Sunday, October 10, 2010

Choosing to Follow

There was a lot of religion on TV this week. Maybe it stood out to me because I had just had a religious conversation with my mother, but I found main characters on TV echoing my thoughts.

Glee's religious-centered episode had Kurt dealing with his father's hospital stay and the whole club wanting to sing spiritual or religious songs. I was quite surprised actually that Glee would be outspoken in these matters. Yes, the show pushes the edges routinely, but isn't a large demographic for this show conservative youth into show choir clubs? I wouldn't think they would appreciate the debate unless it came back to a "religion is the answer" ending. Maybe that isn't the demographic at all - I like the show and I'm nothing like a teenage show choir. Maybe Mercedes' comment summed up a current trend in acceptable, edgy conversations - "so we can't sing about religion, but we can sing about losing religion?" I don't know... but I am appreciative that the topic is at least broached in prime-time broadcast.

Of course Community took a comical look on the subject this week. They outright blasted Chevy Chase's cultist religion, glorified Jeff's non-religion and shoved aside Shirley's classic Baptist.

I'm glad the discussion is a little less taboo. Not that it just happened though. You hop over to cable and you'll get more of it and if you stumble on Bill Maher, you get it in spades - but broadcast..?? How do very religious people feel about these episodes? Do they shrug them off as one episode in poor taste, do they abandon the show or choose to follow?


Courtney said...

Hey Jess!! I've been awaiting your thoughts on this week's glee episode. The entire episode in my opinion had such a different tone. We are huge glee fans, and we actually thought they handled the topic pretty well. I know some might have been offended by the grilled cheese jesus and some of the prayer requests, but we didn't take offense at all. While we may not agree with curt or football guy main character (blanking on names), we appreciated the depiction of all of the diff views on religion and recognized that there are many that feel the same way.

We did think that it was interesting that they made Mercedes the Christian because it seems to be more politically correct or acceptable to show Christianity with African Americans because I think it is associated more with gospel music and culture vs actual belief (not saying this is true at all just seems to be perceived that way).

Jessamyn said...

Thanks Courtney! I'm glad you said something. I think you're right about Mercedes. There was a moment in the episode where they looked at Quinn as the obvious religious girl (because of her initial abstinence pledge), but then she disappeared from the episode. So you only really get Mercedes as the Christian representative and maybe that is just an easy cop-out. Sing a recognizable gospel song and the writers feel like they've covered Christianity. Let Rachel's homage to Barbra Streisand be the Jewish placeholder and let Kurt be the non-believer. Interesting and I'm sure hard choices the writers were making. All while trying to come back to a centered and moral message (which I really do think Glee tries to do) - That people and life can be cruel and that we all have to find what makes sense to us, whether it comes from our church or holding the hand of a loved one.