Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Is Glee for Tweens?

Is Fox's new series about a high school glee club, Glee, for tweens?

This series debuted in the spring to rave reviews, and our tweens LOVED it (although we were very liberal with the Mute and Fast Forward buttons on our Tivo). The soundtrack is phenomenal, and Gen X and Boomer parents will certainly appreciate the music - when Glee's premiere ran in May, songs from the show were the number one download on iTunes and the pilot was the most viewed video on The series has even inspired a new term for its fans: "Gleeks"

There are some fairly mature issues addressed in the script including bullying/cyberbullying, homophobia, and some sexual innuendo, but the show's overarching themes are centered on inclusivity, cooperation, and acceptance - all good things that parents would want to instill in their kids. (National Bullying Awareness Month is in October BTW)

A parenting media site, CommonSenseMedia, rates Glee as appropriate for age 14+ and perhaps age 13. That being said, movies about high school musical groups/troupes are spawning like crazy - witness the High School Musical series, Nickelodeon's version of HSM: Spectacular, ABC Family's Another Cinderella Story starring Selena Gomez and Drew Seeley, BandSlam with Vanessa Hudgens, and the re-make of Fame. And Glee isn't the only television series about school musicals: ABC Family has Ruby and the Rockits, there's Disney Channel's Hannah Montana series (which has launched the musical careers of Miley Cyrus, Mitchel Musso and Emily Osment), and rumors of another series in the works. Television is more accessible to tweens because they don't require paid admission so more tweens can see them - but should they? Glee's star, Cory Monteith has described Glee as “It’s as if ‘High School Musical’ had been punched in the stomach and had its lunch money stolen.”

The raw talent of Glee's cast, the intelligence of the writing, positive and upbeat themes, and broad appeal of the concept make it easily likeable. Where do you come out on this issue - are you letting your tween watch Glee?

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