Tuesday, October 26, 2010

It's just a jump to the left.
And then a step to the right.

I had all kinds of plans for tonight's blog . . . but those plans will have to wait because tonight I have to write, yet again, about that pop culture phenomenon that is Glee.

Tonight's episode of Glee was a play on The Rocky Horror Picture Show. And while it's been years since I saw that movie as an unworldly seventeen-year-old, I really enjoyed their take on the musical. But the music wasn't nearly the most interesting part of the episode—nor is it the reason I feel so compelled to write about it.

What really made the episode work was it's theme of reversal.

One of the show's main characters, Finn, was cast as the male lead in the show's version of Rocky Horror. And that role required him to do something that women do on stage or on camera all the time—take off his clothes. No, he wasn't going to be naked, but he was being asked to strip down to his underwear in front of an audience.

To look at Finn, one wouldn't think he had anything to worry about when it comes to his body. He's the quarterback on the football team. He's tall and in great shape. He's dated the most attractive girls on the show. But something about standing on stage in his underwear terrified Finn. He worried that his body wasn't up to snuff, especially when compared to the chiseled, sculpted frame of the new kid in school, Sam. At one point, Finn—who is a little bit of a dim bulb—admitted that the underwear scene had him so freaked out he had started showering with his shirt on.

I'm not certain, but I'd venture to guess that every woman alive has felt the way Finn did in that moment.

We've know what it's like to walk into a room and feel as though everyone is judging our bodies—examining every little flaw, critiquing every article of clothing, running their eyes up and down us in laser-like fashion.

But tonight's episode of Glee reminds us that men can feel that way too.

When Finn is asked to strip on stage, he gains an understanding of what it's like to worry about having some extra flab around the middle. He finds out what it's like to worry that people might laugh at him for not looking like a perfect GQ model, a reality most of us women live with every day we step out the door.

But at the end of the episode, Finn decides to empower himself. And in order to prepare for his on-stage performance, he takes the bold step of strolling down the hallways of the high school wearing nothing but his boxers, his sneakers, and a pair of glasses. (His Rocky Horror costume.) Naturally, everybody laughs and points. (Sounds like the stuff of nightmares, doesn't it?) But Finn comes through the gauntlet with a greater sense of his own worth—and with his dignity intact.

I'm not going to be walking down the halls of my school in my underwear any time soon, but I understand the desire to bare it all—for better or worse—and yet again I love Glee for tapping into that innate desire to put it all out there.


  1. Wow. Sometimes I forget that men go through the same problems I do; thanks for reminding me. And though I'm not a Gleek, I can appreciate the message they sent and your interpretation of it. Great post.
    (By the way, check paragraph 7 just in case... I was confused at the beginning.)

  2. Thanks, Brittany--for the compliment and the tip.

  3. Not a problem; I'm here for you.