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Worst TV Show of the Week

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Glee on Fox

 

Parents, please be aware: Glee (Wednesdays, 9:00 p.m. ET) is not High 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.

 

Glee’s 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 mistaken. 

 

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 gag reflex.”

 

“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 screams.

 

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.

 


Worst TV Show of the Week

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