April 12th, 2013
10:54 AM ET

'Glee's' school shooting episode: What's the verdict?

[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.

Anthony Lusardi, the boyfriend of Lauren Rousseau, one of the teachers who died in the Sandy Hook shooting, wrote on Facebook that he’s all for “Glee’s” “Shooting Star” episode.

“As long as it keeps the subject in the public's mind I'm all for it,” Lusardi wrote. “My Lauren was a huge fan of the show. So I'm sure she would have approved.”

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.”

Some Twitter users agreed with Murphy’s assessment, while others weren’t pleased with the episode:

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.

Filed under: Glee • television

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soundoff (70 Responses)
  1. Mariska

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    June 20, 2013 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
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    June 20, 2013 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Your girl may have knowt already--just don't chop kardashian's head off because of simple jethro.

      June 20, 2013 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  3. Scarlett Culp

    Many children with Down syndrome are educated in regular school classes while others require specialised educational facilities. Some children graduate from high school. ^`":

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    June 19, 2013 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  4. backlink

    Watching the smoldering remains of the Twin Towers across Reynolds Channel from our backyard in Long Beach, we were in a state of disbelief. How could this have happened?My husband, Pat, and his carpool had survived the 1993 attack on the WTC, but the vehicle they drove to NYC that morning did not blown to bits in the WTC garage, seven floors below them. On September 11, 2001, fleeing downtown Manhattan, Pat glanced over his shoulder to see the horrific sight of people jumping, two by two, to certain death. Unbeknownst to him, his brother, Jim, had attended a Port Authority seminar on the 71st floor of the North Tower, and was slowly making his way down the stairs after the planes hit. Amazingly, the two of them met up later in their old neighborhood tavern outside of Stuyvesant Town on E. 19th St., then returned together by LIRR to Long Island, covered in soot, and grateful to be alive. Only then did they uncover that earlier that day, Jim's mother-in-law, Dorothy, had given up her grip on life, and died unexpectedly after suffering with Alzheimer's Disease for more than a decade. Our family holds the belief that Dorothy left this earth so that Jim could stay. backlink http://fiverr.com/twnseobacklink

    April 24, 2013 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Miranda Craig

    I am glad they tackled such a diffcult subject, they are brave, it might not have been what it should have but i support them all the way.

    April 18, 2013 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  6. GleeIsForIdiots

    Anyone who even bothers watching that stupid show needs deported from the planet

    April 18, 2013 at 7:03 am | Report abuse |
  7. brian

    What a sad way for a show to get ratings. Glee is a show that has seen its best day go by. I guess bad press is better then no press. Sham on you Glee andFox for going somewhere the even the Family Guy wouldnt touch

    April 15, 2013 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  8. RS

    It might be too soon, yet, it might be that this episode was filmed before the shooting. Regardless, nobody should be insulted that they did an episode covering a topic that, in this world, is a legitimate fear for highschoolers. It is almost selfish of people from connecticut to express their disagreement if they are insulted. I hope most people from Newtown are more understanding of this topic. The world doesn't shut down because of a tragedy.

    April 14, 2013 at 7:21 am | Report abuse |
  9. Sokman

    Yeah, because everyone knows there's enough carp spewing on these blogs. I have to grab a p00per scooper before I even check it out these days 😀

    April 13, 2013 at 1:30 am | Report abuse |
  10. Jack

    here's my problem with Ryan Murphy and this episode. Why has no one brought up the fact that there was also a school shooting on one of Murphy's other shows – the first season of American Horror story? On one of those episodes, Jessica Lange's son carries out a Columbine-type school shooting, killing many of his classmates. I'm not PC at all, but I thought it was in very bad taste. Based on that episode, I have to think that Murphy has a morbid curiosity with these kinds of shooting, and you can't look at this Glee episode on its own. These reporters need to do their jobs and dig up this other episode and comment on it.

    April 12, 2013 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Abbie W

    The episode last night was BRILLIANT!!! I was crying, terrified, in the moment, screeming at the tv, praying and truly touched and emotionally distraught by the end. The cast portrayed the fear and pain and love so honestly and perfectly. I don't think I will ever forget Marley's mom hiding or Sam trying to get to Britany or Britany in the moment she thought the gunman had found her and she gave in. It was so honest. I still think they will have to come back to it because I counted 3 shots and they only talk about 2. There will never be a good time to discuss this or air this type of episode. It will never be long enough to make the memory of the horror of what happened at Newtown not coming flooding back when something like this comes on. I'm sure it was just as hard for the parents and kids from Columbine as it was for Newtown. It MUST be taken on honestly and discussed in our society to make these things STOP! I applaud the cast and writers of Glee for what they did. BRAVO!

    April 12, 2013 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kim

      And Bravo Abbie! I am proud of you and Glee for standing up to speak out honestly on this issue. I saw no sensationalism whatsoever – just direct communication for an issue that should be discussed. Thank you Glee for your excellent work!

      April 12, 2013 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sandy

      You are absolutely correct. This episode was fantastic. I was on the edge of my seat. It was completely raw and real. While I remember 3 shots as well, I don't think the show will come back to that issue. While the timing may be "bad" in some people's minds, the fact of the matter is that this stuff is happening every single day in our country. Why keep tip-toe'ing around it. Let's face the facts and unite our country.

      April 17, 2013 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Lord Toronaga

    Its a shame that the entire cast wasn't shot.

    April 12, 2013 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  13. noneyaknow

    I am going to visit the set for Glee @ take a big steaming poop in the middle of it. Anyone wanna join me?

    April 12, 2013 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  14. benjammin

    New town CN, doesn't hold the rights on gun violence at school. I sympathize we their loss, but the episode was great. We all wonder what we would do in similar situations. This episode did its job. For those who watch, think about reaction times and understandings people have the problem. Preparedness is the key airing this and like episodes.

    April 12, 2013 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  15. PK

    Would have been a great episode if they killed off 'Unique"!

    April 12, 2013 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Tammy-Mother of a very young child with Down Syndrome

    As a parent that gave birth to a child with DS almost 3 years ago (knew her diagnosis "before" she was born)....I think this was in very bad taste. Yes there's the issue of it being "too soon" after the recent shootings, but also....why, why, why why, why make the shooter in this episode be a character with Down Syndrome?????? I am part of our cities DS Society, I have page after page that I am part of on Facebook with pictures and stories about these beautiful, loving, angelic creatures that so many have been blessed to have them put into our lives!!!!! The Sandy Hook shooter's issues had nothing to do with him having DS. The movie theater shooter in Co. did not have DS. As a follower of Down Syndrome in Arts and Media, I feel that any headway any, any, any of us has made in spreading awareness about this condition that comes only from an extra chromosome upon conception has been completely compromised by such an ignorant episode of GLEE or whatever show decides to air crap like this. Just because an individual has DS or Autism, or ADHD, or ANY SPECIAL NEEDS!!!!!....does not mean they will take a gun to school, or grab and shoot one.....or anything like that. These people had SOCIAL ISSUES, It comes down to them not having the help that they needed to deal with these issues not that they had a special need. Horrible, Horrible, Horrible story line choice from any aspect, anyone that had to do with this episode or the airing of this episode of GLEE!

    April 12, 2013 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wow what a comment

      It wasn't about Down Syndrome – it was about a scared student by the name of Becky

      April 12, 2013 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • wow what a comment

      BTW – just to clarfiy my comment; you are not the only parent of a DS child.

      April 12, 2013 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vonda

      She's also not the only parent of a child either. I'm sure it's challenging, but ANY parent has problems with their child. just another liberal nutcase who thinks she can censor media because some part of it applies to her. "I was offended because someone on a message board has a DS child, and I want no further depictions of DS childen on any TV show that isn't about rainbows and puppies." I hope you raise your child to think about other people and not just themselves.

      April 12, 2013 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Outside the box

      I was pleased that the shooter wasn't depicted as "trench coat mafia" or some loner with bright red hair. Glee always thinks outside the box.

      April 12, 2013 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      @Vonda: You're an idiot if you think "liberals" are censoring anything. Just the opposite: you paranoid, repressed right wingers are the ones all about censoring EVERYTHING intelligent, compassionate, and intelligent (and I'mnot talking about the junk that GLEE has become). Either way, get an education, Vonda.

      April 12, 2013 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • MomofTeens

      Although I don't watch the show, I can see the logic in using the child with DS. Many, many shootings by students have been by kids that were bullied, many special needs children are bullied regularly. I have a child that was bullied constantly in middle school – she definitely contemplated suicide as a result. She has since told me the only reason she didn't was I kept telling her daily that this is not life – it will get better, middle school and high school are extremely hard socially to navigate, even if you are the popular kid, one wrong step and you're on the receiving end too. And the only reason I knew to keep telling her is I attempted suicide at 11 because the school nurse told me the problems I was having were nothing compared to real life – NEVER NEVER tell a child or teen that life gets harder. Of course it does in some ways, but not the emotional turmoil ways of the teen years and the child/teen does not have the life experience to realize this will not be the be all end all of their life happiness experience.

      April 12, 2013 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • moni4782

      My son has a ADHD does that mean he'll grab a gun and shoot it? NO! Could he be afraid one day, be bullied one day and snap? Yes! It wasn't about the character having DS, it was about fear. I understand where you are coming from but I don't think it depicted DS or the individuals who suffer from it in a bad light. I think it's about: are we advocating for special needs, are we helping enough?

      April 12, 2013 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Ahhh Sheit Midrauers

    The only thing that can stop a bad man with a gun is a good man with jazz hands

    April 12, 2013 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  18. moni4782

    Where do I begin? Did I think it was a good episode? Absolutely! I did not think it was sensationalism at all. This is what's happening in our schools. Gun control is the hot topic and what happened in December can happen again and again in schools all over the country. I think the message was conveyed, this fear is real, we have no mental health safety net and guns are accessible to all. Now, the character with Down's snydrome being the shooter was hard to understand but it makes sense when Ryan Murphy is also making a statement about mental health in this country. It was an emotional episode because it was scary but it's realistic to the times we live! This episode prompted me to have a conversation with my five year old son about guns in school.

    April 12, 2013 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Please Stop Procreating

      You do understand that DS is not a "mental health issue", right? It's not even close to a mental health disorder.

      April 12, 2013 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
      • moni4782

        Yes I'm aware that it's a genetic abnormality but do you have any idea how much funding there is for "life training" for people with Down Syndrome or mentally challenged individuals? Zero! None. Ryan Murphy didn't introduce a new character for whatever reason but he used that character to make a statement about the severity of this problem. Thank you for attempt to clarify my initial post.

        April 12, 2013 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Women...don't like certain types..

    more comfy with men

    April 12, 2013 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Women...dont' like them never did...


    April 12, 2013 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Snarky MacFee

    Why does Hollywood have a BF problem with understanding the concept of "TOO SOON"..the concept and producers of the show suc*. I will never watch the show again. They didnt jump the shark, they killed it and ate it in the face of thoses who sufferred great losses not EVEN 6 MONTHS AGO! Tactless, trashy, and cold hearted!

    April 12, 2013 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • stunned

      wow..first of all this report STATED that this episode was in production for 6 months(2 months before the sandy hook tradgety took place) so yea..learn to read. 2nd do you REALLY think Sandy Hook was the first school to experiance a shooting? what about Columbine who's anniversary is coming up? honestly i dont think this is too soon because it put watchers IN THE PLACE of kids who were terrified and had thier innocence stolen from them. it gave us a experience of being in the room and feeling exactly how the kids in all the school shootings over the years felt and that is what i think Glee was trying to accomplish. that feeling and depth of being so scared, hopelessness ect. also as far as the shooter #1 it wasnt about a girl with DS it was about a girl who was so scared of being out in the world alone and she was afraid she was going to get hurt. do i think her fathers gun should have been locked in a secure location? yes. but i can understand how she feels cause i felt the same exact way when i was getting ready to leave high school in 2000. so actually use ur brains and think when u watch this episode and open ur emotions and fell..i commend the cast of Glee for doing this episode. BRAVO

      April 12, 2013 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Stupid

    nope...never knew ...went too all my rooms also-sweet lunch again before back too work

    April 12, 2013 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Stupid

    She was there 2 weeks ago for lunch and met all the old gang.

    April 12, 2013 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  24. interesting321

    All I could think about half way through the episode was:
    What if Mr. Schue and/or the football teacher had a gun to defend themselves and the students. It would obviously still be a terrifying situation, but knowing my teacher had a gun (safely locked up), grabbed it as he told all the students to hide, and was prepared to shoot a shooter if they came into the classroom and tried to unload on everyone in the classroom would make me feel a little better.
    Think about it, in a situation like that, if every teacher was able to have a conceal and carry in their classroom, then if a shooter was going room to room with the intention of unloading on students and teachers, a teacher would be able to stop them and protect the students. And NO I am not saying lets just start handing out guns to teachers without proper instruction and safety measures. But it is an interesting thought.

    April 12, 2013 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Dowsideofaho

    its going too be cancelled shortly

    April 12, 2013 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Tammy Sofonia

    After watching I had a horrible nightmare.....did not like it at all

    April 12, 2013 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |


    April 12, 2013 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |

    send HER the bills

    April 12, 2013 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |


    April 12, 2013 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |


    April 12, 2013 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Not Glay

    The show seems to be somewhat contemporary while not attempting to portray realistic situations in every way to everyone's satisfaction. I watched and was shocked by the episode but believe it reached it's mark in bringing a painful and controversial subject up. Thanks Mr Murphy.

    April 12, 2013 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |

    People need to realize what is right and what is wrong and we intend too let people know what they are.– abusing a cast member for no reason will pay the price and it has already

    April 12, 2013 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  33. It's a real show based upon reality

    all high school kids are either gay or bi these days. and they are all in show choirs and break into song at the drop of a hat. the girls are all mean and/or sl utty. nobody ever has any homework. everyone is beautiful and has fun all the time. they are all happy and gay.

    April 12, 2013 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  34. Toshiba Vacation

    Its real

    April 12, 2013 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  35. vikingwoman

    Why would a Downs Syndrome girl bring a loaded gun to school? Is there a backstory? This episode seems contrived & not based in reality! Kinda like the show itself!!

    April 12, 2013 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kazuo

      There is a backstory. I can tell from your comment that you haven't watched the episode. It is a very touching episode, and you shouldn't be spewing assumptions everywhere.

      April 13, 2013 at 12:13 am | Report abuse |
  36. Erie

    We want too be educated in this matter also

    April 12, 2013 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  37. CALI HO

    that's right and everyone WILL be educated on the issue

    April 12, 2013 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  38. SmiT---that's right

    we will make sure it does happen too other people--

    April 12, 2013 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  39. Survious

    It maybe to soon, but it is important that others understand the situation and that something like this could happen to them...I understand that it is hard for the people in NT, but it is more important that others are educated.

    April 12, 2013 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  40. did you see her website picture she looks filthy with that stupid hat


    April 12, 2013 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  41. Para Ho

    we got you babe

    April 12, 2013 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  42. Gay means a dummie which is racist word since people on this blog educate for a living


    April 12, 2013 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  43. Gay means a dummie which is racist since people on this blog educate for a living

    April 12, 2013 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  44. DaveW

    It was gay. That's my verdict. I thought it was very gay.

    April 12, 2013 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
    • David are you gay?

      April 12, 2013 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
    • DaveW

      Naaaah. I'm a Chineese person. We are from Mexico and not Gaylandia. Gaylandia is an island in the Pacific where all the gay people are from. Yep.

      April 12, 2013 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Mandy Slob

      sounds racist i would watch that

      April 12, 2013 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Michelle

      I'm very racist against onions and hot peppers. They make my tummy hurt when I eat them.

      April 12, 2013 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  45. Nathan

    Also? 'Degrassi' did this much better years ago.

    April 12, 2013 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  46. Nathan

    This episode was pointless sensationalism. It served no purpose with regards to any storyline, and with no student in actual peril, there were no stakes involved. Making Becky, the character with Down Syndrome, end up being the 'shooter,' it potentially sets the Down Syndrome community back several years by lumping them in with actually dangerous persons with real mental illness. Down Syndrome is not an illness, and this was irresponsible television.

    April 12, 2013 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Just Sayin'

      I couldn’t disagree more, Nathan. I did not see any promotions before the episode that promised a “very special episode of” Glee, so it didn’t seem that there was an attempt to sensationalize it. I was not expecting the turn it took and must admit was very surprised that they chose to tackle the subject. The fact that no one was actually shot made it more of a Glee-type story, though that fact wasn’t revealed until the end. I may change my mind depending on how they incorporate this incident into following episodes. If they use the event as a pivotal moment in the students’ lives, then it served a purpose. If ignored, then I’ll have to agree that it was a publicity stunt.

      April 12, 2013 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Mandy Slob

      no publicity stunt–but good try

      April 12, 2013 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |

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