ritics and parents groups are incensed over a GQ photo shoot in which "Glee" stars, Dianna Agron and Lea Michele, both 24, pose as extremely lightly dressed school girls (alongside a fully clothed male co-star). While the Parents Television Council says the shoot "borders on pedophilia" and Agron has already issued an apology, GQ's Editor-in-Chief, Jim Nelson, stands by the American-Apparel-ad-esque shots — which commentators have called "scandalous" and "porny" — and says the 20-something cast members of the Fox show are "old enough to do what they want." Is this uproar just predictable noise? (Watch a report about the photos)
The photos are "creepy" soft porn: In previous photo shoots, the "Glee" kids have maintained their "reasonably chaste cast personas" or posed as the adults they are, says Mary Elizabeth Williams at Salon. But here, they have been transformed into "porny teen fantasy characters, all spread legs and underpants in the locker room," for GQ's adult male readers (average age: 33.4 years) to ogle. Worse, the shots were taken by Terry Richardson, a man with a long and "reputedly unpleasant history involving teenagers."
"'Glee' cast goes barely legal"
This is (sadly) par for the course: "Oh look, more young women being asked to assume the position... with pom poms and lollipop," says Mary McNamara in the Los Angeles Times. I get that Agron and Michele are "grown women" entitled to show off their gym-toned bodies and, especially in the case of Michele, to let the world know that they're not just theatre geeks. "But honestly, does a woman still have to strip down to panties and thigh-highs and straddle a bench to accomplish this?"
"GQ tarts up 'Glee' girls. Insert yawn of outrage here."
The shots are no racier that the show: "I'm surprised by all the outcry," says David Rosenthal in The Baltimore Sun. Sure the photos are "pretty spicy," but so is the show itself, with its pregnant cheerleader plot line, lesbian kisses, Britney Spears numbers, and "enough sexual innuendo and looks to heat a home through a New England winter." Plus, while Michelle and Agron play high schoolers on the show, they're both 24 in real life. "What's the big deal?"
"GQ Glee photos: What's the big deal?"
Perhaps Fox should take some responsibility: Maybe the outraged parents groups "should ask the 'Glee' producers why they selected such older actors to play the roles of teenage kids," says The Mommyologist in Babble. Whether you find the photos problematic or not, age clearly played into GQ's decision to run them. "If those actors were in their teens, I seriously doubt that the photo shoot would've taken place."
"Glee cast is more than old enough for racy photos"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Here's proof that Justin Bieber is just as spoiled as you always thought
- What the collapse of the Ming Dynasty can tell us about American decline
- Why is it so expensive to build a bridge in America?
- 7 ways to be the most interesting person in any room
- Why is American internet so slow?
- Ukraine's fraught relationship with Russia: A brief history
- Colorado’s new ‘drive high, get a DUI’ commercials are actually pretty clever
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- The GOP must try to win over African-Americans
- To build the Death Star, we'll need this space elevator
Subscribe to the Week