Monday, May 21, 2012

Glee's Cruelty Trumps its Rampant Pedophilia

 Mostly concerning: Glee, Season 3, Episode 6: "Mash-off"

I'm having a real problem lately. It concerns TV shows having reprehensible main characters that they then expect us to root for and/or care about.

On the "good" end of this spectrum (ie, shows that do this properly), we have TV magic like Tony Soprano and Breaking Bad's Walter White. They never lose their center, their gravitas, as they descend into madness.

On the "I wanna gouge my eyes out with sticks for watching this" side of the spectrum, we have the travesty of last season's Bachelor, whose Courtney made me never want to watch that show again. I literally want to throw up when I even think about watching it.

We also have shows like Desperate Housewives, who start out nice, with characters you want to invest in and actresses that are compelling, and devolve into soapy messes. I ducked out of Desperate Housewives once they had that killer in the basement nonsense going on, and never went back.

And then we have the case of Glee. The first season was pretty magical. The kids were wonderful singers and dancers. Sure, people threw slushies at each other and called each other "Loser," but what high school doesn't have that?

The second season nearly went off the rails, with a mess of storylines. Poor Sue Sylvester, if it weren't for her sister dying, she would've been a caricature of meaness with no respite. Dreadful.

I went into the third season, more hopeful. Indeed, there was a throughline of story revolving around student council elections and the school play. It seemed to have more cohesion. Heck, it had Eric Stoltz directing! How bad could it be?

Well, then there was "Mash Off." Two things about this episode left me gasping at my screen: the rampant pedophilia, left unchecked; and the absolute meanness and judgmentalism of one of the characters. Let's explore those one by one.

First, let me remind those who maybe haven't seen the show that most of the cast is supposedly in high school. Granted, it's kinda obvious that most of these actors are at least in their 20s, but, in theory, they are teens.

So, frankly, even  some of the storylines (one main character was pregnant in the first season, and not by her boyfriend. Ouch.) leave me squeamish. But sure, in reality, teens do have sex. I am open minded enough to realize that.

Here's where it crosses the line for me. Students don't have sex with teachers. Teachers, for that matter, don't egg on students in the sexual direction. That's a line that shouldn't be crossed. I'm really hardcore about this because there is WAY too much sexual abuse of teens going on (both boys and girls). Here's my bottom line: Adults don't sleep with those under 18. Period. No exceptions. And TV shows shouldn't condone this behavior, or glorify it in any way.

This episode, "Mash Off," kicks off with Puck (who tells us no less than three times that "I'm really 18..."'; in real life, he's 30) waxing lyrical about how enamoured he is with his teacher (who now has custody of his illegitimate child, given up for adoption).

He then launches into Van Halen's "Hot for Teacher," which I admit is a great song. They also do a great rendition of it.

But here's the thing. They are TEENS. And they are singing "Hot for Teacher"? And their actual (male) teacher is in the room, and he's digging it? And encouraging them? It made me want to puke. It was really NOT OK, and every adult who participating in creating this episode should be ashamed of themselves.

Shockingly, it wasn't even the worst part of the episode.

Let me give a bit of backstory about the next part.

A regular storyline of all three seasons is how, even though regular kids are abused and put down, it's the gay kids who REALLY suffer. One of them (one of the male leads) even changed schools for a season because he was struggling so hard with it.

We have another (female) gay student, who is hiding her truth and is really ashamed of it. She lets loose a tirade of judgmental meanness on one of her fellow students that left my mouth agape with shock. And somehow, we are supposed to be rooting for this poor girl who has to hide her gayness.

Well, no. I can't really get past her cruelty, thanks. I don't really care if she walks down the road to happiness, and personally, I don't really care at this point if I see her on screen for one more second. I actually think that if I fast-forwarded through all the mean parts and the pedophlia parts of Glee, there would only be the songs left.

And I just may do that, cause the rest of it has become unwatchable.


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