After her introduction to the world during Glee’s Season 4 premiere, Sue Sylvester’s (Jane Lynch) infant daughter, Robin, hasn’t gotten much screentime. Then, during November 8’s Season 4, Episode 5: “The Role You Were Born to Play,” one comment from Finn (Cory Monteith) suddenly brought little Robin back into the forefront of everyone’s minds.
During the episode, Finn and Sue got into a heated argument after Sue told Finn that he shouldn’t cast a gay male student as a female in the school play. Burning with anger, Finn told Sue that he thought she should be more sympathetic, considering that her own daughter has Down Syndrome. However, his particular “r” word choice to describe baby Robin wasn’t so nice.
Finn immediately apologized to Sue for his choice of words, but the damage had been done. Sue went on the warpath, and it seems pretty unlikely that she’ll be forgiving Finn anytime soon.
Wetpaint Entertainment spoke exclusively with Diane Grover of the International Down Syndrome Coalition for her thoughts on the emotional Glee scene. How did she react to Finn’s outburst — and what does she hope people will learn from the incident?
What would your response to Finn’s word choice be?
When people use this word, whatever emotions they are feeling, it is always a good time to educate them about the word, and how we feel when they use it. In this case, I might have just given him a look of concern, because he seemed to check himself right away. Which is all we can ask for from anyone. People use words they don't mean, and it is nice when someone quickly recognizes that this might be hurtful and lets you know they are sorry, as [he] did.
What do you hope that Glee viewers can learn from the exchange?
I hope that viewers learn that we in the disabilities community understand that not everyone has ill intentions when they use the word. Sometimes it does slip. But it is a good opportunity for people to learn that even if it does slip, a simple I am sorry, goes miles. Nobody is expecting anyone to be perfect. Just respectful of others feelings.
Why is it important for Glee to be including a storyline like this on the show?
Everyone can learn from this story line. This word will continue to be used inappropriately for as long as people do not have this conversation. This story line, opens the door to conversation.
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