TV: The Underlying Message in Glee’s “The Rocky Horror Glee Show” Episode.

 

Who would’ve thought that an episode of Glee centring around The Rocky Horror Picture Show could be a catalyst for discussing male body image?

Not me, but that seems to be the underlying message in this week’s episode.

When Mr. Schuester announces to the glee club that they will be performing Rocky Horror after Emma tells him she went to see it with her new beau Carl, Rachel is quick to announce that she and Finn will be playing Janet and Brad. Finn is all for this until he realised he’ll have to perform much of the show in his “tighty-whiteys”. Santana and Brittany comment on this, saying they can’t wait to see Finn’s “hot mess” of a body as a result of eating sloppy joes for lunch everyday, in comparison to Sam’s rippling abs accompanied by gold hot pants in his role as Rocky. (If Cory Monteith had put on weight to give Finn an actual “hot mess” of a body, it might’ve lent his storyline more credibility.)

Finn voices his concerns to Rachel who, in her usual selfish ways, tells him that she doesn’t look like Brittany or Santana, but she’s still stripping down to her underwear, and she loves his body just the way it is.

In the locker-room, Finn broaches the subject again with Sam and Artie. As Sam is donning hot pants, he obviously doesn’t have many body image issues (until later in the episode, when Schuester suggests he play another character as the role is too risqué for a high schooler, which Sam misinterprets as him being too fat to pull off his costume), however Artie blames porn for warping females’ perceptions of male bodies:

“I personally blame the internet. 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.”

Sounds an awful lot like Naomi Wolf’s argument about porn and its affect on the male brain chemistry, making them more concern with the female body and what it can do for them.

Elsewhere, at the beginning of the episode when the kids are choosing their roles, everyone thinks it would be fitting to have Kurt play Frank N. Furter, to which Kurt replies:

“There’s no way I’m playing a transvestite in high heels and fishnet wearing lipstick,”

as apparently being the only gay man in the club means automatically defaulting to play the tranny. This is particularly poignant, as there is still a lot of misunderstanding in the mainstream about gay, bi, trans etc. people and what exactly their gender roles entail.

Related: Is There Really a Beauty Myth?

The Underlying Message in Glee’s “Duets” Episode.

The Underlying Message in Glee’s “Grilled Cheesus” Episode.

The Underlying Message in Glee’s “Britney/Brittany” Episode.

Elsewhere: [MamaMia] Male Models: Inside Their Straaaange World.

[Jezebel] Glee: Sexy & Scary In All The Wrong Ways.

[Boob Tube] Glee in Pictures: Rocky Horror Glee Show.

TV: The Underlying Message in Glee’s “Grilled Cheesus” Episode.

 

I have been quite impressed with Glee’s second season thus far, as evidenced by my last review of the show.

Last night’s episode, which aired two weeks ago in the States, due to Ten’s commitment to the Commonwealth Games, dealt with Kurt’s dad Burt having a heart attack and lapsing into a coma, and how the members of the glee club felt about using religion to comfort Kurt and themselves.

Unlike many of last season’s episodes, “a nuanced discussion of religion prevent[ed] Glee from slipping into After School Special mode,” with creator Ryan Murphy explaining that “every time somebody said something anti-religion, we made sure somebody said something pro[-religion]”.

While I’m not so pro-religion myself, and definitely took Kurt’s side when he said “… the reason I don’t go to church is because most churches don’t think very much of gay people. Or women. Or science,” the show “accomplished a prime-time first: an episode that was… sympathetic to both believers and non-believers” and didn’t risk potentially alienating a subset of its audience.

Surprisingly, though, Sue Sylvester was in agreement with Kurt’s plight, “because she finds signing religious songs on school property inappropriate” and believes that “pushing religion on Kurt is amoral,” needless to say, because of her own experiences being angry with God for her sister’s disability.

While I shared Kurt’s discomfort at having his friends pray for Burt in his hospital room without Kurt’s consent, and Mercedes luring him into God’s house with the promise of wearing a “fabulous hat”, the overall message was that even if you don’t believe in religion (can I get an amen?), you’ve got to believe in something.

And Kurt did realise that he believes in something: he believes in his father. Echoing his beautifuland dare I say, betterrendition of The Beatles’ “I Want To Hold Your Hand”, which harkened back to Burt holding Kurt’s hand at his mother’s funeral, Kurt takes his dad’s hand and, if by some sort of miracle, Burt’s hand twitches.

I suppose I should also mention that all this religion is brought about by Finn seeing Jesus’ likeness in his burnt grilled cheese sandwich, which he believes has magical powers because everything he wishes for comes true. But at this point, I’m so over Rachel and Finn; it’s all about Brittany, bitch!

Related: The Underlying Messages of Glee’s “Britney/Brittany” Episode.

Elsewhere: [Jezebel] Glee: You’ve Got to Have Faith… In Grilled Cheese.

[Jezebel] How Glee Can Save Itself Next Season.

[BoobTube] Glee in Pictures: Grilled Cheesus.