Last night’s episode of Glee, On My Way, was basically about how to deal with those moments in your life when you just don’t want to go on and what inspires you to keep going. The first 10 minutes dealt with the attempted suicide of Dave Karofsky, who in season 2, bullied Kurt so bad about being gay, that Kurt moved schools as he feared for his life. As usual with Glee, the reason this happened was because Dave himself was gay and couldn’t deal with it so took it out on others.*
Move along to season 3 where Dave is now ok about being gay, not out and proud but at least has come to terms with it. Until Valentine’s day when he is spotted with Kurt at a restaurant and kids from him college see him. Dave first realises something is wrong when he walks into the locker room and realises that something is up. And that’s the word “fag” written across his locker. He walks out but not before he gets pushed around by the kids on his team. Next you see him logging on to facebook and seeing the comments (obviously not as disgusting as it could have been if Glee wasn’t a PG show) and realising that everything is out there for the world to see. Cue the realisation that his world has come crumbling down and he attempts to hang himself.
He ends up in hospital and you have the Glee kids come to term with it all in their own ways.(check out the episode yourself at http://www.tv-links.eu/tv-shows/Glee_10227/)
In the end, Kurt has a little chat to him and that whole story is wrapped up in a neat 40 or so minute episode. Dave realises he can live a happy life and that’s basically the end of it.
Bullying and homophobia have been issues that are dominant in Glee and rightly so. So many kids out there deal with this sort of shit so it’s nice to see a show portray it in a seemingly real way (from my perspective. As someone who isn’t gay or been severely bullied, I’m not the most accurate judge) and not just as a one off episode.
The main problem I see with Glee tackling issues such as bullying and homophobia is that the majority of people who would watch a show like Glee probably already have no problem with gays and lesbians or anyone else who is perceived as different as chances are, the kids watching as these characters. They’re probably pretty open minded kids who couldn’t care less who you are on the outside, as long as your a good person deep down. That’s the message that I get with Glee. That’s the reason for the Born This Way episode and basically any episode of it. The mission statement seems to be along the lines of “whatever you want to do, as long as it’s not hurting someone else, I’ll support you.”
So although I’m glad Glee tackles these issues I’m not sure it’s actually crossing over into real life. There are still issues of kids being bullied for being gay, such as the story of Tyler Clementi, an 18 year old who, in 2010 was filmed in a sex act with another man by his roommate, who streamed it to others. Tyler, a few days later, jumped off the George Washington Bridge and killed himself. What our society needs is a platform that doesn’t alienate a large portion of our community because it’s basically musical theatre (don’t get me wrong, I love Glee but I know alot of people don’t because it’s musical theatre) and seen to be “kinda gay.” We need a show that doesn’t seem to aim primarily at the female population and one that is inclusive of all people. Whether this will ever happen, well probably not.
But at least it’s trying. Glee may not be perfect but it’s one of the few shows out there lately that has made such an impact on the self esteem of some kids. It’s taught people that it is ok to be yourself and that you will survive if you stay strong and true to yourself. And honestly, what better message could you want?
* I say as usual due to the whole Santana sleeping around and being mean to everybody because she didn’t want to admit that she was a lesbian.
Are you a fan of Glee? Do you think it tackles issues in a “real” way?