I stopped watching Glee after about season two, but unfortunately that wasn’t soon enough to avoid the overdone melodrama that was the show’s alcohol awareness episode.
The epitome of cliché, the episode was titled “Blame it on the Alcohol,” after Jamie Foxx’s 2008 hit song. Personally, I take offense to anything that takes jabs at my girl Ke$ha, but the most ludicrous thing about this episode was how over-the-top and irrational ways in which the teenage drinking culture was depicted (in an attempt to steer its tween following away from such taboo illegalities while simultaneously appealing to its parental demographic).
Immediately, the concept of peer pressure is presented and rears its ugly (and overplayed) head throughout the episode. Noah Puckerman calls Rachel “a bore” when she turns down the idea of throwing a party. Her ex-boyfriend, Finn Hudson, tells her that she should “do a little living” if she wants to be a good songwriter.
At one point, Santana Lopez exclaims “But if you don’t drink, what will you live for?” as a way for the show to mock people who think they can only have fun when they’re drunk. To me, this comment was the most insulting – not because I can’t have fun sober, I can – but because it seems to say that those of us who enjoy drinking couldn’t possibly live without it. It may seem hypocritical that I’m taking offense to this, and writing about it on my blog about drinking, but I am not about the holier-than-thou message Glee is sending with this episode.
The show attempts to explore drunk stereotypes including weepy, hysterical girl, angry girl, stripper girl, happy girl, and needy girl. The stereotypes would have been funny, because we all know someone who is the personification of at least one of the above, if this was actually meant to be a funny commentary rather than a condescending one. Not to mention they’re only drunk girl stereotypes. So now the world can’t guess which stereotype creator Ryan Murphy identifies with, or maybe he doesn’t since this episode is so above it all.
When it comes to depicting the “horrors” of drinking, the show flopped. During the party scene, everyone was just dancing and making out with each other (there’s no harm in that). And then they decide to include multiple, totally realistic, scenes of the glee kids drinking bloody marys and a questionable concoction of jungle juice out of solo cups in the middle of the school hallways. Because teenagers do that.
Bottom line, I understand wanting to steer a younger audience away from drinking alcohol in a society where everyone seems to be doing it, but if you’re going to do that, write an episode about the dangers of drunk driving or addiction. Don’t crucify kids for being kids. And you definitely won’t get your point across with outrageously overdramatic purple projectile vomit.