Breaking Stereotypes



640px-Glee_-_Single_Ladies_cropped            So much of the world revolves around groups. Who you have common interests with, who lives relatively close to you. If you look deeper into these groups, it can be broken down even further. The people that live close to you usually come from similar financial situations. Social groups can be created from religious views, race, gender, and even further.

            Glee is a sitcom that addresses these social groups head on, portraying kids that are stepping outside of their usual circles, coming from many different backgrounds. Rich kids. Poor kids. Jewish kids. Athletic kids. Smart kids. Gay kids. Straight kids.

The diverse population of the Glee club contributes greatly to the club’s success. Everybody brings another talent to the table, whether it be choreographing, being able to hit a high note, or simply being able to attract more members from friends they may have from other interests.

The ability to portray all of these different types of people through one television show, while also including different songs, with an element of humor is important to television.  Glee  makes it clear that people, no matter how different they may be, are welcome and can find friends in the most unlikely places.

In addition, these people do not only make friends, but they find success, but not without also finding failures. The glee club lost at Nationals only to come back the next year to win Nationals. The football team only won one game, but then going on to win the state championship in the future. Main character, Rachel Berry, got into her dream school NYADA after blowing her first audition.

Glee was a successful sitcom because of the way that it broke the stereotypes of portraying white upper class families like many other sitcoms that succeed in everything that they attempt. Glee is a group of misfits, with disabilities and things that would be assumed to set them back, that succeed, but only not without experiencing failures on the way.


Jane Schaefer

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7 Responses to Breaking Stereotypes

  1. mediaphiles says:

    I absolutely loved Glee when it aired and I made sure to never miss an episode. I think Glee did a good job of depicting all of the different struggles that these kids went through in a realistic manner. The show writers did a good job of managing all of the different types of people. We were able to delve deep into all of them and see them for more than just their label in high school. Well written post, very easy to read and follow.

    -Kylie Long

  2. mediaphiles says:

    I watched Glee when it first came out and really liked the show. I agree with you that there was a ton diversity within the cast and within the glee club. I think the show did a good job representing the diversity of high school students. It seemed to be a rather intersectional show as there were disabled people, jocks, nerds, people of minorities etc. I really enjoyed that aspect. It wasn’t a show about able-bodied, white people who were well off and perfectly happy. There were ups and downs and there was color to the show. I think you made some great points in your post and I enjoyed reading it.

    – Isabelle Jeffrey

  3. mediaphiles says:

    I was a fan of GLEE towards the beginning of its run, but faded toward the end. I agree with you that it had a diverse group of characters, but I felt at some points some of the characters succumbed to the common trope of tokenism. I felt this was more prevalent in the minor characters where they were completely taken over by one of their defining characteristics. Granted, I never finished the entirety of the series, so they could’ve possibly fixed this issue after I stopped watching.
    -Tommy O’Haren

  4. mediaphiles says:

    I agree with Tommy, I was a huge fan of Glee when it first came out, but then it began to get hard to follow. Although I lost my way with Glee, I agree with you about your point that the diverse group of characters broke stereotypes and it became one of the first network television sitcoms to do so. I remember growing up with the Glee controversy, and mom’s talking about how they didn’t want their children to watch a show with gay romance and things like that. I think that this type of show was necessary for the constantly changing social sphere in our country.

    Kat Huber

  5. mediaphiles says:

    I think you make a great point here. In addition to breaking stereotypes, Glee puts these stereotypes at the forefront of its show. In a way, the show mocks these stereotypes but also shows the many truths behind them as well. Definitely something we haven’t seen in a sitcom before!

    -Maia Scacchi

  6. mediaphiles says:

    I agree with Tommy and Kat, while the show did have characters who were diverse, there was large sense of tokenism. They were all somewhat one dimensional, and the main character was still a white girl. I just felt like this shows intentions were good, but also at the end of the day you could tell it was written by straight white people trying really hard to figure out how minorities should be represented. I actually thought the role of Kurt was super stereotypical, as were many of the other characters. While I do appreciate the show’s efforts to add diverse roles, I think they approached it in the wrong way and just did not have a proper understanding of representing these characters in an authentic way, which ultimately can be harmful and perpetuate stereotypes.

    Delaney Broderick

  7. marymdalton says:

    Like several others, I watched the first couple of seasons avidly and admired the series then lost interest when it moved away from strong storylines punctuated by musical numbers into musicial numbers with silly and/or under-developed storylines. Move image down below the lead, give a photo credit, use the page break after the image to improve accessibility of the blog for readers, and include a relevant link.

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