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Glee (season 1)

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Title: Glee (season 1)  
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Subject: Eve (entertainer), Total Eclipse of the Heart, Crazy in Love (Beyoncé Knowles song), Don't Stop Believin', Big Spender, Michael Hitchcock, Glee (TV series)
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Glee (season 1)

Glee (season 1)
Region 1 DVD Cover
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 22
Original channel Fox
Original run May 19, 2009 (2009-05-19) – June 8, 2010 (2010-06-08)
Home video release
DVD release
Region 1 September 13, 2010 (2010-09-13)
Region 2 September 13, 2010 (2010-09-13)
Region 4 September 22, 2010 (2010-09-22)
Season chronology
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Season 2
List of Glee episodes

The first season of the musical comedy-drama television series Glee originally aired on Fox in the United States. The pilot episode was broadcast as an advanced preview of the series on May 19, 2009, with the remainder of the season airing between September 9, 2009 and June 8, 2010. The season consisted of 22 episodes; the first 13 aired on Wednesdays at 9 pm (ET) and the final 9 aired on Tuesdays at 9 pm (ET). The season was executive produced by Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and Dante Di Loreto; Murphy's production company helped co-produce the series alongside 20th Century Fox.

The show features the fictional high school show choir New Directions competing for the first time on the show choir circuit, winning at sectionals (episode 13) and losing at regionals (season finale/episode 22), while its members and faculty deal with sex, relationships, homosexuality, teenage pregnancy, disabilities, acceptance and other social issues. The central characters are glee club director Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison), cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch), Will's wife Terri (Jessalyn Gilsig), guidance counselor Emma Pillsbury (Jayma Mays), and glee club members Rachel (Lea Michele), Finn (Cory Monteith), Artie (Kevin McHale), Kurt (Chris Colfer), Mercedes (Amber Riley), Tina (Jenna Ushkowitz), Puck (Mark Salling), Mike ( Harry Shum, Jr.) and Quinn (Dianna Agron).

The season received generally favorable reviews from critics, with a Metascore – a weighted average based on the impression of 18 critical reviews – of 77 percent. The musical scores used throughout the first season proved to be a commercial success, with over seven million copies of Glee cast single releases purchased digitally.[1] In 2009, the Glee remake of "Don't Stop Believin'" became their first hit, and other covers quickly gained similar worldwide popularity, while the albums topped the charts in Ireland and other countries. The season was nominated for 19 Emmy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards, six Satellite Awards and 57 other awards. It was accompanied by four DVD releases: Glee – Pilot Episode: Director's Cut, Glee – Volume 1: Road to Sectionals featuring episodes one to thirteen, Glee – Volume 2: Road to Regionals featuring episodes fourteen to twenty-two, and Glee – The Complete First Season.


No. in
No. in
Title Directed by Written by Original air date Production
U.S. viewers
11 "Pilot" Ryan MurphyRyan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian BrennanMay 19, 2009 (2009-05-19)[nb 1]1ARC799.62[3]
Former glee club star Will Schuester takes over McKinley High School's glee club in the hopes of restoring it to its former glory. He is faced with the challenge of converting a group of misfits, including fame-hungry Rachel Berry, Mercedes Jones, Kurt Hummel, Tina Cohen-Chang, and Artie Abrams, into a team of singers. When Will discovers that football quarterback Finn Hudson has a secret talent for singing, he blackmails Finn into joining the club. His friendship with friend and colleague, Ken Tanaka, the football coach suffers when Ken discovers his crush and guidance counselor, Emma Pillsbury has a crush on Will. Meanwhile, Will's pregnant wife Terri pushes Will to find a higher paying job to support his family. Will considers quitting his job and commitment to the glee club, but overhears New Directions performing "Don't Stop Believin'" so well that he ends up returning after getting guidance from Emma, concluding that he could not bear to see them win Nationals without him. 
22 "Showmance" Ryan MurphyRyan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian BrennanSeptember 9, 2009 (2009-09-09)1ARC017.50[4]
The glee club perform in front of the school for the first time in an attempt to recruit new members. Will takes a second job as a janitor and grows closer to Emma, the school guidance counselor, who determines not to become his rebound girl and instead accepts a date with football coach Ken Tanaka. Terri discovers she is having a hysterical pregnancy, but hides the truth from Will, telling him they are having a son. Cheerleaders Santana, Brittany, and Finn's girlfriend Quinn join New Directions, recruited by coach Sue Sylvester to help bring down the club. Rachel and Finn kiss while practicing singing, but Finn chooses to return to Quinn. 
33 "Acafellas" John ScottRyan MurphySeptember 16, 2009 (2009-09-16)1ARC026.69[5]
Will forms an all-male a cappella group called the "Acafellas", neglecting the glee club in favor of dedicating his time to the new endeavor. After two of its members quit, glee club member Finn and his best friend Puck join. The group records an album and performs at the school PTA meeting in front of celebrity guest Josh Groban, but Will ultimately recommits to New Directions. In his absence, the club members struggle with choreography, and resist attempts at sabotage by members of the cheer squad. They briefly hire well–known choreographer Dakota Stanley, but fire him when he belittles their appearances and abilities. Mercedes harbors romantic feelings for Kurt, who comes out to her as gay
44 "Preggers" Brad FalchukBrad FalchukSeptember 23, 2009 (2009-09-23)1ARC036.63[6]
Kurt joins the football team and admits his homosexuality to his father, Burt, who accepts him for who he is. Quinn discovers she is pregnant and tells Finn the baby is his, when in fact the father is his best friend, Puck. Finn asks Will to teach the football team to dance, hoping to improve their performance and thus his chance of receiving a football scholarship. Puck, Mike Chang, and Matt Rutherford all join the glee club after the football team's win dancing to "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)". This makes them a group of twelve and eligible to compete, but Sue and former glee club director Sandy Ryerson team up in an effort to bring the club down, luring away a disillusioned Rachel, who quits when Will awards a solo she wanted to Tina. 
55 "The Rhodes Not Taken" John ScottIan BrennanSeptember 30, 2009 (2009-09-30)1ARC047.40[7]
Will, trying to find a twelfth member in the wake of Rachel's defection to the school musical, recruits former glee club star April Rhodes. Finn flirts with Rachel continuously in an attempt to convince her to return, hoping that having her in the club will increase his chances of gaining a music scholarship. While Finn takes Rachel bowling, they kiss briefly after Rachel bowls a strike. Although Rachel is angry when she discovers that Quinn is pregnant, she ultimately rejoins the club. Will confesses to once having had a crush on April, and encourages her to sober up and pursue her dreams of performing on Broadway. The glee club performs at Invitationals, launching themselves onto the show choir competition circuit. 
66 "Vitamin D" Elodie KeeneRyan MurphyOctober 7, 2009 (2009-10-07)1ARC057.28[8]
Believing the glee club members are becoming complacent ahead of Sectionals, Will pits the girls against the boys for a mash-up competition. Terri takes a job as the school nurse to stop Will becoming closer to Emma. With encouragement from Terri, Ken proposes to Emma, who reluctantly accepts. Terri gives the glee club pseudoephedrine tablets, enhancing their mash-up performances. Rachel and Finn feel guilty and confess, resulting in the competition being nullified, Terri being fired, and Sue being appointed co-director of the glee club. Quinn agrees to let Terri secretly adopt her baby, enabling her to continue faking her pregnancy. 
77 "Throwdown" Ryan MurphyBrad FalchukOctober 14, 2009 (2009-10-14)1ARC067.65[9]
Will and Sue clash over the running of the glee club. Sue tries to tear the club apart by turning the students against each other, suggesting that Will has been neglecting the needs of the minority students. When school reporter Jacob Ben Israel learns that Quinn is pregnant, Rachel attempts to keep him from breaking the news to the rest of the school, but Sue forces him to run the story. The glee club members stage a walkout over Will and Sue's incessant arguing, and rally to support Quinn when the rest of the school learns of her pregnancy. Sue steps down as co–director, and Terri blackmails her obstetrician into faking a sonogram, deceiving Will into believing she is still pregnant. 
88 "Mash-Up" Elodie KeeneIan BrennanOctober 21, 2009 (2009-10-21)1ARC077.15[10]
Will attempts to create a mash-up wedding song for Emma and Ken. Ken becomes increasingly jealous of Emma's feelings for Will and tries to force the football-playing New Directions members to quit the glee club, but ultimately relents. Finn and Quinn find that they are no longer considered popular by the rest of the student body. Rachel and Puck date briefly, but break up as they have feelings for Finn and Quinn respectively. Sue has a brief romance with local news anchor Rod Remington and temporarily makes amends with Will, until she discovers that Rod is cheating on her. 
99 "Wheels" Paris BarclayRyan MurphyNovember 11, 2009 (2009-11-11)1ARC087.53[11]
The glee club holds a bake sale to raise money for a wheelchair-accessible bus, so that paraplegic club member Artie can travel with them to Sectionals. Quinn struggles with the medical expenses incurred by her pregnancy, and Puck offers to support her. Sue accepts a student with Down syndrome onto the cheerleading squad and pays the school to build new wheelchair ramps, leading Will to question her motives. It transpires that Sue has an older sister who also has Down syndrome. Kurt and Rachel compete for a solo performance, but Kurt sabotages his own performance when his father receives harassing phone calls about his sexuality. Artie and Tina go on a date and share a kiss, but Artie feels betrayed when Tina admits she has been faking her own disability, a speech impediment, since sixth grade. 
1010 "Ballad" Brad FalchukBrad FalchukNovember 18, 2009 (2009-11-18)1ARC097.36[12]
The glee club members are split into pairs to sing ballads to one another. Rachel is paired with Will and develops a crush on him. Will struggles to let Rachel down gently, recalling that the last student he turned down almost died after eating the world's hottest pepper in her grief. Finn and Quinn's parents learn that Quinn is pregnant, and she moves in with Finn and his mother when her own parents throw her out. Puck reveals to Mercedes that he is the father of Quinn's baby. 
1111 "Hairography" Bill D'EliaIan BrennanNovember 25, 2009 (2009-11-25)1ARC106.17[13]
New Directions meets their Sectionals competition – Jane Addams Girls Choir for girls recently released from juvenile detention, and the Haverbrook Deaf Choir. Sue gives the New Directions' set list for Sectionals to the competing clubs in order to damage the glee club's chance of progressing to Regionals. Quinn reconsiders having her baby adopted, giving Puck a chance to prove that he would be a good father. They successfully baby-sit for Terri's triplet nephews together, but Quinn later learns that Puck spent the evening sexting Santana, and recommits to the idea of adoption. Kurt gives Rachel a bad makeover, trying to sabotage her attempts at attracting Finn. 
1212 "Mattress" Elodie KeeneRyan MurphyDecember 2, 2009 (2009-12-02)1ARC118.15[14]
When the glee club is left out of the school yearbook, Rachel has the club members cast in a local mattress commercial in an attempt to raise their social status. The team is paid in mattresses, revoking its amateur status and rendering it ineligible to compete at Sectionals. Will discovers that Terri has been lying to him about being pregnant and walks out on her. He spends a night at the school using one of the mattresses, and thus steps down as club director so that the team is eligible to compete, but remains undecided over whether to end his marriage. Emma and Ken schedule their wedding for the same day as Sectionals. 
1313 "Sectionals" Brad FalchukBrad FalchukDecember 9, 2009 (2009-12-09)1ARC128.13[15]
Rachel learns that Puck is the father of Quinn's baby and tells Finn, who briefly quits the glee club. Emma postpones her wedding to accompany New Directions to Sectionals. The team discovers that its rivals are performing songs from its setlist, and aided by Finn's return, puts new routines together at the last moment. They win by unanimous decision and advance on to Regionals. Sue vows revenge when she is suspended by Principal Figgins over her attempts to sabotage the club. Ken breaks up with Emma over her feelings for Will, who leaves Terri and shares a kiss with Emma. 
1414 "Hell-O" Brad FalchukIan BrennanApril 13, 2010 (2010-04-13)1ARC1313.66[16]
Blackmailing Figgins, Sue returns following her suspension, and enlists Santana and Brittany to seduce Finn and destroy his new relationship with Rachel. Rachel catches the eye of Jesse St. James, the lead singer of New Directions' rival, Vocal Adrenaline. Will and Emma attempt to begin dating, but Emma's mysophobic behavior leads Will to make out with Vocal Adrenaline's coach, Shelby Corcoran. Rachel and Finn have a rocky start to their relationship at the same time that Will and Emma try to find a way to be together. 
1515 "The Power of Madonna" Ryan MurphyRyan MurphyApril 20, 2010 (2010-04-20)1ARC1412.98[17]
Inspired by the Cheerios and Sue paying homage to Madonna, Will looks to the musical icon to nip the boys' recent misogynistic behavior in the bud. Emma, Rachel, and Finn weigh the pros and cons of losing their virginity. Jesse transfers to McKinley High and joins New Directions, despite the protest of Finn and others. In an attempt to get more opportunities to shine, Kurt and Mercedes join the Cheerios, and also help Sue produce a music video for "Vogue" as a school project that also helps Sue become more comfortable with herself after Will teases her about her hair. 
1616 "Home" Paris BarclayBrad FalchukApril 27, 2010 (2010-04-27)1ARC1512.18[18]
Kurt fixes up his father on a date with Finn's mother, Carole, in hopes of having a regular family and of getting closer to Finn. His plan backfires when his father bonds with Finn over sports, leaving Kurt feeling excluded. Will rents out April Rhodes's roller rink for New Directions as a temporary practice space. Will helps April sort out her life once more, culminating in April becoming a millionaire and buying the school auditorium for the glee club. Mercedes deals with weight issues after Sue tells her to lose ten pounds for an upcoming Cheerios interview, but learns to feel comfortable with who she is. 
1717 "Bad Reputation" Elodie KeeneIan BrennanMay 4, 2010 (2010-05-04)1ARC1611.62[19]
When the "Glist" – a salacious list about the sexual exploits of the glee club members – circulates the halls of McKinley High, Will begins an investigation. He discovers Quinn to be the culprit, motivated by her distress at her loss of social status as a result of her pregnancy, but does not turn her in to Principal Figgins. Kurt, Mercedes, Artie, Tina and Brittany misbehave in an attempt to gain bad reputations, but their plans repeatedly backfire on them. Sue is mortified when a video of her rendition of Olivia Newton-John's classic "Physical" is unearthed, but ends up being contacted by Newton-John herself to produce a new version. 
1818 "Laryngitis" Alfonso Gomez-RejonRyan MurphyMay 11, 2010 (2010-05-11)1ARC1711.57[20]
Rachel panics when a sore throat affects her singing. Finn helps her to get perspective on her condition by introducing her to his friend Sean, who was paralyzed from the upper chest down during a football game. Jealous of the time his father is spending with Finn, Kurt tries to emulate his masculine persona, and begins dating Brittany. His father reassures Kurt that he loves him for who he is. Puck dates Mercedes in a strategic move to elevate his social status, but ends up testing Mercedes' emotions in the process, causing her to break up with him and resign from the cheer squad. 
1919 "Dream On" Joss WhedonBrad FalchukMay 18, 2010 (2010-05-18)1ARC1811.47[21]
Will's high school nemesis, Bryan Ryan, causes trouble for the glee club, announcing his intent to cut them from the district budget. He and Will compete for a role in a local production of Les Misérables, and when Will is awarded the lead role, he gives it to Bryan to save the club. Vocal Adrenaline coach Shelby, first seen in "Hell-O", is revealed to be Rachel's biological mother. Tina gives Artie false hope that he may one day walk again, temporarily straining their relationship. With guidance from Emma, Artie begins to accept his physical condition. 
2020 "Theatricality" Ryan MurphyRyan MurphyMay 25, 2010 (2010-05-25)1ARC2011.37[22]
The glee club pays tribute to Lady Gaga, donning some of her famous outfits. Will teaches the club about theatricality to help Tina through an identity crisis. Rachel finally meets her mother by accident during a sneak-in on a Vocal Adrenaline practice session, but neither feel an immediate mother–daughter bond. Kurt's father, Burt, invites Finn and his mother to move in, but Finn is reluctant to share a room with Kurt. He uses a homophobic slur against Kurt during an emotional outburst, and is told to move out by Burt, but later comes to Kurt's defense when he is attacked by school bullies. 
2121 "Funk" Elodie KeeneIan BrennanJune 1, 2010 (2010-06-01)1ARC199.02[23]
Will seeks revenge against Sue when she plans to install a cheerleading trophy cabinet in the choir room. He asks her out on a date then stands her up, leaving Sue depressed and bedridden. With encouragement from a regretful Will, she leads the cheer squad to win at Nationals, and has their trophy placed in the choir room. Mercedes asks Quinn to move in with her family. The glee club learns that Jesse has defected to Vocal Adrenaline, forcing Rachel to deal with her emotions as she discovers that Jesse was using her to bring the club down. 
2222 "Journey to Regionals" Brad FalchukBrad FalchukJune 8, 2010 (2010-06-08)1ARC2111.07[24]
New Directions competes against Vocal Adrenaline and Aural Intensity, seen here for the first time, at Regionals, in front of celebrity judges Olivia Newton-John, Josh Groban, Sue, and Rod Remington. Vocal Adrenaline wins and New Directions comes last, despite unexpected support from Sue, who is able to identify with the club's underdog status after being derided by the other judges. She convinces Principal Figgins to grant the club a reprieve, and not disband them for another year. Will and Finn profess their love for Emma and Rachel respectively. Quinn goes into labor and gives birth to a baby girl who is adopted by Shelby, and named Beth at Puck's request. Quinn later questions Puck if he ever loved her and replies that he did, and does now even more. 


Glee co-creators Ian Brennan (left), Brad Falchuk (center) and Ryan Murphy (right)

The season was produced by 20th Century Fox Television and Ryan Murphy Television, and was aired on Fox in the US. The executive producers Dante Di Loreto and series creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, with John Peter Kousas and creator Ian Brennan acting as co-executive producers.[25] The first two episodes were co-written by Murphy, Falchuk and Brennan; all other episodes were written by them individually. Murphy and Falchuk also directed several episodes, while other episodes were directed by Elodie Keene, John Scott, Paris Barclay, Bill D'Elia and Alfonso Gomez-Rejon. Joss Whedon guest-directed the episode "Dream On".[26] The pilot episode was broadcast as a preview of the season on May 19, 2009.[27] The series returned on September 9, 2009,[28] and after three episodes, Fox picked Glee up for a full season on September 21, 2009.[29] The initial run of thirteen episodes aired until December 9, 2009, with the series then taking a mid-season break until April 13, 2010.[30] After airing on Wednesdays at 9 pm (ET), the first season moved to Tuesdays in the same timeslot for the final nine episodes.[31] The commissioning of a second season was announced on January 11, 2010,[32] with the production of a third season announced on May 23, 2010.[33]

The series features numerous musical cover versions performed on-screen by the characters. At the beginning of the season, Murphy intended for the performances to remain reality-based, as opposed to having the characters spontaneously burst into song.[34] As the season progressed, however, Glee began to utilize fantasy sequences, with paraplegic character Artie imagining himself dancing to "The Safety Dance", and six separate characters performing a fantasy version of "Like a Virgin".[35] The first thirteen episodes of the season averaged five songs per episode. For the final nine episodes, the number of performances increased to eight. Murphy believes that many of the songs were "really fun and successful", however the production team intend to return to five songs per episode for Glee's second season, in order to return focus to the characters.[36]

When seeking to attain the rights to songs, early in the season Murphy was often requested to send out advanced scripts, but refused, not wanting to set a precedent for record labels having creative involvement in the show.[37] Singer Rihanna offered her single "Take a Bow" for use at a reduced licensing rate.[38] Madonna granted the show rights to her entire catalogue, and the tribute episode "The Power of Madonna" features Madonna performances exclusively.[39]

In total, five soundtracks were released to accompany the first season. Three albums released over the course of the season (Glee: The Music, Volume 1, Glee: The Music, Volume 2, and Glee: The Music, Volume 3 Showstoppers) compiled various songs throughout the series, while two EPs (Glee: The Music, The Power of Madonna and Glee: The Music, Journey to Regionals) were released on the same day as the respective episodes aired. Journey to Regionals did not release any official singles, while the remaining four albums were fully released as singles.[40] Following the completion of the season, the Glee cast performed a 13-date concert tour in North America, Glee Live! In Concert![41] By its conclusion, tickets for all 13 performances had sold out, grossing $5,031,438.[42]


The season had a cast of twelve actors who received star billing. Matthew Morrison played Will Schuester, director of the McKinley High glee club.[43] Jane Lynch played Sue Sylvester, head coach of the cheerleading squad and the glee club's arch-nemesis.[44] Jayma Mays portrayed Emma Pillsbury, a mysophobic guidance counselor with romantic feelings for Will.[45] Jessalyn Gilsig played Terri Schuester, Will's wife of five years.[46] Lea Michele played Rachel Berry, the star of the glee club.[46] Cory Monteith portrayed Finn Hudson, star quarterback of the school's football team, who is blackmailed into joining the club.[46] Also playing club members were Amber Riley as Mercedes Jones, Chris Colfer as Kurt Hummel, Kevin McHale as Artie Abrams, and Jenna Ushkowitz as Tina Cohen-Chang. Mark Salling played Noah "Puck" Puckerman, a football player and bully who later joined the club, while Dianna Agron portrayed Quinn Fabray, Finn's girlfriend and captain of the cheerleading squad, who became pregnant with Puck's baby.[47]

A number of secondary characters were also portrayed throughout the season, including Patrick Gallagher as Ken Tanaka, coach of the football team, Iqbal Theba as Principal Figgins, and Stephen Tobolowsky as former glee club director Sandy Ryerson.[48][49][50] Mike O'Malley appeared as Kurt's father Burt Hummel, and Romy Rosemont played Finn's mother Carole Hudson.[51][52] Naya Rivera and Heather Morris played Santana Lopez and Brittany, cheerleaders who joined the glee club with Quinn.[53] Harry Shum, Jr. and Dijon Talton were initially hired for a single episode as football players Mike Chang and Matt Rutherford, but remained on the show as supporting members of the glee club.[54]

Guest stars from musical backgrounds were often featured on the show, including John Lloyd Young as wood shop teacher Henri St. Pierre, and Victor Garber and Debra Monk as Will's parents.[55][56] Josh Groban appeared playing an "ignorant asshole" version of himself, while Olivia Newton-John portrayed the "dark side" of herself; a "mixture of mean and diva".[45][57] Kristin Chenoweth played April Rhodes, a former member of the glee club who never finished high school and ended up hitting rock bottom.[58] Jonathan Groff played Jesse St. James, the male lead of rival glee club Vocal Adrenaline, and Idina Menzel appeared as Vocal Adrenaline director Shelby Corcoran, who is revealed in "Dream On" to be Rachel's biological mother.[59][60][61] Fans had originally lobbied for Menzel to be cast as Rachel's mother due to the strong physical resemblance between Menzel and Michele.[62] Eve played the Jane Addams Girls Choir director Grace Hitchens, having been cast after Whitney Houston declined to appear.[63] Michael Hitchcock appeared as the Haverbrook School for the Deaf choir director Dalton Rumba.[64]

Sarah Drew played Suzy Pepper, a senior with "an insane, absurd, psychotic crush on Mr. Schuester".[65] Drew described Suzy as "kind of stalkerish and creepy", but ultimately redeemable.[66] Gregg Henry and Charlotte Ross appeared as Quinn's parents, Russell and Judy Fabray, and Molly Shannon played Brenda Castle, an alcoholic astronomy teacher and badminton coach who clashed with Sue.[67][68] Neil Patrick Harris guest starred as Bryan Ryan, Will's former glee club rival, now a school board member bent on vengeance against the club.[69] Murphy created the role particularly for Harris, who received clearance from CBS to appear on Fox for the episode.[70]


Critical response

Metacritic gave the season a Metascore – a weighted average based on the impression of 18 critical reviews – of 77 percent, signifying generally favorable reviews.[71] Following the season preview in May 2009, Alessandra Stanley for The New York Times called the show "blissfully unoriginal in a witty, imaginative way", finding the characters to be stereotypes but noting "a strong satiric pulse that doesn't diminish the characters' identities or dim the showmanship of a talented cast".[72] The Daily News's David Hinckley wrote that the show "isn't close to perfect" but "has likable characters, a good sense of humor and a reasonably deft touch with music."[73] Mary McNamara for the Los Angeles Times found the series to have a wide audience appeal, deeming Glee "the first show in a long time that's just plain full-throttle, no-guilty-pleasure-rationalizations-necessary fun."[74]

James Poniewozik of Time ranked Glee the eighth best television show of 2009 out of ten reviewed, deeming it "transcendent, tear-jerking and thrilling like nothing else on TV". He noted that the series did have faults, but praised its ambition and Lynch's "gaspingly funny" performance as Sue.[75] Entertainment Weekly's Ken Tucker ranked the season ninth out of ten, lauding its novelty,[76] while Lisa Respers France of CNN wrote that despite its "recipe for disaster" premise, the show's charm and bravado were enough to engage audiences.[77] Variety's Brian Lowry was critical of the season's early episodes, highlighting acting and characterization issues,[25] stating that the show's talent was squandered by its uneven tone and deeming Glee a one-hit-wonder.[78] Following the mid-season finale, Lowry wrote that while the series still had problems, its musical performances and cast were enough to keep him watching, and despite its issues, "TV would be poorer without Glee."[79] John Doyle of The Globe and Mail criticized the season's development, writing that while early episodes had been enjoyable, the show's success drew focus away from its characters and plot onto celebrity guest stars.[80] Jean Bentley of MTV found the season uneven, writing that it began with a promising plot and impressive musical numbers, but became too "cheesy" and excessively sentimental.[81] Raymund Flandez of The Wall Street Journal agreed that the season had definite highs and lows, but called the finale a "warm embrace that – let’s face it – you just don't want to let go."[82]

After the episode "Showmance", the Parents Television Council named Glee the "Worst Show of the Week", deeming it inappropriate for teenagers due to its "sexually-charged adult" nature.[83] Nancy Gibbs of Time magazine wrote that she had heard Glee described as "anti-Christian" by a youth minister, but commented that while almost all of the Ten Commandments are violated during the season, she found it insulting to teenagers to suggest that they would attempt to emulate what they saw on-screen. She described Glee as being about "a journey not just to college and career but to identity and conviction, the price of popularity, the compromises we must make between what we want and what we need."[84] The episode "Wheels" attracted criticism from a committee of performers with disabilities, who felt that casting an able-bodied actor to play a student with disabilities was inappropriate.[85] Falchuk responded that while he understood the concern and frustration of disability advocates, McHale had the singing and acting ability, talent and charisma required for the role.[85]


The show's musical performances proved to be a commercial success, with over seven million copies of Glee cast single releases purchased digitally.[1] The cast performance of "Don't Stop Believin'" reached number two in the United Kingdom,[86] and number four in the US and Ireland.[87][88] It was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on October 13, 2009,[89] achieving over 730,000 digital sales.[90] The cast had their first number one single with a cover of "Gives You Hell" in Ireland.[91] By June 2010, the cast were second behind The Beatles for most chart appearances by a group act in the Billboard Hot 100's 52-year history,[92] and seventh overall among all artists, with seventy-one appearances.[93] The series' cover versions have also had a positive effect on the original recording artists, such as for Rihanna; sales of "Take a Bow" increased by 189 percent after the song was covered in the Glee episode "Showmance".[94]

The series' debut album, Glee: The Music, Volume 1, reached number one in Ireland and the UK[86][88] and was certified platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA),[95] Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA),[96] and British Phonographic Industry (BPI),[97] and gold by the RIAA.[89] In December 2009, the second album, Glee: The Music, Volume 2, topped the charts in New Zealand,[98] Ireland,[88] and Scotland.[99] It has been certified platinum by the ARIA and CRIA,[96][100] and gold by the BPI and RIAA.[89][97] In 2010, the next two releases – Glee: The Music, The Power of Madonna and Glee: The Music, Volume 3 Showstoppers – both debuted at the number one position on the American and Canadian album charts.[101] With the releases reaching number one in the US four weeks apart, the Glee cast beat the record previously set by The Beatles in 1966 for shortest span between first weeks at number one. This record was yet again beaten by Glee: The Music, Journey to Regionals, when it reached number one in the US three weeks later.[102] Glee: The Music, Volume 3 Showstoppers also reached number one in Australia,[103] Ireland,[88] and Scotland,[104] acquiring a gold certification by the ARIA.[100] Glee: The Music, Journey to Regionals also reached number one in Ireland.[88]


The pilot episode of Glee averaged 9.62 million viewers.[3] Re-aired on September 2, 2009 in a director's cut version, it attained 4.2 million viewers.[2] The second episode, "Showmance", premiered on September 9, 2009, averaging 7.50 million viewers and achieving a 3.5/9 rating/share in the 18–49 demographic.[4] However, as Scott Collins for the Los Angeles Times noted, the other major networks besides Fox all opened the evening by airing a speech by President Barack Obama, disrupting regular viewing patterns.[105] Furthermore, the official fall season had yet to begin, placing Glee against weaker competition in the ratings than the remainder of the season would experience.[105] The following eight episodes ranged between 6.63 and 7.65 million viewers, falling to a series low of 6.17 million viewers with "Hairography" on November 25, 2009.[13] The episode aired the night before Thanksgiving, when all the major networks saw decreased ratings.[106] Viewership improved for the final two episodes of the first half of the season, with "Mattress" and "Sectionals" drawing 8.15 and 8.13 million viewers respectively.[14][15] Glee returned on April 13, 2010 with "Hell-O", which was watched by 13.66 million viewers,[16] the series' season high, up 46 percent on its previous season high with the pilot episode.[107] The following six episodes attained between 11.49 and 12.98 million viewers, falling to 9.02 million for the penultimate episode "Funk". The episode began with a 3.6/10 rating/share in the 18–49 demographic, rising to 4.1/11 in the last 30 minutes. It was down 21 percent on the previous episode, but was Glee's best 18–49 rating for an episode not following American Idol.[23] The final episode, "Journey to Regionals", was watched by 11.07 million viewers and attained a 4.7 Nielsen rating in the 18–49 demographic, an increase of 18 percent on the previous episode, giving Glee the highest finale rating for a new show in the 2009–2010 television season.[24]


During its first season, Glee was nominated for 86 awards, of which 37 were won. Murphy and Barclay were both nominated for the "Outstanding Directing – Comedy Series" award at the 2010 Directors Guild of America Awards for their work on "Pilot" and "Wheels" respectively.[108] The series was nominated for ten Creative Arts Emmy Awards and nine Primetime Emmy Awards.[109] It received eight nominations at the Gay, Lesbian and Bi People's Choice Awards, run by the gay media websites and, of which it won seven.[110][111] It was also awarded three Dorian Awards by the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association.[112] Glee received four nominations at the 67th Golden Globe Awards, winning one,[113] and was nominated in six categories at the 2009 Satellite Awards, winning five.[114] Glee received three nominations for the Teen Choice Awards in 2009,[115] and thirteen in 2010.[116][117] The series received four nominations for the 2010 TCA Awards,[118] winning three,[119] while Brennan, Falchuk and Murphy each received two nominations at the 2010 Writers Guild of America Awards.[120]

The series won "Outstanding TV Program of the Year" at the 2009 AFI Awards,[121] "Favorite New TV Comedy" at the 2010 People's Choice Awards,[122] "Outstanding Comedy Series" at the 21st GLAAD Media Awards,[123] "Future Classic" at the 2010 TV Land Awards,[124] a Peabody Award for excellence,[125] and "Do Something TV Show" at the VH1 Do Something Awards.[126] It was also nominated for the "NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Comedy Series" at the NAACP Image Awards,[127] the "Comedy Series Episode" PRISM Award for "Vitamin D",[128] "Fave International Band" and "Fave TV Show" at the Nickelodeon Australian Kids Choice Awards 2010,[129] and shortlisted for the "YouTube Audience Award" at the BAFTA Awards.[130] The cast won "Favorite New Television Cast Ensemble" at the Diversity Awards,[131] and "Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series" at the 2010 Screen Actors Guild Awards.[132] In 2009, the crew won an Artios Award for the casting of "Pilot".[133] They also won "Outstanding Musical Supervision – TV" at the Hollywood Music in Media Awards,[134] and the "Outstanding Contemporary Television Series" award at the CDG Awards,[135] and were nominated for the "Single Camera Television Series" Art Directors Guild Award for "Pilot",[136] and "Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for a Television Series" at the Cinema Audio Society Awards for "Wheels".[137] In 2010, David Klotz won "Best Sound Editing: Short Form Music in Television" at the Golden Reel Awards for his work on "Pilot",[138] "Wheels" won a "Television With a Conscience" Television Academy Honors award,[139] and Brennan, Falchuk and Murphy jointly won "Comedy Writer of the Year" at the Just for Laughs Awards.[140]

Home video releases

Glee – Pilot Episode: Director's Cut was released on Region 1 DVD in the US on September 1, 2009, exclusively to Wal-Mart.[141] It was released on Region 4 DVD in Australia and New Zealand on November 25, 2009,[142][143] and on Region 2 DVD in the UK and Ireland on January 25, 2010.[144] The DVD includes a preview of the episode "Showmance", plus a deconstruction of the series by creator Ryan Murphy.[141][145]

Glee – Volume 1: Road to Sectionals contains the first thirteen episodes of the first season. It was released as a four-disc box set on Region 1 DVD in the US and Canada on December 29, 2009.[146] It was released on Region 4 DVD in Australia and New Zealand on March 31, 2010,[147][148] and on Region 2 DVD in the UK and Ireland on April 19, 2010,[149][150] and in South Africa on August 14, 2010.[151] Special features include full length audition pieces from the pilot episode by Michele as Rachel and Riley as Mercedes, plus casting and choreography featurettes.[152] Glee – Volume 2: Road to Regionals contains the final nine episodes of the first season. It was released on Region 2 DVD in the UK and Ireland on September 13, 2010,[153][154] Region 1 DVD in the US on September 14, 2010,[155] and on Region 4 DVD in Australia and New Zealand on September 22, 2010.[156][157]

Glee – The Complete Season 1 was released on Region 2 DVD on September 13, 2010,[158] Region 1 DVD on September 14, 2010,[159] and Region 4 DVD on September 22, 2010.[160] The seven-disc box set contains the full 22 episode first season, including extended episodes, sing-along karaoke, a behind-the-scenes look at "The Power of Madonna" episode, Glee makeovers, never-before-seen 'Sue's Corner' segments and a dance tutorial.[159] It was also released as a four-disc Blu-ray box set.[161]

Glee – Pilot Episode: Director's Cut
Set details Special features[141]
  • 1 episode
  • Single disc
  • 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround)
  • Run-time: 73 minutes
  • Sneak preview of "Showmance"
  • Deconstructing Glee with Ryan Murphy
  • Dance Boot Camp
  • What Is Glee?
  • Music video of "On My Own" by Lea Michele
  • Full performance of "Respect" by Amber Riley
Release dates
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
September 1, 2009 January 25, 2010 November 25, 2009
Glee – Volume 1: Road to Sectionals
Set details Special features[152]
  • 13 episodes
  • Four-disc DVD set
  • 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Brazilian-Portuguese
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround)
  • Run-time: 580 minutes
  • Full-length audition pieces
  • Music video of "On My Own" by Lea Michele
  • Full performance of "Respect" by Amber Riley
  • Welcome to McKinley featurette
  • Fox Movie Channel casting session
  • Deconstructing Glee with Ryan Murphy
  • Dance Boot Camp
  • Repurposed Web VAM
Release dates
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
December 29, 2009 April 19, 2010 March 31, 2010
Glee – Volume 2: Road to Regionals
Set details Special features[162][163]
  • 9 episodes
  • Three-disc DVD set
  • 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio
  • Subtitles: English, French and Spanish
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround)
  • Run-time: 407 minutes
  • Will be released on Australia as a limited edition
  • Sing-along karaoke
  • Behind-the-scenes on "The Power of Madonna"
  • Bite Their Style: Dress Like Your Favorite Gleek
  • Making of a Showstopper
  • Staying in Step With Glee
  • Glee makeovers
  • Dance tutorial
  • Bundled with a bonus disc in Australia[156]
Release dates
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
September 14, 2010 September 13, 2010 September 22, 2010
Glee – The Complete First Season
Set details Special features[160][162]
  • 22 episodes
  • Seven-disc DVD or four-disc BD set
  • 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French, Brazilian-Portuguese (BD)
  • English 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio (BD) / 5.1 Dolby Digital (DVD)
  • Run-time: 1045 minutes (DVD) / 1040 minutes (BD)
  • All special features on Glee – Volume 1: Road to Sectionals
  • All special features on Glee – Volume 2: Road to Regionals
  • Blu-ray Exclusive: Behind the Pilot: A Visual Commentary with Cast and Crew
  • Bundled with a bonus T-shirt in Australia
Release dates
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
September 14, 2010 September 13, 2010 September 22, 2010




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