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?
‘Cause I just had them on my salad.
The scene cuts back to the
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
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.
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.