Television's Emmy-winning musical comedy, Glee, stepped into stigma for its November
16 episode, entitled "The
Substitute", which mocked and trivialized bipolar
disorder--and included imaginary violence as humor.
Actress Gwyneth Paltrow, as substitute
teacher Holly Holliday, played Mary Todd Lincoln- wife of Abraham Lincoln- as
part of a history lesson. In the video link (above), the short scene begins at
the 39:10 minute mark. The transcript and dialogue reads:
Holliday is standing at the front of class room dressed in 19th century clothing,
lecturing to a high school class.
Holly Holliday: Mary Todd Lincoln in the house! My husband was probably
gay and I'm bipolar, which makes me yell things like [pointing to a teapot], 'That
teapot is spreading lies about me! Or, that can't be my baby because I don't love
it! [throws imaginary baby over shoulder]
Mr. Schuester knocks on the
door and asks Holly Holliday to speak with him for a moment.
Holly Holliday: Guys, practice your bipolar
rants. See, history can be fun!
Please contact Fox
TV and the director of the episode to express disappointment with the scene. Mental
illness is not a joke. Would the show have included a scene that played AIDS or
cancer for laughs?
Glee has enormous power to influence
young people who constitute much of the show's audience-and for whom suicide is
the third-leading cause of death. Ask the show to make amends by producing episodes
that deal with mental illness accurately and compassionately and include themes
TV: Email address for comments on shows
Ryan Murphy (Glee creator, director, writer):
5555 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038
Best wishes to all our StigmaBusters for the upcoming holidays.
the Glee character "Holly Holliday" is
no cause for comfort and joy.
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