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A who's who of Glee plus tiny mention of Mercedes!

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Alex View Drop Down
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  Quote Alex Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: A who's who of Glee plus tiny mention of Mercedes!
    Posted: 30 Apr 2010 at 09:35

Join the Glee club! A who's who of the TV sensation and why everyone should be an addict

Conical bras at the ready: it’s the moment all Gleeks have been waiting for. Tonight’s episode of the hit TV series Glee is the most anticipated ever, with the cast performing a montage of Madonna tracks for the entire hour-long show.

A high school comedy-drama with electrifying song-and-dance routines, Glee has become the TV sensation of the year. So it was only a matter of time before one all-singing, all-dancing pop culture phenomenon should pay homage to another.

The episode, succinctly titled The Power Of Madonna (and showing tonight on Channel 4), has already aired in the States and on E4 to rave reviews, with hits such as Open Your Heart, Borderline and What It Feels Like For A Girl being given the distinctive Glee treatment. But it is the performance of Vogue, by the school’s despotic gym teacher Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch), which is rea ly the one to, well . . . Cherish.


Hit: The cast of Glee, the feel-good show of the year

As aficionados of the show (affectionately termed Gleeks) know, Glee is set in Ohio’s William McKinley High School and follows the fortunes of a disparate band of students who come together to try to breathe life into their school’s listless Glee Club — an after-school song-and-dance troupe.

Headed by Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison), the club members include stage school madam Rachel and star quarterback Finn (Lea Michele and Cory Monteith). But as the Glee Club prospers, its success riles other factions of the school — most notably the head of the cheerleading squad, Sue Sylvester, who plots to destroy it.

If Madonna is the patron saint of personal empowerment, then she has keen acolytes both in the Glee Club members and in Sue Sylvester, who claims Madonna’s mantra — ‘I’m tough and ambitious and if that makes me a bitch, then so what?’ — as her own. Moreover, tonight’s show marks a seminal moment in Sue Sylvester’s life when she finally sheds her polyester tracksuit and with it her song-and-dance virginity to perform in front of the schoolkids for the very first time.

It is a seminal moment, too, in the life of Glee. Madonna recently branded the homage to her music ‘genius’ and discussions are under way to feature similar one-off shows featuring the music of Britney Spears, Billy Joel and Led Zeppelin.

Not bad for a show that critics initially deemed a potential failure, given that no music-based drama had succeeded since Fame more than 20 years ago.

It’s been compared to High School Musical, but while HSM can be rather saccharine, Glee covers the teen angst themes of peer pressure, teenage pregnancy and high-school romance and imbues them with a twist.

‘It’s like High School Musical, but written by evil people,’ say the creators.

The dialogue can be snarky and sharp, but when combined with the heartfelt delivery of the musical numbers, the show, originally aimed at teens, appeals to the whole family, and with songs by everyone from Kanye West to Neil Diamond it’s one of those rare shows that generations can watch together without embarrassment.

For those who have yet to get their Gleek on, here is a guide to the Who’s Who and What’s What of McKinley High.


An after-school club, with members singing and dancing to showtunes. Nowadays, a phenomenon peculiar to American high schools and colleges, the first Glee Club was actually founded in London in the 18th Century.

‘Glee’ was the name given to the short song that members would perform and is not a reference to the mood of the singers.


When Ryan Murphy — the man behind Nip/Tuck and one of Glee’s creators, was casting for the show, he deliberately chose unknowns.

‘A lot of big names were pitched, but I wanted fresh people that the audience could get to meet. We did a two-month casting all over the country.’

Only Matthew Morrison and Lea Michele had Broadway experience but they can all sing, dance and act.



Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison, right)

Enthusiastic director of the Glee Club which he re-names New Directions.

Aims to revive the flagging club’s spirits and in so doing hopes to put the spark back into his own unfulfilling life. Glee, he reminds us, is about joy. ‘

There’s no joy in these kids — that’s why every one of them has a MySpace page.’

Separated from his wife, the shrewish Terri, after she faked a pregnancy.

Emma Pillsbury (Jayma Mays, right)


The school’s virginal counsellor who has a serious crush on Will. Charged with offering advice and guidance to the impressionable minds of McKinley High, Emma is plagued by her own impressive array of OCD behaviours.

‘I just take lots of showers,’ she says, explaining her coping mechanisms, ‘and I don’t eat dairy.’

Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch, right)


Head coach of the school cheerleading squad, the Cheerios, and Will Schuester’s arch-nemesis.

Fiercely protective of the squad’s enormous budget (she sends their kits to Europe to be dry-cleaned), her hatred for the Glee Club is rivalled only by her hatred for Will’s hair.

‘I have reasonable confidence that you will be adding revenge to the list of things you’re no good at,’ she tells him, ‘right next to having a marriage, running a Glee Club and finding a hairstyle that doesn’t make you look like a lesbian.’

The psychology behind Sue’s irrational hatred of Will’s mane is explained in tonight’s episode.

Principal Figgins (Iqbal Theba, right)


McKinley High’s headmaster. Keen on cost- cutting measures (the school has been serving the students prison food in order to save money), he was the victim of a failed attempt by Sue Sylvester to blackmail him when she threatened to air an embarassing commercial he once made for in-flight anti-DVT stockings.


Rachel Berry (Lea Michele, right)


Ultra-talented star of the Glee Club, Rachel is the only child of a gay male couple.

Bossy, shrill and fame- driven (‘nowadays, being anonymous is worse than being poor’), she’s strangely likeable.

Has a heavy crush on Finn, even though he has been dating head Cheerio Quinn Fabray (Dianna Agron) — the president of the school’s celibacy squad, who also happens to be pregnant.

Finn Hudson (Cory Monteith, right)


Handsome quarterback who threatens his status as McKinley High’s leading jock by joining the Glee Club.

Sweet of nature and voice, he initially believed he was the father of Quinn’s baby until he discovered it was his best friend, Puck. Blessed with many qualities, intelligence isn’t one of them.

‘Let’s name our baby Drizzle because it’s awesome . . . it smells like rain, but you don’t need an umbrella to go outside.’

Kurt Hummel (Chris Colfer, right)


The Glee Club’s most flamboyant singer.

He joins the football team to impress his father, but when he finally comes out as gay, his father tells him he already knew.

Is thrown repeatedly into the dustbin by the football jocks, but manages to retain his dignity by removing his Marc Jacobs jacket first.

‘One day,’ he tells them, ‘you will all work for me.’

Artie Abrams (Kevin McHale, right)


A brilliant electric guitarist and a paraplegic who performs the club’s dance routines in a wheelchair.

Dates Tina Cohen-Chang (Jenna Ushkowitz), a shy goth with a speech impediment and friends with Mercedes Jones (Amber Riley), a Jennifer Hudsonesque diva who believes she, rather than Rachel, should be centre-stage.

‘I am Beyonce,’ she insists, ‘I am not Kelly Rowland.’


Glee’s choice of music is one of the key components of the show’s success. The series’ first two compilation albums reached No 1 and No 2 in the UK charts.

Says show creator Ryan Murphy: ‘I thought it was going to be really difficult to get permission to use the songs, but everybody really got on board with the idea of the show and they liked that these classics were being reinvented both by and for a younger audience.’

The fact Madge gave her blessing to tonight’s The Power Of Madonna episode and accompanying album has opened the door to similar big-name collaborations.

Moreover, with Sue Sylvester’s majestic performance of Vogue in the can, later this year she will team up with Olivia Newton John to sing her hit Physical.

The mind doesn’t know whether to scream or boggle.


The humour may be cutting, but when those kids sing, they really sing.

‘The show’s got irony and comedy,’ says Murphy, ‘but when the music kicks in, you’re exhilarated. When they sing, you just want more and more.’

Journey: Don’t Stop Believin’. The Glee Club’s performance of the old Journey standard was one of the show’s genuinely uplifting moments. It made No 2 in the UK charts.

Amy Winehouse: Rehab. It takes chutzpah to have a song on a subject like this sung by bouncy, clean-cut cheerleader types, but Glee managed it superbly. Winehouse herself was moved to comment: ‘How cool is Glee? Wicked that they did Rehab...’

Bon Jovi/Usher: It’s My Life/Confessions Part II. A brilliant example of the show’s distinctive ‘ mashups’ — the conflation of two songs from two entirely different genres.

Beyonce: Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It). Performed by the rugged members of McKinley High’s football team, the delightfully effete dance was eminently daft, yet strangely watchable.


Part of the show’s charm lies in the fact that while the Glee kids are obviously talented, their routines aren’t too polished.

Cory Monteith, the Zac Efron-esque heart-throb, often looks like he’s trying to stamp out a fire when dancing and although the principals were put through a Glee dance boot camp before filming began, choreographer Zach Woodlee admits, ‘that first day of rehearsal was a long day indeed’.

Since the club’s electric guitarist Artie (Kevin McHale) is a paraplegic, each routine has to accommodate his moves.

‘I’m 99 per cent sure Kevin’s our best dancer,’ says Woodlee, ‘and he’s in a wheelchair.’


As likeable as the newcomers are, it’s character actress Jane Lynch who consistently steals the show as McKinley High’s cheerleading fuhrer.

A wondrous mix of bile and flame-retardant sportswear, every phrase from Sue is a gem of vituperative perfection. Here are some of her finest pearls of wisdom:

  • ‘You're dealing with children. They need to be terrified — it’s like mother’s milk to them. Without it, their bones won’t grow properly.’
  • To Will: ‘I don’t trust a man with curly hair. I can’t help picturing small birds laying sulphurous eggs in there and I find it disgusting.’
  • ‘I always thought the desire to procreate showed deep personal weakness.’
  • To Will: ‘You do with your depressing little group of kids what I did with my wealthy, elderly mother. Euthanise it!’


Edited by Alex - 30 Apr 2010 at 09:36
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Timbo View Drop Down

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  Quote Timbo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Apr 2010 at 15:41
Loved the American Football dance from the first half the season.

If you look up Iqbal Theba's entry on Wikipedia, you'll discover that, amongst his other TV credits, he was in "The One Hundredth" episode of Friends.   His most memorable line from that episode is "Kidney Stones"
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James View Drop Down
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  Quote James Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 May 2010 at 18:36
No mention of Amber "The Voice" Riley? Brittany is seriously growing on me too - she gets some brilliant one-liners.
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