It may have been calculation. "Glee," the musical comedy phenomenon that masks the usual Hollywood preoccupation with easy sex and "alternate" lifestyles with peppy song and dance numbers, was a more modest than usual in its desirable post-Super Bowl timeslot.
To be sure, the "Glee" creators attempted to lure male football fans into watching their campy show by opening with underage cheerleaders in flaming braziers. The cheerleading routine, set to Katy Perry's "California Girls" and taking after Lady Gaga's famous pyrotechnic-enhanced outfit was about as racy as the episode got. That's surprising for a show that, as the Culture and Media Institute recently documented, features gay and lesbian kissing, masturbation, steamy sexual situations and derision for sexual abstinence.
Whether the producers dialed it back to charm a broader post-Super Bowl audience or due to complaints from the fan base, the episode appeared forced and, according to reviews, fell quite flat. The verdict is still out on the ratings bump the show received for its coveted time slot, and only time will tell whether 'Glee' has embarked on a tamer, more family-friendly course than it's so far traveled.