‘Glee’ Gets ‘Naked’: Will Rachel Really Go Topless?

Glee Rachel Berry

Tonight’s episode of Glee is entitled “Naked,” so naturally every tween gleek is giggling and gasping with intrigue, while the rest of the non-Glee-watching population is rolling their eyes. In today’s TV world, Lena Dunham can run around all night with her lady buttons exposed while American Horror Story features at least one graphic rape scene per season.

Let’s face it: Pushing the boundaries when it comes to nudity is no longer an unspeakable social taboo. It’s common knowledge that sex sells. But Glee, a show that’s geared toward a teenage audience, is held to a different standard than more mature cable series. Nudity — and sex — can only be broached if its paired with a larger message. Otherwise, the series can find itself as knee-deep as Lea Michele in GQ.

So the show needs to tow a delicate line on Thursday’s episode, in which Rachel Berry, the shining star of the Glee fandom, will face one of her biggest crossroads in her character’s young life: Whether or not the 18-year-old should pose topless in a college student film. Quite the conundrum. Will Glee‘s young fans, who are currently living in a world where sex consumes hallway conversation more than science, be shocked at the very fact that Rachel is considering the option? Perhaps. But it’s more to safe to say that fans of Glee — which, at its very core, is a safe TV series — will walk away with a heart-warming message that excuses the show of its “Naked” bait. 

After all, the series has rarely talked about sex without talking about its consequences. In the first season, fans — and tween girls everywhere — watched as the confident Rachel shot down the idea of going nude. 

Glee Rachel Berry“Aside from nudity and the exploitation of animals, I’ll pretty much do anything to break into the business,” she said. 

While Rachel never went au natural throughout the next three seasons, there was plenty of hanky-panky that did go down in the halls of McKinely. Who could forget when Quinn, the head cheerleader and president of the Celibacy Club, traded in her V-card for a baby bump? Or when Puck openly tried — and succeeded! — to seduce the school’s temporary teacher Shelby Cocoran. It seems like each and every time a fictitious highschooler in Lima had some sexual scandal, he or she always had to pay the price or at least endure an awkward talk with the “I know what you’re going through” Mr. Schuester.

Three seasons and one trip to New York City later, Rachel Berry is suddenly considering shedding her clothes, separating herself from the confident identity young viewers could admire and aspire to. But has the Rachel Berry that we’ve come to know really changed so dramatically? Rachel’s mantra has always been WWBSD? — What would Barbra Streisand do? And here’s a fun fact: Streisand has shot a topless scene… but refused to allow it to be included in the movie, The Owl And The Pussycat.

So will Rachel go “Naked” tonight? If Glee‘s history has taught us anything, it’s more likely you’ll see Lindsay Lohan pop up again. (So, translation: No.) But Glee fans are a loyal bunch — no episode title bait and switch will keep them from coming back for more.

Follow Leanne on Twitter @LeanneAguilera

[Photo Credit: FOX]


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