Well, it is Random Thought Thursday here at the Yak and I figured we could talk about the Glee drama off screen (which many would argue is more intriguing than what’s gone on screen so far this season). If you’ve been living in a bubble lately, you might have missed the news, but three of Glee’s biggest stars have taken the spotlight lately and it’s not because of the T&A that got them on screen in the first place. I was talking talent and ambition (clever pun GQ). It’s a different kind of T&A that has put them front and center now – yes, the one you’re actually thinking about.
Glee is a show about teenagers in a “typical” Midwestern high school. It’s a show that has said it’s OK to be different. A show that has empowered the “geeks” and the “nerds.” A show that has given power to a different high school crowd, different from the jocks and the cheerleaders. Glee has been the show that has challenged questions many young people face in high school. Questions regarding sex, individuality, sexual orientation, relationships, friendships, familial hardships and more. While Glee is no token and perfect family show, it has arguably changed the TV landscape in more ways than just by adding the musical aspect.
A couple weeks ago, GQ released photos of their latest photo shoot for their November 2010 edition feating Cory Monteith (Finn), Lea Michele (Rachel) and Dianna Agron (Quinn). In less than one week, those photos garnered over 33 million page visits. Not long after publication, sparks flew all over the internet regarding how racy the photos are. (If you haven’t seen them, click HERE. Remember, they are GQ photos. View wisely). Of course, seeing that GQ is an adult male’s magazine, the “racy” side came from Michele and Agron. Photos of Michele posing in her underwear in a high school locker room with a lollipop in her mouth were quite suggestive in nature. Sexy cheerleader Quinn shows her stuff in the school gym. And of course a picture or two of the girls leaning in suggestively on Monteith.
The question became, more than anything, Why? That simple. Glee arguably has the most hype of any TV show on any of the major networks right now, so it can’t be this was used as a publicity stunt. Can it? If it wasn’t for publicity, then what was it for? To prove that these actors and actresses can do more than just sing? If so, were the crotch shots even necessary? Now to this Glee fan, the question is not whether it was appropriate, which is a legitimate concern considering the show’s main fan base (the younger, teenaged crowd). However, GQ is an adult male magazine, so if the magazine is going to be left around the house for all to see, I think that’s more of a parenting issue than anything. Then again, the internet is a wonderful and dangerous place. It’s tough to keep it hidden for long from younger eyes. Again, I’m not entirely sure that’s the issue here. These actors are adults and can pose in a photo shoot freely, so I’m not going to hop on the train that this borders pedophilia. They are NOT high school students; they merely play high school students on a hit TV show. There is a different between television and reality so that argument doesn’t fly with me.
That said, there still seems to be no point. I mean, these pictures made the over-sexed Britney Spears episode this season look more innocent than Katy Perry’s cleavage on Sesame Street. The shoot just seemed to have come out of nowhere. Not long after the pictures surfaced, Dianna Agron issued a public apology (which will be posted in it’s entirety at the end of this article). Many will argue an apology is not necessary, and while that may or may not be true, it at least shows a sense of maturity, in my opinion. Still, at the crux of it all, the photo shoot was just not Glee. It felt forced. It felt fake and it felt superficial. And for it to feel more superficial than the TV show itself says something. It was just a whole bunch of wrong.
When asked about the situation, Jane Lynch, who plays Sue Sylvester, touched on how young girls shouldn’t have gotten their hands on an issue of the magazine anyways, but she also mentioned something else. “I think whenever you put a woman scantily clad in underwear,” said Lynch, “it makes a lot of other girls and women feel badly about themselves, so it should be done with great consciousness.” Again, though, I don’t even think that was the issue. The issue was just that it was not of substance. The shoot seemed to have no purpose. It was like Michele and Agron decided to dress up for Halloween and take pictures. I don’t even think the issue was that it makes young girls feel bad about their thighs or that it was on the verge of soft porn. It was just unnecessary. Plain and simple.
I typically enjoy the show’s over-dramatic story lines and over-the-top musical numbers, but this stunt (and that’s what I’ll call it) was too much. It just didn’t need to happen. For a number of reasons. What do you think Yakksters? Was this blown out of proportion? Was there anything wrong with the GQ ad? Do you think it sends a bad message to young teen girls or are you on the train that it was just not needed? Let us know what you think below and join our FORUMS to discuss the matter with us!
Diana Agron’s apology:
“I’d like to start by saying that these are solely my thoughts on the November issue of GQ and the controversy that has surrounded its release. I am not a representative of the three of us, the show, or Fox, only myself.
In the land of Madonna, Britney, Miley, Gossip Girl, other public figures and shows that have pushed the envelope and challenged the levels of comfort in their viewers and fans… we are not the first. Now, in perpetuating the type of images that evoke these kind of emotions, I am sorry. If you are hurt or these photos make you uncomfortable, it was never our intention. And if your 8-year-old has a copy of our GQ cover in hand, again I am sorry. But I would have to ask, how on earth did it get there?
I was a very sheltered child, and was not aware of anything provocative or risque in the media while I was navigating through my formative years. When I was finally allowed to watch a movie like Grease, I did not even understand what on earth Rizzo was talking about!? I understand that in today’s world of advanced technology, the internet, our kids can be subject to very adult material at the click of a button. But there are parental locks, and ways to get around this. I am 24 years old. I have been a pretty tame and easy-going girl my whole life. Nobody is perfect, and these photos do not represent who I am. I am also not the girl who rolls out of bed with flawless makeup and couture clothing. I am most comfortable with my hair thrown on top of my head, in sweats, laughing with my friends. Glee is a show that represents the underdogs, which is a feeling I have embraced much of my own life, and to those viewers, the photos in GQ don’t give them that same feeling. I understand completely.
For GQ, they asked us to play very heightened versions of our school characters. A ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’ version. At the time, it wasn’t my favorite idea, but I did not walk away. I must say, I am trying to live my life with a sharpie marker approach. You can’t erase the strokes you’ve made, but each step is much bolder and more deliberate. I’m moving forward from this one, and after today, putting it to rest. I am only myself, I can only be me. These aren’t photos I am going to frame and put on my desk, but hey, nor are any of the photos I take for magazines. Those are all characters we’ve played for this crazy job, one that I love and am so fortunate to have, each and every day. If you asked me for my dream photo shoot, I’d be in a treehouse, in a wild costume, war-paint and I’d be playing with my pet dragon. Until then…..”