Glee, the show we either love or love to hate, depending on who you ask, is back tonight after a several-week hiatus. Are you going to tune in for the diverse cast and catchy dance numbers? Or has the misogyny and stereotyping of Glee danced its way out of your heart?
Glee is a fun show with a lot of dancing, singing, and high school drama. (A formula for success, obviously.) The song choice and the performances are top-notch. In addition to the fun, Glee also stars a pretty diverse cast that includes a wheelchair user and several characters of color. Oh, and Jane Lynch, who is hilarious and amazing.
Topics-wise, Glee doesn't shy away from issues like teenage pregnancy, sexuality, or religion the way many prime time shows choose to. The high schoolers on the show are from different backgrounds (single parents, gay parents, and low-income scenarios abound) and a recent issue dealt with subtle racism in the school system. Not the kinds of things we're used to seeing on Fox on Wednesday nights.
Glee, for all its diversity, makes pretty poor use of its cast. The black girl is sassy, the wheelchair user is silent, the Asian girl is also silent, and the Asian guy is a quasi-silent breakdancer. As for the adult women on the show, well, apparently Glee hates them and wants us to join in. Shuster's wife Terri is a lying, materialistic shrew who has convinced her husband she's pregnant and is going to take a glee clubber's baby to prove it. Emma, the guidance counselor, is an insecure germaphobe who is in love with a married man yet is marrying someone else out of – well, who knows why she is doing it? Sue, the cheerleading coach, is an ambitious racist who is willing to blackmail and cheat in order to further her own career. Even the young women on the show are portrayed as needing the agency of men in order to exist (except the black girl Mercedes – she's too darned sassy).
Topics-wise, Glee may tackle tough issues but it does so in a mean-spirited, stereotypical way. The gay teacher is a pedophile who can't be around the students (hilarious!). The cheerleading coach divides the students up by race (it's not segregation if it's funny!) and condemns the pregnant character as a disgrace. Sure, we're supposed to think this is all a satire poking fun at the status quo, but in reality a lot of the jokes are reinforcing the status quo instead.
Obviously, Glee has a lot going on, some of it good and some of it not-so-good. So what do you think? Which side of the Glee fence will you find yourself on tonight?
For more discussion of Glee and its many good/bad/questionable/annoying qualities, check out this episode of Bitch Popaganda.