We are enjoying The Glee Project a lot more than most reality shows. First of all, it's entertaining and the kids are talented underdogs. Also, it doesn’t come across as needy for our approval or too flashy. It isn’t trashy either. It doesn’t have too many commercials, no one votes, it’s not a gross circus, and it has an intimate, safe feel to it. This is good, because it features young people getting a taste of the acting business.
We don’t want to see them hurt or exploited. We want to see them nurtured. Most reality shows gut the contestants and then toss them, ashamed, back into the world. We don’t feel like this one does.
In fact, we are pretty impressed with Ryan Murphy and his inclusiveness. He’s gotten a lot of heat from anti-gay people, including a lot of Christians, for his gay Kurt storylines. Granted, there was too much focus on Kurt in season two. Apparently, Murphy has received multiple death threats due to his gay storylines and messages on Glee.
Now, Christianity is not cool in the entertainment industry right now. Blame Pat Robertson, closed-minded Pharisees, and political Christian crusaders who feel as if God needs the government to save the world and make it more Christian. So it would be easy for Murphy to throw a Christian contestant under the bus when the contestant acted prude-ish. Any other reality show would. For example, look at any season of America’s Next Top Model with Christian girls. Granted, those girls were more obnoxious...but might they have been casted for being obnoxious and having a potential for drama? Murphy cast a Christian that all of the other kids really liked.
Murphy says he is looking for a Christian character for the show. He said that he doesn’t think the show has fairly represented that group of people yet (however, Mercedes represents it pretty well). He wants a character who “holds fast to those beliefs.” Why? Inclusiveness. He wants to have a teen on the show that teen Christians can relate to, rather than just have a legalistic Christian character who is a bully, like Quinn.
So he had this Christian contestant on Glee named Cameron. He was an adorable, innocent little hipster boy with glasses, tight pants, and a guitar. He had a girlfriend and he really feels deeply about “not cheating on her.” Of course, as an actor, you sometimes have to play a character who will do things you will not do. Trouble started when Cameron was kissed by another contestant during the making of a music video. He cried and called his mom, because he felt that he had violated his morals. Ryan Murphy said that he liked that side of him and kept him on the show.
Now, as a Christian, this blogger thinks that Cameron was dead wrong. It’s acting. It’s part of the job. It’s not like he’s showing skin or exploiting women. He needed to know that most acting will involve a kiss at some point. Later, Cameron was pressured to kiss a girl again, and he refused. He started thinking, “Maybe I’m just a singer and not an actor,” because he wasn’t a strong actor. He landed in front of Ryan Murphy.
Some people are just too sensitive for reality TV. In addition to the kissing thing, Cameron was feeling homesick and pressured. We can understand him realizing that environment wasn’t for him. All of the other contestants really liked him as a person, and he had a good voice, but some people just aren’t cut out for the business. Cameron realized that this was him and asked to be let go from the show. We were sad, because he was one of our favorite contenders at the time.
Murphy, rather than painting him as a prude, sat down with him and said (in his John Malkovich-y voice) something like, “I want to keep you. I can write a Christian character for you. I admire you standing up for your beliefs and convictions. It’s very impressive in a kid your age, and I want that on my show.” Cameron turned him down, but we enjoyed that Murphy treated Cameron so gently, understanding that it was a hard, emotional time for him. Rather than make the kid look like a prude, Ryan Murphy protected him, lauded his choices, and let him exit the show. We really liked how Murphy is turning the other cheek rather than hating on religious people because of the ones who have spread some hate his way.
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