‘Glee’ ‘Rocky Horror’ lyric changes: Travesty, or Transational?

For a show that’s pushed the limits of decorum and taste ever since its second episode’s Push It, Glee is timidly approaching many of the lyrics to songs from The Rocky Horror Picture Show for its episode with seven such songs next week.

First, let me say that I love these versions musically. But lyrically, well . . .

In Sweet Transvestite, sung by Mercedes (Amber Riley), “transexual” becomes “sensational,” or what sounds almost like “transational,” to coin a new word rather than to use one which might somehow cause offense (though I’m not sure why).

In Toucha Toucha Toucha Touch Me, sung by Emma (Jayma Mays), “heavy petting” becomes “heavy sweating,” while “bed wetting” becomes what sounds like “bed fretting.” (Hey, at least it rhymes.) Also, “and if anything grows” (a groin reference) becomes “and if anything shows.”

Granted, Glee airs in the 7 p.m. (CST) family hour, but Glee also is a show that’s challenged boundaries many times, and never — until now — has betrayed a prudish bone in its body. Push It, anyone? So it seems odd that it would meekly and timidly alter words in the Rocky Horror lyrics being sung  by people wearing little more than fishnets and tight underwear.

Besides, hasn’t it been long enough since the Rolling Stones were forced by The Ed Sullivan Show in the ’60s to sing “let’s spend some time together” instead of “let’s spend the night together”? This is 2010, after all. Yet a 1975 film’s lyrics are being altered, if not censored — and by Glee, of all shows. In a way, such modesty is almost as strange and perverse as Rocky Horror itself.

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