As a former chorus-geek and eternal lover/practitioner of vocal music, there was no denying I was going to love Glee. This may garner eye-rolls from the more serious and somber of TV-viewers, but I can’t help myself. It’s fun, it takes itself just seriously enough, and here’s a big plus in my book–It frequently illuminates the social issues and problems teens (and adults!) face in a respectful and often provocative way.
TV just doesn’t do this enough.
Never before have I seen a television show so seamlessly integrate awareness-raising about a variety of causes into its (admittedly kitschy but lovable) story-lines. Since it came on air in September 2009, Glee has invited the audience to ponder such issues as gay rights, women’s empowerment, anorexia, physical and mental disability, chronic illness, peer pressure, bullying, issues related to performance-enhancing drugs, teen pregnancy, and more.
To be admired further, the Glee cast backs up their in-character explorations of social issues with real-life public service announcements and service. In my opinion, Glee’s approach to awareness-raising for causes feels deliberate, but not forced down the audience’s throat.
My questions are: In what ways might Glee have inspired offline/off-air action in its audience members towards some of the issues it addresses? And, of course, how can Glee further use its awesome musical powers of audience-enchanting for good?