It should be no surprise that Glee has fallen in the ranks of my favorite shows. What used to be appointment TV is now Hulu-days-later TV. I feel like it doesn’t have the same pizazz, the same bite, the same freshness. So imagine my surprise when I found the most recent episode, “On My Way,” to be one of the most important hours of television of this season… or maybe of any season. In the story, Karofsky—whose bullying of Kurt stemmed from his own closetedness—becomes the target of physical and cyber bullying himself, and he tries to take his own life. The students and faculty at McKinley then grapple to empathize and to process their guilt. Finally, Kurt visits Karofsky and helps him imagine a happy future—one worth living to experience.
The episode aired with public service announcements from The Trevor Project, an organization whose mission is “to end suicide among LGBTQ youth by providing life-saving and life-affirming resources including our nationwide, 24/7 crisis intervention lifeline, digital community and advocacy/educational programs that create a safe, supportive and positive environment for everyone.” (And the same PSAs also ran on Hulu.)
I was very lucky that I never had to be forced out of the closet, and that I could tell the world on my own terms; and even luckier that when I did, I was received with love and support. I don’t take that for granted. So many others aren’t so lucky, and I can imagine how easy it would be for them to feel alone and helpless. That’s why causes like The Trevor Project are so vital. Now, LGBTQ teens don’t have to feel isolated. When they think that their lives are meaningless and hopeless, there’s someone a phone call away to tell them otherwise.
I love the frivolous, funny episodes of Glee as much as the next fan; but I think the show is at its best when it addresses our society’s issues and debates, sometimes even using shock tactics to get people to sit up and take notice. The stellar on-screen performances aside, I give the writing team a lot of props for using the breadth of the show’s cultural influence to shed light on an important issue and, better yet, an important solution. (And from the installment’s cliffhanger ending, it seems like the next issue the show tackles is texting-while-driving.)
You can read more about The Trevor Project here.