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oh em glee

Did Its Super Bowl Episode Show That Glee Hates Football?

The post–Super Bowl spot is a plum one for any TV show, just about guaranteed to give it the largest audience it will ever have. To capitalize on this exposure, shows pull out all the stops. When it comes to series that are not "for" the imagined Super Bowl audience (male, straight), the "stops" tend to involve scantily clad women. Alias, Grey's Anatomy, and last night's Glee — the three post–Super Bowl programs of the last decade ostensibly of least interest to drunk, red-blooded football obsessives — all opened with naked ladies. This is, admittedly, a pretty crass and blatant play to attract a new audience, so Glee put a new spin on it: sprinkle the midriff-baring scene with total contempt for your potential new audience.

Well, if you stuck around after the Katy Perry number, you might have noticed that Glee doesn't like football players very much. In the episode, the members of the McKinley High football team not already in glee club refused to work with their teammates who were. Mr. Schuester and Coach Beiste hatched the ingenious plan to have the glee-hating football players work on a halftime routine with the glee kids. The football players would come to respect glee club if only they would just give all that singing and dancing a chance. Clearly, this was a plot intended to work on a meta level: The episode was ostensibly trying to convince football watchers not already into Glee that they would love Glee, if they would just give all that singing and dancing a chance.

Well, if you stuck around after the Katy Perry number, you might have noticed that Glee doesn't like football players very much. In the episode, the members of the McKinley High football team not already in glee club refused to work with their teammates who were. Mr. Schuester and Coach Beiste hatched the ingenious plan to have the glee-hating football players work on a halftime routine with the glee kids. The football players would come to respect glee club if only they would just give all that singing and dancing a chance. Clearly, this was a plot intended to work on a meta level: The episode was ostensibly trying to convince football watchers not already into Glee that they would love Glee, if they would just give all that singing and dancing a chance.

Here's the problem: The members of the McKinley High football team not already in glee club are, to a one, bigots, bullies, homophobes, slushie throwers, and closet cases. In other words, if the untapped viewers are symbolized by the McKinley athletes, then Murphy and Co. have already made it clear that they think they are a bunch of jerks.

Maybe this explains the lackluster opening number: Glee's position seems to be that if, like the McKinley football players, you still need to be convinced to like Glee, there's something closed-minded about you. Maybe you can be brought around, like the football players, but Ryan Murphy is not going to beg you by designing a high-energy sexy cheerleading fantasia for you. After all, your not liking Glee is basically tantamount to a confession of intolerance. And so Murphy found a way to open with the belly buttons required by Super Bowl law, but also find a way to show his utter contempt for the crowd that needs them.