TAG | Fox
I had to put some generic title on this post because of …
SPOILER ALERT: if you have not seen the Glee episode from last night (Season 3, Episode 14) titled “On My Way” and if you do not want to be spoiled, stop reading.
In making the usual rounds through my Facebook and Twitter feeds this morning, I quickly found out that I had missed something big on Glee yesterday—and it involved Dave Karofsky, the former football bully that we all discovered was gay in the early part of season 2.
I have not kept up with the show, but I do know the Karofsky character, played by Max Adler, has had a recurring (though, not consistent) role on the show and that he has gone through quite an evolution since his days of being a slushy-throwing bully. He had apologized to Kurt, tried to reform, faced the pressures of being in the closet, transferred schools (I think), and was started to get comfortable in his skin (at one point he discovered and announced that he was a “bear cub”). [If any Gleek wants to correct and/or fill in those details for me, let me know.]
Fast forward to this week’s episode. Knowing a bit of the background and that something worthy of blowing up my timelines involved Karofsky, I had to check it out.
I was treated to one of the most intense few minutes of a television show that I’ve ever witnessed. Juxtaposed against Blaine, played by Darren Criss, belting out a version of “Cough Syrup,” originally performed by Young the Giant, Karofsky is outed, confronted by his entire football team, and then, well, just watch.
Watch the segment [you may need to authorize a Windows Media plug-in to do so, and if that doesn’t work, you can download the clip]:
The looks on his teammates faces. The shoulder check into the lockers. The proverbial option of fight or flight. Cyberbullying. Depression. Feeling helpless. Attempted suicide.
All of that packaged into just over 3 minutes of the show.
And all of it being the consequence of a homophobic athletic culture (in this context) and repeated in so many others throughout society.
I believe the show did a masterful job handling the discussions following the attempt. In fact, I do not know how they could have done this any better.
The brief scene of his dad finding him, and as Sue describes, “the helplessness of that feeling.” Too often, the discussion around bullying and gay suicide is in statistics or religious freedoms. I bet that not a single legislator or advocate that promotes things like the religious exemption to allow bullying has ever imagined that sort of emotion or truly tried to sympathize with the struggle. Real people (or actors portraying issues that I promise you are real) need to become the issue more than any statistic or nuanced interpretation of some legal statute. Real emotions, real pain, real struggle, real inequality.
Continuing on, to presumably ease a bit of the guilt for the faculty, the principal suggests, “it wasn’t our job to know.” But the response is the better one: “then whose job was it?”
That “job”—the one that asks us to be there for our peers, for the youth, for anyone—belongs to everyone. I will be the first to admit that I need to do a better job of it. We all need to do a better job of it. How many have witnessed bullying and stood idly by? How often have we not leant an ear to someone that just needs to talk? We all get caught up in our agendas or obligations; we are scared to open up to others or to allow others to open up to us.
I love how the episode had a group of faculty meeting followed by a group of students. The issue affects both, and the perspective offered by each is incredible. The guilt that Kurt feels is something that everyone who knows anyone that has attempted suicide feels. Could I have reached out to them? Did I ignore them once recently? It is so, so tough.
After much song and dance—of course, it is Glee after all, and it was the “regionals” episode—there was another particularly powerful scene near the end of the episode where Kurt goes to visit Karofsky in the hospital [or download]:
Okay, this scene probably tore me up more than the average person because that scene that Kurt describes and Karofsky envisions—the one being an openly gay sports agent with the partner and the adorable boy—was, for a time, my dream. While I worked for Leigh Steinberg, I would ask myself two competing questions: (1) could I stay in the closet to pursue being an agent or (2) could I be out and still work in sports. While my career path has changed somewhat (not that I’d turn down option #2!) and needless to say, this scene affected me quite a bit.
I also heard that this PSA from Daniel Radcliffe and The Trevor Project aired during the episode (and of course it is awesome):
And continuing with the theme of how great a job Glee, and its characters, are doing on the subject of bullying, here are the “It Gets Better” videos from Max Adler and Chris Colfer:
Michael Strahan, former Super Bowl Champion of the New York Giants and current NFL analyst for Fox’s NFL Sunday, and his wife Nicole Murphy support marriage equality.
The couple delivered this message:
MS: “I’m Michael Strahan.”
NM: “I’m Nicole Murphy. And we are New Yorkers for marriage equality.”
MS: “As a defensive end for the New York Giants, I always played the game tough but fair. And I feel it’s unfair to stop committed couples from getting married.”
NM: “Please join us and support marriage equality for all New Yorkers.”
MS: “We believe everyone should have the right to get married…”
NM: “… just as we do.”
Please follow Michael Strahan on Twitter (@michaelstrahan) where he is already defending himself for making this video.
One of his followers (@saltman129) attacked his decision, Tweeting hateful, ignorant remarks in a string:
 @michaelstrahan How could you post a video depicting “marriage equality?” Do you even understand what you are promoting; what you are…  potentially helping to destroy? It’s unfortunate, that because you are a well-known athlete, folks are going to be  influenced by your words (oh the halo effect never fails). Please seriously think about what you are doing when voicing  your opinions such an important issue as marriage!  As much as you say this is your opinion; it’s about an objective truth that we are talking about…something God has made
To which Strahan—who’s Twitter bio line is, “If you have a life you dont have time to hate!!”—responded: @saltman129 You have ur opinion and I have mine!! I’m my own man so what I support is important to me. I respect ur opinion but mine differs
In response to the string of nationally reported suicides of GLBT youth, Mike Chababla, defenseman on the Houston Dynamo, recently added his name and celebrity to the NOH8 photo campaign, as Fox26 reports.
In the interview, posted below, Chababla had this to say:
“It was actually quite an honor when I got offered to do this. But most importantly, it’s not a republican issue or a democratic issue; I mean, simply enough, it’s just a human right issue. And I think it’s something that this country is based off, and equality is everything. So just being involved in that sense – obviously being here in Houston and obviously Texas a very conservative state, if you will – just to be involved with these guys and to spread the cause on such a great campaign and issue, it’s pretty important for me. So, I’m happy to be here.”
I love the reporters enthusiasm on the topic as well. And I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for the photos posting on the NOH8 website.
While the big buildup to season 2 of Glee – for me at least – was the introduction of a gay quarterback, the story that dominated episode 1 was the introduction of a female football coach.
I decided to splice together the scenes with or pertaining to the football coach, in the event you do not watch the show. You can view the segments here: http://www.widerights.com/download/GleeFootballCoach or watch the entire episode here: http://www.fox.com/glee/full-episodes/611139857001/audition
Sure, there is an abundance of stereotyping, but in a 1-hour show they were able to delve into numerous themes and create significant depth for the character: she’s tough, she has a history of winning, she’s has not been welcomed at previous schools, and she did NOT molest a cheerleader (thank you for addressing this so early in the season).
Having a female football coach became a real-life issue when Coolidge High, a Washington D.C. high school, selected Natalie Randolph as their new coach earlier this year. Randolph joined a short-list of female head football coaches in this country: she became the second.
San Francisco 49er Vernon Davis, who grew up near Coolidge High, didn’t like the idea, Tweeting, “Football is a mans sport way, not woman. That’s why there is cheerleading and other things.” and “Females can do anything, but a boy will respond to a man better than a woman when partcipating in this game of football.”
I hope Glee is able to change the hearts of those who share in Davis’s blatant uninformed and unfair stereotyping.
It is no secret that media, especially TV shows, can play a significant role in shaping our society. We are able to grasp ideas and topics more easily once we become accustomed to seeing them more regularly. We are less threatened when we can evaluate the situation from the comfort of our own homes.
For these reasons, I commend the creators and writers of Glee for challenging the gender norms of a male-dominated field (and for having a gay quarterback on the football team when they get to that story.) (And yes, I know they technically already had a gay guy on the football team when Kurt joined, but that was more of a gimmicky plotline than what I expected from this new character.)
I made sure to watch this week’s episode of ‘Bones’ titled, “The Dentist in the Ditch,” because Cyd Zeigler from Outsports tipped off that the show was going to have a storyline about gay football players. Now that you can watch the entire episode online, I wanted to pass the story along.
It takes a while to get to the storyline about gays in sports, and there are some sub-plot stories between the characters that you probably only care about if you follow the show week-to-week. Overall, however, I’m pleased with the presentation and statement the episode made.
The female lead, played by Emily Deschanel, delivers several lines that seem unnatural in the script (or maybe just in the delivery). Regardless, the lines carried with them a strong message challenging the stereotypes that gays in sports so frequently are faced with, and I am glad they were included.
It would not surprise me if Zeigler, who is friends with a consulting producer on the show, helped get some of these themes addressed by the episode. Maybe as a gesture of thanks to Zeigler for the assist, several of the characters in the episode were named after people in his life (him, his partner, etc).
That is pretty cool, if you ask me, and having met Cyd recently, I have to say he deserves a nifty little tribute like this. He’s been very supportive of what I am trying to do here and is always willing to offer advice.