Compared to Skins on MTV, Glee almost feels like an after-school
special. On Skins, the consequences of bad behavior aren’t always clear.
Plotlines aren’t wrapped in neat little packages and the lessons the characters
are supposed to learn aren’t always clear. While the February 22nd
alcohol-fueled episode of Glee at least attempted to convey a message, it
was lost amid the drunken revelry. Thus, for mixed messaging and sexual content
Glee has been named Worst TV Show of the Week.
Rachel Barry’s parents have left her home alone for a week. So she throws a
party in hopes of gaining life experiences to inspire original songs. When wine
coolers fail to spark the party, Rachel gives Puck her blessing to break into
her parents’ liquor cabinet. The Glee kids soon hit all-out party mode, downing
shots of tequila. Santana licks salt off of Brittany’s belly and Rachel chugs an
entire wine cooler. Eventually, the inebriated youngsters begin to fall into
various drunken archetypes. Finn points out to Rachel that Brittany is
“the-girl-who-turns-into-a-stripper” type of drunk. While he says this, Brittany
begins dancing on top of the washer and dryer as her boyfriend Artie “makes it
rain” fluttering a stack of dollars while she flings her top around above her head.
Rachel suggests they play Spin-the-Bottle and lands on Blaine, Kurt’s openly gay
classmate. They share a passionate kiss that causes Blaine to question his
The following Monday, the Glee kids - still hung-over from the weekend – drink
Bloody Marys at school that Artie smuggled in his thermos. Ironically, Principal
Figgins has tapped the Glee Club to perform at an alcohol awareness assembly.
Meanwhile, their teacher Will experiences his own wild night of binge-drinking
with Coach Bieste at a local honky tonk bar. Will ends the evening by
“drunk-dialing” Emma, leaving her a rambling message.
The day of the assembly arrives and backstage Rachel distributes a potent
concoction she mixed from the remnants of her parents’ liquor cabinet and a bit
of cough syrup. In the middle of their performance of Ke$ha’s problematic party
anthem, “TiK Tok,” Brittany throws up on Rachel’s face, causing Santana to throw
up, as well. Brittany blankly tells the assembled student body, “Everybody,
Later, Sue humiliates Will by playing over the PA system the drunken voicemail
message he intended for Emma but mistakenly left on Sue’s phone. In the message,
he tells Emma to come over to his place for a roll in the hay. He also informs
her that he rode a bull earlier in the evening and thought of her.
So what were the consequences? Figgins rewards the Glee Club for their
convincing “special effects” during the assembly that apparently scared their
fellow students straight. And besides embarrassment, Will suffered no reprimands
In the end, Will convinces the kids to sign a pledge of sobriety and if they
break it they simply can call him for a free ride home.
As with a lot of Glee’s disingenuous moralizing, the episode spent most
of the time glamorizing binge drinking before offering a forced, phony,
harm-reduction solution. Given Skin’s complete lack of consequences, it
may be tempting to give Glee an “A” for effort. But given the mixed
messages, the show instead deserves the title of 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.