I'll give the Parents Television Council this, they did Fox a huge favor by keeping Glee in the headlines even in a week when the show was pre-empted by the network's NLCS coverage:
GQ's sexy Glee cover has gone too far, The Parents Television Council says.
In a statement released Wednesday, the group slams the November issue, which features Cory Monteith, 28, Dianna Agron and Lea Michele, both 24 -- all of whom play highschoolers on the hit Fox show -- wearing hardly any clothing.
"It is disturbing that GQ, which is explicitly written for adult men, is sexualizing the actresses who play high school-aged characters on Glee in this way. It borders on pedophilia," the statement reads.
"By authorizing this kind of near-pornographic display, the creators of the program have established their intentions on the show's direction," the statement concludes. "And it isn't good for families."
What is the point of the PTC again? Oh, right: " to promote and restore responsibility and decency to the entertainment industry in answer to America's demand for positive, family-oriented television programming." That's from their home page. The Council helps facilitate this by offering their "Seal of Approval" to programming that's free of sex, violence, and profanity. Because this is -- according to the PTC -- what the American people want.
Of the 70-odd recent winners of the Seal listed on the PTC's site, roughly ten are still on the air. Of those, most are kids' shows or faith-based programming (unless C.S. Lewis: Beyond Narnia exposed the author's struggles with pills and hookers, but I kind of doubt it) and something called Bingo America on the Game Show Network. Some more popular selections, like American Idol and The Amazing Race, earned plaudits back in 2004 and 2005, presumably before Prince made an appearance on the former and the latter sent to the contestants to Thailand.
Meanwhile, a sampling from last week's top 20 prime-time shows:
2. NCIS 5. NCIS: Los Angeles 7. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation 9. Criminal Minds 10. Two and a Half Men 12. Desperate Housewives 16. Grey's Anatomy 17. The Good Wife 19. Glee
American has spoken, and they've reaffirmed their commitment to
family-oriented television adultery, autopsies, and dick jokes.
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I suspect nobody on the PTC has ever watched Glee, or they wouldn't be making such snotty comments about the "direction" of a show that's already dealt with such allegedly non-family oriented themes as homophobia, teen pregnancy, and the dwindling numbers of adolescent virgins. Or maybe the Council has unearthed internal network memos discussing the upcoming G.G. Allin tribute episode and a plot twist involving Puck's entry into the world of rough trade. In which case, stopping the publication of a few underpants photos isn't going to make much of a difference.
And, of course, this has nothing to do with Glee's ratings. That's why the PTC was all over the case when 90210's AnnaLynne McCord appeared in Maxim. Oh wait, no they weren't, because nobody watches 90210. Or Gossip Girl Blake Lively, One Tree Hill (Sophia Bush), or any of another half dozen mostly unseen high school-themed shows.
A couple of twenty-something actresses showing a little skin doesn't "border on pedophilia." In the first place, that makes it sound like a Mediterranean country (and one that probably would've been annexed by the Catholic Church long ago). Do the photos play on the male schoolgirl fetish? Sure, but where was the Parents Television Council when the actual school-aged Britney Spears was doing the same in the video for "Baby One More Time" video? Probably complaining about somebody saying "dick" on Gilmore Girls, that's where.
The PTC has to know they're fighting a losing battle, gamely manning the crumbling battlements of network television decency as they suffer the near-constant assault of "bullshits," "assholes," and bared buttocks lobbed their way by basic cable. The rest of us will just have to content ourselves with something called an "off" switch.