Friday, June 10, 2011

I Really Wanted to Be a Gleek . . .

This may be one of my most controversial posts yet -- one that will ruin my reputation and set many friends up to hate me, or at least lose all respect for me. Yet I am committed to the proclamation of truth, so speak I must.

I watched my first three episodes of "Glee" yesterday. And I wasn't impressed.

I've put off watching it for this long because it sounded like just my kind of show and I didn't want to get hooked on another weekly TV event. Plus, I'd heard that it didn't exactly promote family values, and I figured I didn't need the girls watching. But I downloaded the first season to our Netflix instant queue figuring I'd give it a whirl this summer.

So, my assessment. The best part of the show is the characters. Well-crafted, well-executed. (Sue Sylvester is classic. I've been a fan of Jane Lynch's for a while even without seeing the show.) In fact, I think the strong characters were the only thing that really made me keep watching for three episodes. I suppose there's the feel-good theme of being yourself and pursing your passions despite what others think of you, but I honestly find that to be a rather tired theme anymore. Too much "High School Musical", perhaps?

Even worse, the musical numbers just weren't that good. Maybe they get better as we go here, or maybe my expectations were just too high after all the hype, but I found them kind of boring, actually. And that was dreadfully disappointing to me. I mean, this is the show that made show choir cool, right? I was so prepared to be wow'ed. And I was so not.

And then there's the "family values" thing. As I said, I was prepared for that. I thought. But I still found myself shocked that this is shown on prime-time television. (But then I'm frequently shocked by what is shown on prime-time television these days.) I mean, a couple scenes I can't even bring myself to describe the content of because I know my youngest reads my blog. They weren't presented salaciously (which is probably how they get away with it), but still! And the main character's speech to the Celibacy Club about how "celibacy doesn't work" for high schoolers . . . well, that was pretty infuriating. Yep, let's just tell teenage America to not even try.

I think what amazes me the most about this Glee phenomenon is how many highly committed Christian friends of mine are also highly committed Gleeks. And it's not just about Glee -- I have highly committed Christian friends who watch other shows and movies and such which actively promote similar values. Now, I don't want to be the finger-pointing, judgmental Church Lady -- because truth is, I frequently get caught up in such entertainment, too.

But I'm wondering today . . . why? What good do we think we're getting from these shows that outweighs the damage being done to our psyche by saturating ourselves in such crap? As I said, the characters on Glee are very entertaining. But are there really no other places to find entertaining characters? And do we really have some ingrained, desperate need for being entertained by quirky characters and peppy dance routines, a need so strong and insatiable that we MUST expose ourselves to the inappropriate stuff if necessary to meet that need? Would my life really be so much less rich without "Don't Stop Believing" or the infamous Sue Sylvester?

And have we really become so inured and calloused to this stuff that we can sit with our families and watch a young man "lose control" while making out with his girlfriend in a hot tub . . . and not feel some shame at our idea of entertainment?

OK, fine. Call me a prude. But personally, I've gotten to where I'd rather be a little too prudish than a little too the alternative. It seems to me that we should be devoted to pursuing goodness, rather than trying to get as close to badness as we can get without actually being bad. I've danced around the lines too much in my life to not know how easy it is to cross them.

Setting aside your passions to pursue true goodness. Now, there's a theme that could use some exploring.

1 comment:

Donna said...

I'm so with you Gwen! That show presents over the top teenage behavior as "normal". I'm all for non-discrimination against people who are different, but let's not bundle that up with behavior that we don't want to encourage in our teens, like the expectation that sex is unavoidable. Teens are too easily swayed by the norm that's presented. Let's keep the values training at home, and keep television as purely a form of entertainment, not cultural brainwashing of teens.