Monday, March 28, 2011

Social Commentary Through Fox's "Glee"

Okay, I'll admit it: I'm a total gleek. I adore this show, not just because the spontaneous songs remind me of my high school musical theatre days, or because of the silly humor, but because of the awareness of others that Glee is cultivating.

I believe Ryan Murphy's main goal in creating this show has to do with spreading the ideals of social justice. A lot of season 1 is based around Quinn's hardships in being a pregnant teen, while the majority of season 2 has dealt with the adversity Kurt has dealt with in being an openly gay teen in a midwestern town. Within these stories, there are plenty of smaller plots based around the need for self-acceptance and loving oneself.

The show has done a good job of bringing in characters of all different backgrounds, and while not every type of individual is represented, most every viewer will be able to find a character whom they can relate to. I can see a lot of myself in both Tina and Kurt. Even though Tina's character has been neglected this past season, I found myself hiding behind my shyness like she has, and it is nice to see her come out of her shell. With Kurt, I can relate a lot to the bullying storyline, as well as to the feeling of being impossibly different - In the episode Laryngitis, Kurt tried to put on an act of being a heterosexual, John Mellencamp fan, modeled after his father, but he realized that his efforts were futile, as this wasn't who he really was. I feel like my entire four years of high school consisted of me adopting different identities, trying to be someone I'm not. I'm sure everyone can relate to this story.

I know a lot of critics are angry at Glee for pushing the "liberal agenda", but tell me this: how is spreading hatred okay? I don't care if the bible tells you homosexuality is wrong. If it encourages the condemnation of any group then I don't care what book you're following, I will only see your hostility.

This show's critics need to understand that aside from the fluffy songs, these are experiences that real people go through at some point in their lives. If anything, we should be glad that such a show exists because it helps educate viewers on accepting others and oneself.

Glee doesn't look down on any characters for being different. Artie is seen as equal to the rest of the kids despite being paralyzed from the waist down- he's even able to play on the football team. Becky Jackson, a cheerleader who has Down's Syndrome, is treated with the same respect as any other student. The only character whose actions are discouraged against are those of Dave Karofsky's - but even then, his bullying is met with empathy, as well as hope that he can learn to accept his own homosexuality.

With all of this work toward social justice, though, it makes me wish for a character with Asperger's Syndrome. I know you can't have your cake and eat it too, but COME ON PRODUERS, MAKE IT HAPPEN!

Still in doubt of the good this show can do? Then check out this tumblr. Happy viewing!

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