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Glee on Fox
Parents, please be aware:
Glee (Wednesdays, 9:00 p.m. ET) is notHigh School Musical: the
T.V. Series. Don’t let the singing and dancing and high school setting fool
you. This is an edgy, sexually-charged adult series that is inappropriate for
teenagers. Unfortunately, Fox has marketed the show heavily at tween
audiences. What did those pre-adolescents tune into when the show finally
premiered in its regular timeslot on September 9th? A veiled reference to
fellatio, a speech denouncing abstinence, simulated sex during a musical dance
number, and premature ejaculation. For containing explicit sexual content in a
show aimed at kids, yet lacking the “S” warning descriptor in the rating,
Glee has been named Worst TV Show of the Week.
roll-out was unprecedented. First, a sneak peek of the pilot aired during the
sweetest timeslot in all of prime-time television – immediately after the finale
of American Idol back in May, which suggested that Glee is a
family-friendly show like Idol. In the ensuing months, positive word of
mouth and chart-topping downloads on iTunes rocketed the series into a pop
culture phenomenon. Then, the cast appeared during Fox’s Teen Choice Awards
’09 to drum up even more hype among the tween set who tuned in to watch
Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers perform. All of this would have lead parents
to believe that the show is relatively clean.
They couldn’t have been more
At the beginning of the
episode, the villainous cheerleading coach, Sue Sylvester, points out that
teacher Will needs to recruit more people into the Glee Club if he wishes to
compete in the regionals. Will schedules the group to perform during a school
assembly to attract more members.
Meanwhile, ambitious outcast
Rachel has a crush on Finn, the singing jock. She feels compelled to try
bulimia to compete with Finn’s cheerleader girlfriend, Quinn. The guidance
counselor, Emma Pillsbury, catches Rachel vomiting in a bathroom stall. Emma
asks, “Rachel, did you just throw up?
“No,” she replies.
“You missed the toilet.”
Rachel responds, “The girl who
was throwing up before me left that. I tried, but I guess I just don't have a
“One day, when you're older
that'll turn out to be a gift,” Emma states, in a veiled reference to fellatio.
At Emma’s suggestion, Rachel
attempts to connect with Finn through a common interest, so she joins the
Celibacy Club, which Finn is a part of because Quinn is the club’s president.
During the club’s meeting, Finn shares that he and Quinn grind and make out, but
don’t have sex. A nerdy boy asks Finn, “But how do you keep from arriving
early? Whenever I grind … Cinco De Mayo.”
“It's not a problem for me,
man,” Finn brags as he high-fives his buddy, Puck. In truth, it is a problem
for Finn – as is demonstrated later in the episode.
The boys and girls pair up for
a celibacy exercise as Quinn fills up a balloon.
“Let's pair up for the
Immaculate Affection,” she instructs as the boys and girls embrace with balloons
separating their crotches. “Now remember -- if the balloon pops, the noise
makes the angels cry.”
Puck starts grinding his hips
into the balloon.
“Stop it,” his partner squeals.
“Take it! Ah, yeah!” Puck
Finn watches them when suddenly
his balloon pops.
Rachel becomes fed up with the
exercise and storms out of the meeting, imparting these supposed words of
wisdom: “The only way to deal with teen sexuality is to be prepared. That's
what contraception is for…You want to know a dirty little secret that none of
them want you to know? Girls want sex just as much as guys do.”
This incident inspires Rachel
to defy Will’s orders and devise a routine that’ll give the student body what it
really wants: sex! The ensuing musical number features Salt-N-Pepa’s hit, “Push
It,” choreographed with simulated sex moves. A dancer bends forward as Finn
holds her from behind; the dancers lower their heads into each other’s crotches;
Rachel straddles Finn as she bounces up and down. At the end of the number, the
students cheer raucously.
Impressed by Rachel’s moxie,
Finn shares an intimate moment with her. She invites him to kiss her. He lies
on top while they make out. Mere seconds pass before Finn groans and jumps to
his feet, pulling his shirt to cover his crotch. It is painfully obvious that
he has prematurely ejaculated. “Please don’t tell anybody about this, kay?” he
pleads as he storms out.
Some will say that the show was
rated TV-14 (D) for suggestive dialogue, so parents should have heeded the
rating. However, the show should have also contained the “S” descriptor for
sexual situations, given the suggestive dancing and raunchy balloon antics.
Moreover, the ratings don’t stop the networks from marketing inappropriate
content to any demographic they see fit. We saw this in full display during the
Teen Choice Awards, with so many R-rated movies and adult-oriented
content foisted onto tween viewers. No quick flash of the rating on the corner
of the screen can compete against a four-month-long marketing juggernaut – or
with the explicit sexual references in this episode. And consider: if this is
the kind of content Glee‘s creative staff considered ideal for their
first episode, what do future episodes have in store?
Glee was created by Ryan Murphy, the
same man credited with the unbelievably explicit FX drama Nip/Tuck, which
has featured orgies, incest and necrophilia, among other things. It is no
coincidence that the executive that green-lit Glee for Fox is the same
one that launched the Nip/Tuck. And both shows share a similar cynical
view of America. Unfortunately, Glee is aimed squarely at the lucrative
teenage market. Clearly, Glee is steeped in the same twisted humor and
raunchy sensibilities as FX’s flagship program; but would any sensible parent
allow their kid to watch Nip/Tuck?
As the saying goes, “You can
put lipstick on a pig.” Apparently, you can make it sing and dance, too.
For marketing explicit sexual
content to pre-adolescent youth, Glee has been named Worst TV Show
of the Week.
Parents Television Council,
Clean Up TV Now, Because our children are watching, The
nation's most influential advocacy organization, Protecting
children against sex, violence and profanity in
entertainment, Parents Television Council Seal of Approval,
and Family Guide to Prime Time Television
are trademarks of the Parents Television Council.