April 24, 2014

Glee returns with more love stories and new guest stars

BY FRED TOPEL

WARNING: SPOILERS FOLLOW

Glee hooked America in as a new TV musical phenomenon with its first 13 episodes, iTunes downloads and soundtracks. It’s been a tough wait since the show took a hiatus in December. It’s finally back this month to answer all the burning questions. Series producers Brad Falchuck and Ian Brennan previewed the second half of the season in a conference call with the media.

After the success of the first half of the season, the writers were surprised to find out what the fans loved the most. Uber-Gleek Rachel Berry (Lea Michele)’s relationship with bad boy Puck (Mark Salling) will get more attention thanks to that response.

“Every good girl likes a bad boy, and there’s nobody more good than Rachel and nobody no more bad than Puck,” Falchuck said. “We had no idea it was going to be quite so popular, those two.  So we go back and explore that a little bit in the back nine, and we’ll continue to explore it.  It’s high school, and everybody is always bouncing around to everybody else in high school, so that won’t stop.”

Puck still has a lot to answer for as the biological father of Quinn (Dianna Agron)’s baby. He’ll have his own subplots as well. “Mark has really taken that character and humanized it in a way that has really given it a lot of dimension and made it really fun to write,” Falchuck said. “So Mark has a lot of very focused stories in the back nine. We have talent like that, where a guy looks like that and he can sing like that and he just has a very easy sort of movie star charm about him and an accessibility, you want to write towards that.  So yes, he’ll have plenty of stuff.  Puck’s hands will get plenty of Puck in them.”

Another surprise was the cheerleading duo of Brittany and Santana. Sue Sylvester could be pleased to know that her girls will have more to do. “They have some stories,” Falchuck said. “We have such an incredibly talented cast that a lot of stuff comes out of just sort of being with them and seeing what they do and seeing what they’re good at and seeing what makes the laugh and what about them makes us laugh.  Someone like Heather [Morris] is so brilliantly funny and had never really acted before, and yet is so brilliantly funny and brings something so special that it started really entertaining us to start putting her in there and giving her stuff, and it sort of really developed out of that.”

One no brainer seemed to be the relationship between teachers Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison) and Emma Pillsbury (Jayma Mays). They’re just adorable, but even that surprised the show’s creators. With Emma leaving her fiancé at the alter and Will beginning divorce proceedings, there will still be plenty of roadblocks to their burgeoning romance.

“I actually had no idea how much people were going to love that and how much we enjoyed writing that,” Brennan said. “There’s kind of a lot of that’s a very complicated relationship, and there is a lot of push and pull that you can tell kind of two people who want to be together and kind of struggle to get through because of their own issues.  So we deal with it a lot in the back nine.”

The most widely reported news is that the Romeo and Juliet story between Rachel and reluctant jock singer Finn Hudson (Cory Monteith) will pay off by the end of this year.

“The Finn/Rachel relationship is obviously a core to the show,” Falchuck said. “It’s something that’s really sort of important because it’s the bridge of the two worlds that really in the pilot we were trying to put together, which was this sort of popular jock boy with this unique Glee girl.  She represents Glee and he represents the rest of the world.  So we always are going to explore that relationship in many different ways, and it’s going to be a push and a pull in that sometimes it’s going to be him going after her and sometimes it’s going to be her going after him, and they’re always going to sort of be watching each other from afar.  No matter what’s going on in their lives they’ll always have one eye on the other one.  So we’ll see a bunch of that, and then by the end, I think by episode 22 we’ll reach a really temporary conclusion to that.”

That doesn’t mean it’s all over for Finn and Rachel this year, only that you’ll be satisfied… for now. “By episode 22, by the end of the scenario of the first season, we’ll have reached some kind of understanding between the two, but it’s always temporary with those two,” Falchuck continued. “I think their relationship is always going to be, like I said, a challenge for both of them, even though they both I think secretly, and not so secretly, sometimes love each other.”

Love is in the air for Mercedes (Amber Riley) too. “Mercedes is irresistible, so she’ll get a couple of suitors certainly,” Brennan said.

Glee is also inviting a slew of high profile guest stars to the show. Neil Patrick Harris was a huge “get.” Fans of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog will see a recreation of that musical glory. “He was fantastic, especially on the dailies,” Brennan said. “He was really, really good.  He was really excited about what we had written for him and it was just a perfect mix.  Then Joss Whedon directed that episode and they had worked together on the Dr. Horrible, so they had a great rapport.  I’m really excited to see the cut of that episode, because I think it’s going to be really, really good and really funny.  There’s some great stuff in that episode, and then also Neil Patrick Harris, so that should be a good one.”

Whedon himself is an A-list guest working behind the camera. His Buffy, Angel, Firefly, and Dollhouse fans are sure to follow him to Glee. “When any great director directs something, even when it’s something they weren’t involved in the writing of, you can feel that director in it,” Falchuck said. “He was incredibly reverent and respectful of the material, because he loves the show, and we were also very reverent and respectful of him because we think he’s such a genius.  So I think you’ll see a great combination of those two things together.”

Broadway star Idina Menzel is coming on, and Kristin Chenoweth returns for her second Glee episode. “The episode with Kristin in it, I think, is maybe our best one yet,” Falchuck said. “It’s called ‘Home.’ It’s the third one back, and it’s really so moving and hilarious.  She is obviously Kristin, so you kind of can’t keep your eyes off her.”

Glee returns April 13 on Fox.


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About Fred Topel

Fred Topel has been an entertainment journalist in Los Angeles since 1999, for websites like Daily Radar, About.com, Crave Online and Sci Fi Wire. Follow his celebrity encounters on Twitter @FredTopel.

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