Two organizations have come out swinging against teen sex on tonight’s Glee.
The watchdogs at the Parents Television Council slammed the show for an episode that depicts two young couples — one straight, one gay — having sex for the first time. The organization says its objection has nothing to do with the gender of the characters, just their ages.
“The fact that Glee intends to not only broadcast, but celebrate children having sex is reprehensible,” said PTC president Tim Winter. “The gender of the high school characters involved is irrelevant. Teen sex is now more prevalent on TV than adult sex and Glee is only playing into that trend. Research proves that television is a teen sexual super peer that can, and likely will, influence a teen’s decision to become sexually active. Fox knows the show inherently attracts kids; celebrating teen sex constitutes gross recklessness.”
While the PTC claims their protest is not provoked by the show’s gay inclusive content, another outspoken group objects to Glee depicting a same-sex couple. The Culture and Media Institute, which has a history of opposing gay marriage, wrote in an editorial today that Glee has “waged a relentless campaign of liberal propaganda and pushing the boundaries of what’s acceptable on broadcast TV” and that with tonight’s episode “the show is now stepping up its campaign of homosexual promotion.”
Same-sex coupling in broadcast primetime has been shown off and on since 1989’s Thirtysomething, which showed two gay men in bed together. Teen sex has a long history, too, from Brenda and Dylan hooking up on 1990s staple Beverly Hills 90210 to The CW’s very racy Gossip Girl, which once billed itself as “every parent’s nightmare.”
But the Glee episode, titled “The First Time,” has still managed to strike some as provocative since it involves four major teen characters (including three virgins and one gay couple) having sex on a show that’s popular among young viewers and runs in the so-called 8 p.m. family hour.
“Few parents realize the creator of Glee [Ryan Murphy] also demonstrated his taste for the depths of depravity in creating [FX’s] Nip/Tuck, a program in which no taboo was too extreme to violate,” Winter added. “In fact, he stated publicly that his legacy may be to make possible a rear-entry scene on broadcast television. If past behavior is any indicator, parents can expect Glee to continue down this dangerous path.”
Winter is referring to an oft-cited 2004 quote by Murphy on a Bravo interview program where he said, “Hopefully I have made it possible for somebody on broadcast television to do a rear-entry scene in three years. Maybe that will be my legacy.”
Fox has remained silent on the headlines about tonight’s show, but Glee star Chris Colfer told EW: “I absolutely expect to hear from [protest groups] … It’s funny, I always go into this instant panic state whenever they tell me about upcoming episodes, because we always do so many delicate situations on the show. But then I get the script and we shoot it and it’s always handled so well that I never really had any reason to worry about it.”