Glee: Shooting Star

Sue_BeckyOh, Glee. Why do you do the things you do? I’m going to be brief on this because it’s been talked about a lot already, but I think there’s something really complicated and frustrating about how Glee‘s school shooting episode, “Shooting Star,” played out. First of all, they did an episode about a school shooting. And they called it “Shooting Star.”  Why do you do these things?

Many people, including the parents of Newton, CT, have expressed criticism of the episode, saying it was too soon or in bad taste. Some have criticized the scene where Will Scheuster rescues kids from the bathroom and the image mirrors a photo from Newton. For me, the biggest problem with the episode, aside from that it happened, is that the shooting turns out not to have been a real threat. I thought that the portrayal of the Glee kids in the choir room and how they banded together, rather than ever showing the shooter was a pretty strong way to go about the storyline. It focused on courage and love rather than on giving fame to a shooter. But then, it turns out that the shooting was an accident and the person with the gun was Becky. It seems like making that move only functions to confuse efforts to fight gun violence and makes the school’s response look disproportional. I’ve embedded these scenes below, for reference.

Still, as Sue confesses in order to protect Becky, she makes some pretty sharp criticisms of how issues relative to school shootings are being discussed in real-life. She tells Principal Higgins:  “It’s a different world. The safety net of the public mental health system is gone. Parents with troubled kids are too busy working three jobs to look after them, and the gun yahoos have everyone so worked up about Obama taking away their guns that every house is a readily available arsenal.”

Then, she recounts how this one mistake–she says her gun went off during a safety inspection–will wipe away her stellar career: “I sent Cheerios off to the Ivy Leagues. I educated girls who are CEOs of Fortune 500 Companies. They’re mothers, gold medalists. I coached two Grammy winners. An internet billionaire, and a lesbian Secretary of State. But all I’ll be remembered for is this one thing. It’ll be the first line of my obituary.” I think in this line she subtly takes to task sensationalism, while also reminding us that Sue Sylvester empowers her Cheerios, however horrible she is to them.

Lauren Potter and her mother spoke with HuffPo, about how they felt that the episode continued the show’s strong track record of giving Lauren opportunities to showcase her acting: “Whether she has Down syndrome or not, it doesn’t matter … Why wouldn’t it be somebody with Down syndrome because she’s a kid. She’s a teenager. She makes stupid decisions just like other teenagers do.” It’s hard to argue with that logic and the article includes several other great points about Potter’s career and the portrayal of Becky (Lauren Potter for HuffPo). Nonetheless, they could have given Becky a meaty episode about dealing with fear and life after high school without it involving her bringing a gun to school–why? It doesn’t make any sense? There could have been some other way to capture Becky’s desperation. Potter is a strong actress, for sure, but couldn’t the writers have come up with something other than a school shooting episode? Or did they feel compelled to do so because Glee is a show about high school?
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2 thoughts on “Glee: Shooting Star

  1. I was also very frustrated with this episode for many of the same reasons. I was anxious for the whole first part of the episode because they had a warning at the front of the show and so knowing that was coming and then having Brittany keep talking about the end of the world was just super creepy and weird.

  2. My friend Allison blogged about this here:
    http://primetimey.blogspot.com/2013/04/glee-gets-serious-for-moment.html?spref=fb
    The whole Brittany storyline made no sense to me–the whole episode made sense. The only part of it I thought was useful was their commentary on zero-tolerance policies, as I had just made a presentation which was in part about how zero tolerance anti-bullying policies don’t work. Otherwise, it missed the mark. I totally agree with your comments.
    (anymore, I’d be good with just a Blaine/Kurt spinoff)

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