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Joss Whedon on Glee

Published May 17, 2010 in Television
By Fred Topel | Image property of FOX
Glee Glee

Joss Whedon directed this week’s episode of Glee. The musical skills he developed on Buffy, the Vampire Slayer’s special episode “Once More with Feeling” and his web series Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog pay off in Fox’s singing, dancing dramedy.

Whedon Has Glee

“There’s more real hardcore dancing on the show,” Whedon compared. “Not in every number. Some numbers are just about movement. I get to be involved in creating that movement. There were numbers I didn’t know how they worked narratively Most of the stuff I’ve done has been just movement. In prepping the musical numbers, it’s this incredibly difficult show. I’m trying to find the through line. I’m trying to find how to make the schedule work.”

Whedon actually helped the cast stay focused on the current episode, since they’re used to shooting multiple shows at a time. “I did have one of the actors say, ‘How do I feel about this guy? No really, I don’t remember. We’re shooting four episodes at once.’ It’s hard to wrap your head around, the band rehearsals and recording. The show moves as quickly as it moves so you have to be on your feet at all times. It’s got a different aesthetic, kind of an old fashioned aesthetic in the writing. The camerawork is classical. It’s not edgy in that sense. The edge comes from taking a comfortable milieu and adding something shocking, either so snarky, dirty or funny.”

Neil Patrick Harris guest stars in the episode “Dream On.” It is a reunion for Dr. Horrible fans. “I am so tired of that guy,” Whedon joked. “Why do they always make me direct Neil? Why the pain? You know, Neil is a consummate pro and a dear friend which is a nice combination. There’s no problem. My only complaint was I wanted to shoot more of the kids than I got to, but I feel like he’s one of those people who expresses the way I wish I could express myself. He’s like a muse and he’s friends with Matt[hew Morrison]. The rivalry/affection between them just informed the whole thing so much. We had such a good time. He came in the day after the Oscars, the day before How I Met Your Mother. He fit this into his schedule in the most bizarre way. Always cooperative, always imaginative, Neil’s the man.”

A fan of Glee, the show fits Whedon’s sensibilities, especially from all the high school drama in early seasons of Buffy. “This is the world that I knew. I love musicals and I think this show, in the pilot had its tone really well established. It was just a comfortable place for me. It didn’t really occur to me until later in the process that it is actually a little groundbreaking, just in terms of how it makes people who would not normally embrace this kind of show, embrace people singing and dancing spontaneously to songs from every possibly era. This very serious issue of inclusiveness in school that it’s dealing with is something that sneaks up on you while you’re having a great time. It does a lot of good and has a legacy that’s more than the fact that it’s super entertaining. But as I mentioned, it’s super entertaining.”

Glee airs Tuesday on Fox.

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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of FOX

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