Idol Chatter

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Fox’s high school musical series “ Glee” captured my interest with its fabulous pilot last spring, and I have remained a pretty loyal fan of the show since then in spite of its uneven storytellng. I haven’t been a big fan of certain storylines like the Glee coach’s wife’s face pregnancy and sometimes the darker notes of the show mixed with the silliness of the musical numbers has seemed a little off to me. But last night’s episode left me speechless. It was perhaps one of the best hour’s of television I have watched – ever. Really. The episode, which focused on disabilities in many shapes and forms, could have gone so horribly wrong in so many ways , but instead was funny, heartbreaking, profound , yet decidedly not preachy or maudlin. The episode was indeed a “game changer” as creator Ryan Murphy told the L.A. Times making “Glee” not only funny and sassy but also deeply, socially relevant.

In last night’s episode, glee club director Will tries to engage his members in a teachable moment by making his members walk in someone else’s shoes – or actually roll in them. They are all confined to wheelchairs in the same way that the one disabled member of the group, Artie, is so they can understand what he overcomes all of the time. There are some predictable moments with this stunt, but this is overshadowed by the way this idea of understanding disabilities and our definitions of them spills into other story lines.
Wannabe Broadway diva Kurt, who recently came out of the closet to his dad, is still trying to feel comfortable in his own skin as a gay teen. A girl with a mental disability tries out for cheerleading and to everyone’s surprise the Cherrios’s coach – Cruella De Ville in sweats – actually lets the girl practice and pushes the girl in practice even though others disagree with her decision. In Kurt’s storyline we see that it is perhaps dad who stil has an emotional disability in dealing with his kid’s orientation and in the second storyline we see that compassion and kindness is not necessarily what will empower those who have to overcome more limitations than some of the rest of us.
During all of the magic moments from last night’s “Glee,” I kept thinking of how I have never seen such a beautiful montage of characters that represent the biblical promise that the last shall be first and that if we have done something to whomever we consider to be the “least” , then we have done that to Christ.
I have heard that some of these characters – like the girl trying out for cheerleading – will actually recur in their storyline.And that makes me believe “Glee” is about to be come much more than a campy one-hit wonder.

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