Glee Tackles America’s Gay-Teen Suicide Problem Head On, Offering Message Of Hope

Last night’s episode of Glee might have been its darkest ever, but it ended on a message of hope.

Spoiler alert: This post reveals some key details from last night’s episode.

Within the first five minutes, closeted football player Dave Karofsky (right) attempts suicide after being bullied for being gay in school (his fair-weather jock friends scrawl “FAG” on his locker), on Facebook (lots of nasty homophobic wall posts), and in person (he’s physically checked in the locker room).

Over the course of the episode, Karosky’s classmates reel from his attempt—some call him selfish for not thinking of others, while Kurt Hummell (played by prodigal gay Chris Colfer) thinks they ought to focus on “compassion.”

Also notable about the episode was the debut of ally extraordinaire Daniel Radcliffe’s Trevor Project PSA. Isn’t it great that we have the world’s most famous child actor from history’s highest-grossing franchise on our side?

A YouTube commenter put it best: “Dear Gay, Bisexual, Trans and questioning people out there, Harry Potter loves you. Screw the haters. <3”

Though the episode was Glee‘s darkest ever, the end of the episode provides a redeeming scene when Kurt brings flowers to a recuperating Karofsky in the hospital. The actor who plays Karosky, Max Adler, explains it best in an interview with TV Guide:

In the episode there’s a really beautiful scene in the hospital, and Kurt says, “Picture your life in 10 years.” It’s a whole beautiful flash-forward of Karofsky in a really flashy suit and this successful office. He’s a sports agent and he has this really good-looking partner, and they have this beautiful boy, and he’s taking him to his first football game. I think it’s not about this job, and this success, and the money. It’s really about the connection and being able to be yourself, and his true self, around somebody who loves him for that, and accepts him, and appreciates him. I think that’s his happiness.

It really does get better.

Photo via Wikipedia

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  • christopher di spirito

    Last night’s Glee was very powerful.

    Karofsky’s attempted suicide brought the issue of gay youth harassed and bullied to the point they try to kill themself. I’m glad his character survived. High school is only four years and it does get getter. Now, what Ryan Murphy did to Quinn is another story. Too disturbing for me.

  • MEJ

    He’s a sports agent and he has this really good-looking partner

    That annoyed me about this episode; that the writers would purposely choose “partner” over husband. I really don’t see someone like Kurt saying partner, over boyfriend, or husband. In trying to appease the straight audience, and not offend their delicate sensibilities, it came off as phoney.

  • David Ehrenstein

    @MEJ: OH pish-tush! it was a wonderful episode that I have no doubt saved some lives out there.

  • William

    The word “Partner” infuriates me. I thought Glee would be above that.

    I wonder if in the writing room or when everyone got together for a read-through (Or whatever you call it) anyone asked to change it.

  • WillBFair

    For me the most moving parts were Karofsky reconciling with Kurt, and the Warbler guy’s change of heart. If only all the heartless bitches out there would clean up their acts, especially the in the House of Representatives. I’m not holding my breath.

  • Aaron

    Didn’t Degrassi do all this years ago? Yeah, it did.

    It’s hard for me to take Glee’s messages of equality seriously when 1.) they refuse to have any openly Bisexual characters on the show (Ryan Murphy has said that the two girls are really just Lesbians in denial, and when asked why he didn’t male Blaine bi, he said kids needed to know he was “one of them”. Because bisexual people totally don’t need that!), 2.) they cast straight acts in gay roles, with the single exception of Colfer. This has always been I sore spot I’ve had with Hollywood’s supposed “acceptance”. 3.) It’s main gay character is a walking stereotype, and even worse, a Mary Sue. And Blaine is his bland relationship sue.

    Fuck Ryan Murphy. He’s a hack. I do like Colfer quite a bit, though.

  • John Doe

    I’m glad Dave Karofsky survived, now I can be his boyfriend I don’t mind a chubby guy. Now how do I get multi-talented in order to get a part on the show.

  • heydrichmuller

    Geeez…Now I know why I avoid Queerty like a plague: her commentators are demented. Why AfterElton will list you as a preferred site is a mystery.

    Glee was great…..’partner’ seems the word a discrete gay like Karofsky will use. Why will he prefer the word? I don’t know and must not speculate. It’s his life, his definition.

  • Red Meat

    @Aaron: I’m pretty sure the Blonde girl is bisexual and Santana is the Lesbian that was in denial.

  • erasure25

    I really don’t like the argument that only gay actors should play gay roles. The flip must also be true then: only straight actors can play straight roles. Only Christians can play Christian roles. The job title is called “actor” which means you are playing a role that might not be who you are. Anyone should be able to play any role so long as they have the acting skill to pull it off. Starbuck can be a female if said female can pull off the role… And Katie did a mighty fine job in the reimagined Battlestar. Lets not make these wierd self limiting Arguments that gays actors can only play gay roles…

  • ousslander

    @Aaron: not to start a fight but some of us are swishy stereotypes and ain’t nothing wrong with that.

    straights can play gay roles just as gays can play straight roles or should gay actors only be cast as gay characters

  • Janie

    Yes it may be frustrating to have several straight actors in gay roles, yet many gay actors are cast in Glee – in addition to Chris Colfer . . . Jane Lynch, Jonathon Groff, Ricky Martin, Neil Patrick Harris.

    As for the use of the term partner, I’m hopeful that in 10 yrs we’ll have marriage equality in all 50 states, but using the term partner did make it relatable to youth regardless of where they live. Although I live in a state that hasn’t yet reached that point and most couples I know do use the term husband or wife over partner.

  • Justin

    If we’re going to get into the partner/husband discussion, if Karofsky doesn’t move out of Ohio he won’t be able to get married, it’s in the Ohio constitution.

  • Aaron

    @erasure25: @Janie: @ousslander: It would be one thing if it were equal, a large variety of gay actors and straight actors playing roles within and outside of their sexualities, but that’s NOT the case. In Hollywood, it is overwhelmingly straight actors playing gay, with little room for variety. It’s bullshit and needs to stop.

    Also, if Glee had guts, they’d a made Karofsky Bi, instead of just the generic “gay jock in denial”.

  • perdeep

    Obviously Degrassi has been doing all of this with better storylines and characters for YEARS, but Degrassi doesn’t have the huge international fanbase of Glee and I’m sure more exposure of these concepts is better than none at all.

    Also, I’m surprised at the backlash against the use of the word “partner”. A lot of the people I know professionally refer to their opposite-sex and same-sex girlfriends/boyfriends or spouses as partners. I think people prefer it as a gender-neutral term that doesn’t imply any sort of hierarchy between “man and wife” and it sounds more mature than “girl-/boyfriend”.

  • Tony

    Phenomenal episode…..touched on so many issues in one episode, and quite impressively so. I am sure easier said than done. Bravo to them all…and to tag it with this awful, deadly, growing epidemic of texting while driving was brilliant.

  • Oh, ok.

    It was a pretty good episode despite the fact that the show has stopped storytelling for two seasons.

    I don’t get the comments that this was a dark episode considering this episode and pretty much every episode this season has been so filled with saccharin it’s downright disgusting. I have to hold back vomit most of the time to make it through hoping season 1 will magically reappear and take the place of these pod people who are perfect, popular, and never do any wrong(and no randomly hurling slushies in their faces doesn’t make them unpopular).

    That aside there were good messages for teens so I’m willing to ignore how horrible this show has become for one episode. I just miss the wit, dark humor, and band of social outcasts that the show started with.

  • jason

    I”m sorry but I think Glee is reinforcing negative messages about homosexuality. It’s contributing to suicide, not stopping it. I am fed up with the media concentrating on gay teen suicide to the exclusion of everything else. I don’t want gay suicide to be the prominent media face of homosexuality.

    Fuck off to those who are concentrating on gay suicide.

  • Cam

    A bit off the subject, but I’ve always felt that the relationship between Blain and Kurt is so phony. After the bullying was done, frankly I have always seen far more chemestry between Kurt and Karafsky.

    The Blain Kurt relationship was so phony “Hollywood” it was idiotic. Gee, Blain had never even THOUGHT of Kurt that way, then Kurt tells Blain he likes him and MAGICALLY Blain suddenly realizes he’s in love with Kurt.

    Sorry, doesn’t work that way. If Blain never noticed Kurt before in that way…it was because he wasn’t attracted to him. There is just zero chemistry between the two. Kind of like the Glee teacher and the woman with OCD.

  • Jean

    Did the author of this article just turn the TV off after the wonderful hospital scene? That was not the end of the show, it ended more like “The Killing of Sister George!”

  • Shannon1981

    @Cam: The Klainers will have a fit if Blaine and Kurt split.

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