Players: Glenn Beck and Dan Gainor, vice-president for business and culture at the Media Research Center; Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) President Jarrett Barrios.
Opening Serve: Beck recently devoted a segment of his show to explaining to his audience why Fox's Glee is simultaneously "brilliant" and "a horror show." After having watched the show twice this year, Beck has concluded that, while the show "stands for almost every value that I have," the songs are "brilliant," and every character is "somebody that your kids would want to be like," it's actually "a nightmare" because "everyone is sleeping with everybody else, there's no values, it's all about self-gratification." (It's worth pointing out that conservatives were a little irritated in the first season when character Quinn's rather heartless father--who turns her out of the house during her teenage pregnancy--was written to be a Glenn Beck fan.) Beck shows a clip from the show's recent "Born This Way" episodes in which the Glee kids sing My Chemical Romance's "Sing." He declares: "This is propaganda, and it's an anthem. It's an anthem saying join us. How can you and I possibly win against that?"
Beck wasn't the only one to criticize the show after last week's 90-minute acceptance-themed episode. In an interview with ABCNews.com, conservative media critic Dan Gainor said, "This is (creator) Ryan Murphy's latest depraved initiative to promote his gay agenda," calling the show's fictional high school setting, "the gayest high school in the history of mankind...It's a high school most parents would not want to send their kids to."
Return Volley: Jarrett Barrios, president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, defended Glee against Beck's and Gainor's criticisms. "Fair-minded Americans are tuning in by the millions to inclusive shows like Glee and Modern Family because they don't care whether someone is straight or gay--what they care about is seeing characters and stories they can relate to," said Barrios in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. "Most Americans today support full equality for their gay and lesbian friends, family and neighbors. That anti-gay critics continue to be out-of-touch with the majority and can't see that fact is no surprise."
What They Say the Fight's About: Gainor's stance is obvious: he's against Glee because of its multiple gay characters. Beck's argument is a little less clear. Somehow, Glee manages to "stand for almost every value" he has, while simultaneously espousing "no values." Beck never mentions the show's gay characters, but declares that one of their songs "is propaganda. It's an anthem saying join us." Join us in what? Barrios, obviously, stands up for the show which, he argues, is popular because of its entertainment value and not because of, nor despite, its characters' sexual preferences.
What the Fight's Really About: A clue as to what this fight's really about is the fact that both of these critiques come after the show's recent extended episode entitled "Born This Way." It was this episode, which, Digital Spy explains, "promoted a message about being tolerant towards your peers," that drove Beck and Gainor to call the show "a horror" and "a depraved initiative to promote [its] gay agenda," respectively.
Who's Winning Now: If anyone is winning its Barrios and Glee, which, unlike Beck, will be back on Fox next season. Still, Jezebel's Margaret Hartmann points out, "Barrios meant well, but he really didn't need to dignify this drivel with an answer. Americans aren't exactly hanging on Dan Gainor's every word (in fact, most don't know who he is). As for Beck, we won't have to worry about his nonsensical ramblings for much longer." Quinn Fabray's dad will be so disappointed.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.