14 June 2010

Glee and Cheerleaders and Youth

So I've been watching a few episodes of the wildly popular television show, Glee. It's pretty good - terrible acting but great music.

But I noticed the cheerleaders, and it got me thinking.

Now, it's a commonly-accepted precept of television that "teenagers" are almost always in their twenties. I think this was most famously done with Beverly Hills 90210 - I never saw that, but the cast looked liked they were at least forty.

So it's not a big deal that the kids in Glee are obviously too old. For example, this is the character "Quinn," played by Dianna Agron - she's 24, but playing a high school girl who'd be at least six years younger.

But let's consider the message here. Obviously, we're supposed to find these characters sexy. You'd be hard-pressed to make any musical show where sexuality wasn't a vital part of many of the songs, and it's not exactly the height of subtlety to have twelve bra-clad cheerleaders grind-dancing on each other. These girls (women!) are supposed to be desired. But they're also supposed to be depicting high-schoolers.

It's a very mixed message.

On an unrelated note, the male lead of "Mr. Schuster" is pretty scummy for a supposed "good guy." He knows a woman other than his pregnant wife is in love with him, but he encourages her constantly with laden pauses, long looks, and ballroom dancing. It doesn't matter that his wife is secretly a villain or that he hasn't actually done anything - he's being untrue to his vows and he's badly hurting a nice woman who could have moved on and looked for someone who was available.

Hm, I'm starting to convince myself that I don't actually like the show.

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