Earlier this week, Diana Agron and Lea Michele of “Glee” were on the cover of GQ with co-star Cory Monteith in what can only be described as a hypersexualized spread. Diana Agron plays popular cheerleader Quinn Fabray. Lea Michele plays the know-it-all Jewish girl Rachel Berry. Both actresses are Jewish. (See other “Glee”-related posts here, here, here and here.)
The high school themed photoshoot, shot by Terry Richardson, features the Jewesses half-naked, in sexy, “come hither” poses. In one shot, Lea Michele is provacatively licking a lollipop. Jezebel calls it “porny” and reminds us that Terry Richardson has been accused of sexual harrassment by his models in the past. Jezebel also notes that Cory Monteith, who plays the football star Finn, is wearing clothes and his poses are active rather than passive. Another blogger noticed that GQ chose to feature only thin, white actresses when “Glee” is all about being pro-diversity, even if it deals with the issue in a lightweight, superficial way.
The photoshoot has sparked debate about whether “Glee” is a show for children or adults. The Parents Television Council said the shoot “borders on pedophilia,” despite the fact that the actors are all 20-somethings. Also, “Glee” has hit record ratings among adults and has featured plenty of sexual content that did not provoke statements from the Parent’s Television Council.
I know she was just trying to look like Streisand, and not pretending she could sound like her, but still. If anyone has the right to model herself after Streisand, it sure isn’t Jennifer Aniston. It’s Lea Michele.
Have you seen her on “Glee”? Or were you lucky enough to catch her performance on Broadway in “Spring Awakening”? (That’s where Boychik and I saw her opposite Jonathan Groff, who also plays her evil love interest on “Glee.”)
Caitlin Flanagan’s use of Rachel, the brassy Jewish character from the Fox television show “Glee”, as an anecdote for her Atlantic essay “Love, Actually” about the renewed interested in the “boyfriend story,” or old-fashioned romance, is a bit flawed. Yes, Rachel wants love, but she is hardly an innocent romantic. Early in the series she kisses her love interest while he is still dating another girl, and now she is juggling more than one love interest.
With Rachel we are not, as Flanagan writes, “back in Kansas.”
This week on the television dramedy “Glee” — the Fox show centers on the members of an Ohio high school choir — the lead character Rachel Berry officially came out, as a Jew. There were hints before: her name, her allusions to her big nose, her love for Streisand. But wasn’t until the most recent episode did she officially come out and say it.
She was fighting for the role of Maria in “West Side Story,” and said “Natalie Wood was a Jew, you know. I have had a deep, personal connection to this role since the age of one.” (For the record, Wood was Russian Orthodox.)
But Rachel’s coming out of sorts confirmed not only my suspicions, but my deepest hopes.
You see, Jewish female characters don’t really make it onto the big screen too much. This is easy to overlook due to the heavy representation of Jewish men in Hollywood: from the Apatow clan, to Stiller and Sandler, to Larry David — all of who almost always plays Jews. But these slightly nebbishe, but nonetheless adorable, guys usually come with a shiksa counterpart.
However, with the character of Rachel Berry, played by “Spring Awakening” alumna Lea Michelle, we finally have someone to call our own. This girl’s got chutzpah and spunk; she is arrogant but never affected; she has a solid heart. Indeed, she has a bit of a young Streisand thing going — something the actress, who is half-Jewish in real life, has noted herself.
She told Access Hollywood:
“I got my dream song! I got to sing a Barbara Streisand song. I can’t say which it is but it’s one of her most popular songs. Ever since I was a little girl, a Jewish girl, it’s like always been playing through my head. So I had the opportunity to sing that on the show.”