Glee is an American musical comedy-drama television series that aired on the Fox network in the United States from May 19, 2009, to March 20, 2015. It focuses on the fictitious William McKinley High School glee club, the New Directions, which competes on the show choir competition circuit while its disparate members deal with social issues, especially regarding sexuality, race, relationships, and teamwork.
Backstages of the Series Edit
To see all the backstages of the series, click the "Expand" link on the right.
Ian Brennan conceived Glee based on his own experience as a member of the Prospect High School show choir in Mount Prospect, Illinois. He initially envisioned Glee as a film, rather than a television series, and wrote the first draft in August 2005 with the aid of Screenwriting for Dummies. He completed the script in 2005, but could not generate interest in the project for several years. Mike Novick, a television producer and a friend of Brennan's from Los Angeles, was a member of the same gym as Ryan Murphy, and gave him a copy of Brennan's script. Murphy had been in a show choir in college, and felt he could relate to the script. Murphy and his Nip/Tuck colleague Brad Falchuk suggested that Glee be produced as a television show. The script was entirely rewritten, and was picked up by Fox within fifteen hours of being received. Murphy attributed that, in part, to the network's success with American Idol. "It made sense for the network with the biggest hit in TV, which is a musical, to do something in that vein", he said. Murphy and Falchuk became the show's executive producers and showrunners, Brennan became a co-executive producer and Novick a producer. Brennan, Falchuk and Murphy started by writing "all the episodes".
Glee is set at the fictional William McKinley High School in Lima, Ohio. Murphy chose a Midwest setting as he himself grew up in Indiana, and recalled childhood visits to Ohio to the Kings Island theme park. Although set in Lima, the show is filmed at Paramount Studios and Helen Bernstein High School in Hollywood.
Murphy has said that he has never seen a High School Musical film, to which Glee has been compared, and that his interest lay in creating a "postmodern musical", rather than "doing a show where people burst into song", drawing more heavily on the format of Chicago. Murphy intended the show to be a form of escapism. "There's so much on the air right now about people with guns, or sci-fi, or lawyers running around. This is a different genre, there's nothing like it on the air at the networks and cable. Everything's so dark in the world right now, that's why Idol worked. It's pure escapism," he said. Murphy intended to make a family show to appeal to adults as well as children, with adult characters starring equally alongside the teenage leads, and as of October 2009 he had already mapped out plans for the series covering three years of broadcast.
The three creators—Murphy, Falchuk, and Brennan—plan the stories together. For the first two seasons, they were the only writers, and after taking joint credit for the pilot episode and the episode that opened the fall 2009 season, they began rotating taking a single auctorial credit, based in large part on the person "who’s taken the lead in story breaking or who wrote a draft". Brennan noted that the writing process is "fast and loose, with the emphasis on fast", and quotes Murphy as having said, in terms of their roles in episode creation, "I'm sort of the brain. Brad's sort of the heart. Ian's sort of the funny bone", which Brennan says "is true in a lot of ways". Some of the characters are written more by one writer than by the others. Brennan writes most of Sue's material, and Falchuk frequently writes the scenes between Kurt and Burt Hummel, though Murphy contributes a great deal to Kurt.
Starting with season three, a writing staff of six was hired: Ali Adler, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Marti Noxon, Michael Hitchcock, Matt Hodgson and Ross Maxwell. The season's fourth episode, "Pot o' Gold", was written by Adler, the first not credited to the show's three creators.
Adler and Noxon did not return for the show's fourth season and instead House writers Russel Friend and Garrett Lerner, and Stacy Traub were hired.
Music and choreography Edit
Main articles: List of songs in Glee, Glee albums discography, and Glee songs discography
The series features numerous song covers sung onscreen by the characters. Ryan Murphy was responsible for selecting all of the songs used, and has said that he strove to maintain a balance between chart hits and show tunes: "I want there to be something for everybody in every episode. That's a tricky mix, but that's very important—the balancing of that." According to Murphy, the song choices are integral to script development, "Each episode has a theme at its core. After I write the script, I will choose songs that help to move the story along." In a 2010 interview with Allison Kugel, Chris Colfer noted that "there have been a couple of times when I have gone to Ryan Murphy (Glee creator) and told him a couple of things that have happened to me, and then he writes it into the show. Or he'll ask me what song I would want to sing, in this situation or in that situation. I don’t think any of us directly try to give input on the character or on the storyline, but they definitely steal things from us." For the second season, a shift toward using more Top 40 songs was seen, in an effort to appeal more to the 18–49 demographic.
Murphy was surprised at the ease with which use of songs was approved by the record labels approached, and explained: "I think the key to it is they loved the tone of it. They loved that this show was about optimism and young kids, for the most part, reinterpreting their classics for a new audience." A minority of those approached refused to allow their music to be used, including Bryan Adams, Guns N' Roses and Coldplay; however, in June 2010, Coldplay reversed their decision, allowing Glee the rights to their catalog. Adams posted on his Twitter account that the producers of Glee had never requested permission from him and urged them to "pick up the phone". Composer and musician Billy Joel offered many of his songs for use on the show, and other artists have offered use of their songs for free. A series of Gleesoundtrack albums have been released through Columbia Records. Songs featured on the show are available for digital download through iTunes up to two weeks before new episodes air, and through other digital outlets and mobile carriers a week later. Glee music producers Adam Anders and Peer Astrom have begun to add original music to the show, including two original songs, "Loser Like Me" and "Get It Right", on the March 15, 2011 episode.
Glee is choreographed by Zach Woodlee and features four to eight production numbers per episode. Once Murphy selects a song, rights are cleared with its publishers by music supervisor P. J. Bloom, and music producers Adam Anders and Peer Astrom rearrange it for the Gleecast. Numbers are pre-recorded by the cast, while Woodlee constructs the accompanying dance moves, which are then taught to the cast and filmed. Studio recordings of tracks are then made. The process begins six to eight weeks before each episode is filmed, and can end as late as the day before filming begins. Each episode costs at least $3 million to produce, and can take up to ten days to film as a result of the elaborate choreography. In late 2010, Bloom reported the process has been even shorter; "as quick as a few weeks". For the second season, the creators were offered listens of upcoming songs in advance by publishers and record labels, with production occurring even before song rights are cleared.
Prior to the second episode's premiere, Glee's cast went on tour at several Hot Topic stores across the nation. The cast sang the U.S. national anthem at the third game of the 2009 World Series. Macy's invited them to perform at the 2009 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, but host broadcaster NBC declined because Glee aired on a rival network. Murphy commented on the cast's exclusion: "I completely understand NBC's position, and look forward to seeing a Jay Lenofloat."
The show's success sent the cast on a concert tour, Glee Live! In Concert! after the first season's wrapup. They visited Phoenix, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York. The cast also recorded a cover of Wham!'s "Last Christmas", which was released as a single in late 2009 but didn't appear in the show until "A Very Glee Christmas" on December 10, 2010. Morrison, Lynch, Michele, Monteith, and Colfer reprised their roles as Will, Sue, Rachel, Finn, and Kurt respectively for a cameo appearance in an episode of The Cleveland Show that aired January 16, 2011. Michele, Monteith, and Riley appeared as campers in the twenty-second season premiere of The Simpsons.
Lynch, Colfer, Monteith, and Riley appeared at the 2010 MTV VMAs on September 12, 2010. When Agron, Michele, and Monteith posed for a set of risqué photos for the November 2010 edition of GQ magazine, Parents Television Council(PTC) criticized the show; PTC president Tim Winter commented that Glee has many young fans, and that "by authorizing this kind of near-pornographic display, the creators of the program have established their intentions on the show’s direction. And it isn't good for families."
The promotional posters for the first season have the show's stars using their right hands to make an "L" to fill in the L of the word Glee. The second season's promotional posters have the stars throwing slushies at the camera in pairs. The third season's promotional posters have the stars getting dodgeballs thrown at them by Sue Sylvester. While the cast concert tour, Glee Live! In Concert!, began on May 15, 2010, and presented concerts in four cities in the US that month, the second edition, with an almost-entirely new set list, toured for four weeks in the US and Canada from May 21 through June 18, 2011, and followed with twelve days in England and Ireland, from June 22 through July 3, 2011. The cast also performed on the seventh season of The X Factor on December 5, 2010.
Summaries of the Series Edit
The series focuses on a high school show choir, also known as a glee club, in the fictional William McKinley High School in Lima, Ohio. Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison) takes over the glee club after the former teacher Sandy Ryerson(Stephen Tobolowsky) is fired for inappropriate contact with a male student. With a rag-tag group of misfit teenagers, Will attempts to restore the glee club to its former glory while tending to his developing feelings for his co-worker, guidance counselor Emma Pillsbury (Jayma Mays), as well as defending the glee club's existence from the conniving cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch). A major focus of the series is the students in the glee club: their relationships as couples, their love of singing and desire for popularity coming into conflict due to their membership in the low-status club, and the many vicissitudes of life in high school and as a teenager.
Seasons 1 to 6 Edit
To see all the resumes, click the "Expand" link on the right.
Season 1 features the fictional high school show choir New Directions competing for the first time on the show choir circuit, winning at the Sectionals competition (episode 13) but losing at Regionals (season finale/episode 22), while its members and faculty deal with sex, relationships, homosexuality, teenage pregnancy, disabilities, acceptance and other social issues. The central characters are glee club director Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison), cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch), Will's wife Terri (Jessalyn Gilsig), guidance counselor Emma Pillsbury (Jayma Mays), and glee club members Rachel (Lea Michele), Finn (Cory Monteith), Artie (Kevin McHale), Kurt (Chris Colfer), Mercedes(Amber Riley), Tina (Jenna Ushkowitz), Puck (Mark Salling), and Quinn (Dianna Agron).
Season 2 follows the club through wins at the Sectionals (episode 9) and Regionals (episode 16) competitions before losing at the Nationals competition in New York City (season finale/episode 22), while its members and faculty deal with relationships, religion, homophobia, bullying, rumors, teenage drinking, death and other social issues. The season's stories revolve around the same Glee club members as first season, with Santana Lopez (Naya Rivera) and Brittany Pierce (Heather Morris) added to the main cast, along with Kurt's father Burt (Mike O'Malley).
Season 3 follows the club through wins at Sectionals (episode 8) and Regionals competitions (episode 14), before they win the Nationals competition (episode 21) in Chicago. The characters deal with gender identity, adoption, domestic abuse, teenage suicide, bullying, disabilities, texting while driving, college and other social issues. Glee club members added to the main cast were Mike Chang (Harry Shum Jr.) and transfer student Blaine Anderson (Darren Criss), while Jessalyn Gilsig as Terri Schuester was written out of the series and Mike O'Malley as Burt returned to recurring status. The McKinley High class of 2012 graduates at the end of the season.
Season 4 continues in Lima with a new generation of students but also follows some of the McKinley graduates from the third season, notably to the fictional New York Academy of the Dramatic Arts (NYADA) in New York City. The season follows the club through a loss at the Sectionals competition (episode 9) and subsequent reinstatement when the winning Dalton Academy Warblers were found to have used banned substances (human growth hormone) (episode 12) before winning at the Regionals competition (episode 22), which meant they would be attending their third consecutive National show choir competition. In the meantime, Rachel Berry and Kurt Hummel navigate NYADA and their lives as aspiring performers, plus their relationships with Finn and Blaine. Issues during the season include sex, bulimia, gender identity, child molestation, dyslexia, school violence, and pregnancy scares. Former main cast members Emma Pillsbury (Jayma Mays) and Quinn Fabray (Dianna Agron) were credited as guest stars, while previously recurring glee club member Sam Evans (Chord Overstreet) was promoted to the main cast.
Season 5, unlike previous seasons, continues the school year begun in the previous season. The season shows the reigning champion glee club finishing second at Nationals competition (episode 11) before the club is permanently disbanded by Sue Sylvester, now school principal, for budgetary reasons (episode 12), leaving the focus on graduation. The show then jumps several months forward in time and deals entirely with the alumni's lives in New York City for the remainder of the season, including Rachel's successful Broadway debut. Throughout this season, the club and its alumni deal with relationships; death and mourning; body image, gay bashing, intimacy, and other social issues. Several main cast members dropped to recurring guest stars as of this season: Amber Riley as Mercedes, Mark Salling as Puck, Harry Shum Jr. as Mike and Heather Morris as Brittany. New main cast members included glee club members introduced in the fourth season: Melissa Benoist as Marley Rose, Alex Newell as Unique Adams, Blake Jenner as Ryder Lynn, Jacob Artist as Jake Puckerman, and Becca Tobin as Kitty Wilde. Actor Cory Monteith died during summer before the fifth season was shot; his character, Finn Hudson, died in the season's third episode, The Quarterback.
Season 6 focuses on Rachel Berry, who returns to McKinley after her television pilot fails. She decides to reconstitute the glee club with all-new McKinley students and with Kurt's help. Will Schuester is now coaching rival club Vocal Adrenaline, while Blaine is coaching the Dalton Academy Warblers. All of the new main cast members from the fifth season have returned to guest star status in this final season when they appear; Amber Riley as Mercedes rejoins the main cast, and Dot-Marie Jones as Coach Beiste joins the main cast for the first time. The cast members deal with gay marriage, gender identity, transitioning and other social issues. The newly reconstituted club wins the Nationals competition, Sue is fired as principal and Will is hired to be the principal of a McKinley High repurposed as a magnet arts school, with Sam as the new director of New Directions. The finale jumps five years into the future: Rachel has married Jesse St. James (Jonathan Groff), wins a Tony Award, and is a surrogate mother for Kurt and Blaine (who are themselves Broadway stars). Artie has directed Tina in a film, Mercedes is a highly successful recording artist, and Sue has just been re-elected Vice President of the United States. The McKinley auditorium is renamed after Finn.
- Two actors of the Glee Series are dead today:
- Cory Monteith as Finn Hudson (82-05-11/13-07-13)
- Mark Salling as Noah Puckerman (82-08-17/18-01-30)