When Glee creator Ryan Murphy announced that the popular TV show would add a female Christian character in its second season, a "Carrie Underwood" type, I worried that she might be just another outrageous caricature representing the worst people think of us. But in the hands of a show like Glee, which combines choreographed musical numbers with high school drama and teenage self-discovery, this might just turn out to be a good thing.

"We've taken a couple jabs at the right wing this year, so what I want to do with this character is have someone who Christian kids and parents can recognize and say, 'Oh, look—I'm represented there, too!' If we're trying to form a world of inclusiveness, we've got to include that point of view as well," said Murphy. He insists that the character will "speak her mind and be listened to and respected" while refusing to accept one character's homosexuality and the glee club's sexually suggestive dance numbers.

Each of the characters on Glee is an intentionally exaggerated stereotype: the jock, the cheerleader, the diva. For all they talk about individuality and wanting to be accepted for who they are, the kids in the Glee Club, and the rest of McKinley High, look like the kids you would find in any high school across the country. They have an image they would like to project, and they carefully choose their clothes, their activities, and even their friends to reflect that ideal. But what the show tries to prove is that while you might know what someone values based on these things, you might not know how they will respond to another human being when they find common ground.

Take, for example, Mercedes Jones. Mercedes is "the sassy black girl," a plus-size soul singer who resents singing back-up ...

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