If you didn't catch the pilot episode of Fox's new fall series Glee last May, go here RIGHT NOW and check it out. Just the first five minutes, trust me, it's good stuff.
The show is the creation of Ryan Murphy (Nip/Tuck), Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan (who was actually in a glee club in high school), and is basically a really offbeat and funny look at high school, adulthood and the all the distance in between the two. And of course there's glee club/musical stuff too.
Ok, sounds weird, I know. But ask the thousand people at the Glee panel during this year's San Diego Comic-Con and they'll tell you: they too were "gleeking out" at the screening of Glee's upcoming premiere episode.
The episode, entitled "Showmance", featured musical renditions of "Gold Digger" by Kanye West, "I Say a Little Prayer for You" by Dione Warwick, Rihanna's "Take a Bow" and one hilariously inappropriate (although well-sung) rendition of Salt-N-Peppa's "Push It".
[WARNING, THE FOLLOWING CONTAINS SPOILERS ABOUT 'GLEE'S' FALL PREMIERE]
"Shomance" picks up where the Glee pilot left off: The Glee club, led by Mr. Schuester (Matthew Morrison), are training for the regional competition; Cheerleading team coach Sue Sylvester (the hilarious Jane Lynch) is still out to squash glee club; lead singers Rachel (Lea Michele) and Quaterback Finn (Cory Monteith) are get a little too hot and heavy; Mrs. Schuester gets some unexpected news about her pregnancy; and guidance teacher Emma Pillsbury (Jayma Mays) tries not to crush on Mr. Schuester. And somewhere in there, the glee club gets hot and heavy in front of the whole school.
I think the cast and creators of Glee can breathe a little easier. I went to multiple pilot screenings for the upcoming fall TV season and I have to say, Glee got the most love from the crowd. The laughter was so intense so often, I'd be interested to know just what percentage of the dialogue went unheard.
After the screening some of the cast of crew held a panel onstage. In attendance were creator Ian Brennan along with stars Matthew Morrison, Lea Michele, Cory Monteith, and Dianna Agron who plays religious jailbait cheerleader, Quinn Fabray (love the character names on this show).
Without spoiling the episode, Monteith told the crowd that when it came time to do the "Push It" scene, Ryan Murphy told the cast "to be more offensive" after reviewing an early take. You really have to see the scene to understand. It's truly hilarious.
After getting spitting a couple of verses on "Gold Digger", Morrison (who is trained in musical theater) promised fans that he would be doing more rapping in upcoming episodes. Now normally that would be a neon-flashing danger sign, but for somehow Morrison pulled it off with swagger. Go figure.
Brennan described how he took his own glee club experiences as the inspiration for the Glee screenplay. The script landed in Murphy's lap, he loved it, they took it to Fox and when the studio showed interest Murphy and Brennan had just one stipulation, "We were like, 'It shouldn't be anything like High School Musical,' and the studio was like 'Yep.'"
The younger cast members were asked if they were anything like the high school students they play on the show:
Monteith confessed that he wasn't anything like the high school golden boy he played and had in fact never finished high school, so he was happy "this acting thing worked out." He also revealed that he had no idea he could sing, and faked his way through an audition tape by playing on Tupperware drums to demonstrate his musical ability.
Lea Michele (who plays fan-favorite gleek diva Rachel Berry), said that she discovered during auditions that she is something of a musical theater diva much like her character, and that when she auditioned, she actually 'Racheled-out' on the piano player, demanding he hit the right octaves and such. She obviously felt embarrassed about it now. And, like Rachel, Michele revealed she's drama prone: she was involved in a head-on collision outside the studio when coming back for her second audition and had to sing covered in glass and blood.
Hey, she got the role, so...
Morrison interjected that even though he plays a teacher and not a student in the show, he in fact WAS a high school golden boy, including rocking musical theater, getting crowned prom king and dating the prom queen. He was promptly told to pipe down by the rest of the cast.
Finally, Argon added that unlike her Christian Conservative cheerleader counterpart, in high school she was Jewish, so all the cross-bearing and bible references were not quite in her repertoire. The crowd got a laugh out of that.
Finally here are some things you can expect from the fall season of Glee:
- Musical performances of everything from Barbra Streisand to The Rolling Stones to modern pop and hip-hop.
- A soundtrack of the show's tunes released (most likely) in November.
- A late summer promo tour by the cast. They will be singing in ten cities over twelve days and will be performing in Hot Topic stores (show sponsor).
- There will be no slow-burning story lines/romances on this show. Murphy likes to get to the point and is good at "going new directions when it seems he's exhausted a storyline."
- Thank musical producer Adam Anders for the great musical moments.
- Kristen Chenoweth will be showing up in episode 4 to do a rendition of a song by the band Heart.
- Josh Groban and rapper/actress Eve will also be showing up in upcoming episodes.
And for those of you who love Glee, but have had a hard time describing it to friends, listen to these wise words from Cory Monteith:
"It's like High School Musical got punched in the stomach and got its lunch money stolen."
Glee premieres this Fall on Fox.