‘Glee’ May Suck Now, But It Changed the Goddamn World

We know it’s hard to believe, but the last episode of Glee ~*eVeR*~ airs tonight. The New Directions have given us an incredible six years of singing, dancing, and awkward teen sexual tension, but it’s time for them to leave the show choir room for good. Admittedly, the most recent seasons of Glee haven’t been that great (this season especially, with its self-referencing jokes and out-of-control fat-shaming). However, we can’t let Ryan Murphy’s inability to craft a third act stop us from honoring Glee. When it was good, it was really fucking good. And, more importantly, it changed culture forever.

From putting gay teens on primetime to introducing us to living Ken doll/actual sex god Darren CrissGlee wasn’t afraid to go where television had never been before. It broke racial, sexual, and gender boundaries — not to mention it brought the musical back in a big way. Simply put, television is more inclusive, vibrant, and engaging because of Glee. And it will definitely be missed.

Before you watch the final curtain close, relive all of the incredible things Glee did for the human race, and let us know your all-time favorite moments in the comments below. (We recommend drinking a slushy while reading this, because #feelings.)

1. Gay and lesbian teens got the primetime treatment. 

In 2011, Entertainment Weekly featured Kurt Hummel (Chris Colfer) and Blaine Anderson (Criss) on its cover with the headline “Gay Teens On TV.” Just think about that for a second; in 2011, putting LGBT adolescents on television was so groundbreaking that it warranted an EW cover. The progress we’ve made since then is astounding, and we must credit Glee for blazing the trail in such a public way. Watching Kurt come to terms with his sexuality in the small town of Lima, Ohio not only helped many people like him — this writer included — it led to other complex gay characters on Glee and beyond.

2. And transgender individuals followed shortly after. 

We first met Alex Newell on the short-lived Oxygen series The Glee Project. This led to Newell landing the part of Unique Adams, a young trans girl at McKinley High School. While there have been similar characters on television in the past, Unique’s was one of the first to emerge at the cusp of the transgender movement gaining mainstream visibility. Orange Is The New Black premiered roughly a year later and featured Laverne Cox as transgender inmate Sophia Burset. And now, we  have shows like Transparent (which centers on a trans woman coming to terms with her identity) winning big at awards shows. (Another fact for you ex-Gleeks: Shannon Beiste, played by Dot Jones, recently came out as transgender. His character is now named Sheldon.) 

3. The musical TV show genre exploded. 

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