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Glee: The First Time - Ryan Murphy defends sex themed episode

Glee: The First Time

Story by Jack Foley

GLEE creator Ryan Murphy has been moved to defend the series’ sex-themed episode The First Time in the wake of criticism from the Parents Television Council.

The episode in question (to be aired in the US and Uk this week) finds Lea Michele’s Rachel losing her virginity to Cory Monteith’s Finn, as well as Chris Colfer’s Kurt popping his cherry (so to speak) with boyfriend Blaine (Darren Criss).

The move is attracting particularly strong criticism in the States because it will mark a groundbreaking move for an 8pm series (ahead of the watershed). In the UK, it is screened at 9pm on Sky 1, although subsequent repeats are shown earlier.

Cast members, including Monteith, have already been heavily promoting the show and arguing that they feel the issue has been handled sensitively to make one of the strongest episodes in the series yet.

But without it having been aired, the Parents Television Council (PTC) issued a statement earlier this week condemning the storyline for both heterosexual and homosexual characters.

The statement from PTC president Tim Winter said: “The gender of the high school characters involved is irrelevant. Teen sex is now more prevalent on TV than adult sex and Glee is only playing into that trend.

“Research proves that television is a teen sexual super peer that can, and likely will, influence a teen’s decision to become sexually active. [Twentieth Century] Fox knows the show inherently attracts kids; celebrating teen sex constitutes gross recklessness.”

But Murphy has been moved to respond to the criticism, informing Entertainment Weekly that the decision to show two couples confronting the same issue was “an exciting choice” and “a new thing”.

He added: “Everybody has seen a straight couple losing their virginity, but has anyone dove-tailed the gay and straight stories together and given them equal weight?”

Chris Colfer, meanwhile, commented that while he expected to hear from protest groups who have long targeted Glee for special treatment because of the way it handles difficult themes, the show had always won through because of the way it handled them.

“It’s funny, I always go into this instant panic state whenever they tell me about upcoming episodes, because we always do so many delicate situations on the show,” he said.

“But then I get the script and we shoot it and it’s always handled so well that I never really had any reason to worry about it.”

What do you think?

Related: Read our verdict on The First Time

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