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Thousands of “Glee” fans, many dressed in Cheerios outfits or wearing “Glee” shirts, gathered to welcome back the cast and executive producers from the hit FOX television show.
“Glee” may not seem like the typical show you’d hear about at Comic-Con International – there are no (real) vampires, aliens or superheroes in it. But for a show about “normal” people, the Sunday panel was loaded with fan-friendly references, from Chris Colfer’s “Transformers” T-shirt to Joss Whedon, who directed an episode last season, to “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”
Since last year’s panel, the show has become a sensation, with the cast appearing everywhere from the White House to “Oprah.” “It kinda began right here,” executive producer Brad Falchuk told the crowd, attributing some of the success the show has had to the buzz it received at Comic-Con 2009.
Falchuk was joined on stage by creator Ryan Murphy, along with cast members Chris Colfer (gay teen Kurt), Jenna Ushkowitz (former stutterer Tina), Kevin McHale (wheelchair-bound Artie), Amber Riley (the diva with the awesome voice Mercedes), Heather Morris (the ditzy Brittany) and Naya Rivera (Santana, whom Rivera said was a “bitch”). It was moderated by Tim Stack from Entertainment Weekly.
The panel kicked off with a highlight reel that included clips of the first-episode auditions for glee club, the football team dancing to Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” and Artie’s fantasy performance of “Safety Dance.” The clip that received the biggest round of applause featured the confrontation between Kurt’s dad (played by Mike O’Malley) and Finn (played by CoryMonteith) when Finn used the word “faggy.”
“Every day I get thousands and thousands of emails, Facebook messages and Twitter replies saying how much — especially that scene in particular — how much it affected them,” Colfer said, adding that O’Malley’s performance on the show has been “flawless.”
“It’s the first time in television history that a father like that has accepted his son for who he is,” said Colfer, who’s nominated this year for an Emmy Award.
Later a fan asked whether Kurt would get a boyfriend. “Yeah, we’re definitely gonna do that,” Murphy said, saying he wants Kurt to have the high-school experience Murphy didn’t have. “I think he should have a boyfriend, and they should be prom king and king.”
Murphy and Falchuk shared a few other plot details from the upcoming second season, mentioning that one episode will focus on religion, as Mercedes takes Kurt to her church. They also have a “Rocky Horror Picture Show” episode in the works — the mention of which made the crowd go nuts — as well as a Britney Spears episode.
“We’re doing a Britney Spears episode call ‘Britney/Brittany’,” Murphy said. He noted that Matthew Morrison, who plays Mr. Schuester, told reporters he didn’t want to do a Britney Spears episode, which gave Murphy the idea to do one. “The entire episode is Mr. Schuester saying, ‘I don’t want to do Britney, I don’t want to do Britney’,” Murphy said, noting they’d do the episode in a “fun, hallucinogenic way.”
Murphy also said they’d like to do another episode focused on Madonna songs, especially since Madonna herself had good things to say about the first one. “I had a ball doing it,” he said, noting that 80 percent of the props used in the “Vogue” video recreation were from the original video.
“The second season is designed to be a little more intimate,” Murphy said, noting that fans have told them they want to see more of the characters. So he said they’d have less musical numbers in each show. They are also planning a couple of tribute episodes, including one that will air after the Super Bowl. And they hope to introduce Rachel’s gay dads, as well as families for Mercedes, Artie and Brittany. “I imagine my parents work for NASA,” Morris said.
And they said that Mike Chang (Harry Shum Jr.) and Matt Rutherford (Dijon Talton), the two glee club members who hardly speak on the show, will get their own stories next year; Tina will fall for Mike. Murphy later added that they’re debating whether Brittany and Santana should kiss in the second season as well.
Speaking of Tina, Stack referenced Comic-Con and the episode where the character was accused by Principal Figgins of being a vampire because she dresses like a goth, and asked Ushkowitz if she was into “Twilight” or “True Blood.” “I’m a ‘Vampire Diaries’ girl,” she said, noting that scene was “so much fun to shoot.”
During the Q&A session, a fan asked Colfer, who was wearing a “Transformers” shirt, what the differences were between him and his character. “I think I’m just a huge, huge nerd,” he said, to loud applause. “I’m very awkward, and Kurt just thinks he’s superior to everyone around him. What’s not to like about that?”
A fan asked whether they hear from glee clubs around the country, and Murphy said they’ve heard from instructors who said their programs were in danger of being cut. But “because of the success of the show, they wouldn’t dare touch that anymore.”