After the first episode aired in 2009, Glee rose to meteoric fame and has since become a fixture in pop culture history. Whether you're a Gleek or just someone who enjoys some of the show's covers, there's a lot of that went on behind the scenes that fans would be surprised to learn. Lucky for you, we have the tea while you binge-watch the show on Netflix for the third time. Ahead, the Glee trivia you didn't know you needed.
The show's creator has an impressive resume.
Ryan Murphy created Nip/Tuck before Glee, and has since gone on to create Pose, Scream Queens, American Horror Story, and more.
At one point, the show was the most watched series in the U.S.
In the show's second season, Glee had a dedicated fanbase and it showed in its ratings—it was the most watched U.S. TV series in 2011.
Lea Michele has a Broadway show to thank for her casting.
The singer/actress got her start as a child star on Broadway. Her role in Spring Awakening caught Hollywood's attention, and the role of Rachel Berry was written for her by Ryan Murphy.
The role of Kurt Hummel was added for Chris Colfer.
After auditioning for the role of Artie, Chris Colfer wooed Glee's producers and the role of Kurt was born. According to Colfer, in his first contract, his character is listed as Artie 2 because Kurt had yet to be created.
Dianna Agron was the last to be cast.
The actress ,who portrayed cheerleader Quinn Fabray, was the last main cast member to be chosen. Agron learned that she landed the role only two days before the pilot was shot.
The cast had to participate in 'Glee' summer tours.
They were contractually obligated to join the tours because it was one of the ways the network capitalized on its hardcore fanbase.
The tour sold out in almost every city.
The cast's touring proved successful, as they sold out in almost every major city, grossed more than $40 million, and released Glee: The 3D Concert Movie as a result.
Jennifer Lopez was supposed to be a guest star.
The icon was approached to appear on the show and even met with producers, but the concept stalled and never happened. We can't help but wonder what could have been.
Jane Lynch had a say in Sue's tracksuits.
While playing Glee's villain, Sue Sylvester, Jane Lynch found herself in a different tracksuit every episode. "I have about 20 now and they are always making more. The wardrobe stylist would come up to me and ask 'What about this color tracksuit with this piping?' And I say either yes or no," Lynch told Metro in 2010. "We have two styles, the one with the high neck and then the crew neck with the zips and they make them fit to me."
Lea Michele dated Matthew Morrison before the show.
Lea Michele revealed in her book, Brunette Ambition, that her "teacher" costar and her dated before Glee. Both had a past on Broadway, which is where Michele insinuates their relationship started.
Lea Michele has several tattoos in honor of 'Glee.'
She has 16 in total and three are Glee-related. The first, a tribute to her late boyfriend and costar, Cory Monteith, is the number "5," which was Finn's football number. She also has a small gold star on her wrist, inspired by her character Rachel Berry. The third is "Imagine" written on her foot after her and costar Jenna Ushkowitz decided on matching ones during a night out.
Heather Morris is a huge Britney Spears fan.
Yep, just like her character. One of the show's most memorable tributes was to the pop icon in "Britney/Brittany." "I just sat there and stared at her," Morris told TV Guide after filming the episode. "Like, 'Wow, I'm just hanging out with Britney Spears as Brittany the character. We're doing a scene. I'm singing her songs. It was weird."
Darren Criss was initially rejected from the show.
After auditioning for the role of Finn, producers decided to go with Corey Monteith over Darren Criss. But they kept him in mind and brought him back in the show's second season to play Blaine.
Chris Colfer was the youngest cast member.
Colfer was only 19 years old when the show reached meteoric fame. He was almost ten years younger than some of his costars.
Gwyneth Paltrow met her husband on the show.
The actress guest starred on the show for several episodes in season two after her divorce from Chris Martin. On set, she met future husband and Glee producer, Brad Falchuk. The two got married in 2018.
Hundreds of songs were released during the show's run.
Throughout the show's six seasons, the cast of Glee belted out over 700 songs.
Over 200 songs topped the charts.
The cast of Glee saw 207 of their songs top the chart on Billboard's Hot 100. The most popular covers were "Don't Stop Believin,'" "Forget You," and "Teenage Dream."
The show broke a record previously held by Elvis Presley.
The cast passed the King of Rock and Roll's record of the most appearances on Billboard's Hot 100 on February 26, 2011. Presley held onto the record for decades, peaking at 108 songs. Since the show's 2015 finale, Drake has stolen the record, with 208 songs earning a spot on the Hot 100.
The show partnered with Columbia-Epic Records.
After being turned down by several record labels, Ryan Murphy came to an agreement with Columbia-Epic Records that resulted in 9 million album sales in 15 months. "It's a very healthy addition to our bottom line. I don't know any artist that can do 9 million albums in 15 months. That's basically Lady Gaga territory," Columbia-Epic Records Label Group chairman Rob Stringer told The Hollywood Reporter.
Many episodes cost millions to produce.
With the show's success came more money from the network. In season two, the episodes cost anywhere from $3.2 million to $3.8 million to produce, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
There was a lot of behind-the-scenes drama.
When showrunner Ryan Murphy described his time working on Glee to Entertainment Weekly, he addressed the rumors of on-set drama: "It was the best time in my life and the worst time in my life. There was a lot of fighting. There was a lot of people sleeping together and breaking up. It was good training for being a parent, I'll tell you that much."
Two cast members tied the knot after the show ended.
Melissa Benoist (Marley Rose) and Blake Jenner (Ryder Lynn) met on the set of Glee in 2012. The couple got married in 2015 after the show's season six finale, but they filed for divorce the following year.
The show drew from the cast's experiences.
Chris Colfer told PR.com that stories about his life would wind up in his scripts. "I don't think any of us directly try to give input on the character or on the storyline, but they definitely steal things from us. I remember I was talking to Ryan about when I was in high school and I really wanted to sing 'Defying Gravity.' The other students in my drama class and the teachers, when we were putting on this talent show, they wouldn't let me sing it because I was a boy and it was a girl's song. And then that was made [into] an episode," he said.
Some of the show's song requests were denied.
You would think artists would be flattered to have their songs covered on Glee, but...not always. The show's creator got into a Twitter feud with Kings of Leon, claiming they "missed the big picture" when they rejected the show's request to use their song.
Guns N' Roses passed too.
Guns N' Roses's guitarist, Slash, disapproved of their song being used saying, "Glee is worse than Grease, and Grease is bad enough." Murphy responded to his comment telling The Hollywood Reporter, "Usually I find people who make those comments, their careers are over; they're uneducated and stupid."
The show started its own charity.
Glee Gives Back provides scholarships and promotes arts education in schools. "It's very important to me and to Fox that we establish scholarships in schools," Murphy told The Hollywood Reporter in 2011.
There were accusations of "unsafe working conditions" on set.
In the late Naya Rivera's memoir, Sorry Not Sorry, the Glee star recounts a time when Lea Michele threatened to call the Screen Actors Union to report unsafe working conditions when they were forced to dance with a broken air conditioner.
Some cast members were more than just costars.
Jenna Ushkowitz and Kevin McHale were roommates while working on Glee, and they often hosted cast parties. The two are still working together, too. They have a podcast called Showmance.
Naya Rivera and Mark Salling dated in real life.
One of the many, many on-set romances involved Naya Rivera and Mark Salling.The costars began dating in 2007 and were together until August 2010. Rumors swirled on set after Rivera threw dog food, eggs, and birdseed at Salling's car after reportedly catching him with other women, which she discussed in her memoir, Sorry Not Sorry.
Chris Colfer wrote one of the final episodes.
At the end of season five, Glee star Chris Colfer took a stab at a behind-the-scenes role, writing the episode "New Dog, Old Tricks." It was the actor's first writing credit.
Heather Morris wasn't part of the original cast.
Morris was brought in to teach the cast the dance to "Single Ladies" and the producers kept her on as a background character. Morris' role as Brittany soon became a fan favorite and her storylines became bigger as the show went on. Morris became a series regular in season two.
Brittany was inspired by a 'Mean Girls' character.
"I thought it would be funny to play her like Karen," Morris told TV Guide. "If you watch a sitcom and see a dumb girl, the actress is usually overplaying her dumbness. With Karen, she legitimately doesn't understand. She's like a little kid who says, 'I don't get it.' It's funnier to me to play Brittany as not super stupid, but really innocent."
The show was shot in Los Angeles.
We're sorry to tell you this, but William McKinley High School isn't real. The series was shot on a lot at Paramount Studios.
An extra once ruined an episode.
One of the extras leaked spoilers from the highly-anticipated prom episode. Producer Brad Falchuk shared a statement on Twitter saying, "Who are you to spoil something talented people have spent months to create?" He later added, "Hope you're qualified to do something besides work in entertainment." The actress later told E! News that she understands how wrong she was after receiving backlash from not only fans, but also Fox.
Dianna Agron left the show because she was unhappy.
Glee's resident cheerio, Quinn Fabray, was written out of the script in the show's fourth season. Agron was reportedly unhappy and was allowed a graceful exit. The show denied that this was the case, but rumors persisted after Agron was left out of the show's tribute episode for Cory Monteith.
The show stuck to a real high school timeline.
Fans weren't thrilled at the possibility of Lea Michele, Cory Monteith, and Chris Colfer graduating at the end of season three. "You can keep them on the show for six years and people will criticize you for not being realistic, or you can be really true to life and say when they started the show they were very clearly sophomores and they should graduate at the end of their senior year," showrunner Ryan Murphy told The Hollywood Reporter.
The characters evolved with the actors.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Ryan Murphy said Dianna Agron changed the mean girl role of Quinn Fabray from how it was initially written. "She was supposed to be the Cybill Shepherd, Last Picture Show c***, so to speak, but she humanized it. She can cry at the drop of a hat. So now her character has a conscience, a soul and great vulnerability," Murphy said.
The show resulted in a spinoff.
The Glee Project was a reality competition that gave aspiring actors and singers the chance to win a guest role on Glee.
'The Glee Project' was inspired by one of the cast member's auditions.
Ryan Murphy said Chris Colfer's audition made him want to create The Glee Project. "It's such a huge honor and I mean that's really special because I feel like if I inspired something that is giving kids a platform that is incredible,” Colfer told E! News.
The cast loves an informal reunion.
There have been many times when the McKinley High alumni have gotten together and, of course, posted about it on Instagram. Sadly, the last time the cast came together was under tragic circumstances to honor their late costar, Naya Rivera, who passed away in July 2020.
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