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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Post ’Klaine’- kiss, Glee returns

Darren Criss and Chris Colfer on Glee
Darren Criss and Chris Colfer on Glee
By Jim Halterman -

Isn’t it just like a gay man to finally give you that big, passionate kiss you’ve been waiting endlessly for only to have him disappear? That’s what happened - well, give or a take a little dramatic embellishment - when Blaine (Darren Criss) finally leaned over and planted the long-awaited smooch on the lips of Kurt (Chris Colfer) in the last original episode of hit series Glee that aired last month.

What happened after the kiss seen around the world? Well, nothing since it’s been rerun-central for the instantly iconic Fox series. Thankfully, a new episode finally arrives this Tuesday night.

At the recent Paley Television Festival in Los Angeles, the cast and creative team behind the show was present for a panel focused on the show and it was a Gleek-fest through and through and EDGE’s Jim Halterman was there.

Boys of Glee :: Darren Criss (top right); Ch  

Blaine vs. Kurt

As fans of the show know, when the charismatic Criss burst onto the show last fall as prep school dreamboat Blaine, he was practically the antithesis of Kurt, who spent most of the first season coming out to his friends and father (Emmy-nominee Mike O’Malley). Unlike Kurt, Blaine immediately set himself apart from Kurt as a teen comfortable with his sexuality.

As for a budding romance between the two, creator Ryan Murphy first denied that a ’Klaine’ pairing would happen but obviously he just wanted to let the relationship develop slowly. With the last original episode, it was definitely time to take that big leap for the gay characters. "For me," said the out Murphy, "it was always very important that the Kurt character...has a moment of joy. I wanted that for him." Ryan added, "I think it’s impactful because it’s important to so many people."

Before the event, Criss talked with about where he thinks the relationship may go during the rest of this season and next (Criss will be a full-time cast member in Season 3). "By no means are [Blaine and Kurt] official on Facebook or anything. I don’t know what constitutes a real relationship," he said. "Obviously, things have been addressed and Blaine has owned up to his feelings and sort of reconciled everything in his head about Kurt, which is the first step..."

Darren Criss (upper); Chris Colfer (lower)  

Taking it in stride

As for all the craziness in his schedule and everything that swirls around the Glee Universe, Criss has taken it all in stride. "I’m a low maintenance guy," he said. "You can toss me in the flames and I’ll go down smiling."

Speaking of O’Malley and the much-heralded storyline between Kurt and his gruff but understanding father, Executive Producer Brad Falchuk said that the story works because it goes much deeper than just a son coming out to his father. Falchuk explained, "It’s really a father-son relationship. The gay stuff is the complication." Asked if the network (or standards and practices) gave them any notes on how to handle Kurt’s coming out story last season and Murphy shook his head, saying Fox gave zero notes which only shows the progress of gay content in prime time television.

One noticeable difference this current season from last is that Kurt has spent a big chunk away from the rest of the cast as he has transferred to the all boys Dalton Academy, where Blaine is also a student.

Did Colfer take issue with changing schools? Not at all. In fact, he joked, "It’s wonderful...there’s no estrogen." More serious, however, he stated, in terms of wanting to relate to his alter ego, "I felt exactly what Kurt was feeling." During the panel, Chris accidentally let it slip that Kurt is going to end up back at New Directions but stopped talking, having realized he may have said too much since that hasn’t happened yet in the episodes that have aired.

(upper) Naya Rivera and Heather Morris in Glee;
Jane Lynch in a photo spread from More Magazne  

More gay storylines

Another gay storyline that is picking up steam is the one involving cheerleader Santana, played by Naya Rivera. First revealed as bisexual last season when Santana admitted to having not only slept with many of the guys in the Glee club but also with her cheerleading BFF Brittany (played by Heather Morris). During the panel, Rivera proudly mentioned the huge number of emails she has received since the show started to explore Santana’s sexuality, primarily from kids who are going through hard times because of their coming out.

Also during the panel, out and proud Jane Lynch, whose career has catapulted to the A-list due to her role as Sue Sylvester, was surprised herself when Sue recently punched out a drunk woman on the show. Was that the worst thing she thought Sue had ever done? Lynch laughed and said, "My career peaked in that moment that happened!" Lynch also laughed when she recounted what many real-life teachers have told her in passing in regards to what Sue Sylvester gets away with: "God, I wish I could say what you say!’

Besides the gay storylines and hilarious antics of Lynch’s character, the show has also become known for its tribute episodes. Last year, Madonna’s music was a central part of an episode and, earlier this season, Britney Spears songs were the focus and included Spears in a cameo. Ironically, Morris had worked as a background dancer years before for Ms. Spears. Did the real Britney recognize Morris when she worked with her on Glee? Morris admitted, "I don’t think she put two and two together," which got big laughs from the audience since the pop singer/dancer is often portrayed as more than a little dim. Heather quickly added with a grin which showed her embarrassment, "She’s smart."

Kristen Chenoweth and Matthew Morrison;
Cheyenne Jackson on Glee  

What’s next?

Other upcoming events on the rest of the season of Glee, which wraps up May 24th are the return of fan favorite Kristen Chenoweth, who will be belting out a song called "It’s 10am and I’m Drunk." Out singer/actor Cheyenne Jackson will return Dustin Goolsby, director for Vocal Adrenaline, the glee club rival to New Directions. Gwyneth Paltrow will also be back to continue her romance with Mr. Schuester (Matthew Morrison). Also, the highly touted Lady Gaga-tribute episode coming up will revisit the bullying storyline that was one of the motivators for Kurt to transfer to the Dalton Academy earlier this season.

It’s not a secret that Glee reaches far beyond the television, though, with songs like Criss’s recent rendition of Katy Perry’s "Teenage Dream" skyrocketing to #1 after it aired on the show. The upcoming Glee tour is also sure to fill seats with teenagers and older Glee fans, as well as maybe a gay fan or two. Murphy said that the music for this tour would be approximately 80% from the second season and 20% from songs of the first season. Also, like last year, the cast will be in character while onstage and, yes, Darren Criss will be among them. In fact, an album featuring songs from the show by Criss and The Warblers (the group of Dalton Academy singers) will drop April 19th.

New episodes of Glee begin this Tuesday at 8/7c on Fox. To find out if the Glee tour is coming near your city, visit

Jim Halterman lives in Los Angeles and also covers the TV/Film/Theater scene for, AfterEllen, Vulture, CBS Watch magazine and, of course, He is also a regular Tweeter and has a group site on Facebook.


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