Was it good for you? On Tuesday's episode of Glee, two of the series' most popular couples — Finn and Rachel, and Kurt and Blaine — had sex for the first time. Before what's become known as the "sex episode" even aired, it sparked controversy. The Parents Television Council weighed in predictably, calling the show's decision to "celebrate children having sex... reprehensible." Others focused on the fact that Glee's writing staff gave equal weight to both teen couples — gay and straight — as they grappled with the prospect of losing their virginity. Now that the episode aired and critics are post-coital, the question is: Was the controversy overblown?
What was so scandalous? "Unless you're homophobic or believe everyone should be totally chaste until marriage," Glee's sex episode was relatively tame, says Margaret Hartmann at Jezebel. It actually celebrated teens who wait until they're 17 and 18 to have protected sex with a loving partner with whom they're in a committed relationship — something you'd imagine parents groups would support. "If anything, the sex [was] too romantic and unrealistic, but that's probably smart" considering Glee wants to assert that "there's nothing scary or uncomfortable about gay teens in love."
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It's another example of Glee pushing boundaries too far: Since Glee first aired, this "liberal propaganda" tool has relentlessly pushed "the boundaries of what's acceptable on broadcast TV," says Paul Wilson at Newsbusters. The sex episode raised the stakes by featuring a gay teen couple in bed — once again advocating "a liberal tilt on homosexuality." The show is "well on its way towards achieving that goal of hyper-sexualizing television."
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The love scenes were actually handled beautifully: The episode wasn't about sex, it was about love, says Jenna Mullins at E! Online. "There was no graphic sex scene, no nudity, no gratuitous anything." The act was shown as sweet and romantic. "Even the most cynical fan had to warm up to the sight" of the couples snuggling together, even nuzzling noses as they prepared to have sex. After all of the hype, these delicately handled scenes were "perfection."
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Either way, it was a stellar episode: Controversy aside, Tuesday's episode of Glee "was a very good one," says Jen Chaney at The Washington Post. Not only was the sex "handled with genuine sensitivity," there was a moving story arc involving Coach Bieste, the introduction of a feisty new Warbler character (Sebastian, calculated to complicate Kurt and Blaine's relationship), and stellar staging of West Side Story numbers. "One Hand, One Heart," the performance of which was intercut with the sex scenes, was "beautifully shot, touching, hopefully romantic" — in other words, "Glee at its best."
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