10 December 2010
A Very Glee Christmas without Christ
This is the second time I commented on what has become one of the most popular TV shows in recent years: Glee. The first time I commented it was about the show getting a Catholics in Media Award for promoting Catholic values. It's not that I don't like the show. In fact, I have watched all its episodes. I have become a Gleek myself on the very first episode of season 1.
I recognize the positive and overwhelming influence the show has on people all over the world. That's why I find it important to speak up when it appears to misprepresent the faith that is part of the popular culture that provides its setting, inspiration and audience.
"A Very Glee Christmas" has a hodgepodge of ingredients for a Christmas episode: the music, Santa, gift-giving, the tree, even the Grinch. But there is not a mention of Christ. No nativity scene or any overtly Christian symbol (except for the star and the tree, more on this in a bit). Not even one song that mentions Christ. The featured songs are a selection of the most secular Christmas songs out there, without the slightest religious tone. He is the elephant in the room that everybody tries not to notice. He has become He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.
To top it all, one character even says these lines: "The Christmas tree's the foundation of Christmas. It's the heart of the Christmas home..." Really now. Granted the character Rachel Berry who said it is a Jew, (at least in this show) she's supposed to not know that much. But what about the writers, are they merely reflecting the sad state of secularized society that has lost its spiritual bearing or are they actually pushing a secular agenda?
Maybe the comedy lies, among other things, in the struggle of the characters to be good for goodness' sake, where goodness is defined by a feel-good humanist ethos that stops short at considering transcendence. Come to think of it, the tender, heart-warming scenes are the ones where the characters become (albeit only for awhile) less self-centered and more sacrificing in behalf of others. In these particular scenes, seeds of transcendence are being sown though they seem to fall often on thorny ground.
This Christmas the show gives audiences its heart, one filled with good intentions, gift-giving and being nice -- but without the real Reason for the season. The show has an extra-large following and is thus a big purveyor of culture. Unfortunately, what it presents as Christmas is practically an atheistic holiday.