07 October 2010

Gays, Gleeks, and Jesus Freaks! {Where is the love?}

My boyfriend and I have a Sunday morning ritual. We have breakfast, go to church, and catch a movie at the A.M. Cinema because it's only $5 to watch a movie before noon and that helps us, as young professionals, to justify the popcorn and large Coke purchase.

A few weeks ago, I was dying to see Easy A.  Emma Stone is one of my favorite rising actresses right now.  She's hilarious!  And, well, I grew up on Amanda Bynes' movies and improv. (Who doesn't remember
Ask Ashley?)

Easy A was everything you want from a teen movie.  Female arch-nemeses, popular music, sex (affected though it was), cute guys, and angsty antics to fit in to the high school social hierarchy.

But, while Marianne, Amanda Bynes' bible-thumping, Mary-Jane-clad, hypocritical character was the perfect antagonist to Olive, Emma Stone's eccentric, sarcastic, pseudo-hussy character, I couldn't help but feel a little uncomfortable about her.

I just don't understand why popular culture so often casts focus on religious extremists.  Why are Christians so often portrayed as kumbaya-singing, holier-than-thou... Jesus Freaks?! I'm sure it's the same reason the news paints all Muslims as terrorists, and Jews as penny-pinching cheapskates.

Stereotyping. Intolerance. Ignorance. Prejudice. 

Just as I was feeling disillusioned by these popular references and some shocking, devastating acts of intolerance in our country this week, entered stage left- Glee.
I was not initially interested in this show, but my mom made me sit and watch the Single Ladies episode, and I was sold on the quirky humor, familiar songs, and teenage drama.

While the singing is probably what makes the show so popular, I commend it because it is pioneering some important social territory.  Since the first episode, it has touched on teen pregnancy, empowerment of disabled persons, homosexual tolerance, and, most recently, religious sensitivity. The series doesn't do it in the dramatic rite of shows like Dawson's Creek, The OC, or Party of Five did.  It's not so aggressive or in your face.

Glee is using its popularity to say "it is okay to talk about these taboo topics; in fact, let's have some discussion." The diverse cast of students talks about controversial issues without overtly pushing any particular agenda.  I appreciated the way the writers approached the sensitive topic of religion, and the struggle that many teens have with questioning their beliefs and with prioritizing their religious rituals, from going to synagogue to Friday night dinners.

Glee presents a well-rounded, magnified view of our society.  And I pray to grilled Cheesus, or whatever higher being, that we can all learn a little something about loving each other, if not from our churches, our families, or our teachers, then from good ol' American primetime.

Missed this week's Glee? See the episode here: http://www.fox.com/glee/full-episodes/625454625001

1 comment:

  1. I am so proud of you!! Just reading this all I can say is "Why the hell arent you getting paid to write" !! You are awesome! :0)