Friday, August 5, 2011

For the Love of Grilled Cheesus!

There's a semi-interesting little show called "The Glee Project" airing on the Oxygen network this summer. The premise of the show is that twelve young people compete for a guest starring role in the upcoming season of the wildly popular show Glee.

Each episode focuses on a particular theme from vulnerability to danceability to tenacity. The latest episode's theme was sexuality. One of the competitors, a 21 year old named Cameron, had already expressed discomfort with on-screen kissing in an earlier episode. The episode on sexuality, therefore, centered on his struggles with the theme, culminating with his refusal to kiss his acting partner and his eventual voluntary departure from the show.

Cameron's reasoning for his stand against on-screen kissing is his "Christianity," a label he throws around quite a bit without much definition or qualification. It is clear that Cameron does not believe in sex before marriage, a belief he links to kissing girls, it seems. Here's a clip to give you a better idea of his mind:

Now this all may seem very silly but here's why I find this infuriating. Ryan Murphy, the writer and creator of Glee, wants Cameron to succeed and urges him to stay largely because he wants to write in a truly Christian character on the show. He says in the episode, "One of the things that I think we have not done well thus far is represent a sort of more conservative, religious, faith-based character."

So here we have a person giving up on an opportunity to inject a more realistic picture of religious folks in a show that has come somewhat close but continues to miss the mark in this area. He gives up the opportunity in lieu of a false martyrdom, completely missing the chance to actually play a part in portraying religious people as thoughtful, sensible people.

Throughout the episode, Cameron's hipster wardrobe is tied together with a wooden rosary slung around his neck. The image (wearing a religious object that is not intended to be worn) is perfect for the kind of de-contextualized, immature version of religiosity-as-fashion that he represents. I can only hope that Murphy will write in another character who fill in where he has admitted the show is lacking.