warning Hi, we've moved to USCANNENBERGMEDIA.COM. Visit us there!

Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

"Glee" is Bringing Sexy Back And Paying The Price For It.

Candice Aman |
October 27, 2010 | 11:51 a.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

Glee for GQ (Courtesy of Creative Commons)
Glee for GQ (Courtesy of Creative Commons)
Fox's "Glee" is one of the biggest shows on television today. How can a musical comedy about a high school glee club average around 13 million viewers a week? The success of the show is a testament to its ability to combine top-selling tracks, quote-worthy one-liners, and a cast that is filled with triple threats across the board. Recently, however, some of the stars from the young cast have been garnering attention for more than just their vocal talent.

The November issue of the magazine ‘GQ’ puts three of the show’s actors -- Lea Michele, Dianna Agron, Cory Monteith -- back in school through a racy editorial, aptly titled, ‘Glee Gone Wild.’ Famed photographer of the stars Terry Richardson, known for his often controversial and revealing shoots, pushed the envelope with the photos from this spread.

 Michele, whose poses have been deemed to be the most over-the-top, may be the over-achieving Rachel Berry on the show, but is seen perched up against a locker provocatively licking a lollipop and in scantily clad lingerie with her legs spread wide apart in the shoot. Similarly, Agron who plays the perfectionist cheerleader, Quinn Fabray, is also taking the heat for donning sexy schoolgirl outfits. It seems like Monteith, who plays the football-turned-singing star Finn Hudson, is the only one not affected by this scandal as he remains fully clothed in the photos. 

 Prior to the magazine's release, the pictures went viral. And surprise, surprise, many family-oriented organizations, such as the Parent Television Council, were among the first to criticize the spread calling it “near pornographic” and even going so far as “pedophilic.”

Although comments surrounding the photos might seem rash, this type of reaction is all too familiar. Every so often a celebrity who rises to fame with a wholesome persona will take part in racy photo shoot and, every time, there will be a media backlash.  

Remember Britney Spears on the 1999 cover of 'Rolling Stone' magazine? Fresh off the success of her hit record "Baby, One More Time," Spears appeared spread out across a bed with her shirt unbuttoned and holding a tellytubby doll. Only a couple of years ago, Miley Cyrus incited a similar debate when she posed with her back exposed for an Annie Lebowitz photo in a 2008 issue of "Vanity Fair" Magazine.  

In both cases, the media and the public went into a frenzy. 

 Call it a poor sense of judgment or a brilliant public relations move: controversial photo shoots never end up hurting a celebrity's image more that it can help it. Despite this scandal, millions tuned in to watch the “Rocky Horror Glee Show,” their Halloween themed episode, Tuesday night and the accompanying soundtrack is already the #2 album on iTunes -- right behind Taylor Swift.

While these photos are certainly not geared towards the younger set, those who watch “Glee” on a regular basis will have to remember that the show is not as wholesome as the name might suggest it to be. The writers of the show hardly shy away from controversial issues such as religion, drugs, homosexuality and sex.  

Although these young stars might today be going through a cycle of criticism that many before them have faced, it is only a matter of time before these photos become yesterday’s news while they continue to top the television and music charts. And once the ladies of the “The View” discuss this on their "Hot Topics" segment, it'll definitely be time to move on.

Reach reporter Candice Aman here.

Sign up for Neon Tommy's weekly e-mail newsletter.



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.