“Real-world teachers don’t lap dance with their students,” says Dan Isett, the group’s director of public policy, of Gwyneth Paltrow. The Parents Television Council is up in arms about Tuesday night’s episode of Glee, which featured a scantily-clad Gwyneth Paltrow opening up her shirt, the club dancing provocatively and two students talking about making a sex tape.
Dan Isett, the group’s director of public policy, tells The Hollywood Reporter the scenes he watched were “pretty appalling.”
“Most notably was the discussion between a couple of students about wanting to become famous by making a sex tape,” said Isett, referring to Puckerman (Mark Salling) and Lauren Zizes (Ashley Fink) — who decided not to make a tape after Paltrow’s sub teacher, Holly Holliday, informed them it would be child pornography because they’re under 18. “Exactly what kind of message is that?”
“It’s sort of funny how the show has evolved,” Isett goes on of the series, which was the highest-rated on TV Tuesday night. “Because they sort of subconsciously put in these sections that talk about real consequences of behavior like that, but then focus on more [bad] behavior. They try to have it both ways.”
“It sends a muddled message, frankly,” Isett adds. “I’m sure if you were to talk to Fox or [creator] Ryan Murphy, they would say they’re trying to present an honest portrayal, and that it makes it easier for kids to talk to their parents about these issues, and all of that is certainly commendable. But at the same time, the show is based on making sexual content look cool. That’s why it’s a popular show.”
Isett was not a fan of the scene in which Paltrow and several students ripped open their shirts while dancing suggestively to “Do You Wanna Touch Me.”
“If you had a real-life instance of that, I think it’s fair to say the teacher involved would no longer be a teacher,” he says. “But somehow it’s acceptable for a fictional teacher to do this. Again, this is a real problem. Real-world teachers don’t lap dance with their students.”
Isett didn’t see the scene in which Kurt Hummel’s (Chris Colfer) father responsibly explained sex and the ramifications, but says, “kudos for having a real discussion about those things. You really don’t see a responsible sex talk on TV very often.”
But the Parents Television Council doesn’t appreciate the show mocking the celibacy club.
“From the beginning of the episode, it was pretty clear the gist of it was going to be that abstinence is off the table,” says Isett, “and we’re going to make the celibacy club look like the nerds convention essentially. There was very little doubt — despite the sort of lip service the show gave to responsible sexual activity — that the gist of the show was lap dances with students is cool, the celibacy club is not, and when it’s presented in that way, it really cheapens whatever discussion there is about consequence and responsibility.”
“It seems like they’re running out of risqué topics,” snipes Isett. “They’ve done the full-on sex episode, so what’s left? It’ll be interesting how they continue to write the show.”