“Glee,” the occasionally topical high school musical series, aired an episode on Thursday night that could have been ripped from yesterday’s headlines. The topic: a school shooting.
In the episode, titled, “Shooting Star,” one of the students of McKinley High School, a girl with Down syndrome played by Lauren Potter, brings a firearm to the high school where it discharges, putting true fear in the hearts of the students.
Though there have been several incidents of school shootings in recent years, the timing of the episode nearly four months after the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., was too much for the parents of that town.
Andrew Paley, whose children survived the shooting at Sandy Hook, appeared on CNN on Friday to complain that no one from “Glee” or its network, Fox, reached out to warn the people of Newtown about the content of the episode.
“We have no problem, at least the parents I’ve spoken to, that they aired an episode that had a school shooting,” Paley said. “What’s really upsetting is that no one, none of the producers, reached out to the town of Newtown to let us residents, who are so close to this, know that this episode was airing and that if anybody is a fan of ‘Glee’... it would have been a shocker to them if they didn’t know what the episode was about.”
Luckily, the people of Newtown did recieve a warning via a Newtown victims’ advocacy group, called Newtown Action Alliance, which got wind of the episode’s content early and sent out a warning email.
“I would suggest if you do watch this TV show to either not watch it tonight or watch with caution,” the email says, in part.
Series co-creator Ryan Murphy tweeted that the episode was “the most powerful emotional Glee ever.”
However, not everyone agreed. The Onion’s AV Club reviewer gave the episode an “F” rating and called it “exploitative trash.”