Newtown Parents Were Violated by 'Glee' School Shooting Episode

Rant 44

glee school shootingThere's really only one word to describe the demeanor in my living room during the Glee school shooting episode last night: uncomfortable. At one point I caught my husband staring with his mouth wide open. And we have -- fortunately -- been untouched by the mass shootings that have occurred in America in recent years. So I could only imagine what was going on in Newtown, Connecticut last night.

The Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy is less than four months old. And before the "Shooting Star" episode began, the folks in Newtown had no warning.

At least, not officially. No one in the Glee camp, it seems, reached out to the folks in Connecticut to give them a heads up.

Instead it was Michael Slezak, senior editor of, who happens to have a friend who lives in Newtown and decided to break the code of protecting spoilable plotlines when given advance notice of TV content. Michael Slezak contacted his friend, Andrew Paley, because he felt it was the right thing to do. Paley spread the word around town.

More From The Stir: 'Glee' Recap: Is It Too Soon for a School Shooting on TV?

Good for Michael Slezak. Good for Andrew Paley.

But WTF Glee?

The show used a national tragedy for ratings, and the producers didn't have the decency to give the people most affected by that tragedy a heads up? That's more unsettling than the concept behind the episode itself. At least the folks behind Glee can argue that the show is meant to spread awareness of an American issue.

But what happened to a little human compassion? As Paley, whose children attend Sandy Hook, told his local NBC affiliate:

Glee producers had the right to air it, but a heads up would have been nice. We're going through a healing phase right now and without giving us any kind of warning, it's going to open up wounds we're trying to close right now.

Sure, the show began with a warning that there would be "school violence" content, which might be difficult to watch. But what happens if you miss the first few seconds of the show? And what does "school violence" even mean? That could just as easily indicate some hazing as it does a shooting.

The fact remains that the folks at Glee dropped the ball here. All it took was one call to the Newtown Bee or a call to the district superintendent, and a lot of folks in Connecticut ... heck, a lot of folks in AMERICA ... would be much happier with the show today.

Do you think the folks in Newtown were owed a heads up by the powers that be at Glee?


Image via Fox

death, crime, media, glee


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nonmember avatar Cass

There was a giant warning before the show telling you the episode dealt with school violence. If you kept watching, you can't complain about seeing school violence. It has been months since Sandy Hook- we cannot grieve forever. The episode was dealt with respectfully. The Glee producers cannot reach out to every family that has ever been affected by gun violence. Besides, it would be more appropriate to reach out to those affected by Columbine, since the episode featured a high school shooting. What a ridiculous overreaction.

nonmember avatar Chelsea

Do you think the shooting episode of Degrassi inspired the shooter, too?

nonmember avatar KAT

For me, It wasn't the content of the episode, or how it was portrayed, but how it was concluded. I think it is important for shows to address hot button issues and I have no problem with a TV program ripping stories from the headlines. However, if you are going to do an episode about a school shooting, especially when it is such a tragic reality, than you need to make it real. You don't do a whole emotional episode and then go, "oh never mind, it was just an accident, its all okay...". You don't put the blame on a scared mentally challenged girl because you don't want to kill off any of your characters. Much like their "don't text & drive episode" which left Quinn in a wheel chair and then 3 episodes later, she was totally fine and is now at Yale banging her professor, Glee likes to tie things up with a nice bow at the end, and that is not what should happen in an episode like this. You just don't do that. You don't do an episode on school shootings, unless you are really going to do it because in reality, there's no accident, there's no happy ending with a song b/c no one got hurt. In reality, there are dead children, horrified teachers and mourning parents. I love Glee, but as much drama as it has, the bottom line is, Glee is a comedy and school shootings are not funny.

nonmember avatar Michael

I don't think, based on the history of what GLEE has done, that the producers or writers did this in order to simply boost ratings. I think they did it to raise awareness. Yes, they probably should have told people in affected areas, hey, we're doing this, however, when I watched it, I knew it was going to be a school shooting episode. "Shooting Star" plus "kids undergo tragegy" said it all.

2many... 2manydiapers

Um... there were shootings before Newton. Sadly there will more than likely be shootings after.

Hell Degrassi back in the day had a 3 episode school shooting.

School shootings are a real thing, not some one time event.

I don't watch Glee so I did not see this, but I don't get it. If you don't like it change the channel.

dirty... dirtyhippiemama

Glee is garbage anyway but it's still crap.

Daniel Montiel

"violated"? They took a national issue and raised awareness of it - they do not owe any one particular set of victims a notification warning before they do so.
No, they didn't drop the ball. No, they didn't owe you a heads up.
If anything, you owe other school shooting victims and their families an apology for acting like you own the issue.

dirty... dirtyhippiemama

Still crap they aired that with no head up is what I meant.

Rebecca Peterson

I agree with 2manydiapers. One Tree Hill, and Degrassi both had school shootings, and One Tree Hill, kept in the story line for seasons after.

Reality says, there are mass shootings, not just Sandy Hook. Columbine, Virginia Tech, oh, and the shooter at Ft. Hood, the theater in Colorado.

It's a TV show. Use the remote and change the channel.

nonmember avatar Megan

I got a heads up about a "tragic event" online a and went looking for spoilers. Having family and friends at Santana, I am glad I did. I was able to warn my sister ahead of time that she might want to skip this episode. Though it has been 12 years, the images still affect all of us and with every new shooting, the scab keeps getting picked at. I understand why they did this episode and appreciate that they try to address all issues affecting our teens these days, it was a very hard pill to swallow.

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