An Open Letter to Katie Couric, Tim Winter, and Others

Ken AshfordPopular Culture, Sex/Morality/Family Values11 Comments

Katie Couric
c/o CBS News
555 West 57th Street
New York, NY 10019 

Tim Winter
Parents Television Council
707 Wilshire Boulevard #2075
Los Angeles, CA 90017 


Dear Katie, Tim, and others occupying the fainting couch:

There comes a time in every man's person's life when they are compelled to see Lea Michele's panties…. apparently.

I know.  I've been there.  

I didn't expect it.  I didn't look for it.  But there she was: Lea Michele.  Legs spread, skirt up, panties exposed and down, the whole ragamuffin.  

And when I was exposed to Ms. Michele's, er, exposure, it was for real — i.e., in the actual unphotoshopped flesh!  Not some fashion fotos for a magazine.

Yes, like untold hundreds of others who sat in the front right orchestra section (or onstage left if you happened to score one of those tickets) of the pre-Glee hit Broadway musical Spring Awakening, I sat in somewhat stunned silence as Jonathan Groff (later to do a short stint on Glee himself) sang a melodious tune to Lea Michele, who had undone the straps of her dress and was now topless.  I watched as his hand moved down her leg, lifting her skirt, and actually pulled down her panties.  Yeah, that's right — some of us got a FULL show, in living color.  (Oh, yeah, there's video, my friends)

So yes, Katie.  I can somewhat identify with your shock and dismay.  I know whereof you speak when I read this account of what you said on CBS News.

"I'm a Gleek," she began, saying how she and her 14-year-old daughter watch the show every week. But she decried the photos, particularly Michele's spread-eagle one, as "raunchy" and "un-Glee-like," and concluded: "I'm disappointed."

But there's one thing you need to know, Katie:  IT GETS BETTER.

IT GETS BETTER when you realize that there is such a thing as context.  Of course the photos are un-Glee-like because guess what?  They're not promotional photos for Glee.   They are for an adult male magazine.  (Tim Winters, please be advised that you are the director of the Parents Television Council, not the Parents Male Fashion Magazine Council.)

IT GETS BETTER when you realize that Ms. Michele and Ms. Agron, the two Glee actresses in the saucy photos, are both 24 years old and fully grown adults.  Cory Montieth is 28.  Yes, folks, they only portray teenagers on television.  In real life, they've grown up into adulthood. Perhaps others should grow up, too.

IT GETS BETTER when you realize that Glee never tried to be High School Musical and to the extent that your 8 and 9 year child thinks otherwise, then the problem is with you as a parent.  I think Glee actor Dianna Agron said it best when she wrote on her blog:

Now, in perpetuating the type of images that evoke these kind of emotions, I am sorry. If you are hurt or these photos make you uncomfortable, it was never our intention. And if your eight-year-old has a copy of our GQ cover in hand, again I am sorry. But I would have to ask, how on earth did it get there?

(Emphasis mine).  

[And by the way, for those of you in the press who take the former paragraph and report that Dianna Agron is apologizing, I think you misread her tone.  Yes, she is saying "I am sorry", but it's more like "I'm sorry that you are such tight-asses, but que sera sera."]

But returning to the subject of Gleeks like Katie Couric being disappointed by these photos, let's look at what aired this week on Glee (it was a re-run)….

• A crash course in "hairography," the art of whipping your long hair around.

• An energetically choreographed rendition of "Bootylicious."

• Kurt giving Rachel a "ho makeover."

• Sexting (explicit texting).

… not to last month's Britney Spears-themed episode of "Glee", where teenage cheerleader Brittany (Heather Morris) fantasizes about seducing her counselor's dentist boyfriend (John Stamos).  And that was actually on teevee!


So here's my advice to parents and others who are concerned about the raciness of the photos by Lea Michele and Dianna Agron:

  1. First and foremost, I would cancel my child's subscription to GQ magazine.  Clearly, the people at GQ have no moral compass when it comes what the youth of today should or shouldn't be exposed to.
  2. Please know that IT GETS BETTER.  Lea Michele's exposed panties and schoolgirl outfit is just GQ's way of having fun (clean, sexy fun) with the particular genre that propelled Michele and Agron into stardom.  Yes, it's adult fun.  That's why it's in an adult magazine.  But the image of Lea Michelle's silky white panties won't haunt you forever, I promise.

    Unless of course, you rub your own nose in it.  

    But I wouldn't recommend doing that.

    Unless you're into that sort of thing.

    And I suspect you're not.