Image Credit: Adam Rose/FoxAny straight lady or gay man in Glee‘s audience (i.e. the vast majority of Glee‘s audience) had to enjoy last night’s Rocky Horror Picture Show-themed episode, and not because they love “The Time Warp.” We were treated to not one, not even two, but three extensive shirtless-hunk scenes. And yes, I’m including Cory Monteith in that count, despite poor Finn’s insecurities about showing off his body. Finn, you looked darn good to me strutting down the hall in your underwear! Not only that, but you made the episode that perfect Glee balance between provocative and educational: The only thing better than three attractive men doffing their shirts is three attractive men doffing their shirts for a good cause, this one being a sweet lesson in male body issues.
Men are certainly objectified more than they used to be. (Still not nearly as much as women; see Glee‘s hotly debated GQ photo shoot for example.) These days, we see far more men with their shirts off just for the heck of it in magazine photo shoots and movies (we blame you, Matthew McConaughey!) and on TV (hi, True Blood!). Glee provided us with a smart, reasoned locker-room discussion on the issue, particularly from Artie: “I personally blame the Internet,” he said, curling a dumbbell from his wheelchair. “Once Internet porn was invented, girls could watch without having to make that embarrassing trip to the video store. Internet porn altered the female brain chemistry, making them more like men, and thus more concerned with our bodies.” I don’t know about the science behind that, and porn’s done at least as much damage to girls’ body images, but he’s got a great point. Six-packs are considered the new standard, and they’re almost as hard to get — especially for body types not predisposed to ripped muscles and zero body fat — as the super-skinny/big-breasted ideal presented for women.
Of course, it could be considered hypocritical to present an episode about body image featuring the exact ideals its skewering: Only a guy with Chord Overstreet’s super-human torso could rock those gold short-shorts, and good god, the image of Matt Morrison’s pecs is permanently seared on my cortex after that sexy Will-and-Emma number. And as I mentioned, even the “dough boy” in the episode, Monteith, has abs most regular guys would be thrilled to have. But I also think it made the point that even guys face impossible standards these days — maybe seeing Finn disrobe after all his talk of insecurity, and seeing how great he looked, helped some girls realize that parts of themselves that make them uncomfortable still look pretty hot to guys. And, hey, the episode certainly provided more teachable moments than your average egregious volleyball or locker room scene.
What did you think, PopWatchers? Shirtless Glee guys: Educational, hot, or both?