In a 6,500 word essay for the conservative publication Human Events, writer Bill Hurrell criticized the musical show Glee, which ran from 2009 to 2015, for starting a “wokeness epidemic," accusing it of creating "cancel culture," the word "problematic," and, oddly, as if it were a bad thing, the movement to ensure better representation of underserved identities on television.
The piece went viral after it was shared by Jack Posobiec, the publication's senior editor.
Referring to the show as "a curse not merely on the United States, but on its own cast members," Hurrell goes on to blame the show for promoting a radical and "reactionary" ideology:
"The ‘representation’ on Glee was apparently so significant and so accurately done that it reawakened ancient tribal hatreds among the teenagers watching the show because they could no longer tell the difference between the show and themselves."
“This is the reality of wokeness: It is not a utopian philosophy. It isn’t even really a Leftist one, though it uses Leftist language to mask its true intentions."
"No, what it is, is a sad, pathetic teenage wish fulfillment fantasy: a reactionary ideology determined not to move forward, but to restore the power dynamics of high school, the only place where the woke have ever had any power, or where petty, cruel, emotional infants like them can ever have any power.”
He also dedicates significant space to an analysis of the character Sue Sylvester, played on the show by Jane Lynch, who he says is crafted specifically to demonize conservatives:
"There’s no point dancing around an obvious point about Sue – she is supposed to be a cartoon villain bereft of redeeming qualities, and the show regards portraying her as a stereotypical Obama-era Tea Party populist as something that aids that characterization."
"In short, the show wants its viewers to believe that conservatives, like Sue, are cartoon villains bereft of any inner emotional life short of Darwinian, winner-take-all malice."
The piece was widely mocked.
The pushback against Glee is only the latest example of conservatives lashing out at television programming for perceived "wokeness" and advocating a liberal agenda.
In November 2021, Matt Schlapp, the president of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) called for PBS to be defunded after Sesame Street introduced Ji-Young, its first ever Asian-American Muppet.
Earlier, Republicans had lashed out when Sesame Street's Big Bird announced on Twitter that he'd been vaccinated, just days after Elmo, everyone's favorite furry red monster, was criticized after announcing that he and other cast members of Sesame Street had met with neurosurgeon and medical reporter Dr. Sanjay Gupta to discuss COVID-19 vaccines during a CNN town hall.