Glee

 
(i)

 

Edgy-but-quirky comedy's music, message will win teens over.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The general message is for students to step out of their cliquish boxes and work together. Supporting one another through difficult times, accepting people who are different from you, and finding positive ways of dealing with fear and trauma are themes throughout. Stereotypical references frequent but put into context; bullying, friendship, and homophobia are addressed.

Positive role models

Most central characters are dedicated, enthusiastic teachers and students, though it's not always apparent. Students are diverse (in terms of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability status, and so on). Folks have flaws -- sometimes for comic effect -- but most show they have heart at some point.

Violence

Bullying is a theme. Fantasy violence sometimes visible. One main character is in a serious car accident; another dies. 

Sex

Teen sex, teen pregnancy, sexual orientation, and sexuality are frequently discussed/addressed, and one episode discreetly depicts several teen couples having sex for the first time. Some sexual euphemisms, dancing. Petting and other behavior visible among straight and same-sex couples. 

Language

"Bitch," "hell," "crap," "damn"; terms such as "cripple" also used. 

Consumerism

Lots of music from various popular artists. Logos for Starbucks, Pottery Barn, iPhone; brands such as Marc Jacobs referenced. 

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Drinking and drunken behavior visible; teen drinking doesn't always have consequences. Medical marijuana and OTC meds discussed. 

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Glee is an edgy teen comedy featuring a diverse cast, positive messages of cooperation and acceptance, and topics such as homophobia, bullying, substance abuse, teen sex, death, and other envelope-pushing topics. There's some occasional iffy language ("bitch," "damn," "hell"), some derogatory terms such as "cripple" and "fairy," and occasional references to genitals. There's also a bit of name-dropping when it comes to brands, and the cast performs songs by an endless number of popular artists ranging from Aretha Franklin and Frank Sinatra to Britney Spears, Amy Winehouse, and Madonna.  

What's the story?

In GLEE, high school Spanish teacher Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison) renews his own passion for music by starting up a glee club composed of talented misfits. His star pupils turn out to be a pitch-perfect but unpopular overachiever Rachel Berry (Lea Michele) and Finn Hudson (Cory Monteith), a well-rounded jock whose friends practically disown him for putting singing before sports. Other glee club members such as Kurt Hummel (Chris Colfer), Mercedes Jones (Amber Riley), Artie Abrams (Kevin McHale), and Quinn Fabray (Dianna Agron) also add their talents to the group. Will is committed to the club, but his home life (early in the series), with an overbearing wife (Jessalyn Gilsig) and spats with cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch), isn't as fulfilling. As the series progresses, the glee club faces pregnancy, love, first-time sexual encounters, and even death -- and express much of their thoughts about all of it with song-and-dance numbers.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

If you love singing, musical theater, or show choir, Glee is going to make you happy. For one thing, there's the presence of two big Broadway names (Morrison has starred in shows such as Light in the Piazza, while Michele is known for her stellar work in Spring Awakening). Adding to the fun is the talented supporting cast that includes the always-reliable Jane Lynch (of Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, and Party Down fame), a comedian whose gift for deadpan one-liners practically guarantees she'll steal any scene she's in.

Glee's atypical blend of high school fare similar to that in Election, High School Musical, and Mean Girls is exciting, as are guest appearances by artists such as Ricky Martin, Gwenyth Paltrow, and Neil Patrick Harris. Although some critics have complained about its uneven narrative and its overreliance on song-and-dance numbers at the expense of story development, we think the combination of offbeat characters, fantastic performances, and a willingness to take on controversial topics in a sensitive manner make this show a winner despite its flaws. Meanwhile, its hip sensibility has music-loving teens buzzing.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the realities of high school hierarchies and whether students of any age truly divide themselves into insular groups. Kids: Does your school have cliques, and do you ever have trouble making friends outside the lines? Parents: Do cliques still happen in adulthood, or is high school its own world?

  • Do you know anyone who's had a problem with bullying (either face-to-face harassment or cyberbullying)? Have you ever tried to stop someone from getting picked on?

  • How realistic is the show's portrayal of high school? Are the characters relatable? How do these students change during their years in school?

TV details

Cast:Cory Monteith, Lea Michele, Matthew Morrison
Network:Fox
Genre:Comedy
Topics:Great boy role models, Great girl role models, High school, Music and sing-along
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of Glee was written by

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 16 years old Written byGirlie257 November 11, 2010
 

Amazing show with a great message

Great show by far. If you think this show is inappropriate, your kids talk swears and sex at school and if your trying to keep the content hidden from them , your not really doing anything because kids talk about sex all the time! It's better they hear it from u then the kids on the bus. Also , being immersed in diversity is better than hiding out all gay people. You will never know or understand anything about life by not being immersed in other cultures. Shame on you for not letting your kids watch this.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of an infant year old Written bymarie_ October 1, 2010
 

It has just become too raunchy. Too bad.

Was watching it last night (the "brittany spears" episode") with our 13-year-old girl, and turned it off after the glee club Brittany's laughing gas-induced dream seduction of her dentist. NEVER to watch it again. This was after we suffered through watching another glee club member tell the visiting dentist at school, "you are so hot, seriously, you could drill me any time." I was sick of it by then, and we just turned off the TV after the dream scene. It is just not worth it.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 15 years old Written bymicah251 October 29, 2010
 
I hate how adults think all teenagers are stupid. Sure, there are some dumb teens, but most of us have a good head on our shoulders. Just because we see something on tv, doesn't mean we think we should do it. Anyways, If you have a teenager, I wouldn't try to control what they watch. You need to let them be make their own decision because at this point in time, it doesn't matter what you say. You have to trust you raised them with good morals and pray for the best.
What other families should know
Too much sex

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