Monday, October 10, 2011

Does "Glee" Get Adoption Wrong?

I know I'm the only person on the face of the earth who has never watched "Glee," but apparently it is upsetting some adoptive parents; the LA Times reports under the headline 'Glee' adoption plot sparks online petition:
An adoptive mother is using an online advocacy platform to distribute a petition calling on the producers of Fox's "Glee" to create a public service announcement that would offset what she calls "harmful" inaccuracies in an adoption-based story line.

Amber Austin said she initiated the petition on because of a plotline involving cheerleader Quinn (Dianna Agron), a teen mother who placed her baby up for adoption. On the show, Quinn is, as the petition puts it, "actively (and with malice)" trying to get the baby back from Shelby (Idina Menzel), the birth mother of Glee Club member Rachel (Lea Michele).

Austin said the show irresponsibly raises fear for adopted children that they can be taken away from their families, and that the plot also could cause confusion for families who adopt. She said the story line perpetuates one of the most pervasive and harmful myths about adoption: that a birth mother can take a child away from a family or pop back into the child's life.
According to the CelebrityCafe, the adoptive mom who started the petition is also concerned that “for young women facing unplanned pregnancies, many of whom are in Glee's target demographic, the show may give the inaccurate impression that adoption is a temporary solution, not a permanent one.”And at a lawyer's blog, he opines that there would be little chance of the birth mother getting her child back under his state's laws.

So, "Glee" viewers, what do you think? Does "Glee" get adoption wrong? If so, should we be surprised?! And those who pooh-poohed criticism of Modern Family's adoption story line -- is this the same "it's only TV" issue?


Anonymous said...

I've watched Glee from the very beginning and think that while it's important to sensor what we say (concerning adoption and more) on television, the show is fine.

It most certainly portrays real life - it does happen. First/birth parents fight to get their children back, they go through unbelievable amounts of grief that can play out and be shown as anger, hostility, malice. While it may be dramatized in some ways, it is not an unlikely event (just as one commentor on the petition writes - being in the middle of a similar situation herself).

While I don't know how adopted children would feel while watching it - I believe it goes along with the parents responsibility to screen television shows for them.

I have seen Ryan Murphy (producer) on several shows and interviews - he is very particular about what he puts on his show and thinks of others while doing it. He speaks loudly about the importance of people relating to the characters - and it is clear that he doesn't take it lightly.

LilySea said...

I don't think we can expect better from t.v. but I also think that we have every right--and obligation--to speak up about what's wrong with the way adoption is portrayed on the show. There's not really such a thing as "just t.v." because shows like this are where most of the population actually get their ideas about--whatever doesn't directly affect them from.

So while we could debate whether or not it's right to hold entertainment fiction responsible for its message, we need not debate the merits of discussing those messages in thoughtful ways.

Linda said...

As an adoptee, I actually have more of a problem with "Modern Family", even though it is more realistic, right down to the disgusting "pre-birth matching" book.

I think the Glee storyline is ridiculous, but it did show how the child's first Mother did not really know how surrendering a child would negatively affect her.

As far as Austin's claims that the show "irresponsibly raises fear for adopted children that they can be taken away from their families", hogwash. I already lost a family. Seeing that on TV would not have made me afraid- and there were shows that dealt with similar stories way back when we had only 3 channels. She acts as if adoptees are stupid. She sounds like an industry insider, lol.

More than likely, the show will "follow the rules" set by society, and the adoptive Mom will fight any attempts made by Quinn while brutally assaulting her character.

I just hate that one of my favorite shows has been tarnished by adoption.

April Dietz said...

I think it's hard to say. Any one fictional drama cannot fully explain a complicated topic such as adoption in one-hour, so yes they have to do some picking and choosing. And the story-line isn't over after the last episode, there is more to come.

In the show, the adoptive mother is encouraging of a relationship with her child's first-parents; that doesn't seem like a bad place to start a conversation about adoption. And first parents having feelings and thoughts of regrets or change-of-heart for making an adoption plan is also reality, and the show reflects that in meaning if not in perfect detail. So, can this show be a opportunity for adoption conversations with age-appropriate teens or young adults? Or, do we have to throw the whole show out the window as having no value because they are not getting all the adoption details exactly correct?

I'm not just saying this to take a particular stand; I really mean the question. Maybe we do have to throw the whole thing out because the details are incorrect.

chittisterchildren said...

I stopped watching Glee in the first season, largely because I saw that the adoption storyline was going to be terrible. I do think that TV that's rooted in "real life" (that is, not sci-fi, murder/mystery, etc.) has an obligation to at least try to portray real life issues with some sort of accuracy.

thewonderfulhappens said...

I don't watch Glee, so I can't speak to that. I actually didn't have as much of a problem with Modern Family. They definitely made an irreverent/inappropriate comment, but that's kind of the gist of the show.
I do, however, have a huge problem with "Parenthood" where there is a plotline where one sibling is wanting to adopt. The term "buy a baby" has been used not once, but THREE TIMES! I find that shocking.

Anonymous said...

If we are using television for our moral compass we are terribly mistaken.

It is T.V drama, who takes that stuff seriously? Sounldn't.

Anonymous said...

Adoptee. Adoptive parent. Love Modern Family.

Never watched Glee, I'm out of high school, don't need to go back.

Jenn said...

I don't have a problem with this story line. There are first mothers out there who DO want to try to get their children back. It seems like Quinn didn't really take the time to think it over. She was going to keep her baby for a while, just wasn't sure how. It wasn't until the end of that particular plot line that she decided to give Beth to Shelby.

I think that if this plot line makes teen-aged girls who are thinking of relinquishing their babies stop and think for a minute about how they might feel afterwards, then this isn't a bad thing. They should think about the negative feelings. They should at least know it's a possibility. They should be making an INFORMED decision. And not showing this on TV isn't going to stop those women from feeling that way after relinquishment.

I have yet to see a TV show the negative side effects of adoption. They do exist, but society ignores them when it comes to TV.

As an adult adoptee, it's hard to watch. This is true. But anything adoption related is hard for me to watch. Including Disney movies.