Friday, June 11, 2010

Glee and Adoption

*SPOILER ALERT* If you are a "Glee" fan and have not seen this season's finale...continue reading at your own risk...

I admit it.  I started watching Fox Network's "Glee"...and I'm hooked. I know that the plot lines are so "high school," but, hey, it's set in...a high school! I can overlook the juvenile drama because I love the singing. Anyone who was, is or will be an a cappella/show choir fan will love this show for performances. And the tunes are classics so you can sing-along. What could be better?

Another thing that I applaud the show for is its attempt to address teenage issues, at the risk of leaning into discomfort at times: teenage pregnancy, sexuality (gay/straight), physical limitations (one of the characters is in a wheelchair), fitting in/being comfortable with who you are, etc. One of these issues is the adoption triad: adoptee, birth parent (two fathers - who are never seen) and birth mother.

Now - on to the finale, which aired on Tuesday, June 8. I have to admit, at one point I changed the channel to the NBA Finals because it just got too ridiculous for me. Our teenage pregnant mother (Quinn Fabray) went into labor during the Regional competition. Her whole birthing scene was paralleled by cut-aways to the show choir rival Vocal Adrenaline's performance of Queen's "Bohemian Rapsody," even to the point of her pushing when the lyrics scream "Let him/me go." It was absurd. Later I had to explain to my two sons that: 1) even Mommy's *quick* labor took 8 hours, not 8 minutes. 2) most women in labor take much longer, even up to 36 hours or more (ohhhh, they said).

All that being said, Quinn decided to choose adoption instead of parent her baby. And, as was quite serendipitous, the woman who adopted the baby was the rival show choir's coach, Shelby Corcoran, who chose adoption for her own child many years ago. Quinn, as far as we know, does not know that Shelby has adopted her biological daughter. 

Now, here's my beef: 
After Quinn has given birth (all of 8 minutes), she goes straight back to school and sings with the glee club - as the focus has now shifted to the fact that they lost the Regional Competition, must disband the glee club and say goodbye to Mr. Schue (their teacher). 

Seriously? Again, perhaps my expectations are too high for this show, but this representation of the birth mother was maddening. Especially after they portrayed the adoption reunion between Rachel (lead singer in New Direction) and her birth mother so well, I thought.  The twist in this story line is that Rachel's biological mother is Shelby (see above).

Quinn's birth and relinquishment (sorry, I know it's not the PC language...but it's an accurate descriptor from Quinn's perspective) showed the peachy-peachy side of the adoption process and made it appear that is was "no sweat" to chose adoption for your child. See, girls, you can get pregnant, make an adoption plan, and be right as rain immediately afterwards. Just go sing with your friends - no worries! No post-partum depression. No hormone changes. No regrets. No feelings of loss. All is right with the world.

Glee: if you're going to attack the complex issues of teenage-dom, then do it right. Don't hollywood-glamorize them! I'm willing to wait until next season to see if you address this. But if not, I may have to stop watching you, Glee.

Did anyone else watch this season finale? If not, watch it here on Hulu.

What do you think about this?

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