Update: Glee showrunner Ryan Murphy is chiming in amidst all this PTC commotion, delivering a bit of a blow to the organization’s logic. In a discussion with EW, Murphy said of the episode, “I think what it says to a lot of young gay people who are confused and ashamed is that you can get love and are worthy of love.”
Though the PTC said they take no issue with the genders of the students involved in the controvercial act at the center of “The First Time,” their argument does focus solely on the sex and not the important relationships the series focuses on. Murphy steers the discussion away from the purely sexual aspect of the PTC’s reservations about the episode and directs the attention at the heart of the matter. That’s certainly one way to shut ’em up.
Earlier: It’s been a while since we’ve heard from the Parents Television Council, what with the triumph of the now-defunct Playboy Club’s demise. Of course, there is always a new way to agitate the organization and we should have seen this instance coming from a mile away. The PTC is now targetting Glee for tonight’s episode, “First Time,” in which Rachel loses her virginity to Finn and Kurt and Blaine lose their virginity to each other. You’ve got a handful of hot-button topics there, so it was bound to ruffle a feather or two.
Despite the fact that many previews of the Nov. 8 episode profess the tasteful, romantic way in which these scenes are presented, it seems all the PTC can see is sex. Their concerns lie in what they call the “celebration” of teen sex. The organization is concerned that the scenes on Glee will convince teens to do what their out-of-control hormones are already begging of them. Here’s the official statement the PTC gave to Fox News:
The fact that ‘Glee’ intends to not only broadcast, but celebrate children having sex is reprehensible. The gender of the high school characters involved is irrelevant. Teen sex is now more prevalent on TV than adult sex and ‘Glee’ is only playing into that trend. Research proves that television is a teen sexual super peer that can, and likely will, influence a teen’s decision to become sexually active. Fox knows the show inherently attracts kids; celebrating teen sex constitutes gross recklessness.
It’s understandable that some parents would worry about their children getting ideas from teen sex on television, but the notion that these are “children having sex” is a bit much. Let’s put into perspective that these characters are in their last years of high school, which means they’ve either reached the age when they’re no longer legally children or they’re about to. They’re not 13 years old — they’re 17 and 18 year-olds and the series is depicting the reality of many long-term high school romances. And of course, Chris Colfer (Kurt) is aware that subject matter of this sort could spark some controversy, but he told Billboard magazine he was confident that the situation is handled appropriately:
We get negative reactions if I wear an orange scarf with white pants! So I’m sure there will be some negative feedback, there always is no matter what the episode is about. I think it’s a huge deal that this is the first time something like this has been shown on television, but I think it’s handled so delicately and sweetly that I don’t think it will have quite the shock factor that people are thinking.
Despite the PTC protestations, “First Time” will air tonight, Nov. 8 on Fox at 8 p.m. ET/PT.