So I’m making the rounds, reading my favorite blogs, checking out interesting tweets and I come upon a story from Huffington Post: Kings Of Leon Vs. ‘Glee’: Nathan Followill FIRES BACK At Ryan Murphy In Homophobic Rant.
A few months ago, it seems, the Glee folks asked the Kings of Leon — you know them — they sing a bunch of songs you hear on the radio — to let them cover some of their hits. The Kings of Leon declined. There. Done. Should have been over. Having a song covered on Glee isn’t for everyone. But nope, it wasn’t. This week’s Hollywood Reporter has a cover story about Glee. Ryan Murphy, the creator of Glee was quoted pretty far down in the piece where the author talks about how some bands and artists don’t want to have their music used on the show.
Then there are artists whose catalogs are off-limits. Glee’s best-known rejection: Kings of Leon, who rarely license their music. Murphy’s message to nonbelievers the Followill brothers? “F— you, Kings of Leon,” he says, raising the volume of his monotonal interview voice ever so lightly. “They’re self-centered assholes, and they missed the big picture. They missed that a 7-year-old kid can see someone close to their age singing a Kings of Leon song, which will maybe make them want to join a glee club or pick up a musical instrument. It’s like, OK, hate on arts education. You can make fun of Glee all you want, but at its heart, what we really do is turn kids on to music.”
And now I have to stop you, Mr. Murphy. Aside from the fact that it seems your head has grown just a few sizes too big, you know what? Your show does and aspires to do more than turn kids on to the arts. You know it. I know it. The media knows it. If you didn’t, there wouldn’t be SO many stories about how Glee is changing the way America sees homosexuality, and how it’s helping kids feel better about being gay — a wonderful thing to be sure. (FYI: I support gay rights including the right for gay people to marry. One of my favorite couples on TV is Modern Family‘s Cameron and Mitchell.) No, it’s not the gay part I am bothered by. It’s the fact that, as a whole, the show is also pretty racy, It’s too sexualized for a child. Yes, a CHILD. My 7-year-old is a CHILD, which is why my 7-year-old would NEVER watch your show.
She shouldn’t since she’s not 14. Yes, 14. You do realize that the FCC has given your show a TV-14? A rating I agree with for MANY, many reasons. Again, I LOVE your show. I like the music. I like the fashion. I love the characters. But I love it for me, an adult. Not a seven-year-old. But then again I don’t let my child watch any TV-14 shows. A child shouldn’t be thinking about sex.
Getting back to your rating: I’m sorry, but I don’t want to explain the term “scissoring” to my little girl. I don’t want to have her watching anyone (gay or straight) making out or simulating sex. She doesn’t need to watch a storyline about teen pregnancy or anyone’s first time. When she learns about those topics I want it to come from me and be couched in our family’s values and mores.
And since you’re probably wondering: Yes, we are open at home when it comes to body parts. My child knows how babies come out because she asked me and I told her. But she doesn’t know how they get in there, and she doesn’t need to know that right now, especially not by watching a TV program. She has all her life to watch people have simulated sex on television. Right now, she’s thrilled to watch Nick Jr., Disney Channel (during the day), and Noggin.
Oh, and speaking of Disney Channel and Nickelodeon: I read last week’s Glee story (Gay Teens on TV) in my favorite magazine, Entertainment Weekly. The writer went out of his way to question why there are no gay characters on any of its shows. The answer:
Disney Channel responded with the following statement: “We recognize our responsibility to present age-appropriate programing for millions of kids age 6-14 around the world, and we aim to tell great stories with an array of relatable characters and themes that address the needs and aspirations of our young viewers, augment Disney Channel’s themes of communication and optimism, and fulfill our brand promise to encourage kids to ‘express yourself,’ and ‘believe in yourself,’ and ‘celebrate your family.’
Yes, that sounds about right. But I will give a better answer: Because NONE of the characters on a channel for kids and tweens should have any modicum of sexuality. They should be asexual. Again, these kids get enough sexual messages thrown their way. Six-year-olds don’t need stories about coming out or dating or kissing or anything that smacks of adult themes.
Now, getting back to Mr. Murphy and The Kings of Leon. Despite the fact that the band responded to the controversy in the Hollywood Reporter story (There’s a reply in the story from the band: “This whole Glee thing is a shock to us. It’s gotten out of hand. At the time of the request, we hadn’t even seen the show. It came at the end of that record cycle, and we were over promoting [“Use Somebody”]. This was never meant as a slap in the face to Glee or to music education or to fans of the show. We’re not sure where the anger is coming from.) Nathan Followill, the band’s drummer rather stupidly — and I do mean STUPIDLY — tweeted something that could be construed as homophobic:
“Dear Ryan Murphy, let it go. See a therapist, get a manicure, buy a new bra. Zip your lip and focus on educating 7yr olds how to say fuck.”
He’s taken it down or I would have linked to it. So he didn’t see the quote when Hollywood Reporter came to him, I am sure. Then, when the story came out and he saw it, he got mad at being called out and lashed out at so he tweeted. Dumbass. Anyway, he was obviously wrong for putting in the stereotypical gay stuff. IMHO, I think it would have been fine if he responded without the manicure and bra points, but what do I know, right?
Okay, so this post has gone on far too long. I need to get back to work. However, I just want to put this out there to Ryan Murphy: You should get over it and maybe, just maybe, stop trying to get kids 13 and under to watch your show, which is clearly developed and written for kids who are over 14.
Getting off soapbox now. What’s your take on Glee? Great Hollywood Reporter article, BTW. Like I said, I love me some Glee.