Glee is a great show. Smart but goofy, fun but tackles some pretty big issues. Last night’s episode (“Grilled Cheesus”) had me in tears.
I watched Glee while pregnant and was very entertained. It wasn’t until I had a child with Down syndrome that I realized what the show is really about. It’s about inclusion and it makes me so very hopeful for Rowenna’s future that people are embracing such a show. Sure, there are some easy laughs and some great musical numbers, but this show drives right to the heart of inclusion, acceptance, forgiveness, and understanding.
I firmly believe, deep down in my momma heart, that this show will help open doors for my daughter. This show portrays Down syndrome in a way I have never seen, and believe me, I watch more tv than I would care to admit. So often a character with Down syndrome comes across as a token character or their disability takes over the character. (see “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” for a fairly obnoxious example of what I mean.)
Sue Sylvester’s relationship with her sister is heart-wrenchingly beautiful. With just a few well-written lines, you can see the beauty in having a sibling with Down syndrome. Cheerleader Becky is an amazing example of what Down syndrome looks like today – full inclusion in school, participation in mainstream activities, and friends of all abilities. I’d like to think that some people see this and perhaps change their minds about what Down syndrome means. It’s not this big bad scary thing. It’s just a different way to be. I love that the writers of Glee get that and choose to share that message with its audience.