Glee came to an end a little over three years ago. While other shows have attempted to become the new kings of the musical show (looking at you Rise), none succeeded. It’s possible that the Glee phenomenon is just a once-in-a-generation sort of thing that we’ve all collectively experienced. At least for the first couple of seasons anyway. Maybe there’s another high school musical show in the works somewhere, but it’ll probably never recapture the magic in the bottle that was Glee.
Behind the scenes, the actors were growing into adults and experiencing tragedies, new relationships, and huge mistakes for themselves. While such things may color the show for old and new fans alike, what was accomplished in the making of Glee still remains extremely impressive. For a brief couple seasons, the lovable losers were kings and singing in elaborate musical numbers was the coolest thing. We all wanted the slushie facial and to attend William McKinley High School. Even after those glory days, fans couldn't leave Glee behind. They were too attached to the catchy songs and unforgettable characters. They needed to see how things turned out for New Directions.
Now that we know what happened, it's time to take a look back and see what went into the making pf the show. From tense working relationships to alternate endings that will never be, here are the hidden truths behind FOX's one-of-a-kind musical TV series.
Here are 25 Crazy Things Only True Fans Know About The Making Of Glee.
25 Naya Rivera And Lea Michele’s Tense On-Set Relationship
It’s hard to classify the relationship between Lea Michele (Rachel Berry) and Naya Rivera (Santana Lopez) during their time on Glee. Both actresses said that media blew the "feud" out of proportion. Rivera clarified their relationship in her memoir, Sorry Not Sorry.
She wrote, “If I'd complained about anyone or anything, she'd assumed I was bitching about her. Soon, she started to ignore me, and eventually it got to the point where she didn't say a word to me for all of Season 6.”
Things sounded frosty, at least.
24 Ryan Murphy Wishes He Did Things Differently Behind The Scenes
The rumors that abounded about the behind-the-scenes antics of the Glee cast were pretty wild. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Ryan Murphy admits that he wishes that he did somethings differently in regard to that.
“I was there with them all day long, and then we'd finish work and we'd go out and have fun all night, and I guess in a weird, twisted way, I was trying to relive the childhood I never had.” He added, “I guess I just wish I had been able to let them figure it out for themselves."
23 Everyone’s Fave Guest Star Was Kristin Chenoweth
Glee had a ton of major celebrity guest stars over the years which included Idina Menzel, Gwenyth Paltrow, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kate Hudson, and Adam Lambert. So the question was which guest star was their favorite? It turns out to be the original Glinda herself, Kristin Chenoweth.
Why was Chenoweth the favorite? Well, according to Amber Riley, who played Mercedes Jones on the show, it was pretty simple.
Chenoweth would bring gifts every time that she came to set.
Sometimes it’s just the simple things, huh?
22 Chris Colfer Was Nervous About Writing An Episode
Over the seasons of the show, the creatives involved the cast members into the making of the episodes. Matthew Morrison directed. Darren Criss and Amber Riley wrote music for the series. Chris Colfer wrote an episode, the season five “Old Dogs, New Tricks”. By this point in the series, Colfer was already a published author in addition to his Glee duties.
Still Colfer admitted that he was nervous about writing an episode of the series.
He was just worried about making the dialogue sound authentic to his castmates characters.
Luckily, he nailed it.
21 Heather Morris Originally Taught The "Single Ladies" Dance
Heather Morris, who played Brittany S. Pierce, was originally just meant to teach the “Single Ladies” dance to the cast members. Before she started acting, Heather was a back-up dancer to Queen B herself.
Her strange deadpan delivery and improv impressed everyone involved, it led to her character getting some major screen time in subsequent seasons.
She pretty much remained a consistent presence on the show until the end, though Morris did take time off after getting pregnant with her first child.
Glee kickstarted her acting career-- and all because of those single ladies.
20 Naya Rivera’s Mom Freaked Out Over Brittany and Santana's kiss
During the double wedding episode “A Wedding”, Brittany and Santana shared a majorly steamy kiss together. Well, according to Naya Rivera, her mom freaked out when she saw the kiss. Apparently, her mother actually screamed when she saw it. According to Rivera, however, it wasn't as steamy as it looked.
As she writes, "[My mom] thought I really had stuck my tongue down Heather's throat. (FYI: I didn't. The trick is to go in with an open mouth, then close it as soon as you make contact).”
19 Dianna Agron Was Cast At The Last Possible Minute
TV shows can be funny things sometimes. Casting is near continuous process between guest stars and series stars. It just keeps rolling on and on. Sometimes, however, things can cut it pretty close. Dianna Agron definitely felt the crunch when she was cast as Quinn Fabray for Glee’s pilot. Why? She was cast at pretty much the last possible minute.
Her casting happened the night before the pilot began filming. That is pretty crazy. Still, we’re glad the team waited for the right actress to come along.
Agron did amazingly compelling work as the mean girl with a soft center during her time on the show.
18 Darren Criss’ First Audition Was Finn Hudson
Another funny thing about the casting process comes from how actors will audition for different parts on the same show. Darren Criss, best known for playing Blaine Anderson, had his very first acting audition for Glee. The role he was auditioning for? The singing jock with good intentions, Finn Hudson.
Now that would have been an interesting role for him to play in the swap episode from season three!
Cory Monteith was cast in the part, while Criss came in for season two to play Blaine. Thus, the ship that launched a thousand fangirls was born.
17 “Thriller” Was The Hardest Sequence To Film
Glee had a lot of challenging performances over the years, but there’s one that most people agree was the hardest sequence to film: “Thriller/Heads Will Roll”. This performance was the centerpiece of the post-Super Bowl episode “The Sue Sylvester Shuffle”.
It had everything: awesome music, great dancing, and zombies.
The entire sequence was a bit of a nightmare. The cold and wet weather worked against the actors. Add on the nighttime shoot and the time spent in make-up, and the whole thing remains an impressive logistical nightmare. Yet, it all worked out.
The resulting mash-up remains one of the best in the show’s history.
16 The Brittana And Klaine Double Wedding Made Everyone Sick
The double wedding between the most popular couples on Glee remains a heart-tugging, tear-jerking episode. For the cast, however, it was also nose-running. Everyone ended up getting sick, according to Jane Lynch.
The barn where the ceremony was held was cold and drafty, especially given the time of year when the episode was filmed.
Everyone in the cast pretty much agreed the entire shoot was “miserable” due to the uncomfortable conditions. Hopefully, they were all able to double up on the cold medicine once the shoot was over. It sounds like they needed it.
15 Inexperienced actors didn't even know they had trailers
The Glee cast was made up of a lot of first time TV actors. Colfer admits to being mistaken for an extra and hanging out with them the first day on set-- until they told him about his trailer. Then, he said goodbye to his new friends and went to work.
Amber Riley at PaleyFest said, "I was so lost. I didn't know what a call sheet was. I kept walking into people's trailers. I kept looking into the camera. I don't know how I kept this job for six years."
14 Glee’s Ending Would Have Been Different If Cory Monteith Lived
Glee will always be colored by the tragic, senseless passing of star Cory Monteith in 2013 at the age of 31. According to Ryan Murphy, the series end was originally supposed to be the following:
“At the end of season 6, Lea [Michele]‘s Rachel was going to have become a big Broadway star, the role she was born to play. Finn was going to have become a teacher, settled down happily in Ohio, at peace with his choice and no longer feeling like a Lima loser. The very last line of dialogue was to be this: Rachel comes back to Ohio, fulfilled and yet not, and walks into Finn’s glee club. 'What are you doing here?' he would ask. 'I’m home,' she would reply. Fade out. The end.”
13 The Final Scene
It’s always hard to say goodbye when a show ends. No matter how weird Glee got over the years, fans continued to tune in, week after week. The series finale definitely amped up the sob factor for those involved. The final scene, according to cast and crew, was Mister Schue (Matthew Morrison) singing “Teach Your Children” by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young to New Directions.
According to Lea Michele, Morrison stopped singing and the crew took over.
“We were crying so hard, they actually had to cut,” Michele said.
It was clearly an emotional moment for fans, cast, and crew alike.
12 The Show Used Real Slushies Early On
Nothing is as iconic to Glee as what fans dubbed the “slushie facial.” The show used a some kind of gelatin mixture later in the series, but earlier on it was fully ice.
Kevin McHale, who played Artie Abrams, described the feeling with the real slushie in detail. “I didn't think about how cold it would be. For some reason, that didn't cross my mind and it literally felt like my body was… it felt like needles were going into my body. It was immediate shock… hypothermia. I got one in the mouth, so then I couldn't breathe, but they were going so slowly.”
11 Kurt Hummel Was Created For Chris Colfer
Chris Colfer was the youngest cast member on the Glee set. He was also the one who made the biggest impression on Ryan Murphy.
Originally, Colfer auditioned for the role of Artie Abrams.
Murphy, however, saw something special in Colfer and created the role of Kurt Hummel especially for him.
Colfer would reach critical acclaim for the role as Hummel. Eventually, he would go on to win the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Miniseries, or Television Film in 2011. He also won three consecutive People’s Choice Awards as well for his work on the show.
Needless to say, Murphy made the right call in creating the part.
10 Colfer Refused To Eat Anything That Made His Breath Smell Bad Before The First Klaine Kiss
Before you kiss someone, you need to make sure your breath smells okay. No one wants to kiss anyone who has eaten a lot of onion. Chris Colfer, as it turns out, is a considerate sort of kisser for his on-screen partner.
Colfer told MTV, that before his first kiss with Darren Criss that he made sure that he didn’t eat anything to make his breath smell bad. As he put it, "I had a Wisp (a single-use mini toothbrush) and some Chapstick and that's about it. I did not eat the onions and the Chinese food that they brought to set that day as a courtesy, but that's about it."
9 Kevin McHale Had Trouble Not Moving His Legs
Given his boy band past, it surprises no one that Kevin McHale has some amazing dance moves. His character of Artie Abrams, however, requires a wheelchair. One of the hardest things that McHale had to do was not use his lower half during the songs.
According to Amber Riley, McHale kept tapping out the beat.
Speaking with Out, she said, "Kevin would be moving his legs the entire time to the beat. We’d be like, 'Kevin, you can’t move your legs.'" Eventually, McHale got the hang of it. He even did a couple dances as well.
8 Lea Michele’s heart-breaking solo
One of the final songs in the show was fittingly a solo sung by Lea Michele. “This Time”, written by Darren Criss, was what he called “a love note to the entire experience.” It was also a difficult solo for Michele to sing, as it was her final solo of the series.
She said, "Darren gave me the greatest gift. Honestly. That was the day I fell to my knees and cried. I literally had to call my mother to come [get me]. It's so special, it was the most amazing memory."
7 Blaine’s Hair Took An Hour To Gel Down
Glee had a lot of signature looks: Kurt’s avant garde fashion, Rachel’s knee socks and miniskirts, and the Cheerios uniform. Nothing, however, quite beat Blaine’s hair. The slicked-back look harkens to the teen idol days of yesteryear. It also looked so gelled that Darren Criss could have taken a two-by-four to the head and probably would have walked away fine.
In real life, Criss’s hair is very curly.
According to him, the entire process to gel his hair gelled straight down was time consuming: "[Blaine's] hair took just shy of an hour [to create] and it was as hard as this chair. They used a sh*tload of hair gel. I won't miss it at all!"
6 Each Cast Member Received A Piece Of The WMHS Stage As A Wrap Gift
When the show ended, the cast pretty much admitted to rampant looting of props and the set to take home to remember the show by.
Michele admitted, "I took a lot of things. I've been saying to everyone — I'm glad they think I only took one. I took Rachel's penny loafers and knee socks." She also took Finn’s football jersey. Criss took installation tiles, apparently.
One gift that all the cast members received was a piece of the William McKinley High School auditorium stage.
It was torn down once the production wrapped.
This definitely was a sweet gesture, given how much time the cast spent on it.
5 Joss Whedon Directed An Episode Of Glee
Glee had plenty of celebrity actors walk the halls of WMHS and through the streets of Lima, Ohio over the years. There was only one person, however, whom we could call a celebrity guest director.
Joss Whedon, best known for creating Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly, directed a season one episode of Glee, “Dream On”. The episode is also notable for guest-starring Neil Patrick Harris, who won an Emmy for his appearance on the episode.
On why he directed Glee, Whedon said to Collider, “When you have some elements that take them to the next level, whether it’s mystical or musical, it’s the kind of thing that completely jazzes me.”
4 Lea Michele’s Pre-Audition Car Accident
There are a couple of legendary pre-show stories that come from Glee. A couple of them have appeared on this list, but the one that tops them all centers on Lea Michele.
Right before her Glee audition, Michele was in a car accident. She made it to her audition and proceeded to nail it, picking glass out of her hair as she sang.
She said, “[T]here was construction and confusion. I hear you have to crash your car once in California before you can be initiated as a true L.A. resident. So for me, I don’t consider it a problem. I consider it, ‘Okay, good! Got that out of the way. Now I live here.’”
3 Glee Cast Was Contracted For Three Possible Movies
When Glee mania swept across the nation, the merchandising potential shot through the roof. In addition to the songs and the alums, there was journals, stickers, a series for intermediate readers, the Glee tour, and a Magic-8. A 3D concert movie was produced, but the studio contracted the cast for more.
The actors signed a contract that mentions doing three film versions of the show.
While this never grew into a movie, it definitely would have made sense given the height of the craze for the show.
We have to wonder what a Glee movie would have been like, at least.
2 Glee’s Music Production Team Worked 24 Hours
Glee not only released a new episode each week, the show also released a new album each week as well. That means recording the song, mixing it, and prepping it for the massive downloads.
The show’s music producer, Adam Anders, told THR, “My production partner Peer Astrom lives in Sweden. When I go to sleep, he keeps working, and vice versa. So we get nine extra hours in there. So I'm asleep, he's mixing. And I wake up and check the mix and then I go change this or that, then it's done and we move on. It's amazing. Not many people can work when they sleep, but I can.”
1 Everything Filmed In "The Quarterback" Was One Take
As we said, pretty much everything in Glee falls under a cloud following the sudden and tragic passing of Cory Monteith. Possibly one of the hardest and saddest episodes in television’s recent history is “The Quarterback”, which is more of eulogy for the actor than anything else.
It was so hard for the cast to get through it that the entire episode was pretty much filmed in one take.
This definitely makes sense, considering that we’re seeing everyone’s very real grief on our screens.
Monteith’s memory, however, remains in the heart of his friends, family, and fans.
Do you have any trivia to share about Glee? Leave it in the comments!