I don’t watch a lot of TV. There simply isn’t a lot of quality programming to draw my attention, frankly. I am something of a TV snob, I guess. I want quality, intelligent programming; not mindless “reality” shows that are clearly scripted to promote the highest level of “drama” the producers can manufacture.
One of those guilty pleasures I indulge in is Glee. I admit, I am a Gleek and damn proud of it!
There’s a lot to love about Glee, especially the positive portrayal of the many, and varied, characters that, on other shows, are only there to fill some imagined quota. “X number of black people, please.”
Glee’s formula changes all that. It provides a more accurate slice of a typical American high school in the 21st Century. The positive portrayal of an openly gay character adds to the charm of the show, as well.
This diversity raises the bar, however, and leads to a problem, not for Glee, but for other TV shows. While Glee presents a positive example of what an American high school should be like, it exposes the utter lack of diversity on other shows. Where is the openly gay character on NCIS: Los Angeles, for example? I love CSI: Crime Scene Investigations, but, again, where’s the sexual diversity?
Glee, in effect, preaches to the choir when it comes to lessons of diversity, as the main audience of the show are the ones who, week after week, are nodding their heads in agreement with the messages presented in the show; messages like acceptance of those who are different, that no matter what we look like, or how tough our lives are, we can pull together and succeed at a common goal.
The people who really need to hear this message, aren’t hearing it. The audience that needs to see that we are all the same are the ones who think Larry the Cable Guy is high art. For example, the audience of NCIS: Los Angeles might benefit from seeing a positive portrayal of a continuing gay male character.
Will shows like NCIS or NCIS: Los Angeles begin to portray gay characters in a more positive light after the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell?” Perhaps. Perhaps GLBT characters will move from the fringe of the barely accepted to the mainstream once the viewing audience begins to see them as more than the stereotypes that have been thrust upon them.
Shows like Glee are helping the cause, but it’s really up to the producers of other shows, like CSI, NCIS, and NCIS: Los Angeles to up the ante on American television.
C’mon, folks. Follow the example of Degrassi: The Next Generation and have a transgendered character as a regular. Live a little.
Season Two of Glee airs on FOX staring this Tuesday at 8PM EST. Check your local listings.