"...We should treat all the trivial things of life very seriously, and all the serious things of life with sincere and studied triviality." - Oscar WildeYeah, I said it. Glee, that show on Fox created by Ryan Murphy about a bunch of high school misfits singing about unrequited love and a general desire to be noticed deserves to be taken seriously. Why? Because it is forcing young viewers to be more open-minded.
Evidence of this comes from first-hand experience with my younger cousins. (Score for not being a journalist anymore who has to go find - blech - sources!) Unlike many of my older relatives, they don't see anything wrong with being of a different race or gay. I noticed a palpable change in their attitudes regarding those unlike themselves after they got really into the show. The fact that a TV show's message of acceptance is capable of overpowering those of older role models is not a bad thing when the TV show's message is far more intelligent.
This message comes in two forms: tongue-in-cheek and completely sincere. The tongue-in-cheek elicits laughter because these scenes are so cleverly written, while the completely sincere often results in tears of sympathy and - more importantly - empathy.
Example of a tongue-in-cheek message:
"Adam Lambert. You're on the right track, but still too subtle. Now don't get me wrong. I'll listen to your music. I'll even hum it under my breath as I head into the voting booth the next time the state government offers me the chance to deny you your basic rights."
This perfectly written parody is exactly what viewers need to see in order to realize how hypocritical and ridiculous many conservatives can be about gay rights.
Example of a completely sincere message:
In this scene, we learn that Kurt has an outstanding and supportive father who also helpfully points out that the F-word, N-word and "retarded" are all equally ridiculous and cause the person saying them to sound incredibly uninformed.
If you want a good laugh, go here. This "journalist" condemns Glee for the exact same reasons I used to explain why it's so great. If Glee is "promoting homosexuality, atheism and careers in the arts," then keep it coming, Ryan Murphy!