Monday, July 25, 2011

Glee: A Review.

Well, as some of you may know, a few months ago I posted a status on Facebook most ardently declaring my hatred for the T.V. show, Glee. However, I had only seen two episodes, and therefore I later realized that I needed to have a little more exposure to the show in order to actually make an intelligent judgment about it. Because of this, I ended up watching the entire first season, and am planning on watching the second season when it becomes available.

When I was first introduced to Glee (I watched 2 episodes from the second season) I despised and even almost *violently* hated the show. I couldn’t imagine why any Christian would want to watch it, and I couldn’t believe that such “filth” would be entertaining.

However…

While I still maintain some of my thoughts from before, after watching the first season, I do not hate the show as violently as I did before. In fact… I actually find it fairly entertaining and fun.

In judging this show at the moment, I’m really trying to be objective. I DO think that this show has great entertainment value and the quality of the music is amazing. They also do a very good job at showing what our culture is like right now, and the things that our culture believes about teen pregnancy, homosexuality, religion, sex, the education system, etc.

I would say that this show very clearly has an agenda. In researching this show during my Apologetics class last semester (shoutout to Sawyer, Allie, and Evan) we saw that the worldviews of the creators and writers of the show very clearly come across in the plot and the music.

In doing this project, I was in charge of the technical qualities of the show (I knew that if I tried to have an opinion on anything else other than the technical aspect, I would have been too emotional and not fair to the show itself). I still hold to my belief that the aesthetic quality of the show is very high. However, the plot always leaves something to be desired. The plot lines are most often very shallow, and not only that, but they tend to be totally unrealistic. For example, there is an episode where Glee needs more members, and the football team is required to try out and if they don’t, then they will not be allowed to play in the homecoming game. Not only is that totally unrealistic, but some football players do not decide to sing with Glee until the last minute, and “magically” they know all of the music and dance steps.

I could go on for a while about the plot holes and lack of quality in the acting itself, but I’ll refrain. Instead, I think I will attempt to judge the moral quality of the show. This is a difficult one for me to do. I often become very emotional about whatever I’m trying to judge, and I judge it unfairly and I’m more biased than I would like to be. However, I’m going to try hard not to be like that right now.

Much of the show is very clearly against Christianity. In some senses, you could say that it is against religion in general, but the only religion that is really made fun of is Christianity. One of the episodes in the second season focuses on the “celibacy club” and they are shown to be na├»ve and ignorant Christians who think that the song “Afternoon Delight” is not talking about sex, but rather about having dessert in the afternoon instead of after supper. In Regional’s, Sue Sylvester has her singing group perform “Jesus is a Friend of Mine” in order to appease the judges who are “religious.” However, later the judge who is a nun reveals that she only became a nun in order to “stay off the poles.” The leader of the “celibacy club” is also revealed as not actually wanting to be celibate because she believes in abstinence but rather because she is afraid of sex and believes that it is wrong (even in marriage).

Other than just religion, this show is “edgy” (to say the least) in the moral arena. In the first season, the head cheerleader is pregnant, but after she has her baby, nothing more is said, and it is as if it never happened. There are constantly different love-triangles forming, the head cheerleader cheats on her boyfriend, he’s actually in love with another girl… And these things continue.

This show has a few redeeming qualities, however. As mentioned previously, the head cheerleader becomes pregnant during the first season. She gets pressure from family and friends to have an abortion (mainly from her mother) so that she can keep her figure, her status, and her reputation, but she very firmly declares that she is going to keep the baby. Equality between all people is also very prevalent – no matter the race, gender, background, abilities, disabilities, every person in Glee is treated equally and given respect. If they are not respected by any person in the show, it is obvious that this is wrong and unfair treatment, and it is rectified throughout the episode(s).

Overall, this show, while being shallow and very clearly having an agenda, it is entertaining and very accurately represents what is popular in today’s culture and how people think and believe about certain topics. When I first watched this show, I believed that no Christian should watch it with a clear conscience. However, my feelings have now changed on this issue. I believe that there is a right and a wrong way to go about watching it. If this show is merely a form of entertainment to the believer and they are not keeping their minds and hearts alert to what is going on, then I believe that this is not smart and could in time be very detrimental. This kind of attitude can lead to insensitivity to the aspects of culture which are against what the Bible says, and this may lead us into believing that those types of things are “okay” or even “right.”

I believe that the right way for a believer to go about watching this show (and I will NEVER be perfect at it) is to watch it with discernment and watch it through the lenses of the Bible. This is not easy to do, but it is very important in order not to be hardened by what the world says to be right and wrong. When I started doing this, it was helpful for me to discuss the issues in the episode with other people (i.e. Eric and other friends who cared to be discerning as well) and I realized that I started being discerning about other shows and movies as well.

It is critical for the believer’s mind to be engaged in whatever he or she is watching. Once we let go of our minds when it comes to secular culture, then we open ourselves up to the possibility of believing false doctrines and following the ways of the world. It is of utmost importance that we be discerning and know what we are talking about when it comes to shows like this or other aspects of culture so that we may be a true witness and light to the rest of the world. If we aren’t discerning, then we may lose our credibility with the world and we will not be as effective for Christ as we could be.

2 comments:

  1. Really good post, Bethany. Balanced in your approach and desire to be fair. Good job. I would just add that parents should be even more discerning with their children, even up through the teen years. Their values are being solidified and challenged at every age and they don't have a discerning filter yet in place in which to set apart the bad from the good. Making the world's values a part of their daily diet can have ramifications in making godly choices later in life as the contrasts between God's principles and worldly thinking can become very muddied. Thanks for the thoughtful review!

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  2. I'm a fan of the show, and you're definitely right about there being an agenda. I like to think of Glee as an indicator of American mentality. I read so many comments on Facebook about the Grilled Cheesus episode from fellow Christians who were super offended by it, and that's okay.

    I just kept shaking my head when I saw it, not because I was offended, but because it made me sad. Once again we had an example of worship of the created instead of the Creator. Now, I know the chances of someone actually going to Finn in the show and steering him in the right direction by telling him the Gospel were nil. Totally wasn't going to happen in a mainstream popular tv show. But my question was how many people around us do we know that are like Finn in that regard? Not saying that people are actually out there praying to grilled cheese sandwiches, although I honestly wouldn't be surprised, since weirder things have been idolized. ;)

    But anyway, my thought was this: If this is any indicator as to how American non-Christians are thinking, what are we who call ourselves believers going to do about it? Just sit back and gripe because we're offended by the unbelievers' unbelief? Or are we really going to be who we say were are and don our armor, grab our swords, take a stand for righteousness, and speak out the Truth of the Gospel of our Savior until the whole world hears it?

    I feel like I'm rambling, so I really hope this comment makes sense. Haha! Anyway, I guess what I'm basically trying to say is that if Glee's really the indicator I think it is, we have our work cut out for us as Christians.

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