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As I mentioned yesterday, Elizabeth Hundley Finley from the Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Campaign of North Carolina and I will be live blogging tonight’s episode of Glee, in which the New Directions get a sex education lesson from guest star Gwyneth Paltrow.

While Elizabeth and I are both big fans of Glee, we’re also intrigued to see how the show treats a very important issue.

We’ll be cross posting at this post on amplify and on the APPCNC blog. I hope you’ll join the conversation by posting in the comment section here. Also Liz and I are big twitter fans, you can find us at @leestorrow and @lizziefin.

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Update, we’ll be joined by Mary Martin Vance and Melinda DeJongh.

***

9.13.pm

Melinda

I did love the scenes with Kurt and his dad, and it’s interesting that they’ve chosen to make Santana’s feelings for Brittany so strong, which is a shift from earlier episodes.  I’m eager to see how that plays out.

9.13.pm

Elizabeth

The Good:

The Kurt/Kurt’s dad relationship: That was perhaps the best parent-child sex talk I’ve ever seen on TV.

The LGBT inclusiveness and the pointing out of how often sex ed excludes LGBT youth. I’ll point out again that not all kids who engage in same sex sexual behavior identify themselves as LGBT, so it’s important to cover same sex behavior even in a class that seems all straight. (Hello, Britney!)

The Bad:

The cruddy portrayal of sex educators. Good sex educators are very professional and go through lots of training. The idea of the “sexy substitute” teaching sex ed is just insulting.

All the hating on abstinence/celibacy was uncool. Rachel finally resolved things with her statement about how teens who are abstinent will need info later in life. But portraying abstinence as the wrong, uncool, or frumpy choice wasn’t so good.

And finally, one Fleetwood Mac song is one too many.

9.08.pm

Melinda

I think the in-school “sex ed” scenes did end up leaning more towards trying to be outrageous rather than factual, which goes back to Lee’s early point about how much responsibility TV has to address social issues.  In the end, #Glee shouldn’t be shouldering the burden of teaching kids responsible sexual behavior.

9.06.pm

Lee

So final thoughts on the episode?

I appreciated we got some good messages thrown in now and then (condoms protect from HIV which can lead to AIDS) but I’ll agree with others who have commented that she was an AWFUL sex education teacher.

However, let’s give snaps for how the show dealt with LGBTQ issues this episode. Kurt’s dad is fantastic, I’ll agree that he reinforced some traditional norms about masculinity, but he tried so hard. I’m sure he wished that his son got comprehensive, gay-inclusive sex education in school.

It will also be interesting to see where the Santan story line goes. Good to see some lesbian/bi representation on the show.

9.05.pm

Melinda

I think they make sense because he’s whiny and she’s ditzy.  And I’m annoyed by the “Emma gets married even though she loves Will” storyline.

9.05.pm

Elizabeth

The end! Final thoughts, before we all go home?

9.02.pm

Elizabeth

I could see them go a little longer, Lee. In general, I don’t like either of them: he’s whiny; she’s ditzy. But whatever, everyone deserves the opportunity to pursue a fulfilling relationship.

9.01.pm

Melinda

I think Will and Holly make sense, actually.

9.00.pm

Lee

I kind of like Will and Holly as a couple. But I’m assuming others might disagree?

9.00.pm

Elizabeth

More than 70% of NC public school parents want schools to include a condom demo in sex ed. Don’t hate on the cucumber #glee!

8.59.pm

Mary

Studies show parents in North Carolina support sex education in schools!

8.59.pm

Lee

Could we have one consistent couple on @GleeonFOX that lasts more than 5 episodes?

8.58.pm

Elizabeth

Woot! Rachel Berry just pointed out that even abstinent teens will one day be sexually active and they’ll need accurate info!

8.57.pm

Mary

Hearts for Puck…and his sweet description of abstinence.

8.56.pm

Lee

And that’s how you handle an experimentation/ sexuality questioning story line with a bit more integrity!

8.56.pm

Melinda

Lee – true, but Holly is the vehicle through which the show is delivering its sex ed messages. I guess maybe we’re hating on the writers/producers, and I think they deserve some of that.


8.55.pm

Mary

Right on Lee!  Sex educators need to be trained!  Promo time:  http://appcnc.org/training-calendar

8.55.pm

Elizabeth

I wonder if @GleeonFox knows we’ve been live blogging their whole episode…

8.52.pm

Lee

You know, maybe we should start being so judgmental against Holly. She has been blunt throughout the episode that “she is not a doctor” and is clearly not a sex educator. Schools need to hire health educators to teach sex education, or bring in trained professionals.

8.52.pm

Elizabeth

Awww, Santana likes Britney! She’s so strong but so afraid to come out. (But, don’t hate on my Indigo Girls!)

8.52.pm

Lee

You know, maybe we should start being so judgmental against Holly. She has been blunt throughout the episode that “she is not a doctor” and is clearly not a sex educator. Schools need to hire health educators to teach sex education, or bring in trained professionals.

8.51.pm

Melinda

I really don’t like the way they are handling Emma’s storyline here.  Why is she even here besides to be a punchline?

8.51.pm

Elizabeth

Okay, Holly, even if you were remotely – remotely – qualified to be a sex educator, you are NOT qualified to be a sex or relationship therapist.

8.50.pm

Mary

Holly!  Sex education is NON-JUDGEMENTAL!

8.49.pm

Elizabeth

She is not 30!

8.49.pm

Melinda

That made me a little weepy.

8.49.pm

Mary

“Use it as a way to connect to another person when you’re ready”  No lies.  Tears.

8.47.pm

Mary

Parent-child communication is SO important.  Parents/Guardians are the #1 sex educators of their children.

8.47.pm

Melinda

LOVE Kurt’s dad.

8.47.pm

Elizabeth

Kurt’s dad is a complete and total rock star!

8.47.pm

Mary

Parents often need sex education before they can have a good conversation with their kids.

8.46.pm

Lee

Oh my god, I’m so excited about Kurt’s convo with his dad. I love Kurt’s dad so much!

8.46.pm

Melinda

“Arrested Development” did an “Afternoon Delight” performance by people who didn’t understand what it was about a few years ago…and it was SO much more uncomfortable than this.  (It also wasn’t trying to talk about sex education.)

8.45.pm

Elizabeth

I agree with Mary. Abstinence is a perfectly acceptable choice, not a “frumpy” one. This episode has not done a good job of pointing out the difference between making an informed choice to be abstinent and the way abstinence-only education denies teens very important, potentially lifesaving basic information.  There’s a difference between where we stand on abstinence (fine!) and abstinence-only education (proven to be ineffective and dangerous.) Just revealing the nuance to our snark…

8.43.pm

Lee

I think the Celibacy Club and Emma having it’s battle off against Holly is reinforcing a lot of cultural norms about what sex education is. As Mary has mentioned, good comprehensive sex education includes information about abstinence.

Although “Afternoon Delight” was funny.

8.41.pm

Elizabeth

L.O.L. Afternoon Delight!? I’m sure it’s meant to point out the naivete of the Celibacy Club

8.41.pm

Mary

Glee is portraying abstinence as…..frumpy…and uncool.  Dislike.

8.40.pm

Mary

John Stamos!!!!!!!!!!!!!  This is the BEST song of all Glee episodes…..ever.

8.40.pm

Elizabeth

Rock on, Santana, with your “Just cause we sang a song together doesn’t mean you can put a label on us.”

8.39.pm

Mary

Stomp labels!!!!!!

8.39.pm

Melinda

Elizabeth – that underscores the weakness in the “sex ed through song” conceit of this episode.

8.38.pm

Elizabeth

Singing a Fleetwood Mac song to each other does not count as negotiationg the boundaries of a relationship.

8.37.pm

Mary

Total aside:  Gwyneth does this song SO much better than the Dixie Chicks.

8.37.pm

Elizabeth

(I really do not like Fleetwood Mac.)

8.36.pm

Elizabeth

Now Blaine’s pointing out the danger of not teaching Kurt about sex. Perfect commentary on the need for thorough and frequent parent-teen communications.

8.36.pm

Mary

Educate early.  Educate often.  If we expect young people to make healthy, responsible choices, we need to provide them with the education to do so.

8.35.pm

Mary

That’s right!  Even science-based curricula ignore LGBTQ kids sometimes….we have so much work to do.

8.35.pm

Elizabeth

AWESOME! Blaine points out how most school-based sex ed leaves out LGBT youth!

8.34.pm

Melinda

At the halfway point, I’d say we haven’t gotten much factual sex education from this.

8.31.pm

Elizabeth

Lee, I always viewed the ”Blaine might be bi” storyline as simply an indication that Blaine was struggling with being comfortable with who he is. Not as a plot device to get that Rachel-Kurt rivalry going.

8.30.pm

Lee

How does this school not have money to pay for a bus to get these kids to competitions, but does have money to do these extravagant production numbers? #justsayin

8.29.pm

Elizabeth

Oh no, no, no… You are not Prince, Mr. Schuster.

8.27.pm

Elizabeth

(Woohoo! Awesome Twitter shoutout from @loganlevkoff! Thanks for watching!)

8.27.pm

Lee

I want to put int that I was not a giant fan of the “Blaine might be bi” storyline. He thought about it for all of 4 seconds, and then dropped the idea after a momentary kiss. While he and Kurt had one conversation about it, the show implied that if Blaine was gay, Rachel and Kurt would need to compete for him, as if being bi still implied that you were really gay or straight.

Although, I am really intrigued about the Santana and Brittany exploring their sexuality (not so much Holly Holiday’s advice).

8.26.pm

Elizabeth

Whoa!!!!!! A good, trained sex ed teacher would never ask, “Are you a lesbian?”

8.25.pm

Melinda

Okay, maybe I need to take that back…

8.25.pm

Mary

Ok….Holly, enough with the sharing.

8.25.pm

Elizabeth

Finally Holly sticks to facts: Do not make sex tapes!

8.24.pm

Elizabeth

Lee, the research from the last post on the APPCNC blog talks about research that shows sexual identity and same sex behavior don’t correlate perfectly. In other words, gay kids aren’t the only ones enagaing in same sex sexual behavior. Santana and Britney’s makeout relationship is a great example.

8.24.pm

Mary

Lee Storrow totally predicted the Santana storyline!

8.23.pm

Melinda

Lee – I really hope they let Kurt and his dad have that conversation.  I’ve been thinking that by having Kurt at another school, they’re getting off the hook for addressing LGBTQ kids in sex ed.

8.22.pm

Elizabeth

I’m glad Blaine stayed true to himself and turned down the girl’s number. I’ve really enjoyed the Blaine and Kurt storyline: They’re both working to figure themselves out and facing the same self-doubt most teens deal with. I think it’s the most realistic storyline in the whole show.

8.20.pm

Lee

I’m intrigued where the story line about Kurt and Blaine is going. Does anyone remember the episode two weeks ago where Kurt asked his dad to be able to talk to him about sex, specifically sex with a man? Maybe he and his dad will have a convo tonight…

8.20.pm

Melinda

Kurt’s sexy face = pterodactyl?

8.17.pm

Elizabeth

(Hearts for the Warblers!)

8.16.pm

Mary

Abstinence is PART of comprehensive sex ed…..the two aren’t mututally exclusive.

8.16.pm

Elizabeth

Sex education is about building a strong public health knowledge base and developing good decisionmaking skills. That education creates the basis for healthy sexuality, which can lead one to eventually feel or be sexy if that’s what one wants to be. But the sex ed and “sexy” connection is really distant.

8.14.pm

Elizabeth

Not everyone “has a random.”

8.13.pm

Elizabeth

We haven’t said this yet: Good sex educators never, ever, ever talk about their own sex lives. Holly’s already mentioned hers.

8.12.pm

Lee

Melinda, your last comment made me laugh out loud.

Entertaining song and dance, but I’m not sure that there was any message about sex education. The students of New Directions clearly need help, but I’m not sure they will get it from song and dancing.

8.10.pm

Mary

Whiskey and rye?  Alcohol impairs ones ability to properly put on a condom.  Condoms are effective methods of prevention when used consistently AND correctly.

8.10.pm

Melinda

So…this is not actual sex ed here.

8.08.pm

Mary

Holly Holiday…please stop hating on abstinence….

8.08.pm

Elizabeth

Mary just texted me: That was totally a shout out to Jane Fonda who founded our counterpart in Georgia

8.07.pm

Mary

One should never implement sex education in a public high school without first checking with proper authorities….Getting to Outcomes shout out!

8.06.pm

Elizabeth

Britney’s pregnant!? (I’m guessing she’s not. I say she turns out to be constipated…for comic relief, i guess?)

8.05.pm

Lee

“I’m about to have crazy sex cause I’m crazy informed about it!”

Best quote of the night, I’ve said it before but just because we teach young children about sexual health, does not mean they will run behind the school bleachers and have sex.

8.04.pm

Elizabeth

“it’s not for kids and it’s not for adults” just shows some all around sex negativity

8.03.pm

Mary

Information doesn’t steal innocence….myths do.

8.03.pm

Melinda

As a Tennessee native, I’m a little miffed at Holly right now.

8.03.pm

Elizabeth

Cucumber time!

8.03.pm

Mary

Yeah!  Information is power!

8.02.pm

Elizabeth

I’ll be first to say that celibacy clubs don’t work!

I’m assuming that the evaluations of “chastity charms” would be the same as those of purity rings. Kids who use them are as likely to have sex but more likely to contract STDs.

(But, abstinence is of course a fine choice)

8.02.pm

Mary

Holly Holiday?  Everyone wants abstinence as an option for our youth!

8.01.pm

Mary

Hose monster?  Using correct anatomical terms is so important!

8.00.pm

Melinda

Is everyone ready?  I feel like I may be watching some of this with my hands over my eyes.  It seems like it’s often difficult for pop culture to resist the titillation factor – a sex ed episode of a popular teen show could go so wrong!

7.58.pm

Elizabeth

Great intro, Lee!

I’m a big Glee fan, but I’m really hesitant about this episode for two reasons:

First, not everyone realizes that there’s good sex ed and there’s bad sex ed. Lots of people assume it’s all bad. Good sex ed incorporates research on the curriculum development side, lots of evaluation, and teacher training. So, the idea that Holly Holiday – a substitute – is teaching, makes me think the writers aren’t all that interested in portraying good sex ed.

Second, we get a lot of pushback in NC from a tiny but vocal minority of people who are anti-sex ed. Just the fact that they’re advertising this episode as “…staring Gwyneth Paltrow as the sexy sex ed teacher” makes me think this episode will only further the anti-sex ed minority’s claims that sex ed is somehow deviant.


7.46.pm

Lee

Before we got started, I thought I’d share some thoughts about what I’m expecting from the episode tonight.

Whenever tv shows and pop culture discuss social issues, I feel like I’m on a balance beam. Pop culture has the right to make jokes, and I don’t expect that I am watching a documentary or real life. I hope Glee makes some jokes about sex education, and I think Holly Holiday can even be an in-perfect sex ed teacher (we all know those exist!) while still affirming the importance of this component in public schools. I think that the model of how they have treated Kurt and his relationship with his dad is a really nice example of how to balance making a political statement, while still allowing the characters room to be funny and make mistakes. Kurt’s dad is not the perfect father. He makes mistakes, but gosh darn he tries SO hard in dealing with his son’s homosexuality that I’m willing to forgive the mistakes.

What obligation does pop culture have to influence behavior? Glee is just a TV show and the characters are fictional, but there are children in America tonight who may get their first taste of sex education through this TV show (unfortunately, federal funds are still going to abstinence only education). I don’t think the shows producers can ignore the fact that their show has the ability to change minds and behavior.

Ok enough political musings for me for the time being, in the meantime, here’s something fun- my favorite song on Glee this season.

Valerie: Special Education