Bill O’Reilly recently hosted a “culture warriors” segment at Fox News where both “warriors” agreed that homosexuality is morally acceptable. That same no-debate mentality has been a regular drumbeat on the Fox television series “Glee,” a musical drama/comedy about a high school glee club in Lima, Ohio.
This show is wildly popular because of the music. Songs performed on the show sell feverishly on i-Tunes within hours. It’s not a hit because it’s a political or social debate forum. But just as it dazzles viewers with musical performances, it’s hammered hard against traditional values at every turn. How does “Glee” creator Ryan Murphy make it tilt into utter intolerance? It isn’t through smash-mouth indoctrination. The treatments are subtle, but unmistakable.
There’s the mockery of famous social conservatives. In April, the show’s villain and most popular character, cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester, proclaimed “You may be two of the stupidest teens I’ve ever encountered. And that’s saying something. I once taught a cheerleading seminar to a young Sarah Palin.” Interestingly, this Fox Entertainment show has even mocked Fox News. At one point, a pregnant cheerleader is thrown out of her house by her heartless Christian father when he learns of her condition, but only after he’s excited by the news that it’s time for Glenn Beck on TV.
The only characters on the show disapproving of homosexuality are vicious school bullies. In the May 25 episode, two brutish football players threatened to pummel the openly gay and riotously effeminate character Kurt for dressing up like a girl. Everyone else in this series approves, endorses, or participates in the homosexual lifestyle.
There is the treatment of two primary characters, Kurt’s macho father and the quarterback Finn, who is also the object of Kurt’s homosexual attraction. Finn is not a social conservative. He is merely a teenaged boy who’s unsure how to handle Kurt’s unwanted advances.
Those two characters arrive at an explosive scene on that May 25 show. Kurt has engineered a blooming romance between Kurt’s father and Finn’s mother, both widowed. Kurt is plotting to be roommates with Finn — and more.
So when the dating parents spring the news on Finn that his mother and he will be moving in, and that Kurt has decorated the room they will share, Finn protested by yelling about a lamp with the gay F-bomb. Kurt’s angry dad lectures him and throws him out of the house for using hate speech.
This plot was so one-sided that even the liberal Huffington Post published not one, but two articles suggesting that Fox and Murphy were wrong to vilify Finn in this scene. Scott Mendelson declared “The scene in question has been heralded elsewhere as some kind of wonderful teaching moment about the hidden prejudice in all of us. Frankly, the scene is more about how a relatively reasonable person lashes out at the stunning manipulations of a sexually-aggressive [jerk].” Likewise, Michael Russnow found, “It sends a signal that gay people or any put-upon minority can behave any way they like, however reprehensible.”
This episode ends with Finn threatening the football bullies hovering over Kurt at school. The quarterback is costumed in a ridiculous red dress to show solidarity with his gay friend. This returns him to hero-of-tolerance status as the curtain falls, and in the end, homosexuality is granted normalcy, as just a vivid difference in personality and panache.
The whole plot is a simplistic political cartoon, with cartoonish villains making cartoonish statements against male heroes in cartoonish drag.
Is this show meant to be controversial? Murphy is best known for the sexually raw and ultraviolent plastic-surgeon drama on FX called “Nip/Tuck.” That show was much more aggressively vile; every episode seemingly caused a new scandal. “Glee,” on the other hand, is a smash among millions of teenagers that airs right after “American Idol.” So which series ends up having a greater cultural impact?
Is it impossible to portray that “abnormal” Christian who can love the sinner and hate the sin? Entertainment Weekly reported that the show will add a “fundamentalist Christian” girl in the show’s second season. Murphy swears she won’t be mocked.
Baloney. This show has presented gay as the “new normal” and has not suggested, but presented that the abnormal people are the ones who adhere to apparently outdated Christian morality. The forces of “tolerance” have again bizarrely insisted that tolerance means a complete intolerance and blacklisting of anyone upsetting the new apple cart.
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