My schedule doesn’t allow me to watch a lot of T.V., and when I do, it’s usually via catching up on the internet. Though I’m a week behind the initial broadcast date, I finally got around to watching the fourth episode of Fox’s new series Glee last night.
While I admit to being captivated from the first time I saw the series premiere last spring, this particular episode catapulted discussions of sex and gender among my friends and students. Apparently, according to a news report coming out of Philadelphia, my friends and I aren’t the only ones talking about Glee’s sexuality.
As it turns out, some parents are upset over the show for the very reason I love it. While we are all entitled to our own opinion, here are some of the reasons why Glee excites me:
A recent episode was titled “Preggers”. The slang term for pregnancy was a witty way to foreshadow the gendered and sexual storylines to come! The bluntness of the episode title firmly acknowledges that sexuality exists in high school.
2. Gender Bending
Many of the show’s storylines involve crossing gender stereotypes in some way. While the jock football player turned glee club singer storyline has been done before (think Chris Klein’s character Oz in American Pie), the flamboyant gay boy turn football star was new to me, specifically in prime time television. And an all out show-stopping rendition of Beyonce’s “Single Ladies/Put a Ring on it” by the high school football team entertains, fascinates, and challenges our notions of high school masculinity. How about that father/son coming out scene? I think it’s safe to say that 10 years ago, had the scene even it made it on television, it would have played out very differently. Glee is constantly challenging gender norms throughout its storylines in such a way that productive dialogues are taking place in high school and college social circles across the country.
3. Real Sexuality
While the storylines may be dramatic and weave together like an unrealistic soap opera, the issues related to sexuality and gender are real and relatable. Yes, some girls do fall in love with gay boys and get their hearts broken. Yes, premature ejaculation exists, even among the ‘manliest’ of men, and certainly within adolescents. People involved with celibacy organizations sometimes have sex (and accidently get pregnant), and yes, women have sex drives and hormones too.
4. Great Music And Dramatic Storylines
The music is fun, the singers are great and the storylines are dramatic. What more can I ask for? Through its fun music and directness in dealing with and highlighting sexuality, Glee is not only entertaining but has emerged as a great tool to start conversations on sexuality and gender.
Have you seen Glee? Do you feel that the sexuality issues portrayed in the show are things high school and college students can relate to? Share your comments in the comments section.