Glee club is simultaneously the most hated group in the school and yet is simultaneously capable of making the entire school give them a standing ovation (see the 2nd episode). Also, at least half of Glee club is on the football team and the cheer squad. The quarterback and lead cheerleader are each in Glee. Sue in the Madonna episode wants her music blasted over the school speaker system, but in the Brittany episode fears for the effect her music will have on students and wants it banned. You can only say it’s good writing if you think Jay Leno jokes are funny.
    “Plenty of the dialogue is sharp and funny.” you made me laugh audibly in class.
    You’re right that the plot-lines are ridiculous. The characters have seemingly different personalities from episode to episode. I’m fine with suspending reality in many different ways and to large degrees, but when there is no continuity left in the show it becomes really difficult. Another example: in the 2nd to last episode, Kurt asked Rachel how Finn was because he hadn’t seen him since the wedding. They live in the same house! The whole episode before it was about how close Kurt and Finn were. The only reason I see for watching Glee is the music, and that is only good about half of the time. The first season had a few moments of “funny” dialogue. It’s been horrible since.

    I don’t even think it’s helping the issues it’s trying to address. Does Rachel saying her fathers’ disagreement over wallpaper was solved by counseling (“the only thing that kept them together”) make gay stereotypes worse or dispel them? Does making Mercedes obsessed with food (only agreeing to a duet when a “wheelbarrow full of breadsticks” is offered, and throwing a school protest over tater-tots) help the perception that overweight people only care about food?

    The writing manages to be worse than the acting.

  94. StillConfused says:

    Ms. Beiste actually scares me a bit. I admit to googling to see if she really was a she. But I like the development of the character etc.

    I didn’t care for the Grilled Cheesus episode. It was somewhat offensive religiously… but more importantly to me, it just wasn’t funny or interesting.

    I really liked season one though. That is when they were focusing more on introducing the characters and so the plot remained fresh and interesting.

  95. There’s a particular meta-discussion that one gets into whenever groups of people discuss a television show (or popular movies). All fictional (and many non-fictional) creations are “unrealistic” to some degree, in that they are representations of a universe different from our own. The important thing is that the fictional universe be able to be accepted on its own terms. Part of this has to do with internal consistencies, and part of it has to do with the characters inhabiting the universe behaving in ways that are universally recognized as natural or “realistic.” The latter concept transcends genre and it doesn’t really matter if it’s a teen musical/comedy, a sci-fi space opera or a hard-boiled detective story.

    For me, Glee often fails because the characters don’t behave or interact in realistic ways, or ways that are internally consistent to the creation of good, interesting characters. Sometimes it’s entertaining, and the actors are incredibly talented, but overall, the writing (dialogue, plot, character development) seem really weak to me.

  96. Clearly, I spend way too much time thinking about pop culture.

    If you’re into that sort of thing, read Kulturblog.

    /shameless plug.

  97. I was annoyed that in the Grilled Cheesus episode Finn sang REM’s “loosing my religion” to talk about loosing faith, completely missing the fact that to “loose one’s religion” is to get angry.

  98. Ray (56),

    I already said it’s the sexual barrage that bothers me the most. If we’re going to throw around insults (“sloppy, lazy and uninformed”), let’s at least be careful about accuracy, ok?

    Sorry for the miscommunication–what I was referring to was your acknowledging his comment; thus, I didn’t want to create a mini-threadjack, but since you and BTD Greg had already responded, I didn’t feel like it would be stupid to clarify–since obviously more people cared about the comment than just me. To the extent that I misread your agreement with him, I apologize.

    As far the insults are concerned, I didn’t mean to insult you. I wasn’t even really talking to you–I was talking to MoHoHawaii.

  99. MoHoHawaii (65)–

    Re #56 (Ray) I certainly never said all Mormons hate it strictly – or even mostly – because of the gay sub-plot.

    Funny. I don’t think I said that either. (Speaking of strawmen….)

    Yeah, you kind of did. Re-read your statements and tell me if you read a bunch of qualifiers that I miss:

    This post reminded me that same-sex affection is what *really* has Mormons torqued … Clearly, the objection in Mormons to all things gay runs deeper than just issues with the Law of Chastity. It’s gay people–their lives, their affections and their struggle for acceptance– that are seen as objectionable and unwholesome. It doesn’t matter that Kurt is chaste; he’s unwholesome more or less by definition.

    For what it’s worth, all of my active LDS relatives boycott Glee on moral (read: gay) grounds. For myself, liberal gay Mormon that I am, I boycott Glee on the same grounds as comment #16 above.

    To the extent that you meant to qualify it more, or that the qualifications were implicit and I just don’t sense them, then I apologize and retract my complaint.

  100. D Fletcher,
    #89

    Wizard of Oz was a social commentary of the 1890s.

  101. My point is: Perspective matters more than we realize. Some of the most depressed, self-loathing people I’ve encountered have been Mormons who for some reason or another don’t fit in. Your mileage may vary, but the assertion that these individuals are “me-based” and need to embrace the message of “go and sin no more” seems problematic…..especially when that phrase really means “Do it our way if you want us to accept you in a meaningful way.”

    But I don’t make that assertion. You’ll notice that I’ve tried very hard to constrain my comments to actionable morality according to a Christian (or other religious) compass. I don’t believe that a religious or non-religious worldview has an incredibly strong effect on happiness in this life. I do believe that generally speaking religiously moral choices tend to lead to happier, more fulfilling lives. Generally.
    I am making a distinction there, and I think its an important one.

    I wouldn’t begin to guess why “Some of the most depressed, self-loathing people I’ve encountered have been Mormons”. It could be for any one of a thousand reasons, and quite possibly have nothing to do with life choices they’ve made. And I realize that Mormonism can be repressive and tend toward self-loathing.

    However, I think many principles taught in the church, when lived by those who I’ve known, tend to lead towards happier lives.
    I do concede that I’m biased, I’m not arguing that. But my observance of this simple idea seems to be so strongly demonstrated by most of the 200 or so people I have had close contact with over the last 15 years of my life, that I can’t concede that it is pure bias that makes me see things this way.

  102. #17 MikeInWeHo, #80 NateW: Great clips! (Sorry I missed those earlier; I was reading on the BlackBerry browser that doesn’t display embeds.) I bet all the ladies of BYU would pay good money to see BYU Men’s Chorus do that Teenage Dream song!

  103. Cynthia (#90) I love Arrested Development. They were consistent in character development and in building on past episodes. They would seed props and comments for jokes that didn’t appear until several episodes later. Quite the opposite for Glee.

  104. D. Fletcher says:

    Daniel #100

    Not really. It was a fantasy for children. Note: in the original story, there is no fever dream. Dorothy actually goes to Oz. She doesn’t miss her Aunt Em, or anyone else.

    Also note: the books were deconstructed and overanalyzed many years later, for their “populist” elements. But it was never intended as anything but a fun story for kids.

  105. Fletcher,

    I understand that she literally went to Oz. It’s what made the books far better than the movie. She actually goes there. In any case, Baum wrote about contemporary concerns in a fantastical setting.

  106. B.Russ & MikeInWeHo,
    The circles of the round-and-round are getting tighter and tighter.
    I declare MikeInWeHo the winner.

  107. MikeInWeHo says:

    Uh, just to be clear, I am not advocating teen sex in any configuration. On the contrary.

    Last year the cast of GLEE posed for a photo shoot in GQ Magazine that proved controversial:

    http://extratv.warnerbros.com/2010/10/glee_gq_photos_spark_controversy.php

    It troubled me that the producers of GLEE allowed this, although I am never surprised. At the end of the day, Hollywood is always always always about generating publicity to make more money.

  108. 106 – That doesn’t mean that I have to start liking Glee, does it?

  109. D. Fletcher says:

    I agree about Arrested Development. Great show! Wow, hard to see Glee ever getting to that level of writing/craftmenship/creativity.

    Also, I’d like to repeat, Glee doesn’t even have good singing! Where are the great musical numbers? Week after week, I’m disappointed.

  110. D. Fletcher:

    What part of “spontaneous musical numbers with full backing band that just happens to be there” makes you believe this is supposed to be realistic?

    Science fiction writers usually want the reader to take their points on whatever ethical issue is being explored seriously–that doesn’t mean that it gives up its license to be a fantasy. The question is whether it crosses the genre line, and I’ll leave that to the Brady Patriarch to decide…

    http://bit.ly/gIt4vE

  111. Mike (107) – I didn’t assume you were advocating teen sex. My comment 92 was completely directed at Nate W (76) and not at all toward you.

  112. Mike

    #107,

    That is particularly true of Fox…or has anyone forgotten Paradise Hotel?

  113. Lurker. I love Glee. A lot. Have tons of friends and coworkers who also love Glee. I understand why people are offended, but for me, I work in the high schools, here in Utah, and know that Glee is actually tame compared to what goes on in high school. I have been able to use episodes of Glee to talk to kids about actions and consequences and it is very helpful. I tire pretty easily of the idea that anything that teenagers see on TV they will turn and copy. I saw lots of Buffy but never slayed a vampire. Also, to those who think that the homosexual issues are over done, for every one of you, I have another friend who cried and cried over Kurts dad accepting him when they are now 31 years old and still not allowed to come home for Christmas. I am also very active in Church, and felt that the grilled Cheesus episode treated religion fairly, especially with Mercedes, who is Kurt’s best friend, and receives a lot of comfort from her religion.
    I get that tons of people hate Glee for many reasons, but there are those of us out there that love it, feel the issues are relevant, and dealt with appropriately. That is why there are so many different choices in television.

  114. Nate (#110) when did D. Fletcher ever say that Glee should be realistic? I think it’s obvious with his comment about Arrested Development that his issue(s) with Glee doesn’t include the fact that it’s not realistic.

  115. I’m getting tired of just agreeing with BTD Greg all the time.

  116. Geoffsn (114):

    I’m referring to D’s 89 and 91, wherein he implies that fantasy cannot have a serious message.

  117. D. Fletcher says:

    Again, I have no problem with Glee’s format. I like musicals, and I don’t play sports, even though I’m a man. I do enjoy a good spoof, and I think The Wizard of Oz is moving (the movie, anyway).

    But Glee isn’t well done. It wants to be “camp,” and it wants to make serious points about the social world of contemporary teenagers, and it doesn’t do either well.

    Saying that bad writing is intentional is just rationalizing, like saying someone’s flat singing is intentional.

    Glee would be a lot better if it were about real kids, really trying to compete as a high school glee club despite many real obstacles. This is not to say I think it should be “realistic.” These kids may have fantasies, and their fantasies could in fact be terrific musical numbers for the actors.

  118. Cynthia your #84 is awesome for its cover all lefty bases. I felt like I was back at sensitivity training at a Public University. Seriously. Its almost Niblet worthy. I mean you even got sizeism, ablism thrown in. I offered you an opportunity to throw out your lefty bona fides. You should be thanking me for the opportunity to respond like that :)

    Most men I know dislike musicals. I stated a reasonable idea on who likes musicals so sue me.

    I actually see shows like Glee and its celebration of sin as a sign that we are in the last days and our society is breaking down. I can comfortably make this assertion as the teacher in GD or the pulpit or anywhere else in the church and feel very comfortable doing so.

  119. D. Fletcher says:

    #118 bbell

    Oy.

  120. StillConfused says:

    p.s. even though I am disappointed with this season of Glee, it is still on my hulu.com list — I just don’t necessarily watch it the day that it is available. Desperate Housewives, on the other hand, I will admit to watching on hulu the day it comes out. (there goes my credibility … even I even had any)

  121. Thomas Parkin says:

    “Most men I know dislike musicals.”

    I like the Sound of Music, a lot. Especially where the nun sings Climb Every Mountain … gives me goose pimples.

  122. Thomas Parkin,

    #121,

    but see, The Sound of Music is a man’s musical…you know, family values, strong heroes standing up against dastardly evil…

  123. Cynthia L. says:

    #113: Thanks, Maren. Great comment.

  124. Thomas Parkin says:

    Yeah Daniel – you may have a point. All the women are after the men in that movie. All the men have to do is show up. Great flick.

  125. People, enough! This thread needs to get back on track, NOW. And by “on track,” of course I mean talking about how dreamboaty Blaine is.

  126. #118, 119. It’s ok, D. I guess I did kind of have that coming for my blow-up over his previous comment. Though that doesn’t excuse bbell dishing it up. Sigh.

  127. bbell, if you weren’t real, we’d have to invent you, just so we had someone to say the most stereotypical thing possible. Nice job.

    The problem with this whole discussion is that it seems to miss the point that the entire show we’re talking about is simply a vehicle for the display of the musical numbers. If you don’t like those, there’s not much point in watching the show, if you do, then you shouldn’t allow the silly plot and characters to get in the way, because they’re really beside the point, and obviously not intended to be a realistic portrayal of actual people.

    That said, I find Kurt’s story to be a somewhat refreshing take on what it’s like to be a gay high school student. Kurt’s dad is a pretty new kind of dad in this context.

    Overall, the show is tolerable and sometimes entertaining. Extreme views of it on both sides seem to be motivated by something other than what’s actually happening on screen.

  128. I love that Community clip. Now there’s a great show! Can’t we talk about that instead? Let’s see, how can I come up with a Mormon angle…

  129. The problem with this whole discussion is that it seems to miss the point that the entire show we’re talking about is simply a vehicle for the display of the musical numbers. If you don’t like those, there’s not much point in watching the show, if you do, then you shouldn’t allow the silly plot and characters to get in the way, because they’re really beside the point, and obviously not intended to be a realistic portrayal of actual people.

    I’d be fine with that if it didn’t so obviously try and make it about more than just the musical numbers. But the fact that it constantly hits you over the head with its agenda (or whatever) makes it hard to take it as just a campy fun musical. It’s trying to be more than that.

  130. glee…the pinto of primetime, but with a good stereo.

  131. MikeInWeHo says:

    re: 112

    FOX is the Great and Abominable Network.

  132. Maybe, B.Russ, but when I watch the show I mostly see plot contrivances that are mostly intended to just get us from one musical number to the next. There may be a plot (barely) and ther emay be a so-called agenda, but neither of those really matter, because they are just filling time until the next Big! Fun! Song! Or the next Achingly. Heartwrenching. Song. Either way.

  133. Wow. britt k just nailed it.

  134. Thought I’d throw my lapsed Mormon view on this.

    I can’t not</i. watch Glee . . . I guess whatever Twihards or Hogwarts-wearing people or American Idol fans get out of their respective franchises, I get out of this show. Is it over-the-top, sometimes stupidly written, outrageous in re:Sue Sylvester, Mrs. Schuester, and all the rest? You bet your bippy!

    However, the music is fun (Lea Michele and Jonathan Groff are very, very talented), the dialogue is fast-moving, and the production values are very high. Fine, Mad Men is a far superior show, but hey, sometimes you need a break from martinis and souls dying inside. :P

    Glee is what our grandchildren will watch in bewilderment in 2058; you know they will.

    I see nothing surprising or offensive about the left agenda . . . hey, it’s Hollywood; shocking. Kurt’s stick up his arse is annoying because he’s self-centered and pompous , not because he’s gay. His speeches were definitely eyeroll-worthy.

    Also, though I think he’s dreamy beyond belief and have loved him since Kyle XY, Cory Montieth is just not that great of a singer.

    I really prefer when it doesn’t focus as much on the relationship drama, and focuses on the choir’s quest . . . I want to see them (lose, admittedly) at nationals!

    As far as the moral questions of the show . . . good luck parents forbidding your teens from watching this! I’m 22, and I know a craze when I see it. But guess what? Most good Mormon kids are prudes. I know I felt guilty about “bad” music or books or whatnot . . . I went as far as censoring nude statues in history textbooks! LOL. I think the more you make this show seem awesome by forbidding it, the more they’ll want to watch it. The madness will pass. And yes, to all the incredulous adults, your older adolescents (I’m thinking about seniors in high school) are doing all sorts of nonsense with sexting and all the rest; it’s easier than ever now. It’s the sex drive that makes them want to watch Glee; not that Glee will introduce them to perversions that you can somehow shelter them from.

    Basically, be a parent; it’s not Fox’s job.

    That being said, if you let your eight- or ten- or twelve- year old watch this, what the hell is wrong with you? Scissoring? Death threats? Predator teachers ? It reminds me of the people at the museum I work at, who think their TODDLER needs an audio guide to hear about [famous modernist's] sexual dalliances as an octogenerian. Give me a break.

    So, in sum:

    – personally, I’d never miss an episode :)
    – Finn is just that sexy
    – yeah, it’s implausible
    – fine for adults, borderline for teens, no-freaking-way for children

  135. CatherineWO says:

    I agree with Maren (#113).
    I only just discovered Glee this season. Have to say that I love it–for pure entertainment, a guilty pleasure, if you will. I think it’s relevant, but real? no–just entertaining.

  136. Portia! Long time no hear. How you been??

    Attention newcomers: Portia is one of my all time favorite commenters. Pay heed.

  137. Wait, I ain’t no newcomer anymore but I don’t remember Portia.

  138. Re #122 -

    Don’t forget the whole chased by Nazis thing. That’s where the Sound of Music really gets its penis.

    Also, I see the story as a bit of a mystery, as the youngest of the Von Trappe children is 5 years old, but the mother is said to have died 7 years prior. Gotta love a story that keeps you guessing!

  139. I go into this comment fully admitting that much of the writing and dialogue in Glee is over the top and purposefully so. Many plots go too a bit past reality and others get a bit too preachy. I am in no way defending Glee as some phenomenal work of TV genius. That being said……

    Okay. Did you guys go to highschool? I wasn’t LDS until I was in college, but even as an honors classes, band, good grades, no partying high school student I was keenly aware of just how much sex, desire of sex, pursuit of sex, and talk of sex was going on amongst my high school peers. High school is not PG-13. It’d most often earn itself an R and on the not-so-rare occasion, an NC-17. Glee is very tame compared to the things your teenage children hear talked about in the hallways at their school, even if your teenage children happen to be mormon and hold themselves to different standards than those around them.

    Also, yes, many of the characters make bad decisions. But who the heck doesn’t? I guarantee that your local young single adult ward has many more sexually active members than you’d like to think. Feel free to ask a YSA bishop just how common pre-marital sexual activity is, and that’s after all this “growing up” that happens on missions and in colleges or workplaces. Can you think of anyone more prone to stupid, self-destructive behavior, overly dramatic situations, and flip-flopping personalities than teenagers? Are they all doomed? Of course not. Despite plenty of wild and stupid shenanigans in my first bit of college, I still managed to find the church and turn things around, and I dare say I hold onto little if any damage from my non-LDS years.

    I hate to burst this Mormon idea, but the great majority of high schoolers who make stupid decisions don’t get pregnant or killed, and aren’t emotionally/spiritually tortured about it. Most of them grow into perfectly healthy and moral adults who get married and have kids and careers. Happiness is not contained in orgasms such that if you have them you lose it so you better hold on tight to that whole not-having-sex thing. That’s not to say there’s not plenty of reason for teenagers not to have sex, but please, try to be a little realistic and less dramatic about the consequences for most of them. Whatever you believe about eternal and spiritual consequences, you can’t hyperbolize what really happens to most of these kids.

    As for the show’s characters acting immoral and living consequence-free, I’m left wondering if we’re watching the same show. I’m having a hard time thinking of really bad decisions that were made that had no important consequences. In standard Christian girl “made a split-second heat of the moment mistake thus no birth control” fashion, Quinn gets pregnant, ashamedly lies about how it happened, and has to tell her parents, who are heartbroken. Puck and Finn’s friendship is destroyed by betrayal. Puck ends up in Juvenile Hall for something. Finn and Rachel break up over who had messed around with whom. A bully gets beat up and also nearly kicked out of school for his behavior. Those few examples alone are precisely the sort of consequences that do happen to teenagers and are precisely the sort of consequences teens are actually afraid of. If that’s not realistic enough for you then you have a problem with the reality of being a teenager, not that a show is presenting that reality mixed with music and other impossible plot points.

    Yes, it’s over the top. Yes, the writing can be silly and a bit painful. And no, people don’t actually burst into song and choreography to express themselves every day. And not every dilemma ends up being a happy everyone-learned-something moment. But a lot of the things I see people complaining about here are the things most representative of the high school experience.

  140. The moment people take the show seriously is the moment people start hating Glee.

    I agree that I would be uncomfortable showing it to any kids under the age of 13. Also people who have trouble differing fantasy from reality, or think that perhaps this is a reflection of what public school is like today, probably shouldn’t be watching the show either.

    I have had LDS relatives say they strictly stopped watching Glee because they felt like the gay issue was being “shoved down their throats” (particularly with the bullying sequences in the second season). I think that’s a little much, and mohohawaii makes a great point in that the gay issue is one of the cleaner issues Glee presents. Yes, I can agree that Kurt received a lot of attention during the first half of the second season, but I think the timing of it all was needed and even appropriate. I see nothing morally wrong that could negatively affect our youth or ourselves from watching Kurt navigate his way through bullying and associating with his newly found gay friend.

  141. If the show were attempting in any way to be realistic, it would have a lot more gay characters than it does. We’re talking about Glee Clubs, here. Half of every choir should be gay!

  142. LDesque, when is the show NC-17?? Or even R for that matter?

  143. Great comments all (even LDesque, except the rating thing :) ), keep it up.

  144. Haha no not the show, I meant high school. At least that was my experience. The FCC would throw a fit over half the things overheard in the hallways of high schools. I was saying Glee is tame compared to what people’s kids are hearing day in and day out at their schools.

  145. Ah, sorry. Upon re-reading that is totally clear. Basic reading comprehension FAIL by me.

  146. How many Utah mormons have prominent rolls in any of the “High School Musical” franchise? My answer would be hundreds. Kenny Ortega fell in love with Utah when he directed the opening ceremonies of the 2002 games in SLC. Now Glee take HSM (High School Musical) and adds a bit of real-life and a little less Disney brand tension. Kids, LDS or not are dirty, fouled mouthed, perverted, sexually active and racist. They are mean hurtful and hateful to anyone that is different. This show makes issues of issues to show how stupid it is to make an issue about it in the first place. The program isn’t church. But I would much rather my kids (which are non-existent at the moment) watch Glee and get a glimpse of the cause and effect of their words and actions. This is by far preferable to the myriad of other programs that are FAR WORSE (family guy for example) that seem to fly beneath the radar of many LDS commentators.

    Glee is campy because it’s not just TV it’s musical theatre on television. That makes the writing silly, the acting ridiculous at times, the plots corny but poignant. The creators are doing something that really hasn’t been done, at least not in my lifetime.

    There is a message to nearly every episode. This is honestly one of the best feel-good shows since the after school specials that i remember watching in the 80′s.

    I say enjoy it for what it is… FUN.

    I don’t think there is anything that kids these days aren’t exposed to in gross at school or even, heaven forbid, at church. I think that Glee can be a great talking point with your teens and tweens. I don’t think that it’s overly inappropriate for younger than that either. I think the show is far more conscientious of the wide range of ages that watch it than many other programs that kids watch without the same level of criticism.

    As far as the gay storyline is concerned… It’s about time. It’s about time that there is a gay character positively portrayed, that his struggles are made real, and that his affinity and affections are shown to be moderate and tame in comparison to his straight counterparts. I find it refreshing that Kurt’s character is chaste if not celibate compared to his classmates. I’m also glad that they have introduced blaine as a “straight acting” “normal” out gay character. Kurt is GAY and i mean G_A_Y_!!! It’s a little tough at times even for this self confessed moho to handle. So it’s great and refreshing that young gay kids have the role models that they will need as more and more kids are coming out earlier and earlier. You know that studies show that 1 in 4 Utah LDS boys will be gay… that’s 25%. Utah has the largest number homosexuals per capita than any other state in the union. Utah also has the highest teen suicide rate in the entire USA. Maybe Utah mormons should pay more attention to how Kurt’s dad handles things… it would be a great evolution for LDS parents.

  147. Seconding everything Nathan said.

    I’m surprised nobody mentioned the scene (somewhere in Season 1) where Burt Hummell (Kurt’s dad) chastises Finn for using that f-word meaning gay (don’t know what gets flagged as bad language around here) in his home to describe the room Kurt decorated for Finn. It was very touching to see how he stuck up for his child, despite however hard it was or wasn’t for him to come to grips with Kurt’s sexuality on his own. The things he said to Finn were pretty powerful, and it reminds me of how an important step in essentially every Civil Rights movement in history is when more and more of those who are in the privileged majority start to stick up for the discriminated-against minority.

  148. nathan (#146) do you have references for those studies? I’d be really interested in knowing them. The idea seems reasonable considering fraternal birth order http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fraternal_birth_order_and_sexual_orientation

  149. Latter-day Guy says:

    Utah also has the highest teen suicide rate in the entire USA.

    The stats I’m aware of are a little narrower than that. To wit, in Utah suicide is the leading cause of death for males between the ages of 15 and 24. The suicide rate for that particular demographic is nearly double the national average. However, I’m not sure how those numbers change when you add in younger teens and/or females.

  150. You know that studies show that 1 in 4 Utah LDS boys will be gay… that’s 25%.

    I would guess that your studies are off by at at least a factor of three, and that is being generous. See here.

  151. LDesque,
    Just because “everyone in high school” talks about or does it, does not mean we need to have it broadcast publicly. There are more than just high school and single adults watching the show.

    Yesterday’s heroes were imperfect, but tried to keep their flaws and weaknesses behind the scenes. Few knew that FDR was having an affair during his presidency, for example. His personal actions did not directly affect the average kid in America.

    But today’s heroes are often tv/movie/rock stars. When their acts and actions are beamed across for everyone to see, we then get people emulating their heroes. I remember when I was in high school (mid 1970s), when a friend of mine said that Ozzie Osborne worshipped Satan, and so he also did. That was 30+ years ago. Imagine the impact that Hollywood has on people today!

    So, when a popular program encourages teen sex and loose morals, it basically justifies it in the minds of many. We each choose who our gods will be, and for many today, they follow after the glamour seen on the screen. Young girls now dress like Paris Hilton or Lady Gaga. Kids see their heroes use alcohol and drugs, and so it justifies it in their own minds.

    So, just because “everyone is doing it” does not mean we should justify it. Just because the scriptures tell us that widespread sexual sin is a leading cause of destruction and desecration, doesn’t mean it must apply to us, does it? That’s how it sounds to me from several who justify such things. And I’ll admit I also give tacit approval of such things by some of the programming I watch that includes such garbage (Gleeks are not the exception). So I also condemn myself in this same thing.

  152. Glee perpetuates the falacy that everyone is doing it. To be sure everyone is thinking about it to some degree or another, but everyone isn’t doing it, and those who are aren’t doing it with nearly this degree of regularity.

    My highschool had a very low pregnancy rate…they were above such things. That’s what abortion is for after all. Most of the sex talk came from two realms…the boyfriend realm or the after the party I think it happened realm. Neither was full of bouncing glee. On one hand came the “I’m more mature than you, but I might be pregnant” and on the other hand came the AGGHHH I’m not even sure who or if or whether or not…with a good deal of hahaha can you believe that…mixed in with oh crap.

    I dont’ think it’s helpful to put out this concept that everyone is doing it…least of all that the misfits are (misfits defined as the poor socially outcast captain of the football and cheerleading team that are model cute).

    If you want to persuade me that premarital sex isn’t wickedness, I’m more likely to listen when the participators are mature enough to think of the other person before themselves and consciously choose with consequences in mind. They must be capable of intimacy on other levels and capable of loving (in the love is patient, kind and tender way…not in the twilight she smells so good I can’t control myself, I’ve fallen and can’t get up way).

    I don’t think marriage should be undertaken without that maturity either.

    Glee isn’t exactly that.

  153. Wow great post and discussion!

    I love(d) Glee! Season 1, first few episodes hooked me, and now I can’t stop watching in spite of myself. I have several Mormon friends (at home moms, mid-30s) who loved this show, loved the gay angle (the dad and how he handled his son coming out, etc.) and the music.

    That all ended this season, because the show slid down a slippery slope on the morality bit–which had nothing to do with Kurt who is the most chaste person on the show, including the teachers. The specific episode that triggered the stoppage of the Tivo for Glee in most homes of my acquaintance was the Britney Spears episode. The two girls kissing was a problem not because they were gay but because it represented the promiscuity that the characters had already embraced. From my perspective, people are not offended by the pain and heartache of a gay character, they are offended by the general oversexed tones of the show. The girls kissing wasn’t some message about the high road accepting homosexuality in school. One could argue that the gay storyline is the only thing moral and good about the show. That and the occasional Sue Sylvester softening.

  154. Whoareally says:

    I wonder if I’m watching the same show as everyone else. The teenage characters on the show express angst and ambivalence about sex, and not “everyone is going it.” several episodes refer to the characters’ wanting to stay virgins, of regretting that they had engaged in sex/intercourse. Even the teachers aren’t gettin’ any. Emma was a virgin, and now shes a newlywed. Ms. Beiste had never even been kissed, and she’s 40. Sue…well, she’s married.

  155. Whoareally says:

    And as for the musical values: I have seen Jonathan Groff, Lea Michele, Kristin Chenoweth, and Idina Menzel on Broadway. Spectacular! To hear and see them on TV is amazing. Chris Colfer and LeaMichele’s Defying Gravity was sensational. Every week, there’s at least one number that blows my socks off. I happily spend a few bucks a week on iTunes supporting this show.

  156. Its funny to me that there are comments saying:

    1) That high schoolers are perverse and sexualized, and this show is tame compared to reality

    2) That kids don’t necessarily emulate what happens on tv

    3) That times are different, and if you don’t like this show its because you don’t understand how High Schools have changed.

    It seems these three viewpoints should argue this out a bit. Either what we see on tv affects us or it doesn’t. But over the last 100 years the main changing variable in the equation has been media’s portrayal of life. And it seems the effects, I assume most would agree, would be increased promiscuity, drug use, etc. among teenagers.

    Thats not to say that I think the world is headed to hell in a handbasket. I think we’ve made vast improvements in society in other areas. I think the adult population is much less violent, much less inclined to abuse, and in many ways probably happier.
    However I think teens face problems that they shouldn’t have to, that they get indoctrinated by television and movies, and brainwashed into thinking that they are different if they aren’t sexually active by 18.
    And nowhere have I (or anyone on this thread) made the claim that its somehow Glee’s, Fox’s, or the FCC’s responsibility to censor, tame, and mormonify this show. Its not their responsibility, its obviously the responsibility of the parents, everyone gets that.
    All thats been said is the show is A) dumb B) immoral. If you’re into that sort of thing, great! But when I have teenagers, I don’t think they’ll be watching this sort of thing. Maybe they will, but I’m going to try and encourage them to watch better stuff. That might be an impossible goal, but I think its worth trying.

    I hate to burst this Mormon idea, but the great majority of high schoolers who make stupid decisions don’t get pregnant or killed, and aren’t emotionally/spiritually tortured about it.

    Possibly the “great majority” do. However –

    • In 2006, 750,000 women younger than 20 became pregnant. The pregnancy rate was 71.5
    pregnancies per 1,000 women aged 15–19, and pregnancies occurred among about 7% of women
    in this age-group.
    (http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/USTPtrends.pdf)

    So just speaking of pregnancies, if you have 6 kids, chances are more likely than not that one of them will become pregnant/get someone pregnant. That to me is kind of scary. Its not horrifying, its not the end of the world, and its not something that will necessarily ruin a person’s life. But it is scary.

    And I do think that teenage sex causes pain most of the time. Unecessary, damaging pain. I don’t think its horrifying, I don’t think its the end of the world, and I don’t think it will ruin a person’s life. But I do think that those kids would be better off not having to go through it.

    So don’t worry, you’re not bursting anyone’s bubble, and I don’t think anyone is trying to be overly prudish. But I do hope for better happier lives for my children than what TV would have me believe is inevitable.

  157. Coming out of lurkdom a little late on this one just to share a funny anecdote…My husband and children are avid Gleeks…

    We were at the Sunday morning performance of David Archuleta with MoTab and they introduced Ryan Murphy, the assistant conductor of the choir. My daughter leans over to me “MOM! MOM! – It’s the guy who made Glee. We HAVE to go meet him!” She was very disappointed when I explained that it was not the same Ryan Murphy.

  158. She was very disappointed when I explained that it was not the same Ryan Murphy.

    Ha!

  159. You know that studies show that 1 in 4 Utah LDS boys will be gay… that’s 25%. Utah has the largest number homosexuals per capita than any other state in the union.

    Did you know that 1 in 4 Russians like to put Swedish Fish in their soup? Thats 75%!!!

    See, I can make up ridiculous statistics too.

  160. Also, I agree with whoever said that they’d rather their kids watch Glee than Family Guy. Any day of the week and 10x on Sunday (if my kids were allowed to watch non-church media on Sunday, which they’re not :-)).

  161. D. Fletcher says:

    I don’t like Glee, but as a Mormon guy, I have no problem with the content, per se. All television shows, these days, about teenagers and adults, are filled with sex and more sex.

    The singers, in their Broadway roles, are talented. But Glee doesn’t show anybody’s real talent. The songs are way overproduced, and poorly lipsynched, and autotuned to death.

  162. Rameumpton,

    #152,

    Few knew that FDR was having an affair during his presidency, for example.

    While wheelchair bound? Wow…That FDR was pretty darn good…

  163. it's a series of tubes says:

    You know that studies show that 1 in 4 Utah LDS boys will be gay… that’s 25%.

    Nathan, it’s hard to take you seriously when you shovel out stuff like this. Thanks for the comedic interlude, though.

    Care to provide a cite?

  164. BRuss (#156)
    I don’t think that the main changing variable over the last 100 years is the media. If we want to ask why youth seem to be more promiscuous now, there are lots of other important variables.

    Here’s just a possibility, I don’t even necessarily subscribe to it, but hear it out. Population size and density have a larger influence on us and how we act than we’d like to admit. I highly recommend listening to the first third of this show:
    http://www.radiolab.org/media/audioplayer/player5.swf(function(){var s=function(){__flash__removeCallback=function(i,n){if(i)i[n]=null;};window.setTimeout(s,10);};s();})();
    Scientists found that the population of a city could predict: footsteps per second taken by people in the city, the average wage, crime rates, number of restaurants, number of colleges, number of theatres, number of patents, number of new AIDS patients, number of libraries, etc. Population itself has a correlation with many, many things. Could it be that the simple increase in population and the increase in others which teens encounter in their lives increases their likelihood for promiscuity? Is there a correlative tie then that teens in cities are more likely to be promiscuous? What correlative effects are involved in urban areas being more liberal and more promiscuous? To what degree does the population size itself affect this?
    Why then are people in the US and Europe seemingly more promiscuous than say China and India if this is the case? Perhaps it is because China and India still have arranged marriages while Europe and the US abandoned them long ago. If youth know that their search for a spouse will be facilitated by (if not exclusively controlled) by their parents, there is less reason to even allow oneself to consider allowing a relationship to begin. Arranged marriages could have some multiplier effect on reducing promiscuity.

    All that said, I think the media has some influence, but I’m not convinced it is nearly as significant as many claim. I think the role the media plays as a mirror for society is much more significant than its exaggeration of truth driving the change of society.

  165. People, thanks for the great discussion. My purpose in writing this post was to hear why LDS people like/watch Glee or hate/don’t watch Glee, because I know many on both sides of the fence (and some fence-sitters! ;-) ) but rarely in daily life is there a chance for real explanation.

    Just looking at my Facebook friends, there are 22 who are fans of the Glee. The 22 are overwhelmingly LDS (matching my FB friends overall), including a couple who I know to be very conservative in their religious views. And that’s just those who bother to officially “Like” Glee on Facebook. On the other hand, you have my husband and others who have expressed to me that they are “done” with Glee, for reasons ranging from too many distracting celebrity episodes to, yes, the gay thing. I hope we can continue hearing from all sides.

    I like the show. Proving the other side is “wrong” is not what this thread is about IMO, though feel free to have friendly debate.

    In other words, carry on.

  166. #164
    Sorry about the messed up code. Here’s the link to the show:
    http://www.radiolab.org/2010/oct/08/

  167. Good grief, people. I think it has been pointed out already that the 25% thing is off. Moving on…

    PS: Nathan, I clicked on your link, and we have a FB friend in common…

  168. *Disclaimer: (I am an open Gay Man who is active in the Church and am a worthy temple recommend holder who love Glee)

    Cynthia L. What I find interesting is your commentary in the conclusion in conjunction of comparing Glee with the happy Mormon culture.

    In my estimation, the producers of Glee have been fantastically successful in their objective of creating an irresistible vehicle for their views, and moreover making those views all but irresistible.

    (emphasis added)

    If the packaging of Glee and Mormonism are so similar as you point towards is not the inverse also true? Hasn’t the Church been fantastically successful in their objective of creating an irresistible vehicle for their views? I am not Anti-church, but your commentary made me think of that angle.

    You Say:

    Aside from the gay aspect (quite an “aside” for us!), the choreography and delightful melody of this scene exemplify the kind of chaste, playful, purely joyful courtship to which our best BYU-attending sons and daughters aspire.

    and my view is that the Church also uses delightful melodies and occasionally choreography to exemplify and perhaps promote or entice (depending on your view) youth into the mind-set of the Utah County, (and perhaps Tea Party) Mormon culture that mostly despises any of the liberal values/-isms that you point out.

    Also, while I don’t want to hijack the conversation by picking up the gay issue we put aside, I think that we should look at the concept of “chaste, playful, purely joyful courtship” in Klaine and see something that is usually not understood by BYU students and rarely by BYU staff & LDS leaders. That for them, homosexuality is all about Sex as exemplified by the rainbow thong wearing Gay Pride participant when, (perhaps as a result of marriage equality) is shifting to gay youth looking for “chaste, playful, purely joyful courtship” and that perhaps the current view on the Gay issue is incomplete. Especially when a Gay couple on BYU campus who held hands or kissed in the Wilk would face severe consequences while a straight couple wouldn’t because the phrase “homosexual behavior” hasn’t been defined by BYU/the Church. Aain while I don’t want to hijack the conversation I would like your input ont hese things.

  169. #161: The singers, in their Broadway roles, are talented. But Glee doesn’t show anybody’s real talent. The songs are way overproduced, and poorly lipsynched, and autotuned to death.

    This, sadly, is all too true. Luckily my TV’s sound system has such low fidelity that it obscures these problems somewhat!

  170. MikeInWeHo says:

    re: 146
    “Utah has the largest number homosexuals per capita than any other state in the union.”

    I wish. Sure didn’t look that way when I was in SLC over Thanksgiving. Citations, please.

    That said, anecdotally it does seem like there a heckuva lot of gay Mormons. My guess is that in most large, extended Mormon families there’s going to be at least one. Whether the family realizes that or not is another question, or course.

  171. #168 David: Hasn’t the Church been fantastically successful in their objective of creating an irresistible vehicle for their views? I am not Anti-church, but your commentary made me think of that angle.

    Yes, in fact it had occurred to me when I wrote that that BYU has used their glee club, the happy, singing, dancing BYU Young Ambassadors, to evangelize a positive image about BYU and Mormons, if not evangelize the gospel directly. That’s pretty much their whole purpose, and they’ve been at it for decades. So, yes, it goes both ways for sure!

  172. the happy, singing, dancing BYU Young Ambassadors [ . . . ] goes both ways for sure!

    I kinda skimmed that last comment . . .

  173. #168 David:

    While I don’t want to get off-track into a debate about BYU’s policies (kind of like shooting fish in a barrel really), some of the other topics you mentioned in your last paragraph are important to why I wrote the post. I think you hit on the most central issue to me in all of this, which is what are Mormons supposed to make of a depiction of an adorable, chaste young gay couple? It isn’t just that it goes against the convictions of those who think being gay is (as you said) about hedonistic stereotypes, it’s that it simply doesn’t compute at all. That these people are now operating in a world that includes Klaine, is I think a major sea change.

    Now, I rush to say that NOT ALL Mormons are in that category. In fact, the church itself has officially moved away from the vision of “same-sex attracted” people as hedonist and inherently evil. It is very important to note here that in the most recent edition of the General Handbook of Instructions, language from the previous edition saying that homosexuality “distorted loving relationships” was removed. My reading of that is that the church is acknowledging that loving gay relationships (not just sexual ones) do exist. Of course, for some time now, the church has distinguished between orientation and actions. So, things are more nuanced than many on both sides realize, and moving in that direction.

  174. B. Russ (#156) “But over the last 100 years the main changing variable in the equation has been media’s portrayal of life. And it seems the effects, I assume most would agree, would be increased promiscuity, drug use, etc. among teenagers.”

    I’m not sure I agree with this statement. Wouldn’t a more likely (or just as valid) explanation be that public mores have changed over the last century, and popular culture simply reflects the changes? Probably it’s not that clear cut and there may be at least weak causality running in both directions, but I’m not convinced that pop culture influences behavior as much as vice versa.

    I’m also not convinced that culture is on a steady decline. In the nineteenth century, whorehouses were common, as was syphilis. Times Square is a much, much less debauched place to visit now than it was twenty years ago. Sure there’s more swearing/sex/violence in mainstream cinema than there was seventy-five years ago, but that was artificially imposed due to the Hayes Code. If not for the Code, there probably would have been the same amount in the early Twentieth Century as there is now. Network TV is probably at the same place that movies were before the current MPAA ratings system was introduced in the early 1970s.

  175. Whoareally says:

    I still think Idina, Kristin, Lea, Chris, and a few others are amazing. Harry Shum is an incredible dancer whom I’d never had known of prior to Glee. Glee was a nice teaser for seeing him dance elsewhere. Please, people, I’m not saying this has to be Briadway, but the talent–autotuned or not, lip-synched or not–is undeniable.

  176. I think the main cast, Rachel, Quinn, Finn, Puck, Kurt and the others, are all really good actors/performers. I’ve been a fan of Jane Lynch for a long time and she’s always great.

    I’m not sure where it fits into the discussion, but it’s interesting that Lynch is lesbian, yet her character is a repressed heterosexual/celibate. Sue Sylvester has gotten more interesting, at least. At first, I didn’t like the character much at all because it was so two-dimensional. At least the writers have given her some interesting twists.

  177. MoHoHawaii says:

    Re #173 [W]hat are Mormons supposed to make of a depiction of an adorable, chaste young gay couple? .

    The crux of the issue.

    My reading of that is that the church is acknowledging that loving gay relationships (not just sexual ones) do exist.

    Yes, even the leadership is experiencing cognitive dissonance. on this point, not just the membership.

  178. Oy. I’m not at all trying to say that “everyone is doing it” but that the prevalence of sex as a concept in Glee is not that far off from being representative of the high school experience, not in the who’s doing it but in who’s thinking about it and talking about it. That shouldn’t be a surprise that as teenagers go through puberty and reach sexual maturity, they start to think/talk/wonder more and more about sex. And I don’t think that’s any different now than it was when my parents were growing up. I don’t even necessarily think the difference between how many teens are actually going through with sex now and back then is at all as big as it seems. I think the main difference between then and now is that now there’s not as much of a sweep it under the rug sort of mentality that kept us from knowing about FDR’s affair. People’s actions and decisions and mistakes are aired out for all to see because information is just so dang accessible, so transparency is much more the norm than gleefully pretending that sex isn’t even on the teens’ radars because you don’t hear about it as often.

    That may even be beside the point in this discussion though. As Whoareally in #154 said, Glee does not portray every character as sexually active or even as being anxious to become sexually active. Also, in many of the storylines, the teenage sex is not without consequence. I’d also add that even the “main” high school student characters on the show aren’t built up as characters you’re supposed to look up to. They’re all clearly flawed, and while you may think you’d love to sing like Rachel the show doesn’t really suggest that you should want to be like her. So it seems to me the message they’re sending isn’t that everyone is doing anything, but instead that some teenagers will have sex, most will talk/think about it, and sometimes the sex that teenagers have has pretty rocky consequences. In fact the way they play it, teenage sex leads to problems much more often than in real life. I don’t think it’s problematic as far as messages go.

    I really have no good answers as to just how much we’re affected by what we watch on TV. I know that I watched a lot of really bad stuff when I was pretty young, and thusfar I’ve turned out okay, so I may be one of the not-so-susceptible people. But I feel like most TV storylines, however exaggeratedly or ridiculously, imitate life to some degree, so the general shift to less morality on TV probably reflects degradation of morality rather than cause it. That being said, the message I think I failed to get across before is that if someone’s worried about the message their teenage kid is getting about sex and whether or not they should be thinking/talking about or having sex, worrying about Glee seems like a waste of effort. The messages they hear around them every day are far worse and more pervasive in their lives than some 1 hour show on a tuesday night. And unlike Glee, school is where you get the message that lots of people your age are having sex and most people are getting away with it just fine, maybe even having lots of friends and seeming to have lots of fun. And that message is so pervasive in their lives that the not-everyone and not-inconsequential sex in Glee is not going to be the reason any kid decides to give it up before they should.

  179. BTDGreg #174 said what I was trying to say about the differences in morality on TV better than I managed.

    Someday I’ll learn how to be more concise.

  180. It is true that what my kids tell me about what goes on at school and with their friends (even, in some cases, my 7th grader) is every bit “bad” as what I’ve seen depicted on Glee. Maybe that’s one reason they like the show: they really like the music and what they see isn’t all that different than what goes on around them daily.

  181. 174 – I don’t believe “that culture is on a steady decline” either. I tried to allude to that when I said “I think we’ve made vast improvements in society in other areas. I think the adult population is much less violent, much less inclined to abuse, and in many ways probably happier.”

    For the most part I agree with all the statements you made. I don’t even think that media is solely responsible for the decline that does exist, and I think you’re right, pop culture’s decline might be partially due to general decline simply being reflected.

    In other words, I don’t think I’m making the arguement that many think I’m making on this thread. Perhaps I’m just not expressing myself clearly.

    I do believe that teenagers face much more difficult lives than they did 50 years ago. I think teenage sex is more common. And I think that its impossible to watch nearly 2000 hours a year of television and not be in some way affected. What we consume changes who we are. Perhaps its only marginal, but who wouldn’t want their children to be marginally safer, marginally happier, marginally more moral? We believe that as Mormons that people change by reading the Book of Mormon. We see some Muslims becoming human bombs due to indoctrination of anti-western propaganda. I just don’t see much evidence that what we read/watch/listen to doesn’t at all affect us.

    I really don’t mind if others watch it though. Maybe you find it to be a moral, uplifting, entertaining show. Thats fine. I think its probably great for adults that are into that sort of thing (i.e. musical theater – I’m not). But I don’t think its appropriate for my (currently fictitious (except the one that is only a fetus)) children. And I think I’ve explained well enough why. So to that effect: /threadtangent

  182. StillConfused says:

    p.s. What does “‘shipping klaine” mean?

  183. To everyone who has requested references…
    1) I shouldn’t be posting things at 2am after working a 20hr day.

    I read the studies in a Human Sexuality Seminar done at the University of Utah. I’m trying to find the resources but having some difficulties because they were in the self published manuscript of the professor. So I’m hunting for the references but doubt that i’ll find them given that they were from 2006.

    Reading over the numbers i think i believe the 1 in 4 number should be 1 in 8 LDS Men will be gay/have tendencies. Having gone to BYU and performed with the Young Ambassadors i personally think that the 1 in 4 number is probably closer.

    There are approximately 70,000 gays in Utah today, that’s 2.5% of the population. That’s pretty significant. I can’t find a comprehensive report but I’d say that puts Utah near the top.

    This census report stated:
    http://www.law.ucla.edu/williamsinstitute/pdf/UT_Census_Snapshot_2010.pdf

    Regardless, out of respect for the blogger i won’t be taking over her blog with this information.

  184. #162 –
    FDR DID have an affair with a woman named Lucy. It continued throughout his married life, and she was with him on his deathbed. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franklin_D._Roosevelt

    As for a chaste gay couple, I have less problem with that event on Glee than on the pushing of other parameters: Britney Spears/girls kissing, for instance.

    My B-I-L was bishop a few years ago. He noted that before Bill Clinton, there wasn’t much discussion about oral sex, and now he had to specifically instruct teens (and some adults) that oral sex IS sex. We are influenced in how we view or accept things in society by how it is portrayed in the media….

  185. Having gone to BYU and performed with the Young Ambassadors i personally think that the 1 in 4 number is probably closer.

    Well, as long as you are using a completely representative sample.

  186. 2.5% is pretty much along the lines of general estimates for everywhere. It’s 1 in 40. Given large families, there is a statistical likelihood that the percent of Mormons who are gay might be slightly higher than the general average, but 5-10 times as high? (1 in 8 or 1 in 4)

    Um, no.

    It probably wouldn’t even be twice as high – and twice as high would be 1 in 20. Of course, I don’t know, but a 1 in 4 or 1 in 8 estimate really seems like a professor pulling figures out of his butt.

    Using the Young Ambassadors as a sample? Just as a comparison, two of my sons are in theatre in college. Their friends in that arena aren’t anywhere close to 25% homosexual.

  187. 183–maybe you can accept 1/4 for the population who is in YA, but why do you think that applies to the Mormon population at large or UT? Can I take the ratio of sexual preferences among Broadway performers and extend it to the entire state of NY? Hardly.

  188. nathan (#183)
    If you’re still willing to stand by those numbers, you need to give sources. It has nothing to do with respect for the blogger. Your linked pdf only talks about same-sex couples in Utah, it says nothing about homosexuals who are not in a relationship or their prevalence in Utah.

    I’m willing to believe that boys born in Utah have a greater chance of being homosexual, but I do need to see studies backing it, esp. at the percent you claim.

  189. #176: Great, now I have to agree with Steve that agreeing with BTD Greg all the time is getting tiresome!

    #182: Still Confused, the post and footnotes explain that.

  190. you guys are all way to serious if i could delete all my comments i would.

    this thread is/was designed to be fun.

    chill out!

    and read… 1 in 8 is more accurate (but i wouldn’t be shocked at 1 in 4 – that’s my personal humor) if it didn’t read i’m sorry.

    GAAAAHHHH i’m sorry i even posted anything.

  191. LOL, don’t worry Nathan. About half the time I feel that way about my blog posts. The percentage of time I feel that way about my comments is much higher.

  192. The Librarian says:

    More Mormon males are gay than the general populace because the only known factor to influence “gayness” is the number of males a woman has birthed. It increases the chance of a subsequent male being gay by 28-48%. Big families = gay boys. (deleted remark commenting on such in a possibly negative way.)

    Start your research here.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fraternal_birth_order_and_male_sexual_orientation

  193. Chupacabra

  194. Scott, please, that photo is totally unrealistic. That is not what chupacabras look like!

  195. Cynthia,
    Did you know that the Chupacabra of Oz was really a veiled commentary on high school homosexuality and monetary policy?

  196. Has that day not yet dawned, B.Russ? It will.

  197. Chupacabra of Oz is a musical, it’s supposed to be unrealistic. That is a photo. I just can’t enjoy a photo that is so unrealistic. The lighting is terrible.

  198. I think it’s rather funny how scandalized people are by the depiction of Kurt as a sympathetic gay person. His character is so over the top, it’s like he’s made up in what I like to call Homoface (cf. also that swishing queer sideshow on Will and Grace). It’s not exactly a major advancement for the cause of racial equality to have a character in blackface depicted in a sympathetic (if still wildly stereotyped, caricatured) manner. You might wish for a happy ending for Kurt, but he’s still a carnival character.

    In terms of a real and effective agenda for normalizing homosexuality, the real enemy, the most radical show out there is The Office. Oscar is by far the most radical pro-gay character being foisted upon an unknowing public by a radically leftist Hollywood.

    The proof that it’s such a radical and effective tactic is that I’ll bet you seventeen dollars that bbell has never publicly described The Office as openly promoting sin and as a sign that these are the wicked, oh-so-wicked last days. So maybe Kurt’s character is doing a genuine service for the gay cause, because it keeps the bbells of the world up in moralizing arms while the really sinister agenda (Oscar) slips right by them.

    Epic misdirection. Righteous beware!

  199. B.Russ,
    The Chupacabra comes swiftly, as a thief in the night. You not the hour, nor the day, nor the year. Just hold on. The Chupacabra will come.

  200. You not the hour, nor the day, nor the year.

    Didn’t you say “BCC 2011, Volume 1.”? I hope its this year, otherwise I have to seriously question your organization’s volume numbering system.

  201. Scott B,

    I thought a guy in Kentucky shot the Chupacabra. http://www.wlky.com/news/26259468/detail.html

    Or are you now telling me that there are others? Should I be afraid?

  202. In terms of a real and effective agenda for normalizing homosexuality, the real enemy, the most radical show out there is The Office. Oscar is by far the most radical pro-gay character being foisted upon an unknowing public by a radically leftist Hollywood.

    I agree with you (I think) that Oscar is a better written, more realistic character. But there are those who believe that Oscar’s too unsympathetic and The Office is anti-gay.

  203. D. Fletcher says:

    Once again, it’s Mormons vs. Gays. I guess there is no other issue at all in the world of the bloggernacle.

  204. #199 Brad:

    Yeah Oscar is a better representation of ‘teh gays’ than Kurt, but Blaine is a much more balanced representation over all. The fact that Blaine is now a permanent cast member and that the relationship between the two of them *SPOILER ALERT* is going to grow into a Prom king and king scenario,*END SPOILER* I think that showing both sides of the Gay coin in Klaine is a very good way to highlight the range of gays in the gay community.

  205. That’s probably true, David. I haven’t caught up on Season 2 yet.

  206. Cynthia L. says:

    I’m sorry, D. I did try way back in comment #125 to veer the conversation back to what a dreamboat Blaine (Darren Criss) is, but to no avail.

    Note to the single straight women: Darren Criss is straight! w00t!

  207. Mormons vs. Gays would be a really great reality show. There could be a sing-and-dance-off and the winner gets to promote their “agenda” in the other one’s neighborhood. I can’t believe no one has thought of this before!

  208. #173 (177):

    I agree that Klaine introduces a major sea change for the Mormon community and it probably is the roughly the same change that I see as members and leaders are faced with me, an active member who is openly Gay and plans to find a husband in the same adorable, chaste manner that I was raised to find a wife. I agree that not all Mormons are in that category but a vast majority are. That was one reason why I limited my description to Utah County Mormon culture which is sadly descriptive of a (decreasing) majority that we could dub “Culturally Orthodox Mormons.”

    As for the church leadership moving away from the hedonistic view of same-sex attracted members it is, I would say, in a worse (and less arguable) position than it was before they made a distinction between orientation and behavior. It is worse because now they have a group of people they recognize are different and they are counseling them to “not get married”. In a Church that is all about families where does someone the Church tells that a family isn’t for them fit? How is that doctrinally supportable?

    As for the Church Handbook they did remove the line that homosexuality “distorted loving relationships” from the general handbook. But in Book 1 for Bishops and Stake Presidents it claims that homosexuality “undermine[s] the divinely created institution of the family”. So while the public book might be cleared up and that is a step, the handbook for leadership says otherwise. And while I can’t honestly think the whole section is going to be changed in the General handbook, the following line exists:

    “Homosexual behavior violates the commandments of God, is contrary to the purposes of human sexuality, and deprives people of the blessings that can be found in family life and in the saving ordinances of the gospel.”

    Now while the Church may have the authority to claim that homosexual behavior (however vague a term that may be) violates the commandments and deprives the blessings in the saving ordinances, the view that gay sex within a marriage formed upon an adorable, chaste courtship deprives people of the blessings of family and is kind of frustrating, especially when telling gays to be celibate also deprives people of both the blessings found in a family AND some church ordinances. And as for the purposes of human sexuality, President Hinckley spoke to this many time, most famously on Larry King where he told Larry that the science wasn’t for the church to work out but for scientists.

    I guess my point is that perhaps we could do more than just point to Klaine and show Mormons something different to help them realize the nuances and difficult situation that both leaders and gay members are in.

  209. #206 Brad: oh it is good!
    #207 Cynthia L. Why did I miss that comment! Darren Criss is adorable and sometimes he makes me wish I was a straight woman.
    #208 MCQ: YES! we need to pitch this to Fox immediately! but what team would the Gay Mormons go on? or would we be the judges?

  210. MCQ FTW

  211. MoHoHawaii says:

    Re #199 (Brad)

    My favorite gay character was Carter on the sitcom Spin City hilariously played by Michael Boatman. The character was full of faults, but they were human faults, not “gay” faults.

  212. That’s an interesting read, Greg (#203). I do think the author overplays his hand in terms of Oscar being stereotypically gay or a gay caricature. It is true that his character is at times one dimensional, but my sense is that he is only defined primarily in terms of his orientation in the minds (and words) of some of his small-minded coworkers. While Michael Scott might, on balance, be a very sympathetic character, it is in spite of the general stupidity of his worldview and his persistent demonstrations of ignorance, which I think we can all agree is not particularly sympathetic (and the same can certainly be said of Dwight, but in more over-the-top terms).

  213. Looks like the link to the wiki page on fraternal birth order and homosexuality was posted a second time in this thread.
    ( http://bycommonconsent.com/2011/01/03/shipping-klaine-what-mormons-think-about-glee/#comment-209732 http://bycommonconsent.com/2011/01/03/shipping-klaine-what-mormons-think-about-glee/#comment-209787 )
    Has there been a post on this and its implications for Mormons in the bloggernacle? I’m still very much a n00b and haven’t explored all the depths of the nacle.

  214. 213 – Unfortunately the bloggernacle tends to avoid talking about homosexuality and its implications with Mormonism. Its pretty much an unexplored subject.

  215. #213: Geoff, I’ve seen it discussed in various threads. Don’t recall a whole post specifically about that, but I could be wrong. All the gay/prop8 threads kind of blend together after a point.

  216. Oh, should have refreshed before replying. BRuss FTW.

  217. MikeInWeHo says:

    re: 209
    You’re an interesting guy, David. Please stick around this blog. Your LDS brothers and sisters in here need you. They’re also just wonderful people to get to know.

  218. Observer (f.k.a. Eric. S.) says:

    Since we now have, “What do Mormons think about Glee?” maybe BCC could also do: “What do Mormons think about birds and fish in Arkansas?”

  219. #217: Yeah, what Mike said.

    #218: Ha! Seriously, somebody come up with some rational, non-scary explanation for that fast. Because it’s kinda freaking me out. Maybe they’re faking it, and it’s the bird equivalent of a flash mob. There’s some new bird movie coming out that they’re trying to promote? Help me out here, people.

  220. Observer (f.k.a. Eric. S.) says:

    (219) Isn’t Creed from Arkansas (let’s just say they are if not)?

  221. #218–Are Mormons beliefs perhaps closely aligned with their thoughts on Hitchcock movies?

  222. David, gay Mormons are the perfect judges, good call.

    Observer, yeah, Creed explains everything.

  223. And we watch this, why? Foul language, rampant sex, etc. There are better things to watch out there…

  224. sugar killed all the birds, or a monster poison came out because the temperature of the air was divisible by something and there was a crack in the sidewalk….or it was a gay agenda thing? coffee drinking?

  225. 218/219 Didn’t that show Flash Forward have something to do with a bunch of dead birds, or something like that? I can’t remember, I only watched a couple episodes. Nonetheless, it obviously is connected to a collective vision of the future which is doubtless forthcoming.

  226. B.Russ–crows fall from the sky, dead, when the ‘collective vision of the future’ is unleashed. I’m not sure if blackbirds were affected (to split hairs here).

  227. So who in Arkansas saw their future then?

    Could you imagine anything sadder? 3 million people sitting in trailer parks strumming banjos suddenly caught up in a collective vision of themselves 6 months in the future, sitting in trailer parks strumming banjos.

  228. “And we watch this, why?”

    Francine, that’s the question you’re supposed to be answering for yourself in the comments. Assuming you do watch, since you said “we.”

  229. Observer (f.k.a. Eric. S.) says:

    (221) The Birds sort of had an apocalyptic feel to it. Rope and Vertigo are also divine creations.

  230. Mommie Dearest says:

    Now that the topic has been thoroughly worked over, can I weigh in? Glee can be fun, just don’t expect Shakespeare.

    I watched all of season 1 either broadcast or on hulu at the recommendation of my sis, who has very few guilty pleasures and deserves every one of them. I am getting used to the roller-coaster ride of ham-handed cheese/sleaze (the low points) and the high points which are are delightfully entertaining.

    I have my favorite characters: Kurt, Artie, Mercedes, and for some inexplicable reason, Brittany. (And Sue, of course) I think I like Brittany because Heather Morris is a good actor and a very talented dancer who plays a sleazy dimwit without the seams showing. Not that they give her character much room to stretch the seams. Ironically, Kevin McHale (Artie) is a fantastic dancer with a wonderful r&b voice, but he plays a guy in a wheelchair. His performance dancing in the wheelchair and singing a reworked version of a Billy Idol song (Dancing With Myself) was what first hooked me into fandom. The dream number of the mall flash mob they engineered to showcase his dancing was another high point. Kurt/Chris Colfer is such a sweet guy only the most hard-hearted homophobe will find him repulsive, and I love his wardrobe. On a slow night his wardrobe will get most of the laughs. In 20 years, Amber Riley will be well known for her singing career.

    Unfortunately the roller-coaster this season has way too many low points and some pretty ordinary high points, and I’ve been busy on Tuesday nights, and well, I just haven’t made time to watch it on hulu. The last episode I watched was the Rocky Horror episode at Halloween which made me cringe more than clap.

    I have seen the clips of recent episodes on T-Lo. Lot’s of Glee-processing-fodder on T-Lo.

    Not surprisingly, I don’t agree with Mormons who get their g’s in a wad over Glee, though I understand well where it comes from. If it makes you uncomfortable, don’t watch it. Feel free to judge us who do, but don’t get upset when we ignore you.

    My biggest disappointment was the GQ photo shoot. Ick.

  231. Great post. Haven’t had a chance to read any of the comments, but I, for one, watch it for the rampant sex.

  232. 211, 218,

    ChupaFTW

  233. Cynthia L wrote: “The clip enriches to weapons-grade the duality I am trying to describe in this post: the mixing of a sweet, cheerful Mormony aesthetic with content that runs contrary to our teachings on morality.”

    That statement puzzles me… how exactly is the clip contrary to our teachings on morality? It’s important to understand the context within the show… Kurt agreed to help Blaine rehearse a song that he was to perform later with a female singing the other part.

    I’ve sung that same song at a family gathering with my sister. Was I promoting incest?

    Yes, Blaine and Kurt are gay. And yes, there is a good chance that the writers will create a romantic relationship between them. But the clip itself only shows two gay teenagers who are comfortable with who they are and happy.

    I’m not sure how that is contrary to our teachings on morality. (Heck, they are even dressed well enough to pass the sacrament.)

    Or, is it that we don’t want to see gays as happy with who they are?

  234. What’s not to like about the GQ photo shoot? Gentlemen love seeing women in their their underwear at least Quarterly. It’s practically the magazine’s mission statement. Is that so wrong?

  235. Brett your last sentence answered your own question. For some people, that is. Obviously, others of us are fine with seeing gays happy. See my comment #173 for more discussion of the clip.

  236. Brett, you deciphered Cynthia L’s psyche, you dog you! She hates seeing gays happy. She wants them all working in salt mines.

  237. @Cynthia L

    Thanks for pointing me to your comment #173.

    You wrote: “In fact, the church itself has officially moved away from the vision of “same-sex attracted” people as hedonist and inherently evil.”

    Well… the church has but not necessarily President Packer.

    That aside, I agree with you that there is a lot of “nuancing” going on. And, surely more to come. I think the next clarification that needs to come is to begin defining that very nebulous church handbook term of “homosexual behavior”. Because, as you have pointed out, one Bishop might consider your clip to be homosexual behavior while another might not. And it is interesting to consider that Kurt is the most chaste member of the Glee club having only been kissed once (and it wasn’t his choice).

  238. Mommie Dearest says:

    MCQ your bait isn’t the least bit tempting. Not to mention the massive threadjack that discussion would be.

  239. Eric Russell says:

    maybe BCC could also do: “What do Mormons think about birds and fish in Arkansas?

    It depends. Are the birds gay?

  240. Please, Mommie Dearest: You know you want to.

  241. MCQ, enough threadjack.

  242. I’m not a huge fan, it’s on our “watch when there’s nothing else on” list, but Brittany makes me laugh every time she speaks.

  243. gleewatcha says:

    Mercedes has had less action than Kurt (i.e., she’s the “most chaste.”

  244. I like music (did the choir thing in HS and college myself), but the non-musical parts of Glee just didn’t hold my interest past the second episode or so.

    Morally, the thing that turned me off first was in the pilot, with a high school teacher framing a student for drug possession and then using that to extort him into joining the club. It went downhill from there…

    Yeah, stuff like that probably happens in the real world, but life’s too short to waste time watching it on TV.

  245. I just don’t see all the “rampant sex” in Glee that people are referring to. Maybe I’d like it more if I could see where that idea comes from. I can hide my watching of things with rampant sex better in Glee than I can in most other shows.

  246. Whoareally says:

    I don’t see it either.

  247. MikeInWeHo says:

    re: 224
    Your comment seems to reflect having never watched GLEE. Foul language???

  248. #246, 247: I watched the episode “Never Been Kissed” last night. Wow!–Blaine is even more wonderful when you meet him in context. The episode was great for how it expanded teens’ myopic self-focus–their own feelings of alienation and frustration with the opposite sex–and showed them (teen characters and viewers) that adults struggle with a lot of those feelings too. Realizing that adults are people with feelings too is actually a big step for teens.

    What was also striking was the focus on so many different characters (adults and teens) not having sex. While the strategies for how to “cool off” were played for a goofball laugh, I thought it was great for teens to see that having such strategies is important and normal. To have so many examples of stopping and saying, “wait, hold it, this is getting too passionate” on TV is I think a net win. Of course, trying not to get to that point in the first place is also important, but honestly, I don’t know hardly any even super good LDS kids I grew up with who didn’t have this problem now and then.

    Mostly the episode was farcical and silly, with great music. In other words, just what I love about Glee. But if you’re digging around for messages, I thought this episode was pretty good on them.

  249. FYI, I guess all the cool kids are calling Kurt+Blaine “Kurt Coblaine” instead of “Klaine” now.

  250. Now THAT is offensive!

  251. So, you’re stalking the poor guy on Twitter now Cynthia? Have you no shame?

  252. Srsly B.Russ. Justin Bieber must be so put off by this–he’s our generation’s Kurt Coblaine.

  253. Slow, and threadjack, but I need to say it:
    Am I the only one slightly horrified at nathan’s characterization of all adolescents as “dirty, fouled mouthed, perverted, sexually active and racist…mean hurtful and hateful to anyone that is different”?
    I’m DYING inside. I can only guess (and I apologize if wrong) that this commenter experienced some serious ostracism from from deeply insensitive peers when he was an adolescent. But as a person who was still a teenager as recently as a week ago….please believe me when I tell you that today’s youth are just as capable of being kind, moral, sympathetic, and yes, tolerant human beings as you are.

  254. “today’s youth are just as capable of being kind, moral, sympathetic, and yes, tolerant human beings as you are.”

    Amen, Kristen. Thanks for saying it directly.

  255. Was flipping channels and saw my first three minutes of Glee just now.

    Is this a high school for people in their 30s?

  256. Cynthia L. says:

    Hah! Welcome to the Glee club, Ardis! Actually, the interaction of the teachers in the staff lunchroom is one of my favorite things about the show. They just recreate the stereotypical high school lunchroom experience, in slightly bigger bodies. It is farcical to be sure, but I think truer than we’d like to believe that adults often act like HS kids.

  257. Um, I think the scene I saw — a number where a couple was singing a duet (although the girl’s part was limited to a single word at the end of the guy’s lines) — was supposed to be students, no? not faculty? But I had a hard time seeing anything other than the fact that nobody in that room had seen 16 for a very, very long time …

  258. Well that’s true of any high school show, no? Not as bad as those 90210 kids–was Luke Perry dying out greys by the time they finally graduated? (I only know this by reputation, I was never allowed to watch that show.)

  259. Whoareally says:

    Most of the actors are still in their 20s, and a couple were still in in their teens when the series debuted. Chris Colfer was in high school when he auditioned.

  260. I apologize (but only a little bit) for straying from the topic here. And I don’t have the patience to read the hundreds of comments and see if this has already been mentioned. But I take issue with the claim that Glee is taking on ableism! I’ve heard no such sentiment from anyone in the disability community. I quit watching the show because from the very start, all it’s done is perpetuate ableist views…

    (1) Wheelchair ramps and accessible transportation on field trips aren’t a question. They aren’t an act of charity, or a cause for fundraising. They’re a legally mandated civil right under section 504. Schools receive money specifically for students with disabilities. Artie should never have been made the object of pity, acting all sad-face and self-sacrificing, until a kind hearted Samaritan decided to run a bake sale. No! That school should have been subject to humongous discrimination lawsuits.

    (2) The dream episode, where Artie dreams about being able to walk. Please! The assumption that people in wheelchairs wish for the ability to walk above all else is entirely ableist. We just aren’t that obsessed with walking; it’s just not that special.

    (3) A real Artie wouldn’t have made the leap from wanting to dance, to needing to walk. He would have looked for ways to adapt, and he would have found them. Integrated dance is a very real thing. The work those dancers in wheelchairs do is legitimate and beautiful, nothing cheesy about it. Glee’s choreography proves they’ve never bothered looking into it.

    (4) If you’re including a character in a wheelchair, is it too big a stretch to cast an actor in a wheelchair? I mean, this isn’t Shakespeare’s day, where men in dresses play women, and white guys in makeup play black men. Why don’t we, the disabled, get to portray ourselves in the media, outside of guest starring bit parts?

    (5) An actual actor in a wheelchair would have meant no dream sequences about walking. All the better. See above notes. He also might actually look like his chair fits and he knows how to maneuver it.

    (6) Artie wants abs, so he proposes joining the football team as a battering ram? Why not just sign up to be the mascot? Stupid! A real Artie would have known how to work out and build muscle. People in wheelchairs do it all the time. That wheel’s been invented already.

    It’s not that I don’t have a sense of humor. But Glee’s missing out on the humor that’s actually part of wheelchair life. There’s lots of it! And it doesn’t necessitate reinforcing ableist stereotypes. You can’t tell me they’re stereotyping ironically, either. These stereotypes aren’t nearly widely enough understood for that kind of humor. The Glee writers have just never had a conversation with a person in a wheelchair.

  261. Interesting, Michelle. I’m not sure I agree with your (1), in that I thought the show made it clear that Artie *was* entitled to those things, not that it was just nice of people to provide them as charity. Yes, they did a bake sale, but there were places where the legality etc was discussed. The bake sale was kind of a one-off plot device.

    As far as the battering ram thing, and several other of your points, well, yeah. The show is absurd. About 90% of the storylines are designed to be loudly absurd and unrealistic. The cheer coach took over as principal of the school in a coup d’etat. Somebody faked a pregnancy for like 5 months. Artie’s storylines would actually stand out MORE as “special”/”other” treatment if ONLY his storylines were treated as serious and everyone else’s were goofy.

    I get that there are real problems there with some of the issues, and that the show could be doing a LOT more to promote *real* anti-ableism. But that could be said about 1000 other things about their takes on sexism, racism, etc as well. While they get points for having Asian characters and a black character, they are totally marginalized on the show, in the same way they would be in real life. How long was it before “Asian” and “other Asian” even got actual names? They take on some aspects of size-ism and being an outcast, but then in Season 2 we get that very large wrestling girl in Glee club, who we are all supposed to think is ugly and gross. Boo!! So, I do hear you. Really. Sometimes it does feel like Glee is two steps forward, one step back on these issues.

    BUT…. really? You’re going to say that Glee has done nothing on the ableism issue? Can you tell me which hit primetime show has been a better ally for the community? Hmm….

    As far as disabled playing themselves–there are the two Down’s actors portraying Down’s characters. That ain’t nothing.

    For all the problems, I would rather have 2 Asians who are a little too often a little too marginalized, than be like the vast, vast, vast majority of primetime TV that has exactly zero Asian characters. And I’d rather have Artie, played by a non-wheelchair-bound actor, than no Artie. Can you name the last time a hit TV show about teens had a wheelchair character of any kind? I can’t think of even one, ever. Blaine, Kurt’s love interest, is played by a straight man. But it would be crazy for the gay community to say that Glee is out to get them because of that.

  262. But it would be crazy for the gay community to say that Glee is out to get them because of that.

    Though, I admit the comparison isn’t entirely fair, since Kurt’s struggle with homophobia is about the only storyline the show does ask us to take seriously, and handles non-absurdly.

  263. And those are many other reasons that I don’t like the show. Artie isn’t the only character I feel gets shafted. :)

    They manage to use Kurt in all kinds of comedic and absurd situations, without belittling him, or the cause he represents (since we’re considering characters as symbols of causes, for purposes of this conversation). If they wanted to make this a show that really digs into gay issues, fine. But when they gave us this large, diverse cast, they needed to be prepared to handle other forms of diversity with equal depth of thought and consideration. Like I said, there is plenty of room for humor and absurdity in disability life. But it’s apparent to me that the writers are too distant from the disability community to have any idea where the humor actually is. If you aren’t prepared to take on the issue, then, please, just don’t take on the issue.

    Down’s actors typically portray Down’s characters, because the physical traits are hard to fake. I’d imagine that it’s both simpler and cheaper for them to go authentic than not. (Not to downplay the awesomeness of them including characters with Down’s. In theory, I think that’s great. Though i haven’t watched the show enough to say so definitively.)

    Having a straight guy play a gay character is kind of “so what?” There’s no shortage of roles available for gay men. Nobody is questioning whether a gay man can have a successful career as an actor. But I distinctly remember being a kid who loved to perform, and dropping out of drama activities shortly after I realized that I’d never seen an actor in a wheelchair before.

    And, no, I can’t name many other tv shows that have been strong allies to the community. That’s the problem. But I can tell you the last teen show that featured a character in a wheelchair–Joan off Arcadia. I only saw a few episodes, but from what I remember, they were actually pretty well done. A step in the right direction for the media, which still has a long way to go. I can’t think of any other good examples. Just a loooong tv history of disability and wheelchairs being used in rather ableist ways. I don’t see Glee as revolutionary on this issue, but just more of the same.

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