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16 "Glee" Secrets Ryan Murphy, Kevin McHale, And Jenna Ushkowitz Just Spilled

I can't believe they originally wrote the role of Mr. Schue for Justin Timberlake to play...oh my god.

Hello Gleeks! The behind-the-scenes Glee facts (and drama) never stops rolling in these days, and because of that, Glee alums Kevin McHale and Jenna Ushkowitz started a podcast, And That's What You REALLY Missed, dedicated to revealing all that happened when the cameras weren't rolling during the show, both good and bad.

The first episode came out this Halloween, and as a veteran Gleek with a penchant for drama, of course I listened to it. Kevin and Jenna's first guest for this podcast was none other than the man, the myth, the legend, Ryan Murphy. He shared A LOT, and I was not disappointed. Here are the highlights:

1. Ryan explained that in Ian Brennan's original script, the show was a very dark comedy. Mr. Schue was addicted to crystal meth and was touching some of the students inappropriately. Ryan described the first script as, "The NC-17 version of show choir with, like, a weird protagonist who was unraveling."

2. The role of Mr. Schue was originally written for Justin Timberlake.

A closeup of Justin at a red carpet event wearing multicolored sunglasses and a Kenzo jacket with an elephant on it

3. Ryan explained that instead of casting huge celebrities, he opted to cast mostly unknown actors in the pilot because he wanted to make stars. "There's so much talent out there. Let's find people," he said.

4. The pilot episode was screened to a test audience and it got some of the worst scores in history. "It bombed," Ryan said. "It was just, like, complete bomb. And at the end of it, the people didn't realize it was a musical."

5. Ryan shared that "there was a lot of homophobic fear about this show." He revealed there was one very powerful person within the corporation who would repeatedly call it "the fag show" at screenings before the show was picked up.

6. In the middle of Season 3, the network really wanted to do a spinoff series about the Dalton Warblers starring Darren Criss. Ryan Murphy said no because at that point he was too busy and didn't have the bandwidth for it. "I should've done it, actually. Looking back on it, what I wouldn't kill to have done that show, because it would've been great."

Darren sining with the rest of the Dalton Warblers

7. After Naya Rivera's death, Ryan said most of the cast was brought back together in grief and had an adult conversation where they finally shared how they really felt about each other and the things they did to one another.

A promo shot of Naya smiling with her arms folded

8. Ryan called Kevin the night Naya went missing. Kevin said that before that, Ryan had always talked about Glee with negativity. Kevin told Ryan on the phone, "I don't know what impression you have of the show, but it has brought a lot of us a lot of good, and a lot of positivity, and a lot of joy." From there, Kevin and Ryan talked almost every day for about a month.

Kevin and Ryan holding their Golden Globe award

9. When the show started, Ryan was very close with the cast. They spent every day and weekend together. Ryan would screen rough cuts of the show so they could all cheer on each other's performances. Once the show became a cultural phenomenon, Ryan became overwhelmed by all his new business responsibilities, and the cast felt neglected by him.

"We had started it in such a tight, loving way and then as it went on and it became bigger, I sort of felt like I just became so overwhelmed by the business aspect of it that I became almost like an absentee father who shows up at the end of the day and pats the kids and I had no idea to think that you guys were like 'Where did dad go? Where did you go?'" Ryan admitted. "And where I was at was, I was in meetings looking at Glee merch trying to pick the right color of blue or planning the tour or dealing with the ratings, or the awards show stuff."

A closeup of Ryan onstage during a panel holding a mic and a to-go cup of coffee

10. Kevin shared that at the time when Ryan had started being absent from the show, a lot of the cast thought that he hated them and didn't want to be around them anymore.

Kevin, Harry Shum, Jr., Darren Criss, and Ryan Murphy from left to right

11. Ryan said he had never been as close with a cast as he was with the Glee cast and he never tried to be as close with another cast afterward. He felt that the lines were blurred with the Glee cast because he was their friend and also their boss.

The entire cast on the Golden Globes red carpet with Ryan holding their award

Ryan expressed how hard it was to be so close with the people he was in charge of. "I had to deal with things that are absolutely batshit crazy out of my knowledge. Like I had no idea about how to handle domestic violence. I had no idea how to handle addiction. I had no idea how to handle unwanted pregnancies. I had no idea how to do any of these things. So, I was in this role of, like, the boss but also a friend and actually loving everyone."

12. Ryan feels it was a mistake for the cast to go on their concert tour because his responsibilities became even more overwhelming than they already had been, since the show had become a phenomenon. Due to the concert, he said the cast had become "little Taylor Swifts" in terms of fame.

13. Ryan handpicked most of the music for the first three years of the show. He chose songs he loved and that he would sing in his car.

Naya singing on the show

14. He chose "What Does the Fox Say" and "Gangnam Style" (two infamously hated performances) because they had so many episodes to turn in that he would just look at whatever song was at the top of the charts.

15. Kevin said he was the last one of the cast to break and that "What Does the Fox Say?" was his breaking point. "There was something about having puppets and doing that number where I was just like, 'What fever dream is this? What happened?'"

16. And lastly, after Cory Monteith died, Ryan said he was so devastated that his spirit left the show and he had to step away for his mental health.

You can listen to the full episode of the podcast here.