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School shooting a poor plot choice for ‘Glee’

Without+the+commitment+to+it+as+a+long+term+plot+arc%2C+a+school+shooting+plot+on+%22Glee%22+fell+flat.
Without the commitment to it as a long term plot arc, a school shooting plot on

Without the commitment to it as a long term plot arc, a school shooting plot on "Glee" fell flat.

Source: Facebook

Source: Facebook

Without the commitment to it as a long term plot arc, a school shooting plot on "Glee" fell flat.

Chelsea Sherlock, Design Editor

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There are a lot of things “Glee” is good at: musical mash-ups, delivering great one-liners and self-referencing the show’s failure to follow through with a lot of plot points.

But what “Glee” is not good at is handling important issues, which is why last Thursday’s episode, “Shooting Star,” about a school shooting, was a poor choice.

Twenty minutes into the episode, the shooting occurs. Glee club members had gathered in the practice room and were about to start singing when they hear two shots ring out. Immediately, they lock and block the doors to the room and hide. As they wait to find out what was going on, they apologize to each other and share their feelings. They even film video messages for their families, sharing how much they love them.

The reactions of the glee club members felt authentic, and watching the scene brought me to tears. But what happens afterward really bothers me and ruins the episode.

The shooter was Becky, a student with Down Syndrome who regularly appears on the show. Becky is scared of being on her own and facing the real world after graduation, so she takes her father’s gun for protection. She tells Sue Sylvester she can take care of herself now, and when Sue tries to get Becky to give her the gun, Becky accidentally squeezes the trigger and drops the gun, causing the two shots.

To prevent Becky from getting in trouble, Sue waits a few days and then confesses that she was the shooter, causing her to be fired. While I don’t think Becky deserves legal punishment, having Sue cover up the issue is a big problem when you think about the consequences. Rather than explain what happened right away, she waited and students were left fearing the shooter. Also, Becky needs help to deal with her fear, and if people do not know what she did, she will not get that help.

However, none of this really matters. Because, following the pattern of  previous “Glee” episodes dealing with important issues, the remaining episodes will most likely not address the consequences of what happened, or even address the event. Seeing as the shooting was not real, it is understandable there will be fewer problems compared to a shooting in which students were injured, but students would probably still feel unsafe at school.

After the episode was over, I was left wondering what the point was. It didn’t address an underlying issue or have much of an impact on the characters, other than removing Sue from her job. It may have brought the club closer together as friends, but they were already a tight-knit group, and it doesn’t take a shooting to accomplish that.

However, school shootings are such a serious and sensitive issue the writers should not even have addressed it if they were not going to commit to making it a long term plot arc.

Two shows have really addressed shootings correctly: “Degrassi: The Next Generation” and “Grey’s Anatomy.” Though “Grey’s Anatomy” was a hospital shooting, the comparison remains. Both shows build up to the shooting. They use a minor character that had appeared in multiple episodes. They establish a motive for the shooter and a breaking point. After the shootings, the aftereffects are dealt with. Characters suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, which radically changes their lives, and face other issues to overcome, all with lasting consequences.

“Glee” is not like either of these shows. It is a comedy with a format of resolving most issues within an episode and ignoring major plot points. It was a bad choice to feature a school shooting. It was random and did not fit with the show. “Glee” is worth watching, but not because of its depiction of important issues.

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About the Writer
Chelsea Sherlock, Design Editor
Chelsea Sherlock is a design editor of The Daily and a Medill sophomore. Her past positions include Current columnist, Current profiler, Current TV reviewer, Campus reporter, assistant design editor, Holiday Guide design editor and design editor. She is from Sumner, Mich. Her other campus commitments include Cru and Chi Omega Sorority. She is also an...