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Worst TV Show of the Week

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Worst TV Show of the Week


Glee on Fox


This column has slammed Glee before for its mixed messages. But in the provocative March 8th episode with guest star Gweneth Paltrow reprising her role as mercurial substitute teacher, Ms. Holly Holiday, the message was abundantly clear. Abstinence is lame! And those who practice it are “naïve and possibly frigid.” Meanwhile, according to Ms. Holiday, sexual activity is just second nature to teens. Not only is this message irresponsible, it flies in the face of the actual data. Less teens – not more – have decided to hold off on sex, proving that when given the facts, more and more of them choose to abstain. For once again foisting Hollywood’s myopic view of sexuality on unsuspecting young viewers, Glee has been named Worst TV Show of the Week.

The show opens with Ms. Emma Pillsbury presiding over the latest Celibacy Club meeting where it becomes abundantly clear that she is still a virgin, months after having tied the knot. Later, in the teacher’s lounge, Emma discusses the merits of abstinence with Holly.

Emma: I’m curious why you don’t think that celibacy is a valid choice for teenagers.

Holly: Oh, I do. I think it’s a valid choice, I just don’t think it’s that realistic. You know, it’s like saying vegetarianism is an option for lions.

Holly proceeds to inform Will that his Glee Club kids are some of the most clueless. The scene cuts to a flashback where Holly holds up a condom in front of her Health & Well-being class.

Holly: Demonstration. This is a condom which can help prevent the spread of HIV which can lead to AIDS and it also prevents pregnancy. She holds up a cucumber.

Finn: Wait, cucumbers can give you AIDS?

Mercedes: Seriously? ‘Cause I just had them on my salad.

The scene cuts back to the teacher’s lounge.

Holly: We’ve got to educate these kids.

Emma: I strongly disagree. I don’t think we should barrage these kids with graphic information. They’re kids. I don’t want to steal their innocence.

Holly: Are you like some kind of crazy Pope lady. Think about the images that these kids are exposed to. I mean think about what they have access to.

Emma: That doesn’t make it okay. And it shouldn’t change the message that they get from us, which is this is serious stuff and it’s not for kids and it’s not for adults.

Holly: Okay, well, I think that’s a little naïve. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to have crazy sex because I’m crazy informed about it. Kidding.

Will suggests that Holly perform a song for the Glee Club about the “intricacies of adult relationships” that will educate the kids, but won’t necessarily titillate them. Unfortunately, Holly’s performance of Joan Jett’s “Do You Wanna Touch Me” is light on the former and heavy on the latter. She prefaces her song with the explanation, “So, sex. It’s just like hugging, only wetter.” When Rachel asks how Holly plans to address those in the class to have chosen to remain celibate, Holly responds, “Well, I admire you. Although I think you’re naïve and possibly frigid, I do admire your choice.” She launches into the song and is soon flanked by Santana and Brittany as they straddle chairs, dance seductively and slap their inner thighs to the lyrics, “"Do you wanna touch me there." Soon the entire class joins in. Holly bends over Artie and writhes in front of him inappropriately. She concludes the sultry number with a pat reminder: “So just remember whenever you have sex with someone you're having sex with everyone they've ever had sex with. And everybody's got a random.” 

Meanwhile, Lauren plans to shoot a sex tape with Puck to advance her goal of becoming famous because as she sees it, “Can you think of a celebrity who released a tape of their intimate relations that didn't make them more famous?” Later, Holly notices Puck and Lauren watching Kim Kardashian’s sex tape while they are in the library. When she learns that they plan on making a sex tape so Lauren can become famous, Holly admires Lauren for her ambition, but informs them, “Are you aware that because you're 18 years of age, making and owning a sex tape could make you guilty of child pornography? Listen, guys, don't take this too hard, alright? These things they just never work out well. My sextape with J.D. Salinger was a disaster.”

Fearful of prosecution, Puck joins the Celibacy Club just as Emma is scheduled to have the club perform their pro-abstinence rebuttal song for the Glee Club. The song turns out to be “Afternoon Delight,” which, unbeknownst to anyone in the Celibacy Club, is a metaphor for noon-time sex. After the debacle, Carl, Emma’s newlywed husband, seeks Holly’s advice in order to address Emma’s sexual naivety and utter phobia of physical intimacy, which has prevented them from consummating their marriage.

By portraying abstinence as a misguided ploy for losers, idiots, and prudes, the show denigrates the thoughtful, responsible, well-informed choices teens are making about their bodies in larger and larger numbers. According to a recently released study, the National Survey of Family Growth conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services, “among 15-to-24-year-olds, 29 percent of females and 27 percent of males reported no sexual contact with another person ever - up from the 22 percent of both sexes when the survey was last conducted in 2002” (as reported by the Washington Post). The increase shows that teens have the ability to delay sex by embracing abstinence even while the media continues to sexualize them. Rather than seeing sex as something that happens to them, today’s young adults have proven that sex isn’t an inevitable rite of passage, but a gift to cherish and hold until the time is right.

Parents should be aware that Glee frequently packages racy adult material by sugar coating it with song n’ dance in order to market it to young viewers. Judging by this episode, the show’s producers apparently like to believe that abstainers are naïve, close-minded, or out-of-touch with normal American behavior. When, in fact, as the study proves, it’s the other way around.

For irresponsible sexual content, Glee has been named Worst TV Show of the Week.  

Worst TV Show of the Week

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