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“Glee” promotes stereotypes, not acceptance
“Glee” has been frequently lampooned by Ryan Murphy—the creator, writer, and director of “Glee”—as the majority of viewers see it as a show that promotes equality and loving yourself. But the truth is Glee goes out of its way to promote stereotyping and provides little plot.
“Glee” is one of the most popular shows airing on television. It won total of 68 awards (out of their nominated 180) in 2011: 32 Emmy Awards (six wins), nine Golden Globes (four wins), and 25 Teen Choice Awards (six wins).
The show, which airs on FOX on Tuesdays, has an average of 10 million viewers each episode and is currently on its third season.
But “Glee” cannot write a decent character without exploiting a major stereotype.
Let’s take Tina Chang (portrayed by Jenna Ushkowitz), who has been a character since day one, but she sees little of the story line. She is constantly—and ONLY—defined by being Asian. She starts dating Mike, another Asian, at Asian camp, and they go on Asian dates. She doesn’t like her Asian eyes and is considered a “self-hating Asian.” Even though Tina has been around for three seasons, there is still little known about her—so little that the actress who plays her, Jenna Ushkowitz, has resorted to making up her own story for the character.
Another student, Blaine Anderson (portrayed by Darren Criss), seems like a very well-developed supporting character. He is an openly gay student who does not fit the stereotypical of a homosexual—but that changed when Blaine was made into a main character. After this, his appearance changed to fit the flamboyant, stereotypical gay. But the most perplexing part is that during the two seasons, he became a year younger.
Furthermore, “Glee” has no exact point. All the characters in the show are attractive, talented people, yet they are hated because…they sing pop music? Don’t teenagers like pop music? Isn’t MTV funded on this premise?
Any show that attempts to explore the real life issues in American high schools should be applauded. But when writers slip into exploiting and illuminating stereotypes, “Glee” begins to falter.
The operation of the high school popularity hierarchy is shown in a light hearted way. The show neglects the often very real problems of identity and self-worth that most teenagers struggle through. Instead “Glee” yells, “You can do it!” at the top of its lungs. It’s simply unrealistic and unhealthy.
Although the idea of “Glee” is brilliant and wonderful, it is poorly executed and certainly does not deserve the praise and 68 awards it received.