Review: Rolling Stone’s ‘Glee’ Article

Rolling Stone’s April 15th, 2010 issue featured a cover story entitled GLEE GONE WILD: Inside TV’s Hottest Show. Get ready, because you can bet this Diva has quite a bit to say about the subject.

Rolling Stone's Glee Cover

The Cover Photo

I knew I was in for a rough time just from the cover. My first instinct was to ask, are they all supposed to be running/biking/skating away from something? If so, why are they not actually looking in the same direction? Also, whoever on this photo shoot yelled, “Look like there’s a monster chasing you!” completely ruined the shot, as Dianna and Lea are both very beautiful girls who are making some of the stupidest facial expressions I’ve ever seen, making them barely recognizable.

But of course, what makes me the most angry is what they did to my girl Lea Michele (who, if you haven’t caught on by now, plays Rachel Berry). First of all, it is extremely obviously that every other person on the shoot is dressed like their character (Quinn in a cheerleading outfit, Sue in her classic track suit, Finn in a varsity sweater holding a football), but never in a thousand years would Rachel Berry wear that skirt. For God’s sake, even when she’s trying to impress men, her reference for what is sexy is Grease, not naughty schoolgirls. She certainly wouldn’t leave the house in such a short skirt, because that awkward Jewish kid with the red ‘fro would never leave her side if she did.

But more importantly, isn’t Glee a good enough show with a talented and good-looking enough cast that you don’t need to have an up-the-skirt shot in order for it to grace the cover? I know Lea Michele is not actually sixteen, but her character is, and the cover is of their characters. I don’t want to see Rachel Berry’s 16-year-old tush. Also, if you look very closely at her leg that’s in the air, you can see a little line from the yellow shorts that she was wearing under those undies; clearly, that has been airbrushed out from her left leg so that she looks more naked. I have no problem with the fact that sex sells, I just think Rolling Stone really did not have a solid creative vision for this shoot. There should be a theme pulling them together – they should all be in character, or they should all not be, but there shouldn’t be crazed faces and asscheeks flashing and everybody on wheels. That’s not a theme; that’s a hot disaster.

The Centerfold Photo

I unfortunately cannot find a picture online of the centerfold photo, but it is infinitely better than the cover art. Everyone’s beautiful characters shine through: Finn is in his football uniform, looking fully uncomfortable as Kurt, dressed as a Boy Scout (the only part of the photo of which I disapprove, because again, there is only one person not dressed in character), puts his arms around him and smiles up at him with a lovesick look. They still put Lea Michele in an outfit that Rachel would never wear, with an inappropriately short skirt, but at least she’s singing into a microphone, while Mr. Schue’s wife holds him by the tie, Puck mimes punching someone, Quinn lifts her pom-poms and Ms. Pillsbury cleans Puck’s helmet. It has its flaws, but at least this photo manages to capture the magic of Glee: the incredibly neurotic, diverse, and loony characters and how they interact with each other.

Part I: Intro & Lea Michele

I paid $4.99 for this magazine because I thought I was going to be reading about the cast of Glee. Instead, I got to read about the author of the article, Erik Hedegaard, who is not only far less interesting than the Glee cast, but he’s also a complete asshole.

Hedegaard opens the article with his desire to have the Glee cast and creator “entertain” him during their interview. He discusses this as if it were natural to assume that someone who performs for a living should be in performance mode 100% of the time, and entertain others on command. Instead of talking to or about them as if they were people, he treats them like trained monkeys at a circus. Not only is this dehumanizing and disturbing, but it’s not even good journalism! Aren’t interviews so that we can learn more about our favorite performers as human beings – you know, find out about what they do and who they are when they’re not belting out “Don’t Rain on My Parade”? Not so that we can watch a cold-hearted so-called journalist say, “We like [Lea Michele] so much that we can’t wait to ask her to entertain us” … “‘Entertain us!’ we shout… ‘You have to entertain us!'” I understand that Hedegaard is trying to get a rise out of these characters to show the “wild side” of Glee that is so desperate to find, but he’s not only being disrespectful, he’s trying to make these people fit into what he wants them to be instead of just talking about who they really are. Maybe these actors are not wild-child party animals who are dancing on tables with Lindsay Lohan all night – but you should write about who they are, not who you’d like them to be because that would sell more magazines.

“We find ourselves drifting to thoughts of goody-goody Michele in high school, and what a guy in high school might say to her to loosen her up. ‘So… do you pee in the shower?'” This is perfectly teeming with immaturity and sexism, in which a teenage boy thinks that he can “loosen up” the virginal goody-goody with his obviously HILARIOUS sense of humor, which probably consists of an offensive or just plain stupid question regarding bodily fluids. If I were looking for a douchebag teenage boy’s perspective on the world, I’d go to a rush party for a frat instead of buying Rolling Stone.

Hedegaard did get one thing right: “While each of the Glee kids gets lots of numbers inside the halls of McKinley High… when Michele takes the stage, she’s about all you really see.” Well, that is for damn sure. The girl certainly knows how to steal the spotlight.

Part II: Cory Monteith

Cory Monteith has a bit of a dark past, so Hedegaard spends his time wringing all the juicy details out of Cory, who willingly gives it. But Hedegaard’s conclusion to his interview with Cory is not only offensive, but completely illogical. It actually scares me that this man may believe his own bullshit.

Hedegaard points out that Cory’s nickname amongst the cast and crew is Frankenteen, “because I’m huge and awkward… and I’m not a teen, but I’m playing a teen. I’m like the assembled teen.” At the end of the interview, Cory tells Hedegaard, “I’ve always been a chameleon, but I stopped and now I can just be myself.” Hedegaard calls this “a great big load of complete and utter Glee-worthy nonsense. He’s a Frankenteen, a soul assembled, and always will be.”

I have several problems with Hedegaard’s response. First of all, the phrase “Glee-worthy nonsense” offends me. Hedegaard’s disdain for the show is so thinly veiled, it makes me wonder who put a gun to his head and forced him to write this cover story. I understand that you don’t always get to choose what you write about, but for God’s sake, you’re getting paid to interview some sweet, talented kids on a popular show. There’s no need to be so damn condescending, like Glee is far beneath your superior journalistic integrity. These kids are more talented than you could ever dream of being, Hedegaard. Back the fuck off. (Also, don’t get pissed at these kids for not entertaining you when you clearly don’t even like their show to begin with.)

Second of all, who the fuck are you to say whether or not Cory is being his true self? You’ve had coffee with him for a maximum of 30 minutes. Don’t consider yourself such an expert on who he is. You’re not a psychotherapist, you’re a mediocre writer for a music magazine that hasn’t really been about music since before the Clinton administration.

And finally, how the hell is Hedegaard making the leap from Frankenteen to Cory never being his true self? Hedegaard seems to think this nickname means “a soul assembled,” ignore the fact that Cory quite clearly explained that it means he’s a big, doofy 20-something playing a teenager. Hedegaard acts as if this Frankenteen status is the very core of the meaning of Cory’s life. But it’s a fucking nickname, and it doesn’t even have the deep meaning that Hedegaard is trying to force upon. Here he goes again, trying to force these people to fit into what he thinks they should be instead of letting them be who they actually are.

Part III: Dianna Agron, Jane Lynch & Conclusion

Hedegaard treats Dianna Agron, the actress plays Quinn, the same way he treated Lea Michele, describing Dianna as “pretty uptight” and “an A-plus prissy pie.” The writer is clearly bored by Dianna’s sweet demeanor and refusal to drink more than one Bloody Mary during the span of the interview. Because obviously all interesting people should get drunk during an interview about their career for the cover of a major magazine.

Hedegaard asks Jane Lynch, a true comedic genius, to entertain him, and thankfully, she doesn’t fall for his bullshit. “I am not your monkey,” she tells him, and adds that she has a bit of a temper. Hedegaard asks for an example of this, and she spits out, “Why do you ask such stupid question?… Do you get off on that? Do you go home and think about it and jack off?” Hedegaard writes that he laughs, but was truly hurt by her words. “That was a total misreading of our intentions,” he writes. “That was not nice.”

Who gave this child a pen and told him he could be a journalist? He accuses Jane of being “not nice” when he has gone out of his way to basically harass the cast and crew of Glee, and claims innocence and good intentions when he gets called out on his bullshit. Smooth, Hedegaard.

Finally, Hedegaard visits the Glee set, where the entire cast and crew hears about his requests for “entertainment” and insistence upon asking them if they pee in the shower. One exec congratulations him on asking some “pretty out there” questions, but Hedegaard points out to us, “That’s an adult perspective.” Once again, he paints the Glee kids as too uninteresting to fields his demands for entertainment, and chalks it up to immaturity that the rest of us are disgusted by his own behavior.

Hedegaard embraces his inner child and ends the article by bitching about how he gets ignored by the cast. Lea Michele walks by him with no greeting, Dianna Agron looks right through him, and he is not invited to join the chatting, giggling circles of Glee cast and crew members. (Shocking, considered he treated them all like zoo animals during their interviews.) The final paragraph is full of self-pity and metaphors comparing Hedegaard’s current rejection by the cast to the Glee characters’ roles in their mean high school world. He pretends to be the victim of a clique that will not accept him. A perfect analogy, except Hedegaard isn’t the one being thrown into a dumpster by the football team; in fact, if anything, Hedegaard is the one doing the throwing.

So after pages and pages of making a jackass out of himself, Hedegaard concludes, of course, by talking about himself instead of the show, the characters, or the actors. Now it makes sense why no one was capable of entertaining Hedegaard – he is interested in nothing other than himself. Unfortunately for this reader, he is far less interesting than the people he was supposed to have interviewed, and that resulted in a truly disastrous article.

7 responses to Review: Rolling Stone’s ‘Glee’ Article

  1. I disagree with your assessment that Rachel Berry would never wear these things. Style-wise the only thing is that they ARE shorter than the things she typically wears but I don’t think they are THAT much shorter. To that end, I have mixed emotions about your problems with the shot of her on the cover. Part of me agrees with you. The other part of me can’t help but feel like that’s just a necessary component of a Rolling Stone cover. Somebody’s got to slut it up a little. Then a group of somebody’s have to complain about how inappropriate said slutting up is (last week’s Shaun White cover was bitched about, essentially because a sex/rock & roll portrayal of an Olympic Athlete and Olympic medal is apparently the worst kind of unpatriotic imagery). Lea is actually an adult. Rolling Stone has a long history of being one of the first places we see certain celebrities with less-than-usual clothing. Honestly, for an RS cover, this is REALLY tame.

    Aside from that, I agree with basically everything else you’ve said here. Mostly that the Glee cast is fucking adorable and Hedegaard is just a douche that I want to punch in the face.

  2. Lily

    After reading all interviews, I have the impression that Mr Hedegaarde seems to only like one Glee artist… Chris Colfer (Kurt) …and he said he initially did not intend to interview him at all…

  3. Stacie

    After reading his article, it almost makes me leery to go into journalism. People like that are what give it such a negative image. This guy is a complete ass. I wouldn’t have even finished the interview had he asked me those questions. He should have finished it by thanking them for not saying much worse. They maintained professionalism, he didn’t. Great page here, though.

  4. John F.

    Just came across this article while browsing some TV reviews on the net. I read the Rolling Stone piece a couple of years ago, and I must say, even though I dislike “Glee”, that I agree with this review 100%. Hedegaard is a complete ass and a disgrace to his profession. I found myself annoyed by his approach to the actors, particularly his sexist advances on the girls (Lea Michele and Ms. Agron) who at the time (3 years ago) were clearly not prepared for this kind of sleazy “journalism”. When the “pee in the shower” question comes up in Michele’s interview, I was officially revolted – her defensive response clearly shows she felt intimidated and harassed by this man, but had no other option but to continue. Kudos for Jane Lynch for not allowing Hedegaard to fuck her around. This was a disgusting low point for Rolling Stone.

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