Why I Think Glee’s “Shooting Star” Missed The Mark On Gun Violence

group hug!

group hug!

I want you to know I’m writing this directly after watching Shooting Star. I want you to know this because I think it’s important that you understand that I’m writing this from my little tiny person heart that’s full of all sorts of feelings.

I want to admit that I cried during this episode. I cried because I am easily wrapped up in carefully constructed emotional moments and this one took the cake. The Glee kids sat in the dark in the choir room crying and I burst with terror for them. Actually, I felt terrified for all the real kids who’ve actually sat in the dark amongst gun shots and footsteps across their schools. I felt sad and terrified and confused for the kids who never had the time to sit the dark in a choir room because someone just opened fire on their classrooms. I cried about the kids who encounter gun violence every day on their walk home from school and about the kids in neighborhoods the government neglects who hear gunshots while lying in bed at night, or doing their homework, the kids who have already lost friends and family to gun violence before they graduate high school. And yeah, I cried about the fake characters on Glee played by 20-year-old actors because for whatever reason I love Glee and I hate to think about harm coming to even fake characters. I’m sort of all squishy on the inside.

I thought that Glee had actually gotten it right.

At least until Sue announced it was her gun.

The second she did, and even as she confessed to Figgins, I just knew this was going to be about Becky. The whole thing was just a big, startling misunderstanding, and with that, all potential emotional impact evaporated.

Everyone is so busy praising Glee for the appropriateness and emotion with which they handled school violence that few seem to see that Glee didn’t address the issue of school violence at all. They held us captive to their characters emotions regarding the potential of violence, but in the end the students were never actually in danger. It just feels emotionally manipulative. In fact, all Glee really accomplished was an entirely problematic treatment of both school violence and the lives of adolescents with developmental disabilities.

I’m sorry, Glee, but you do not get to bask in your own glory just because you wrote an episode about a serious issue and showed shaky-cam crying kids. You do not escape criticism simply because you attempted to tell a story about something which is scary and fills us all with queazy dread. I refuse to jump on the bandwagon of praise.

Here’s the issue: this country doesn’t have a problem with intellectually disabled students accidentally firing off guns in school. This country has a problem with students bringing guns to school with the specific intent to harm other students. To conflate the two scenarios is inexcusably offensive.

Let me repeat that more clearly. I am appalled that the Glee staff thought the most plausible storyline for gunshots in a school would be one in which Becky brought a gun to school and accidentally shot it, at which point Sue Sylvester stood idly by as the school was put on lockdown, the SWAT team was called in, everybody’s lockers were searched, body scanners were purchased and everybody feared for their lives. The writers thought this was more plausible than an angry student with access to guns who comes to school with violent intent. More plausible than a 15-year-old student getting killed while hanging out with friends in a park. More plausible than some jerk parent over-zealously expressing their right to bear arms. I don’t have family members or closer friends with developmental disabilities, I point that out as to not claim their stories as my own, but I’m mortified that someone thought this plot twist was a good idea.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand where Glee is coming from. It’s Glee and they wanted to do a big emotional school shooting episode without actually criminalizing or killing one of their main characters — like when they wanted to do a gay suicide storyline and when they wanted to have an episode called Funeral so we could all wonder who the funeral was for.

But riddle me this: why should Becky have to be the character to take on that burden? Would it have been too hard to invent a character the Glee kids didn’t know? Perhaps one with a motive that accurately reflects that of a student who incites school violence? Instead, Becky is the character “to blame” and Sue is the big hero who protected and saved the poor little girl with Down Syndrome. I worry that this sends a very specific and incorrect message about the decision-making capabilities of someone with Down Syndrome. I worry that this encourages kids to fear disabled kids in a way in which they need not.

The sad thing is that Glee missed a really great opportunity to tell Becky’s story. It’s not just ableist, it’s lazy writing. Adolescents with intellectual disabilities face very real and often upsetting changes when they age out of public programs like high school. As explained by the National Down Syndrome Society, “upon graduation, the student will no longer be eligible for many of the services, and the responsibility of identifying, locating and coordinating appropriate resources will fall mainly upon the individuals and their families.” Many of their stories are as compelling as teen pregnancy, domestic abuse, eating disorders and, yes, even high school lesbians. Indeed we have many more television arcs about LGBT teens than we do about what it feels like to be an 18-year-old girl with Down Syndrome. We are kidding ourselves if we think the stories of adolescents with intellectual disabilities have been properly told by Becky’s previous narrative. And how did this particular story end? Becky was punished — she lost her best friend, Sue Sylvester. She lost her ally. She lost her cheerleader.

Glee wanted to do too many things in one episode. They wanted to do a PSA on school violence. They wanted to write Sue off the show. They wanted to address what Becky might be feeling towards her impending graduation. Really though, I think the Glee writing team just wanted a way to get the audience invested in the new Glee kids. Perhaps they succeeded for some, but for me this whole debacle just highlight’s Glee‘s tendency to steamroll captivating characters in favor of hollow one-episode flirtations with the Issue-of-the-Moment.

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Lizz is a consumer, lover and writer of all things pop culture and the Fashion/Style Editor at Autostraddle.com. She is also full time medical student at Brown University in Providence, RI. You can find her on the twitter, the tumblr or even on the instagram.

Lizz has written 261 articles for us.


  1. Thank you for writing this. I was appalled by the manipulativeness and ableist message of this episode.

  2. With a very heavy heart– so agreed. I was angry with Glee in a way I had not felt before. It was easily the most emotional episode for me, even as I knew it was manufactured and manipulative. I didn’t mind that though, that’s what media does and sometimes it does it well so I was giving Glee the benefit of the doubt (which I feel like I do far too often for what is nothing more than TV) — but Becky?? Not cool. She and teens like her everywhere deserved so much better. They don’t deserve to be used as pawns in a pathetic attempt at a PSA.

    The sad thing is I know I will continue to watch because is is really hard to break these habits when you care about the characters and their stories. I cared about Becky’s– and now it is gone.

  3. Very nicely written. I fell off the Glee bandwagon around the Funeral episode for pretty much that reason. Glee has the ability to make people think they’ve addressed topics that they didn’t really talk about, more like eluded to for some plot twist for basically no reason. When it comes down to it, Glee is another vehicle for advertising dollars and their story lines will revolve around high suspense and ratings.

    Also thanks for cluing me into what my facebook feed is on about.

  4. One of my best friends from high school has down syndrome. In her case, she was able to graduate at the age of 18 and go off to college (she is studying English at a private university in our hometown and living with her parents) so I realize that her experience is different from Becky’s in that sense. Aside from that, she always saw herself in Becky. They’re both boy crazy and like performing (Becky is a cheerio, my friend was on speech team and did theatre) and they’re just overall happy people. She loved the character of Becky up until this episode. I talked to her this morning after watching it and she hates the way they dealt with it. They made something that’s important and needs to be discussed about something that its not and she feels like they’ve lost credibility because sue and Becky were two of the best characters on the show. I know that I don’t have down syndrome but my friend does not read autostraddle and she gave me permission to share this in the comments.

    I agree with everything that my friend said and I agree with you too. I think that glee did a surprisingly good job with the lockdown and the fear but once they brought Becky into it, it ruined it for me. They could have shown that even upper middle class high schools like McKinley is often portrayed can have a school shooting. Gun violence in schools is not a race or economic status problem, its just a problem. They could have found a different way to portray Becky’s natural fear of moving on from the safe haven that high school often was for her.

  5. This was one of the first episodes that I almost switched off because it was actually torturous to watch.

    This episode, for me, was some of the worst writing I’ve ever seen. I resent so much the way they have not only dumbed down the character of Brittany but also now the rest of the characters.

    I mean COME ON, Brittany announces there’s ANOTHER meteor about to strike and they will all die in a few days??? AND THEY ALL GO WITH IT??? Seriously WTF?? I was sitting here asking myself, is this for real? I am now watching a spoof show?

    Then the whole gun thing. I’m sorry but if you heard bangs in your school, wouldn’t you try to calm your students and go and CHECK IT OUT before you panic them into cowering in the corners of your room in the dark? The whole scenario seemed ridiculous to me.

    And then to blame it all on Becky. Not cool. Not cool.

    • I hated this episode for many many reasons as well, don’t get me wrong.

      But to be fair… My girlfriend is a teacher, and if you hear gun shots while in a class room you would do just that. Going to check it out could get you killed. Teachers have saved many lives by wrangling their students immediately into tight corners and keeping them quiet. Although I hated the way everything else was handled after the shooting, this scene was actually quite well done.

      • I was just going to say this. I work in a school and that’s definitely what we are trained to do. Those scenes in the choir room were the only ones that felt right about this whole episode.

  6. I wholeheartedly agree with everything you wrote Liz, and I’m also glad that most of the usual reviewers have slated this episode as opposed to what happens with most episodes.

    This episode of Glee was emotional manipulation at its finest, and dare to say, cashing up on an issue they should have never touched. Glee keeps on making these Very Special Episodes, but they should have some boundaries and they don’t. They have covered everything, from being outed to domestic abuse to eating disorders all with the same amount of distaste and general insensibility, but I feel like this episode outshines the others by a mile.

  7. Well written piece. Thanks for continuing to write about the show AS.

    Unfortunately, and perhaps it’s because I have evolved out of Glee’s demographic (particularly the episodes missing the East Coast crew), the episode failed to engage me. And I tried.

    Sorry to be a buzz kill. :(

  8. Thank you for this. And also mentioning that its lazy writing.

    Things like this, (and usually any other time we talk about problematic representation in media) aren’t just a failure for writers to fulfill their social responsibility, they are also being bad artists and making bad art!

  9. Very well written article.

    I just kept thinking about all the people in the world watching this episode who may have actually lost someone in a school shooting. How cheated they must have felt.
    “Glad it was all just a big accident for the Glee kids, why couldn’t it have been that way for me…”
    Not saying someone needed to die to make this real, but you can’t tackle half of a tough issue and call it a wrap. I felt cheated and I have been extremely fortunate to have never come across violence like this in my life.

    I keep having to remind myself that Glee is trying to do something good. They are trying to address real life issues that kids and teenagers deal with every single day, and they should be commended for that. But if your going to do it, do it right. I can’t help but feel like they are doing more damage by constantly disrupting the issue with something light and fluffy.

    They should just stick to the fun musical numbers and let Degrassi handle the tough stuff (because they do a better job).

    • My So-Called Life also had a great episode about this, with a student bringing a gun to school and it going off in their locker. i won’t spoiler alert it in case anybody wants to watch it, but it’s pretty kickass compared to Glee.

      • I second this. that episode of my so-called life handled this issue very well.

        Glee lost me with their Grease/eating disorder episode. I’m sad to hear that not much has changed.

      • That MSCL only got one season when nonsense like glee get’s four or more still makes me want to bang my head against a wall. i am incapable of getting over it.

        • gahh banging my head with you… shedding a tear for MSCL… and yes, agreed that it handled this issue far better — sad though, isn’t it, that this has been an issue that TV has tackled for almost 20 years yet we can’t see to get our legislators to do anything that actually pro-actively does anything.

  10. They did WHAT!

    (I don’t actually watch Glee so I’m a bit fuzzy on some of the details here — but you’ve explained the situation quite well enough for it to be appalling, I think…)

  11. “Everyone is so busy praising Glee for the appropriateness and emotion with which they handled school violence that few seem to see that Glee didn’t address the issue of school violence at all.”

    Really? All the reviews that I’ve read are upset with Glee for this episode and are ripping it apart, and the same goes for most of the people on message boards. I haven’t seen much praise at all, and RIGHTLY SO because this episode was a total shitfest. Ugh. I could go into more detail on why exactly it sucked so badly, but I think you’ve covered it pretty well, Lizz.

    • “Gleeks” on Tumblr seemed to fucking love it. I was side-eyin’ the hell out of that tag last night.

      • Ok, so I stay far away from tumblr generally as a rule… do you mind sharing briefly what they liked about it? I thought they had been mad hating on Glee lately but only (thought I) knew that through Riese’s reviews (which I am verrrry much looking forward to this week).

        • I just saw a lot of them that thought it was emotional and affecting and the editing/directing was great, and I’ve seen a little bit of Emmy’s talk (which is hilarious because they’ve always submitted in the comedy category), and very little talk about the social implications of the episode. But granted, I was just checking out the tag, and a lot of the people talking about it were young. I did just find this gem: “Leave it to Tumblr to get offended by one of the most sobering, chilling, daring, and inspiring pieces of television.” Yeah, okay. Tumblr and the entire rest of the Internet. This person needs to watch some good TV.

          If you want a good review of the episode, The A.V. Club’s was pretty (appropriately) funny and insightful and incensed. They gave it an “F.”

          • thank you! i really appreciate it.

            i don’t know how the emmys work — do you mean they submitted this episode in the drama category?

          • I think what she meant is that Glee won’t get Emmys for this because the “good acting” was dramatic acting and if you submit in the comedy category, you’re getting graded based on good comedic acting.

          • Basically a show will submit at least one episode (usually more) to be considered for awards – obviously their best episodes – but my understanding is that they have to choose which category to submit it in (I think the categories are comedy, drama, variety show/event television, and mini-series). “Glee,” as far as I know, always submits in the comedy category, so obviously they’d want a good comedic episode. I mean, it could change. Sometimes shows will bend the rules and submit to a different category because they think they’ll have a better chance of winning (Ryan Murphy did this with the first season of “American Horror Story” because he submitted it to mini-series and not drama). But there’s no way in hell that “Glee” would win or even be nominated in drama, while comedy is a little more doable (probably because Emmy voters have terrible fucking taste in comedy), so they’re kind of left with this obvious ploy for Emmy noms and no chance of getting them. In my opinion, anyway, and my only qualifications are that I fucking love TV.

          • I don’t care what the fangirls on Tumblr are saying, you’re right, there’s no way that ANY Glee episode would compare with something like Mad Men or Homeland or Game of Thrones or whatever else it would be up against in the drama category. Even the worst episodes of those shows are better than the best Glee episodes.

          • I also saw Glee fans a few weeks ago saying that if you don’t ship Kadam you aren’t a real LGBT ally or whatever, so I don’t know if the Tumblr fanbase should be seen as representative of the general reaction.

            I mean, I’m a total Tumblr fangirl (although, god, not for Glee) as any of you who follow me on there should know, but in general I think Tumblr tends to be a place for some really highstrung fans to overanalyze or squee about everything and is not necessarily representative of the majority of fans.

          • Thanks for the clarification, Rose. I’m an avid awards-freak– but only for movies so I only know how TV relates the Golden Globes (semi-related Chris Colfer’s acceptance a few years ago was one of the best reactions and speeches ever!).

            Yeah, that’s why I stay away from tumblr, it got very overwhelming for me very quickly. I think I stuck it out for a few months and I feel like I learned a lot during that time but it also got me upset far too frequently. I was mostly just following anything related to gender and sexuality though so yeah…

          • And I agree completely with “people should read the AV Club review.” I haven’t been reading many Glee reviews since Van Der Werff stopped reviewing that show (which I can’t blame him, really), but they nailed it this week.

            It’s funny because usually shows are only supposed to get an F for their worst-ever episode on AV Club, but I think Glee has received at least four Fs. It just keeps reaching deeper and deeper lows!

          • I think I read that “Glee” holds their record for number of F episodes. And I would love to have heard TVDW go off on this episode, but the review was great as is.

          • The comments on that AV article are a scream. Can we nominate comments on other sites for comment awards? The Troy and Abed call and response had me in stitches and this….

            “The Glee Politics of Bullying

            Kurt sets up his dad and Finn’s mom to manipulate himself into position to stalk Finn: Finn’s the bad guy
            Finn outs Santana because… I don’t know, he’s a dick, I guess?: Finn’s the good guy”


            “There have been a great many bullying storylines – and I can’t think of a single one that I thought was handled well.

            An ongoing premise of the series seems to be that bullying is horrible, unless the person doing the bullying is a character we’re supposed to like.

            Plus there’s Will’s failure to do anything about bullying that he sees going on right in front of him.”

            and then:

            “I thought the cyberbullying of Jonathan Coulton plot was extremely well done. “

          • Thank you for the Emmys explanation! I love TV too, I just usually can’t keep up with it to watch as many shows as regularly as there seem to be good shows around (did that sentence make sense?). My stronger addiction to movies is probably getting in the way.

            So this is totally unrelated but I feel like I need to throw something happy in that is TV-related– Arrested Development posters!

            Sigh… this is what Glee does to me. I run to other shows for comfort when it hurts me this bad.

      • Ok I haven’t ever read AE’s reviews but I slogged through it, just because this particular episode really upset me that much and I was curious– their reviewer loved it but 3/4 or more of the commenters hated it. Mostly the same issues raised here.

        Everyone keeps referencing other critics and the only one I’ve read was anti (Daily Beast) but I am not super plugged into other pop culture news (though I would have thought Salon or Slate or maybe Gawker would have had something… unless I missed it somehow?)

  12. This makes me so happy I gave up on Glee a while ago. As soon as I heard they were doing a school shooting episode, I knew they’d fuck it up catastrophically and it looks like I was 100% right, if not quite in the way I expected.

    Ableism sucks, Glee sucks, and I’m so sick of hearing how this show is “progressive” when it isn’t.

  13. Okay, when I wrote the comment above I was trying to reply to someone who had replied to my comment, who was quoting the AE Glee recap, but their reply has now disappeared… I’m not sure what happened there. I swear I wasn’t talking to myself!

  14. And my love/hate relationship with Glee grows ever more complicated. I was totally with them for all the reasons you stated until the twist, which is a shame because, as usual, they had a chance to do something important. The choir room lock-down scene had me in tears as well. I mean, poor Brittany hiding in the bathroom? Gah. I knew they would fumble this issue, so why do I let myself get emotionally involved? I’m a sucker for the singing, I guess.

    • While sad Brittany’s a legal adult 19 years old. And Schue was idiot going to get her risking actual children’s lives.

  15. Lizz, very well written response. I agree with you; the writers were doing so well up until the ‘twist.’ Is that seriously the best they could come up with in the writing room? As a teacher, we have monthly drills to prepare for this sort of situation, so emotionally, I was caught up in the plot. Similarly, when I taught in Israel, we had drills to prepare if a siren were to sound signaling an incoming rocket; so I’ve spent plenty of time sitting in the corner of a dark room with the blinds drawn and the doors locked, but thankfully they’ve only been drills. The Glee writers simply took a great concept and wiped their butts with it. Like, who cares about everything they were building toward now that we’ve watched it crumble?

  16. Okay, so I was baking a gluten free cake with my friend for his girlfriend’s birthday while this episode was on so I missed bits and pieces. I also missed bits and pieces when said friend was trying to help my roommate bandage his maimed finger (kid needs to not be allowed to use the meat slicer at work, for serious).

    Anyway. The point here is, I didn’t see Becky talking to Sue (because right then my roommate was screaming in pain because my friend bumped his hurt finger so I went to investigate) I just saw the gun and then saw it go off. So what was Becky’s reasoning? What happened there? My on demand doesn’t let me fast forward and I have no desire to rewatch the entire damn episode just to figure that out. Something about being afraid of losing her safe space? Was she planning/threatening to commit suicide or to attack others? Since I don’t know what was going on, I have to kind of suspend complete judgment on this.

    I don’t think it’s completely out of character for a person to panic because they’re losing their safe space, though I can see why it could definitely be a problematic representation of disabled people.

    • It’s not out of character for a person to do that. A person in my extended family committed a truly horrifying suicide under very similar circumstances. He had multiple disabilities (although I don’t think Down’s was one of them) and could not bear the thought of having to face the world alone after he’d very suddenly lost his parents.

      Of course, all disabilities are different and to hurt yourself and to hurt others are two totally different things. I found this episode of Glee to be manipulative, misguided and offensive on so many levels. If you must portray a school shooting, why would you not go through with it? If you want to explore Becky’s story, why not just do that without perpetuating terrible stereotypes about people with disabilities? This was a really horrible way to combine stories.

      • I agree it was a really bad way to combine stories. I just didn’t understand if Becky was actually intending to kill people? Again, missed that part. I do feel pretty weird about everything going back to the character with Down’s that isn’t terribly fleshed out, let’s be honest. She’s been very one-dimensional, but I always thought her previous portrayals were not too bad? I liked that she was mostly portrayed as a boy-crazy teenage girl, not a boy-crazy teenage girl with Down’s.

        I think it would have been a lot better if it were a random kid that we didn’t know at all, or if someone else had been struggling that we had a better knowledge of? This did come out of nowhere.

        anyway, point is, not a great episode, could have been handled much better. I’d just like to pry deeper into her motivations but it’s never going to happen.

        • i didn’t watch the episode, but a friend of mine horrifiedly liveblogged it at me, and she seemed to be under the impression that becky had no ill intentions whatsoever, and that she was feeling frightened and lost, so she brought the gun to school with the plan of speaking to sue about learning to shoot?

  17. Before I say anything else, let me just start by saying that I was waiting for the Autostraddle review because I knew they would call out this show for what it is…namely because they watch it and know what’s going on. I however, stay away from Glee because I just don’t care for it much outside of fanfiction (thus how I survive)

    However, the one night in a blue moon when I do decide to watch it in its entirety…its the episode where I’ve never seen a more somber and sour Brittany (this was before the shooting mind you; the only redeeming part of the episode was when she and Becky bonded and her love for Lord Tubbington), the STRANGE pairing of Will and Beiste (can anyone confirm if RM’s been hinting at this oddity that cannot even withstand a crack ship?) and of course the school shooting.

    The first thought that flew into my head when I heard that spontaneous gun shot was FUCK YOU RYAN MURPHY. JUST. FUCK. YOU. JUST. OH.MY.GOD. WHAT. A. FUCKING. IDIOT. JUST. NO. NO. NO. NO. And then when it was revealed that it was Becky who had “done it”, I just facepalmed and further insulted the creator of this show.

    The sad part was with everybody going along with the Lord Tubbington scare without questioning, it was then that I knew that through some contrived and stupid means, the show would somehow “wrap” the shooting storyline and never really press on it ever again.

    By the time the episode finished, I was still irritated at what I had just watched because it wasn’t well-done and it was just…sigh. Grrr. In one ear, out the other.

    Thinking about this further just maddens me, so I’ll stop here. And yes, Degrassi did do its mature themes like this well; the writing team puts in the effort where Glee did not. And thats what makes it even worse. It had the potential to but it just disturbingly breezed in Ryder’s storyline, BAM school shooting!, brief glimpse into the “culprit” and Sue’s exit and then back to Ryder again.

    • “FUCK YOU RYAN MURPHY. JUST. FUCK. YOU. JUST. OH.MY.GOD. WHAT. A. FUCKING. IDIOT. JUST. NO. NO. NO. NO” = exactly my reaction to finding out they were a school shooting episode

      • Ryan Murphy does this shit on The New Normal too. I watched two episodes of that show: the one where leisha haley was in it for like two seconds and the one about the boy scouts. My beat friend is a gay eagle scout and it was well done at first with them calling the boy scouts out for what they are but in the end the character was all “yeah, well I’m staying with the boy scouts because this troupe isn’t homophobic even though this one guy said I was a bad role model for his son because I’m gay.” I get its different/not as serious but it feels like he does this thing where he tries to take on a tough subject but then chickens out.

  18. I agree totally with you! I have a good friend with Downs and she is one of the sweetest people I know, Not a bad bone in her body! What Glee did this week was terrible, they could have come up with a much better story line/arc with it. It could have been anyone, It could have been the person Ryder was talking to online throughout the ep. I don’t understand why it had to be Becky. Ugh it actually makes me very very angry to think that Glee did something like this, and now for Sue as she took the blame, I was getting really sick of her character ( because no teacher would ever be like that in the real world ) now are we all supposed to love her and take her back into the show. Ugh I just don’t understand!

    I really hope Glee steps up with the writing and it goes back to the old Glee, or I’m afraid that I will not want to watch the show anymore. I also think that the writes and everyone involved with Glee should make a statement apologizing to families whose kids have downs.

  19. This episode just seems disrespectful and offensive somehow to people who’ve actually survived or lost someone in a school shooting. And insulting to the shows who’ve actually done it a million times better. There have been a number of shows who’ve done it better, and I won’t mention them here at all, but Glee has proven time and time again that it can’t handle issues like this with the respect it deserves. Plus this episode – predictably hasn’t contributed to the national gun control/school violence debate AT ALL.

    Plus…I hate that Becky ended up being the shooter. It sends the wrong message Aren’t shooters usually angry, young white males with or without some mental problems?

    And I hate that Glee has achieved what it set out to do: gain publicity for a terrible episode about a NOT school shooting.

  20. So, I don’t watch Glee. Never really have. I like reading the AS reviews because I want the show to inspire some kind of discussion, but I can’t usually handle what the show (creator) actually puts forth as that discussion.

    I am so thankful that this review is here, because the larger discussion of gun violence in the US takes (for me) a particularly gut-wrenching turn when it intersects with ableism, and the fact that this show took that turn at full-throttle is something I don’t know how to articulate my anger at.

    So thanks for writing this.

  21. This is the first episode of Glee I had watched since season 1, just out of curiosity to see what the fuss was about.

    *sigh* Even fucking BLOSSOM handled gun violence in schools with more dignity than this.

  22. This is so fantastic. I was watching the episode and crying and feeling confused and conflicted and angry and now I know why. Thanks Lizz!

  23. Lizz thank you for writing this

    I haven’t watched Glee in a long time but I’m sitting here kind of in a shock

    I hate how Glee tries to take so-called “Issues of the Moment” and make something of them and all that happens is they’re triggery as FUCK. There are actual real people who have lived through school shootings or lost a loved one in a school shooting. There are actual real people who are or have been suicidal or have lost a loved one because of suicide. And I hate how Glee takes those real people and exploits their lives for a quick buck and a cheap pat on the back.

    And my brother is an 18 year old with Down Syndrome and I sincerely hope that my parents never ever watch this episode or hear about it from anyone ever. Because we’re all having a hard enough time adjusting to what things are gonna be like after he graduates high school and all the changes to his funding and coping with the idea of change and my parents don’t need it to cross their minds that people would look at my brother and right away associate him with gun violence. It’s hard enough to try and talk to people about him having Downs because nobody GETS IT because there’s not positive representation in the media and other people get so uncomfortable talking about it and THIS IS NOT HELPING

    • When I read this recap, I thought of you =( I was hoping you wouldn’t have tuned into this… *hug*

  24. Before I remembered that this was Glee, I thought that the shooter would’ve been Ryder. After he started accusing his friends of catfishing him, I thought he would have started the shooting because he thought his friends were conspiring against him.

    Part of me was glad that the shooting was a false alarm. I think that if Glee had an actual shooting, they would probably just kill off a character that I like, then forget about it.

  25. When I first watched the episode, it didn’t occur to me for one minute that Becky brought the gun to school because of her condition. And I don’t think Glee were implying that, either. Whenever it comes to the few storylines she is involved in, it’s not usually about the fact she has Down’s Syndrome. The only I can think of is when she became a Cheerio in the first season, and then when Artie rejected her last season. Reading interviews from the producers, it seems they chose her to do it because it would develop her character, showing her vulnerable, scared side compared to the bitch she’s usually portrayed as. I think this is further supported by Sue saying “She’s tough. But like all the kids, she gets scared sometimes.” to Will at the end of the episode. “all the kids” – not just ones with developmental disabilities.

  26. I did not watch this episode, as I finally broke free of my Glee addition a few months ago. The last episode I watched had this bizarre dream sequence where Artie was not in a wheelchair and this led to a host of consequences, one of them being that Becky was now pregnant and apparently the “school slut” – the implication being that if Artie had not let her down gently when she had a crush on him she would have lost all self-respect. It totally erased her agency and was ableist, slut shaming, and wrong on so many other levels. I see things have not improved.

    It’s sad, because although Glee has always had problematic aspects to it, at least in the first season I really feel like the good outweighed the bad. They had a genuinely diverse cast of characters and tackled issues that no one else was talking about. I don’t know if they fired all the writers after the first season or what, but it went down hill rather quickly.

    Still, until the current season there was enough there to keep me watching (if only to complain). Now though, I think the show is actually becoming dangerous – it is viewed as something progressive, and yet is dripping with offensive stereotypes. I’m afraid that people young viewers are going to going get the wrong idea about what is acceptable.

  27. Thanks for writing my exact thoughts. This episode left me in shock. Even though I had been enjoying this season, I will not be watching again.

  28. There are always negative and positive thoughts when it comes to any scenario. But i have to say that this episode MADE US THINK ABOUT OTHERS, BE IT PEOPLE WITH DISABILITY OR COUNTRIES WITH GUN PROBLEM OR THE FEAR OF CHILDREN.

    The show created awareness. Without this episode, we will continue our lives as before. Personally, my perspective had changed.

  29. I agree the impact was lost upon the reveal. They could’ve written Sue off show my having her fired for random reason. They will later better help Becky in series but Becky bringing gun is silly.

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