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In unsurprising news, the Parents Television Council is slamming Glee for the episode that’s set to air tonight, and will focus on not one but two couples as they consider taking their relationships to the next level. We posted some videos and spoilers about the episode earlier today, which you can check out here.
Tonight’s episode of Glee, titled “The First Time” will have Rachel trying to decide if she’s ready to have sex with Finn, while gay couple Kurt and Blaine will also be exploring the topic. Both couples are in long-term committed relationships with one another. Sure, they’re high school romances, but there’s love involved and actual thought put into the decisions being made.
Entertainment Weekly reports that the PTC has spoken out about the episode, claiming that they aren’t objecting over the gender of the characters, just their ages.
“The fact that Glee intends to not only broadcast, but celebrate children having sex is reprehensible,” said PTC president Tim Winter. “The gender of the high school characters involved is irrelevant. Teen sex is now more prevalent on TV than adult sex and Glee is only playing into that trend. Research proves that television is a teen sexual super peer that can, and likely will, influence a teen’s decision to become sexually active. Fox knows the show inherently attracts kids; celebrating teen sex constitutes gross recklessness.”?
Granted, being high school seniors, all of whom are probably seventeen, if not eighteen yet (Blaine may be the exception there), hardly makes them adults, but they aren’t exactly children either. We’ve seen plenty of other shows feature younger kids engaging in sexual activity. More to the point, I’m going to disagree with the idea that Glee is playing into a trend by addressing the topic of teen sex in tonight’s very-special-episode. EW mentions a very racy episode of Gossip Girl that apparently dealt with teen sex. My limited experience with Gossip Girl and with other similar teen dramas on TV these days, is that in some cases the teenagers featured barely resemble your typical American teen and are therefore, hardly relatable on any realistic level. There may be a strong argument that Gossip Girl or any other show where teens look like super-models, have limitless funds, and live grown-up-like lives, could be considered a bad influence on teens, in that it gives them unrealistic ideas of what their romantic and social lives are supposed to be like, but Glee hardly falls into that category. If the comment made about playing into trends is meant to lump Glee in with other current teen dramas, then it's unwarranted.
Sure, Glee isn’t exactly a series I’d call fully grounded in reality, but the show has touched on subjects in an extremely relatable way, portraying teens in a much more realistic way than other shows have. Is addressing the issue of teen sex the same things as "celebrating" it? I'm guessing the PTC would say yes, unless addressing the subject meant promoting abstinence or showing the consequences of teen sex. Glee has actually touched on both of those subjects, with Rachel deciding previously that she wasn't ready for sex, and Quinn spending a good portion of the series' earlier days pregnant. While I can appreciate the PTC's concern for the welfare of America's youth, Glee doesn't seem like the right target here. At the very least, the organization might do well to wait until the episode airs before making statements about what the show is doing and what trends it's following.