Wednesday, October 13, 2010

    What's So Great About "Glee?" Pt. 2



    Not too long ago I was praising the hit tv show "Glee" for tackling teen issues that other shows won't touch.  Now they've done it again with the recent episode "Grilled Cheesus."  The action begins with Finn, the jock-turned-Gleek, discovering an image of Jesus burned into the toast of his grilled cheese sandwich.  He begins praying to this toasted icon and, sure enough, everything he wishes prays for comes true!  Finn's new-found faith sets off a chain reaction of feelings amongst the Glee kids,  some who are religious, some not, including Kurt whose father is lying in a hospital bed dying. 

    Throughout the episode we see both the positives and negatives of the Christian faith -- the life-destroying judgment that some churches perpetuate, and the loving community that helps us through the tough times of life.  And, as an added bonus, we get to see some of the characters espouse perfect examples of moralist therapeutic deism (like in the clip above).  What other tv show would give over a whole episode to an examination of cultural attitudes toward religion coupled with music by Billy Joel?  

    4 comments:

    bethegospel said...

    I was a fan of Glee before this episode because of all the issues that they tackled too. During the episode I wasn't sure if I was a fan. After the episode I realized I was still a fan despite the open "hazing" that Christianity received. it shows me what issues I need to tackle with my youth as well.

    bethegospel said...

    I was a fan of Glee before this episode because of all the issues that they tackled too. During the episode I wasn't sure if I was a fan. After the episode I realized I was still a fan despite the open "hazing" that Christianity received. it shows me what issues I need to tackle with my youth as well.

    benjermcveigh.com said...

    Thanks for highlighting this, Brian. As my wife reminds me, it's good to occasionally watch what many students are watching, so we watched this episode on Hulu last night.

    First, I agree (from just this episode, it's the first time I've seen the show) that they tackle real teen issues, which is good. I tutor at a local high school on Tuesdays, and some of the conversations on spirituality were actually pretty in line with the conversations I get to listen in on each week.

    Second, and this may be obvious but worth noting, the Christian worldview that was represented was narrow and caricatured (which, to be fair, seems to be par for the course for most of the students represented in Glee). Not surprising, but a good reminder to me that we need to help students analyze worldviews. I would hope that students in our group that follow Jesus would think, "Hey! They're not talking about the Jesus I see in the Gospels!" In fact, the message of the Christian gospel singer at the end (during the church service) boiled down to, "Even if you don't believe what I do, you've got to believe in something, because that's what's going to help you survive." THAT is a great example of MTD, perhaps more so than the "Grilled Cheesus" scenes. Which were hilarious, I have to admit.

    Brian said...

    Thanks all for commenting. I think this episode may have been more helpful in giving us a snapshot of how unchurched youth see and understand the Christian faith. The episode really highlighted the secular caricatures of Christianity, which our youth bump up against every where they go. Benjer, thanks for the observation about the gospel song at the end. I hadn't considered that as an example of MTD but you are absolutely right!