This season on Glee, one of the major plotlines involves 17-year-old Quinn scheming to win back the baby she put up for adoption, then never referenced for an entire season. The story is soap opera-y (in a bad way) and doesn't make much sense, but the problem is more serious than a few million fans screaming "JUST SING ALREADY" when people start yapping about baby Beth. While the show prides itself on tackling social issues, it's putting out horrible messages about adoption.
Amber Austin has created a Change.org petition asking Glee and FOX to "separate adoption fact from fiction." She writes:
In real, legitimate adoptions, a birth mother cannot simply take a child away from their family or pop back into a child's life, however this is one of most pervasive and harmful myths about adoption. Furthermore, most adoptions in the US are open to some extent, so these dramatic scenes with birthmothers never take place because a relationship exists from the start.
For adopted children, the show raises the fear that they may be taken away from their adopted families. And for adoptive parents and birth mothers, the show creates confusion about the nature of adoption - confusion and mistruths that proponents of adoption constantly work to dispel. And for young women facing unplanned pregnancies, many of whom are in Glee's target demographic, the show may give the inaccurate impression that adoption is a temporary solution, not a permanent one.
The writers could still change the storyline (or just abandon it again) but apparently Austin has already given up hope of that happening. Instead, she just wants Fox to produce a PSA that explains what adoption is really like, as opposed to the ridiculousness happening on Glee.
This isn't the first time Glee's been criticized for being insensitive about a delicate topic. It seems like there's a Very Special Episode about bullying or homophobia every other week, which we need on TV, but other issues like weight and mental disorders are played for laughs (see Mercedes singing a song about her love of tater tots, the constant jokes about Lauren Zises' weight, and Emma's redhead supremacist-triggered OCD). Glee's big problem is that it's wildly inconsistent. Sometimes it's a silly satire and Sue is shooting cheerleaders out of cannons, but then that segues into an overly-earnest discussion about the importance of arts education and being yourself. Glee fans have learned to live with the misguided hope that eventually we'll have more than a two-episode streak of good episodes, but if the writers are still trying to work out the kinks, they shouldn't tackle an adoption storyline. People already have horribly misguided ideas about adoption, and as much as I hate to say it, I'd rather see another boring scene about the state of Rachel and Finn's relationship than more talk about how Shelby isn't Beth's "real mom."
Ask Glee And FOX To Separate Adoption Fact From Fiction [Change.org]
'Glee': Parents Group Calls Foul on Adoption Storyline [Hollywood Reporter]