Krissy and I caught up on the second season of Glee last night. We had not yet seen either of the two episodes this season and took advantage of a slow night to sit back and turn our brains off. For me, Glee has always been hit or miss. At its best, it has offered some great and challenging commentary on the current social and cultural milieu (for example, this scene). Unfortunately, the episodes we watched were, perhaps, Glee at its worst. Rather than pushing viewers to critically reflect with smart commentary, the episodes were a rather sad and telling contribution to some of the current problems crises facing today’s youth (and society as a whole).
The show’s writing continues to cross the line in terms of racist and ethnic humor. The show continues to portray a ridiculously hyper-sexualized reality for both adults and youth. The show continues to praise characters as being ‘a truly great teacher’ or ‘a really good kid’ when they are actually over-the-top selfish, cruel, lacking in self-awareness, and immature. The show continues to relentlessly insert jokes about people’s looks, ethnicity, sexuality, and religion seemingly without much concern for anything other than cheap and easy jokes playing off of our inability to distinguish between uncomfortable/inappropriate and comedy/funny (our reaction to both is laughter).
Some of my thoughts on Glee may have something to do with Tyler Clementi. Or Seth Walsh. Or Asher Brown. Or Justin Aaberg. Or countless other kids who endure terrible situations and treatment from other kids and adults in their lives until, tragically, they decide they do not want to endure it anymore. If you do not know who these kids are, search Google for any of their names and read the horrible circumstances behind their deaths.
Here are a few responses on these tragedies:
An article in the Huffington Post asks a provocative question: How Many Kids Have to Die Before Focus on the Family Gives a Damn?
Ellen Degeneres says this “needs to be a wake up call to the epidemic of bullying.”
Dan Savage has encouraged folks to reach out to kids struggling through their sexual identity with the message, “It gets better.”
Tony Jones asks, “How will the Christian church rally to save the lives of GLBT teens?”
Our society is currently doing a terrible job caring for kids, adolescents in particular. Schools need to do better. TV writers and entertainers need to do better. Families need to do better. The church needs to do better.
We/you/I need to do better.