‘Glee’s’ school shooting episode: What’s the verdict?

Posted at 11:04 AM, Apr 12, 2013

By Stephanie Goldberg

(CNN) — [This post contains spoilers for the April 11 episode of “Glee.”]

“Glee’s” latest episode, which centers on a shooting at the show’s fictional William McKinley High School, had many viewers wondering, “How soon is too soon?”

Ahead of “Shooting Star,” the Newtown Action Alliance posted an alert from another local organization on its Facebook page warning residents of the episode’s nature:

“According to someone who blogs for an Internet site that is a TV spoiler site, the TV show, ‘Glee’ that airs tonight on Fox is going to depict a school shooting from the vantage point of the students hiding in the dark. He said it is extremely harrowing and it even freaked him out and he’s not from here. I would suggest if you do watch this TV show to either not watch it tonight or watch with caution.”

In the episode, gunshots are heard throughout the school, prompting a lockdown. Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison) encourages the glee club to text and tweet, while Artie (Kevin McHale) films his classmates’ final messages to family and friends.

As it turns out, Becky (Lauren Potter), a student with Down Syndrome, brought the gun to school and it went off in Sue Sylvester’s (Jane Lynch) office. Nobody was hurt, but Sue gets fired as she takes responsibility for owning the gun so Becky doesn’t get expelled.

Many critics praised “Glee’s” willingness to tackle such a harrowing subject, but took issue with the episode as a whole.

“It seems far more respectful to point to real stories with real consequences as a means of generating awareness, rather than making up a story where everything turns out just fine in the end,” Vulture’s Lauren Hoffman wrote. “It’s also really not okay that ‘Glee’ chose to make the sole character with Down syndrome the shooter (even if she didn’t have nefarious intentions), but it doesn’t come as any sort of shock, either.”

A week ahead of the episode, creator Ryan Murphy tweeted that “Shooting Star” is the “most powerful emotional ‘Glee’ ever. So proud of the cast & crew.”

Jenna Ushkowitz, who plays Tina on the show, told Just Jared JR., that even she originally had mixed feelings about the episode.

“At first I was a little shocked that we were actually going to go there, because it’s just something that is very touchy as of late,” she said. “I was nervous and excited all at the same time that we were actually going to do something so big and with such an impact on something so real.”

According to the New York Daily News, the episode had been in production for about six months — since before the Sandy Hook shooting on December 14.

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