I don’t know about you, but I was feeling kind of warm and fuzzy inside after Wednesday night’s “Wheels” episode of “Glee.” In case you missed it, the gleeks had to roll around in wheelchairs for three hours a day to be more empathetic toward Artie. The Cheerios accepted a cheerleader with Down’s syndrome. And Kurt auditioned to sing the “Defying Gravity” solo, even though it’s traditionally sung by a woman, for sectionals. The central theme of the episode was inequality and discrimination. While it was glossy in that “Glee” sort of way, I still found it thought-provoking. But not everyone is singing praises about the show. Seems like all the episode did was inspire controversy. On Wednesday night’s episode, Kurt Hummel struggled with the issue of what it means to be gay in a small town. He decided to throw his audition for the “Defying Gravity” solo after his father received a threatening phone call about his sexual orientation. After seeing this storyline, I was thinking, “Props to FOX for going there.” But then, in a totally hypocritical move, FOX execs tried to conceal Chris Colfer’s (the actor that plays Kurt) sexual orientation. In a recent interview with The Advocate, Chris inadvertently admitted to being gay. FOX execs were not happy about his openness on the subject. They even asked The Advocate to pull part of the interview, saying, “They’re very protective of their young stars. And while the studio is pro-gay, they didn’t want Chris stamped with a ‘gay actor’ label so early in his career. They want him to be known simply as an ‘actor.’”
But things got even worse. After seeing the episode, which included a version of “Proud Mary” with the entire glee club in wheelchairs, disabled viewers were not singing along. Why? They were offended by all of the able-bodied actors in wheelchairs—especially Kevin McHale, who plays Artie. They believe that FOX has deprived disabled actors of their shot at stardom. Executive producer Brad Falchuk shot back: “We brought in anyone: white, black, Asian, in a wheelchair. It was very hard to find people who could really sing, really act, and have that charisma you need on TV.” [US Weekly, Celebitchy]
Where do you stand on these “Glee” controversies?