Characters of Glee: Wikis

  
  

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Glee is a musical comedy television series that airs on Fox. It focuses on a high school show choir, also known as a glee club, set within the fictional William McKinley High School in Lima, Ohio.[1] A pilot episode of the show was broadcast after American Idol on May 19, 2009,[2] and the first season began airing on September 9, 2009.[3] On September 21, 2009, Fox officially gave the series a full-season pick-up.[4]

The series features 12 main characters: faculty members Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison), Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch) and Emma Pillsbury (Jayma Mays), Will's wife Terri (Jessalyn Gilsig), and students Rachel Berry (Lea Michele), Finn Hudson (Cory Monteith), Kurt Hummel (Chris Colfer), Mercedes Jones (Amber Riley), Artie Abrams (Kevin McHale), Tina Cohen-Chang (Jenna Ushkowitz), Noah "Puck" Puckerman (Mark Salling), and Quinn Fabray (Dianna Agron). Broadway stars including John Lloyd Young and Kristin Chenoweth feature in recurring and minor roles. A number of the principal actors were cast directly from Broadway, while those without theatrical backgrounds were required to demonstrate singing and dancing as well as acting ability.

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Casting

In casting Glee, Murphy sought out actors who could identify with the rush of starring in theatrical roles. Instead of using traditional network casting calls, he spent three months on Broadway, where he found Morrison, who had previously starred on stage in Hairspray and The Light in the Piazza (for which he received a Tony Award nomination); Michele, who starred in Spring Awakening; and Ushkowitz, from the Broadway revival of The King and I. The role of Rachel was written specifically for Michele.[5] Colfer had no previous professional experience, but reminded Ryan of the character Kurt from The Sound of Music, and was cast as Kurt Hummel.[6] He originally auditioned for Artie with the song "Mr Cellophane"; however, Murphy was so impressed by his performance that the role of Kurt was created for him.[5] Colfer commented on his casting: "I'm so happy to be a part of something that is so new and different and so needed at this time. It's good to have something positive, especially for kids in small towns, like myself, who need a little pick-me-up. It's true: You can be famous — even if there's no money left in the world."[7]

Auditioning actors with no theatrical experience were required to prove they could sing and dance as well as act. Mays auditioned with the song "Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch Me" from The Rocky Horror Show, while Monteith initially submitted a tape of himself acting only, and was requested to submit a second, musical tape, in which he sung "a cheesy, '80s music-video-style version" of REO Speedwagon's "Can't Fight This Feeling"."[6] Monteith has deemed his casting "spot on" as: "I'm just like my character. I've never trained or had any lessons. I can just do it — with some adjustments, obviously."[8] McHale came from a boy-band background, having previously been part of the group Not Like Them. He auditioned with the song "Let It Be" and tested alongside Colfer and Ushkowitz.[5] He explained that the diversity of the cast's backgrounds reflects the range of different musical styles within the show itself: "It's a mix of everything: classic rock, current stuff, R&B. Even the musical theater stuff is switched up. You won't always recognize it."[6] Lynch was originally supposed to have a recurring role in the show,[9] but became a series regular when a Damon Wayans pilot she was working on for ABC fell through.[10]

Main characters

Will Schuester

Morrison plays glee club director Will Schuester.

William "Will" "Schue" Schuester (Matthew Morrison) is McKinley High's Spanish teacher who becomes director of the glee club, hoping to restore it to its former glory.[11] Morrison has assessed that the crux of Glee is "about [Will's] passion for music and influencing his kids".[12] Will is married to his high school sweetheart Terri. Believing her to be pregnant, unaware that she actually experienced a hysterical pregnancy, he considers leaving the teaching field to become an accountant.[13] He ultimately decides against it, though briefly works after hours at the school as a janitor to earn extra money.[14] His dedication to the glee club wavers when his choreography skills are called into question, but after starting a well-received all-male a cappella group, the Acafellas, he recommits to the club.[15] After discovering Terri faked her pregnancy,[16] Will ends his marriage and shares a kiss with Emma.[17]

Sue Sylvester

Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch) is head coach of the cheerleading squad or "Cheerios", and the glee club's "arch-nemesis".[10] Lynch states that Sue is "pure evil and doesn't hide it",[8] having been created as a product of Murphy, Brennan and Falchuck's "inner mean girl".[10] With regards to her motivation, Lynch explained: "Sue will do whatever it takes to win. If that means she has to prostitute herself or take advantage of a 16-year-old boy, she'll do it. It's all about power and winning. That's her entire world view."[18] Sue enlists cheerleaders Quinn, Brittany and Santana to help her bring the glee club down from the inside.[14] She has her own spot on the local news, which she uses to editorialize on issues such as support for caning and pro-littering.[19] In the episode "Vitamin D", Sue is made co-director of the glee club,[20] but in the following episode "Throwdown" she scales back her involvement considerably after a public confrontation with Will.[21] In the episode "Wheels", Sue allows a girl with Down Syndrome to join the Cheerios as a replacement for Quinn. It is later revealed that Sue has an older sister who herself has Down Syndrome, showing a softer side to her normally brash character.[22] Hoping to sabotage the glee club's chances of winning at sectionals, Sue gives the club's set-list to rival glee club directors Grace Hitchens (Eve) and Dalton Rumba (Michael Hitchcock).[23] When her actions are discovered by Principal Figgins (Iqbal Theba), Sue is suspended from the school.[17]

Emma Pillsbury

Emma Pillsbury (Jayma Mays) is the school's mysophobic guidance counselor who has romantic feelings for Will.[24] Mays has deemed Emma an "amazing" character to play, explaining: "I don't find that female characters are always written with a lot of depth, but she's so well defined on the page. Sure, she's terrified of germs and in love with a married man, so seeing her as the voice of reason for the kids is amazing."[8] Glee's costume designer Lou Eyrich selects "quirky" outfits for Emma, to reflect her "sunny disposition".[25] In an attempt to get over Will, Emma begins dating football coach Ken Tanaka,[14] becoming engaged to him in the episode "Vitamin D".[20] However, when Will is unable to attend a competition with the glee club, Emma volunteers to take them in his place, postponing her own wedding by several hours. Acknowledging her continuing feelings for Will, Ken breaks up with her on their wedding day. Emma resigns from the school, but as she prepares to leave, Will finds her and stops her with a kiss.[17]

Terri Schuester

Terri Schuester (Jessalyn Gilsig) is Will's wife of five years. Gilsig has deemed Terri "a woman of conviction", willing to do "whatever it takes" to keep Will from leaving her.[8] She explained that Will and Terri's communication is weak and that Terri is "missing a lot of the skills for the marriage",[26] commenting that Terri feels threatened by Will's commitment to the glee club, worried that it will pull him away from her.[27] Gilsig characterized Terri as emotionally still being in high school,[28] and does not know how long her character will feature in the series, as she was initially only created as an obstacle to come between Emma and Will.[29] Terri briefly believes herself to be pregnant, and pushes Will to take a better paying job as an accountant.[13] She discovers she has actually experienced a hysterical pregnancy, but hides this from Will, afraid he will leave her.[14] After confiding her deception in her sister Kendra, Terri approaches pregnant cheerleader Quinn Fabray, with an interest in her baby.[19] She briefly becomes the school nurse, but is asked to step down after giving the Glee Club pseudoephedrine tablets.[20] In the episode "Mattress," Will uncovers Terri's ruse when he discovers her pregnancy pad in a drawer.[16] Terri begins attending therapy, but Will tells her he no longer loves her and is leaving her.[17]

Rachel Berry

Lea Michele plays glee club star Rachel Berry.

Rachel Berry (Lea Michele) is a "strong, driven" member of the glee club, who is misunderstood by her peers.[30] She is Jewish, an only child and has two fathers, an interracial same-sex couple. Michele took the role in Glee because of Rachel's characterization, explaining: "Not only is she a singer, but she has so much heart — I think it's what we need on TV."[8] Michele described the first thirteen episodes of the series as: "Rachel's journey of finding herself within the glee club",[30] explaining that: "She's learning how to be a team player and work within this group."[30] Rachel has a crush on Finn, and the two share a kiss in the episode "Showmance".[14] She quits the glee club when Will assigns a solo performance she wanted for herself to Tina, and is awarded the lead role in the school musical, Cabaret,[19] but later quits to rejoin the glee club when she realizes she would rather be in a group where she has friends.[31] Rachel has a brief relationship with Puck, but ultimately breaks up with him over her feelings for Finn.[32] Finn believes himself to be the father of Quinn's unborn baby, until Rachel discovers the father is actually Puck and tells Finn the truth. The club attend their first major competition, where Rachel gives an impromptu solo performance and they win by unanimous decision.[17]

Finn Hudson

Finn Hudson (Cory Monteith) is star quarterback of the school's football team who risks alienation by his friends to join the Glee Club. Monteith was attracted to the fact that Finn "isn't just a dumb jock", but instead "walks a fine line between following his dreams and balancing what other people expect of him."[8] He is dating cheerleader Quinn, but is conflicted by his growing feelings for Rachel.[14] Quinn later tells Finn she is pregnant and he is the father. Finn intends to support her, unaware the father is actually his best friend Puck.[19] He has a premature ejaculation problem, which causes him to believe he is the father of Quinn's baby despite the fact that they have never had sex.[19] Finn's father was killed in Operation Desert Storm. He tells Quinn's parents that she is pregnant by singing "You're Having My Baby" to her, causing her parents to confront the young couple and subsequently throw Quinn out. Finn's mother then allows Quinn to move in with them.[33]

Mercedes Jones

Mercedes Jones (Amber Riley) is "diva-in-training who refuses to sing back-up", with a "flair for fashion".[34] In the pilot episode Mercedes auditions for the glee club by performing "Respect" by Aretha Franklin.[35] Due to Cheerios scheming, Mercedes develops a small crush on Kurt, unaware that he is gay. She is hurt when he rejects her, but Mercedes quickly recovers and she is supportive when he confides his sexuality. After this, the two become especially close friends.[15] Her father is a dentist.[21] In The Rhodes Not Taken, when April Rhodes is trying to get the other Glee club members on her side, she teaches Mercedes and Tina how to shoplift, later Mercedes goes to Mr. Schue with new clothes and accessories saying that they love April.[31]

Kurt Hummel

Chris Colfer plays glee club member Kurt Hummel.

Kurt Hummel (Chris Colfer) is a flamboyant singer who is bullied by the football team. In the pilot episode, Kurt auditions for the glee club by performing Mr. Cellophane from the musical Chicago.[35] Kurt comes out as gay to Mercedes in the episode "Acafellas",[15] and to his father in the following episode "Preggers".[19] He joins the football team in order to impress his father, and helps McKinley High's failing team to win a game.[19] Kurt has a high vocal range, and self-identifies as a soprano singer.[36] He competes against Rachel for a solo on "Defying Gravity", but throws the high F note to save his father from being harassed over his sexuality.[22] Kurt has a crush on Finn, and hopes if Finn breaks up with Quinn, he will turn to Kurt for comfort.[33] He is aware that Rachel also has feelings for Finn, and attempts to sabotage her chances with him by giving her a bad makeover.[23]

Noah Puckerman

Mark Salling plays footballer and glee club member Noah "Puck" Puckerman.

Noah "Puck" Puckerman (Mark Salling) is Finn's best friend and football team-mate, who initially disapproves of Finn joining the glee club. Puck joins Will's all-male acapella group, the Acafellas, hoping to impress the mothers at the school's PTA meeting, as he prefers older women.[15] He later discovers that he is the father of Quinn's baby. She rejects him when he offers to support her and the baby, calling him a "Lima loser". Later in the same episode, Puck joins the glee club.[19] In "Mash-Up", Puck begins dating Rachel after his mother urges him to find a Jewish girlfriend. The relationship ends, however, as Rachel is still conflicted over her feelings for Finn and Puck has feelings for Quinn.[32] In the episode "Ballad", Puck confesses to Mercedes that he is the father of Quinn's baby, and is advised to leave her alone.[33] In "Hairography," Quinn briefly wonders whether she should raise her baby with Puck and invites him to help her babysit the three rambunctious sons of Terri's sister Kendra. Quinn admires the way Puck handles the situation, but is later irritated to learn that he was "sexting" Santana throughout the night. Puck tells Quinn that he would be a good father to the baby and a good boyfriend to her, but could not be expected to remain monogamous if Quinn continued to refuse him sex. She returns to her original plan of giving the baby to the Schuesters.[23]

Quinn Fabray

Quinn Fabray (Dianna Agron) is Finn's girlfriend who is head of the Cheerios and president of the celibacy club. She is described by Agron as Rachel's enemy, and "terrible, the meanest girl".[37] Quinn joins the glee club from the second episode, because her boyfriend Finn is a member, and cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester wants her to bring the club down from the inside.[14] In the episode "Preggers", Quinn reveals to Finn that she is pregnant and tells him that the baby is his despite the fact the real father is his best friend Puck.[19] In "Vitamin D", Quinn admits that she likes and has fun in glee club, and agrees to give her baby to Will's wife Terri.[20] Quinn is kicked off the cheerleading team by Sue for being pregnant in the episode "Ballad".[33] When her parents learn of her pregnancy, they throw her out of their home and she moves in with Finn and his mother.[33] In the episode "Mattress", Quinn tries to rejoin the Cheerios, to be in the team's yearbook photograph, but ultimately decides she would rather be a part of the glee club, where she feels accepted.[16] In "Sectionals", Finn learns from Rachel that Puck is the father of Quinn's baby. He assaults Puck and refuses to talk to Quinn. Quinn tells Puck that she wishes to deal with her pregnancy by herself.[17]

Artie Abrams

Kevin McHale plays glee club member Artie Abrams.

Artie Abrams (Kevin McHale) is a guitarist and paraplegic manual wheelchair user. In the episode Wheels, it is revealed that Artie's disability was caused by a car accident when he was eight. He goes on a date with Tina, but feels betrayed when she confesses she has been faking her own disability, a speech impediment.[22] McHale describes Artie as: "what you would call a nerd. He loves Glee Club with all his heart and uses it to escape the big bad world that high school can be just like the other members of Glee Club."[38] He found it challenging to adapt to the fact Artie is in a wheelchair, explaining: "Coming from a dance background, I instinctually want to start dancing or tapping my foot to the music. So, I've been learning how to keep that under control and how quickly being in the wheelchair becomes natural."[38]

Tina Cohen-Chang

Tina Cohen-Chang (Jenna Ushkowitz) is an initially shy member of the glee club. She auditions for the club in the pilot episode singing "I Kissed a Girl".[35] In "Preggers", Tina is awarded the solo song "Tonight" from the musical West Side Story which Rachel wanted for herself. She is willing to let Rachel have the song, but when Will refuses the switch, Rachel quits the club.[19] Tina has feelings for fellow glee club member Artie. They go on a date in the episode "Wheels", but Artie is hurt when she confesses she has been faking her speech impediment since the sixth grade. She explains that her stutter drove people away, which is what she wanted, but as part of the glee club, she no longer wishes to drive people away.[22]

Recurring characters

Brittany

Heather Morris, Dijon Talton and Naya Rivera play glee club members Brittany, Matt and Santana.

Brittany (Heather Morris) is a Dutch-American cheerleader who joins the glee club with Quinn and Santana in the episode "Showmance".[14] Brittany finds recipes confusing, cheats off learning disabled classmates, thinks the square root of four is rainbows and doesn't know her right hand from her left.[39] After joining Glee, Brittany appears at first to be as malicious and manipulative as Quinn and Santana, but she quickly assimilates with the Glee group, forming comradeships, if not friendships, with the less popular students, assisting Kurt with a music video he creates at his house, and high-fiving and nudging other members of the group in a playful manner during moments of happiness.[19] She teaches everyone in the glee club hairography saying, "It works best when you pretend like you're getting tasered. It's like cool epilepsy."[23]

Jarrett Wieselman of the New York Post has compared Morris as Brittany to Lynch as Sue, opining that she has "emerged as one of the funniest second bananas on TV right now".[39] Wieselman wrote that since her introduction, Brittany has been given "more and more to do [and] less and less to think", and that the result has been one of the most clueless characters that's ever figured out how to dress herself in the morning. When a promotional clip for the episode "Sectionals" indicated that Brittany and Santana had slept together, Dorothy Snarker, writing for lesbian entertainment website After Ellen, praised the pairing, referring to them by the portmanteau "Brittana".[40] Snarker called the two her "new favourite Glee pairing", commenting that: "While Heather Morris (Brittany) and Naya Rivera (Santana) have had minimal screen time, they’ve made it count. Heather in particular has brought the laughs as the Cheerio least likely to get a Mensa invitation. Never mind Finn and Rachel — I’m on Team Brittana now."[40]

Santana Lopez

Santana Lopez (Naya Rivera) is a competitive member of the Cheerios, who joins the glee club with Quinn and Brittany in the episode "Showmance". She indicates that she and Matt are dating, however in the episode Hairography she sexts with Puck and confronts Quinn angrily, warning her to stay away from her man, referring to Puck.[23][32] In the episode Sectionals she admits that no one is forcing her to stay in glee club, adding that she likes glee and it's the best part of her day.[17]

Rivera drew on her own high school experience of unpopularity to prepare for the role, as well as watching films such as Mean Girls to "really get in the zone and feel like a bitchy Sophomore".[41] She has described Santana as "your typical high school cheerleader, for the most part,"[41] explaining: "She's really mean and loves boys. She's really witty so I love playing her."[41] She has characterized Santana as "a bit of a bad girl" who is "really snarky and always has these really witty one-liners she throws out there."[42] Rivera enjoys the fact Santana is competitive and headstrong as she herself shares those traits, but dislikes Santana's mean streak.[43] She auditioned for the role as she loves singing, dancing and acting, and had never before had the opportunity to combine all three skills in one project. She finds the show's pacing challenging, especially the dancing, and commented in June 2009 that her most memorable moment on Glee was performing the Cheerios' glee club audition piece, "I Say A Little Prayer".[41] Santana will play a more prominent part in the last nine episodes of Glee's first season.[44] Rivera commented: "Santana's been wreaking havoc with people's boyfriends and people's babies and teachers—she's the high school terror, and she's going to continue to be the villain."[45]

Mike Chang

Mike Chang (Harry Shum, Jr.) is a football player who joins the club in the episode "Preggers".[19] He is better known as "Other Asian." Sue developed the nickname in Throwdown and it stuck. Shum has stated that Mike is "shy",[46] and that he joins the glee club despite it being "social suicide" as "he has finally found a place where he can express himself and feel accepted."[47] Shum feels that he brings a lot of himself to the role, and draws on his own high school experiences to play Mike.[47] He came to the role from a dance background, and has stated that his favorite dance routine to date was the Bon Jovi / Usher mash-up in the episode "Vitamin D" as: "It was fun playing that, we got a different emotion out of that, and I got to really do my thing and kind of get crazy with it."[48] Asked whether Mike would have his own storylines in the future, Shum explained that his character is being developed and filled out by the writers, but that other regular characters will have their storylines explored first, and that it will "take time for all the characters to develop".[48]

Matt Rutherford

Matt Rutherford (Dijon Talton) is another football player who joins the club in the episode "Preggers".[19] Talton has called Matt: "your typical football player who happens to have a talent for singing and dancing who kind of fell into it."[49] He feels that Matt always wanted to perform, but that living in a small town meant he was forced to choose between performing and being "cool". Talton has explained that Finn joining the glee club made it more acceptable for Matt to be honest with himself about that he wanted to do, and that he is becoming more comfortable being in the glee club, "what it stands for, how it makes him feel."[49] Talton stated:

Slowly but surely I think he's getting more comfortable with 'You now what, I'm going to be me, I'm going to be Matt Rutherford, I'm going to sing, I'm going to dance, I'm going to wear cowboy hats, and I am going to play football. It's okay to be more than a Lima loser forever.' He is definitely a little more than I think you all have seen as of yet. I think he has a lot more colors and angles and things going on and decisions. All of the things that regular high schoolers have to go through, I think he's finding himself and what he really wants to do and what he really wants to be. He was the quarterback in football, he's not the Rachel Berry of Glee. He's finding himself and he's like, 'You know what, at some point I think I'm ready to shine.' I think he's just kind of feeling it out first.

—Dijon Talton, Starry Constellation Magazine[49]

Asked whether Matt would take a more prominent role in the show, Talton replied: "Matt had a little bit of time to shine dancing with "Hate On Me," but I think you will see him open up more, I'm going to say that much. I think you'll get to see Matt open up more in the upcoming episodes and kind of come into his own. I know that dancing is a passion and a love for Matt, so you'll definitely see him a little more open with free styling and showing his skills."[49] Talton has commented that Matt is familiar to him, as he is like: "some guys I knew in high school who wanted to be a part of the arts, but were scared or were intimidated because of what that might look like or what that might sound like or how it might make them appear."[49] Of his characterization, he revealed:

I wanted Matt to be fun and just enjoy the moment, if we're in cowboy hats, we're in cowboy hats. There is an episode coming up when we're in wigs, if we're in wigs, we're in wigs and just going for it and not holding back or being too concerned with opinions or judgments. That's the problem, and I think nowadays too many kids are concerned with people opinions and judgments, and how that's going to effect them. At the end of the day the only thing that matters is if you're happy and if your own judgment for yourself is a good one. If you can look in the mirror and say, "I'm Matt Rutherford, or I'm Dijon Talton, and I'm happy with it," that's all that's important. That's what I wanted to bring to Matt.

—Dijon Talton, Starry Constellation Magazine[49]

Ken Tanaka

Patrick Gallagher plays football coach Ken Tanaka.

Ken Tanaka (Patrick Gallagher) is the head coach of the football team who is engaged to Emma. Ken's costume consists of small shorts, long socks, tight T-shirts, and a fanny pack which Gallagher added himself. He explained: "The costume really helps. You just put it on and you can't help but feel a certain way. I just think it's just an amalgam of my high-school gym teachers and coaches in Chilliwack, where I grew up."[50]

Gallagher has stated: "I think you understand where Ken comes from as they go on. You understand where the bitterness comes from, and people may start to like him a little. Ken will keep going [after Emma]. Ken will go after what he wants. The one thing Ken won't do is give up."[51] Though Gallagher is Chinese-Irish, Ken is Japanese.[50] Comparing himself to his character, Gallagher detailed: "I'm more like him than I care to admit. I realized I was going for what I like to think as an older version of me from years ago. I think Ken is not happy with where he is in life. I think he's still got a good heart, but there's this insecurity and bitterness piled on top of it. I think love is in Ken's head, and love for me is kind of an idealistic concept. But one thing I really respect about him is that he goes after something: He just doggedly pursues Emma. I wish I was more like that. In some ways, he's a little bit braver than I am. I mean — look at what he wears. That takes guts."[50] Gallagher finds the character interesting, as to play the role he has to face his own "insecurities" and "bitterness".[52] Gallagher feels that he draws much of Ken's characterization from himself, while also "channelling" his high school gym teachers.[52] He commented: "the real challenge is to find the balance between not trying to be too funny, not trying to make it funny, just letting it be funny, and just delivering the line and letting the writing do the work for you."[52]

Principal Figgins

Principal Figgins (Iqbal Theba) is William McKinley High School's "stern but fair" principal.[53] Figgins allows Will to take over the school glee club, having fired former director Sandy Ryerson for inappropriate conduct. However, he tells Will that the students must place at Regionals, or use of the theatre will be revoked and instead given to the local branch of Alcoholics Anonymous.[13] When PTA members complain after the glee club perform a sexually explicit version of "Push It" in a school assembly, Figgins informs Will that he must choose all future songs from a pre-approved, sanitized list.[14] He is blackmailed by Sue into appointing Sandy as the school's Arts director, when she uncovers internet footage of him appearing in a support stocking commercial for Mumbai Air.[19] However, Figgins removes her hold over him by putting the footage on YouTube himself, where it receives only two hits.[21] Figgins hires Will's wife Terri as the new school nurse, despite her lack of qualifications, firing her when he discovers she has been giving the students pseudoephedrine tablets. As a result of Terri's actions, Figgins appoints Sue as co-director of the glee club.[32] He refuses to allocate the club funds for a wheelchair-accessible bus to transport them to Sectionals,[22] and cuts the club from the school yearbook, making Will pay $325 to buy advertising space for their photograph instead.[16] When it transpires that Sue attempted to sabotage the glee club's chances at Sectionals, Figgins removes her as captain of the cheer squad and suspends her from the school.[17]

Although the character was initially conceived as Caucasian, Pakistani actor Iqbal Theba was cast in the role. Theba has commented that he finds Figgins a challenging character to play, as it entails finding "the right mix of someone who is an authority figure but who is also very insecure about his own strengths as a person".[54] Theba wears minimal make-up for the role, due to personal preference.[54] He has stated that Figgins may perform a musical number on the show in the future.[53]

Jacob Ben Israel

Jacob Ben Israel (Josh Sussman) is the Jewish-American editor of the school newspaper, compared in the media to Perez Hilton[55] and Gossip Girl.[56]

Sussman described his character as: "the school blogger and reviewer with a huge crush on [Rachel] who awakens his hormones all-year round. But, he creeps her out. She needs Jacob for good reviews."[57]

Sandy Ryerson

Sandy Ryerson (Stephen Tobolowsky) is the former director of the glee club. Since his firing he has begun reselling Medical Marijuana to which he is prescribed. He reappears in the episode Acafellas as a member of the titular a cappella group. He is seen to be obsessed with Josh Groban (who guest starred in the episode), who finds him creepy. After Sue blackmailed Principal Figgins with a video of him starring in an ad highlighting the dangers of vascular embolisms on flights in Preggers, he was made director of arts, giving him control over all arts in school, including Glee Club. However, after Principal Figgins put up the video himself and severed Sue's hold over him, Sandy's current status in unknown. Tim Stack for Entertainment Weekly has praised Sandy as "one of the most reliable characters for great lines and laughs."[58]

Burt Hummel

Burt Hummel (Mike O'Malley) is Kurt's father, to whom Kurt comes out in the episode "Preggers".[59] James Poniewozik for Time commented on Kurt's coming out to his father: "the fact that Dad (Mike O'Malley, who has turned out to be a pretty good character actor) ends up not being the boor we think he's going to be is one of the first signs that Glee is growing up as a series, that having established a world of primary-color stereotypes, it's now willing to subvert those expectations."[60] Tim Stack for Entertainment Weekly wrote on the same episode: "who would have thought that Mike O’Malley, star of the horrible Yes, Dear, could be such a good dramatic actor?!"[61]

Carole Hudson

Carole Hudson (Romy Rosemont) raised Finn as a single mother. She briefly had a relationship with a lawn-care worker, who was seen spray painting dead grass green, he then left her for a younger woman. In the episode "Ballad" she finds out about the pregnancy and takes Quinn in when she gets kicked out of her home.[33] James Poniewozik of Time felt that Carole's reaction to the news of Quinn's pregnancy:

...showed how Glee has matured from the broadly caricatured show it was early on. In the pilot—which was fantastic in its own right—Finn's mom was just the slightly pathetic figure we saw pining after the lawn-care guy. But her reaction to the news was a brilliant bit of characterization through small moments: that is, in the way that she knew what the problem was and comforted her son—while also showing us that she was saddened and a little angry—she let us know that she's been through tough times, that she's made mistakes and understands them, but also knows that hugging Finn is not going to make his basic problem any better. And the scene in which she agrees to take in Quinn reminded me of Kurt's lovely coming-out to his dad earlier. When it's not going over the top of the top (which can be delightful in itself), Glee is becoming very good at showing how life happens in small exchanges in people's laundry rooms and finished basements.

—James Poniewozik, Time[62]

Kendra Giardi

Kendra Giardi (Jennifer Aspen) is Terri's sister. She and her husband Phil (Michael Loeffelholz) have triplet sons (played by Ethan, Aidan, and Ben Freedman). In the episode "Throwdown", Kendra and Terri bully their obstetrician, Dr. Wu (Kenneth Choi), into faking an ultrasound to convince Will the baby is real. Entertainment Weekly's Wendy Mitchell deemed Kendra "hilarious" and wished to see more of her.[63] In contrast, fellow Entertainment Weekly writer Ken Tucker described her as "a garish cartoon who exists only to further the pregnancy plotting".[64]

Grace Hitchens

Eve played rival glee club director Grace Hitchens.

Grace Hitchens (Eve) is the show choir director of the Jane Addams Academy for troubled female youth.[23] When Will is suspicious Sue has leaked the set list he visits the Academy where he is confronted by Grace who says they would never cheat to get ahead.[23] Despite this, Sue eventually convinces Grace and a rival glee club director to use Will's set list.[23] At sectionals Grace tries to justify her actions, but Emma counters it by saying that by cheating, Grace was not helping her girls.[17] After all three schools performed, Grace realizes that Emma was right and it would be best that she tell the judges what that she cheated.[17] Unfortunately before she is given the chance, the Judges had already chosen New Directions as the winner.[17] However, still racked by guilt, Grace and Dalton still went to Principal Figgins and hands over the proof that Sue helped them cheat, including stationary with Sue's letterhead.[17] Comparing her character, glee club director Grace Hitchens, to McKinley High glee director Will, Eve explained: "For me especially, I come from a harder place. I'm the teacher of a reform school. I'm used to being very strict."[26]

When asked if she would return to the show in the future, she replied: "If I'm asked to do it, I definitely would. It's just a really well-made, smart show."[26] Gerrick D. Kennedy for the Los Angeles Times was impressed by Eve's acting and "on-screen charm", and felt that she worked nicely in the episode.[65] Conversely, Bobby Hankinson for the Houston Chronicle was unimpressed with Eve's guest-appearance. He wrote: "More like LEAST Special Guest Star, amirite? The internets were abuzz about the possibility of Whitney Houston taking that role, but sadly, that didn't happen. But, I mean, really? There's no one with a little more personality out there? You can't tell me Salt, Pepa and Spinderella were all busy."[66] Whitney Houston was contacted to appear, but declined, so Eve took her place.[67] Discussing her casting, Eve stated: "I got asked and I'd heard the buzz about the show. When the first pilot episode came out, I figured it was something different and something we haven't seen on TV before. I didn't want to turn it down!"[68] She commented that she would have loved to have seen Whitney Houston appear in the show, explaining: "I think it would've been different in a sense because she's an original diva. She would've brought a whole other energy, which would've been amazing."[26]

Other recurring characters

The following is a supplementary list of recurring characters, which includes characters that appear briefly in multiple episodes, like a regularly appearing student, but have little to no real world content to justify an entire section covering their in-universe histories.

  • Max Adler as Dave Karofsky, a member of McKinley High's hockey team.
  • Kent Avenido as Howard Bamboo, Terri's dyselxic co-worker who joins the Acafellas.
  • Kenneth Choi as Dr. Wu, Terri's obstetrician.
  • Earlene Davis as Andrea Carmichael, a local news anchor.
  • James Earl, III as Azimio, a member of McKinley High's football team.
  • Michael Hitchcock appeared alongside Eve as rival glee club director Dalton Rumba.[69][70]
  • Brad Ellis as Brad, the pianist who accompanies New Directions' rehearsals.
  • Aidan, Ben and Ethan Freedman as the Giardi triplets, Kendra and Phil's sons.
  • Bill A. Jones as Rod Remington, a local news anchor and Sue's love-interest.
  • Michael Loeffelholz as Phil Giardi, Kendra's husband.
  • Lauren Potter as Becky Jackson, a member of the Cheerios with Down Syndrome. She appears to be friends with Brittany as Brittany copies her math tests and has lent her money to buy cupcakes.

Guest stars

Kristin Chenoweth appeared as former glee club star April Rhodes.

The show features Broadway stars in recurring or minor roles, including John Lloyd Young as Henri St. Pierre, "a retired wood shop teacher with an excellent singing voice",[71] Victor Garber as Will's father,[72] and Debra Monk as Will's mother.[72] Kristin Chenoweth plays April Rhodes, a former member of the Glee Club who never finished high school and ended up hitting rock bottom,[73] and Josh Groban appears as himself.[24] Both Chenoweth and Groban will reprise their roles later in the season.[74][75] Tim Stack for Entertainment Weekly commented on Groban's "Acafellas" cameo: "It was a little random, but it's all worth it for the scene when Groban was hitting on Will's mom."[58] Shawna Malcom for the Los Angeles Times called Groban's appearance "laugh out loud" funny.[76] Robert Bianco for USA Today wrote of Chenoweth's guest appearance in "The Rhodes Not Taken": "Her presence may not make much sense, but that's probably all right. If it means hearing Chenoweth sing, we can put up with any explanation the show cares to offer."[77] Raymund Flandez for The Wall Street Journal was equally positive regarding Chenoweth's role, praising her "powerful voice", "kittenish mien" and "commanding presence".[78] Eric Goldman for IGN opined that Chenoweth was "terrific" as April, and that the character was a "hysterical creation".[79] The Los Angeles Times's Denise Martin praised Chenoweth's versatility as April, opining that her performance was worthy of a second Emmy win.[80] Sarah Drew plays Suzy Pepper,[81] a senior with "an insane, absurd, psychotic crush on Mr. Schuester". Drew described Suzy as "kind of stalkerish and creepy", but ultimately redeemable.[82] James Poniewozik of Time commented positively on Suzy's characterization: "Even Suzy Pepper, who seemed like a throwaway dorky-girl stereotype, was fleshed-out as a person, even if her insights into her own and Rachel's insecurities were a touch too perfect. It's the sort of attention to character that I'm not sure Glee would have been capable of in its first few episodes."[62]

In the second half of the first season, Jonathan Groff will play the male lead of rival glee club Vocal Adrenaline.[83] Olivia Newton-John will appear, singing a duet of "Physical" with Lynch.[84] Idina Menzel will play the coach of rival glee club Vocal Adrenaline, described by Murphy "a sort of Faye Dunaway of "Network"".[85] Fans had lobbied for Menzel to be cast as Rachel's biological mother. due to the strong resemblance between Menzel and Michele.[86] Molly Shannon will appear as Brenda Castle, an alcoholic astronomy teacher and badminton coach at McKinley High School who clashes with Sue.[87] Neil Patrick Harris was recently confirmed to appear in the Joss Whedon directed episode (with whom he worked under before in Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog) as a school board member, Bryan Adam, who was a rival of Will's in glee club and wants to cut the arts program as revenge.[88]

Awards and nominations

Year Recipient Role Award Category Result Ref.
2009 Cory Monteith Finn Hudson Teen Choice Awards Choice TV: Breakout Star Male Nominated [89]
Lea Michele Rachel Berry Teen Choice Awards Choice TV: Breakout Star Female Nominated [89]
Main cast Various Diversity Awards Favorite New Diverse Ensemble Cast Won [90]
Chris Colfer Kurt Hummel Satellite Awards Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film Nominated [91]
Jane Lynch Sue Sylvester Satellite Awards Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film Won [91]
Lea Michele Rachel Berry Satellite Awards Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy Won [91]
Matthew Morrison Will Schuester Satellite Awards Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy Won [91]
Kristin Chenoweth April Rhodes Satellite Awards Outstanding Guest Star Won [91]
2010 Lea Michele Rachel Berry Golden Globe Awards Best Actress - Television Series Musical or Comedy Nominated [92]
Matthew Morrison Will Schuester Golden Globe Awards Best Actor - Television Series Musical or Comedy Nominated [92]
Jane Lynch Sue Sylvester Golden Globe Awards Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film Nominated [92]
Main cast Various Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series Won [93]

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