Born This Way? The Moral Universe of 'Glee'
Growing up, our weekly family movie nights always starred the same nimble-footed, velvety-voiced stars—Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney—and the musical genre danced its way straight into my heart. So it's no surprise that when the musical television show Glee premiered on Fox three years ago, I was instantly hooked.
Created by Ryan Murphy, the show sought to capitalize on the success of American Idol and Disney's High School Musical series, but it was also unlike anything else on prime-time television. The postmodern musical has followed the misfit members of McKinley High Glee Club through the travails of high school and their attempts to win at show-choir nationals. Last night, in the season finale, several of the show's biggest stars graduated.
Initially, the show was wildly popular, winning Emmys and Golden Globes (and even some coverage on Her.meneutics). Despite uneven writing, overdrawn caricatures, and ridiculously soapy situations, it had heart, not to mention the vocal talents of Broadway star Lea Michele (Rachel) and Chris Colfer (Kurt). I'd be lying if I said I had never teared up while watching.
But this season, Glee morphed from quirky, guilty-pleasure entertainment to a preachy, poorly patched-together morality play. Like a weekly after-school special, Glee took on one social "issue" after another: public funding for the arts, bullying, texting and driving, domestic violence, and, several times over, sexual identity. ...1