Guest post by Jacob Gutnicki
What’s wrong with Glee you ask? On the surface it seems innocent enough. This show features students singing rock and pop classics with their own music styling’s in which a motley crew of High School students are grappling with being accepted by their peers. To their credit, the actors and actresses playing the kids are a delight.
It’s the adults I take issue with. Something has to be done about the adults. Let’s start with the Principal. Principal Figgins plays an inept out of touch administrator. If that is not enough, every teacher in the building has significant social-emotional issues. The message of the writer is clear. It is no wonder why our students are failing. Look at their teachers. They are a bunch of losers!
To be fair, I understand it’s a television show with elements of humor. I also understand that some teachers do have significant issues. I myself have written about such subject matters. However, I think Glee’s depiction of educators are often irresponsible at best and more likely feeds into a political narrative that is bent on disrespecting all that teachers do. Additionally, the core audience for this show is the youth we teach. One should also keep in mind other current shows such as the Simpsons lampoons teachers and administrators as buffoons. With this in mind, I would suggest that the Glee writers take a cue from “The Wire”. This show presented an honest look at the challenges and opportunities teaching inner city kids presents. At the same time, it did not resort to the disrespecting the work of pedagogues.
Having said that, I do not truly hate Glee. However, I think it is important to raise awareness of these issues as the subtle narrative left unchecked reinforces some of the worst behaviors that certain political operatives enjoy fibbing about. In the end, there are many issues with respect to education that require review. However, addressing such issues must be done with honesty and not foolish rhetoric.