|Season One, Episode One|
|First Aired||May 19, 2009|
Optimistic high school teacher Will Schuester tries to refuel his own passion while reinventing the McKinley High School's Glee Club and challenging a group of outcasts to realize their star potential. Going up against McKinley's cruel high school caste system and facing harsh criticism from everyone around him, Will is determined to prove them all wrong. From this episode, it introduces major plotlines such as; Will's motivation to build the New Directions, Rachel and Finn, choosing between Football/Cheerios and Glee Club, Sue's motivation to tear the Glee Club apart and Quinn desperately trying to get Finn back.
The McKinley High Cheerios are practicing a difficult routine by their relentless cheerleading coach, Sue Sylvester. Spanish teacher Will Schuester is parking his car, which has a loose exhaust pipe, and passes by several of members of the football team, including Finn Hudson and Noah "Puck" Puckerman, surrounding flamboyant student Kurt Hummel by the dumpster. Will greets them fondly and passes by them without a clue as to what the jocks have in store for the small teen. As he leaves, the jocks grab Kurt and unceremoniously toss him into the dumpster.Will gazes at the school trophy case where a tribute plaque to the late glee club coach Lillian Adler reads, "By its very definition, Glee is about opening yourself up to joy." Later, Will is teaching verbs with his Spanish class, where a bored Finn is struggling to concentrate.
Current glee club coach Sandy Ryerson and his lead soloist Hank Saunders are practicing Where Is Love? together in the choir room where Sandy proceeds to touch Hank inappropriately on the stomach as a jealous Rachel Berry watches from outside the door.
In the teacher's lounge, Will asks his co-worker, football coach Ken Tanaka, where the coffee pot is, where he remarks that Principal Figgins got rid of it due to budget cuts and suggest they strike because of it. Sue enters the room with lattés for the two just as guidance counselor Emma Pillsbury enters the room with her lunch, which is stored in tuppleware, and uses disposable gloves and wetnaps to clean the table she eats at, implying that she is a perfectionist and mysophobic. Emma politely greets Ken and Will with Ken eyeing her as she eyes Will, clearly interested. Emma asks why Sue bought lattés to which Sue remarks that she felt bad that Figgins cut the coffee budget to pay for a nutritionist for the Cheerios which leads to small banter between the two. Ken tries to flirt with Emma, who is uninterested, and Emma eventually brings up that Sandy got fired. Will then asks who will take over glee club.
Will meets Principal Figgins in his office and asks to take over glee club, but Figgins is cynical. Figgins mentions that it'll take $60 a month to keep the program and that if Will wants more, then the glee club would have to bring in the same kind of coverage the Cheerios bring in. While sleeping with his wife, Terri, Will tries to think of a way to hide the money from Terri while subsequently getting the kids motivated to join. During his thought process, he jolts up after coming up with a name for the club: New Directions.
At a billboard with a sign-up sheet for the glee club, various students secretly apply: Mercedes Jones, a diva-ish student, sings a powerful rendition of Aretha Franklin's Respect; Kurt Hummel auditions with Mr. Cellophane from the Broadway musical, Chicago during which he hits an impressive high note (D5); Tina Cohen-Chang, a shy Asian-American student, and wheelchair-bound student Artie Abrams sign up and Tina comically auditions with Katy Perry's recent hit I Kissed a Girl; and finally, talented Rachel Berry auditions with a moving version of On My Own from Les Misérables.
During a voiceover, Rachel mentions that she signs her name with a gold star because it is a metaphor of her being a star. After she signs up, she is hit in the face with a slushie by Puck. Rachel also reveals that she was the one who reported Sandy to Principal Figgins about touching Hank, to which she dramatically cried to Figgins about how wrong it was. However, Rachel smirks suspiciously after this admission but asserts that she didn't do it because Sandy gave Hank the solo she felt she deserved. Rachel reveals that she has two gay fathers via surrogacy and mentions that she was given dance and vocal lessons since her early childhood to give her a competitive edge. She reveals that posts a MySpace video every day to keep her talent alive and growing, but her videos are viewed by the Cheerio squad where the head cheerleader, Quinn Fabray, leaves cruel messages to her.
After the audition, Rachel confidently asks when they start rehearsals. During rehearsals, the New Directions put on a disastrous performance of Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat. Rachel is upset that Will has cast Artie as the lead, especially since Artie is in a wheelchair. After Artie defends Will's choice by saying that he chose irony to enhance the performance, Rachel storms out of the choir room, claiming that "there is nothing ironic about show choir."
Will finds Rachel sitting alone on the bleachers, watching Sue yell at the Cheerios, and she tells him she needs a male lead who can follow her musically and physically. She also reveals that she is tired of being hated and laughed at, and doesn't want to make a fool out of herself. Ken pops by to tell Will that Figgins needs to speak with him. Figgins tells Will that they are going to use the choir room for Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, but Will convinces him to keep it running until they win Sectionals, but at the cost of running detention for free.
At a home goods store called Sheets-N-Things, Terri is teaching an incompetent employee how to fold a sheet, to which he says he can't do it because he's dyslexic. Will drops by with Terri's lunch to which Terri nags that Will had put mayonnaise in her sandwich and mentions that if her diabetes returns then she would be unable to get pregnant. Will then reveals to her that he is going to be running detention and that he'd be home late, which displeases Terri. Will then runs into Sandy Ryerson in the store who tells him that he is now a drug dealer and offers to let Will join in, who declines but not before Sandy gives him a pack of medical marijuana in his shirt for free.
Will seeks out advice from Emma about how to get more kids to join glee club, to which she mentions that they would follow the popular crowd. So, Will asks Sue and Ken to get some of the Cheerios and football players to join but is shot down by Sue and is disappointed to learn that the football team vandalized his sign-up sheet. Will is just about to give up until he hears a student sing Can't Fight This Feeling in the showers. It is revealed to be Finn Hudson. Will is mesmorized by the boy's talent and decides to do something rash.
Will brings Finn into his office and accuses him of possessing marijuana that Will claims to have found via a bi-weekly afternoon locker check. Finn denies that it's his, but Will counters that just being in possession of it is a felony. Will states that Finn will get kicked out school and his football scholarship. Finn begs him to not tell his mother and Will reveals that he sees a lot of himself in Finn and mentions that he knows what it's like to struggle with life choices and expected more out of him.
In a voiceover, Finn reveals that Will's words really got to him and talks about his past. In a flashback, Finn reveals that his father died at a young age and that his mother, Carole, struggled with being a single parent. He mentions that she was her happiest when they splurged to buy Emerald Dreams, an industry that colors her yard to look green. The worker, Darren, got Finn into singing as they sing along to Journey's Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'. Darren and Carol eventually start dating but things end on a sour note when Darren runs off with a beautiful blonde, leaving Carol devastated.
Back to the present, Will tricks Finn into joining the glee club by giving him the option to attend six weeks of detention or join New Directions. Finn chooses to join.
The New Directions perform You're the One That I Want together, to which a flirtatious Rachel tries to woo Finn during their duet. Mercedes breaks up the duo and states that she is not okay with singing back-up as she is "Beyoncé, [she] ain'ts no Kelly Rowland." Will tells her that it's just one song and that there will be others, which sates Mercedes who then compliments that Finn is good, but he better "bring it."
At their apartment, Will and Terri are doing a puzzle together in Terri's craft room and Will tells her that the New Directions are working hard and was thinking about taking them on a field trip to Carmel High, whose glee club is the team to beat at Regionals and asks Terri to come chaperone with him, who declines. This eventually leads to an argument about Will's future and Will claims that he does not want to be an accountant and that his passion is teaching.
Later, Will puts up sign-up sheet in the teacher's lounge for chaperones to which an eager Emma quickly signs up for.
High school bully Puck overhears Ken chewing out Finn for missing practice Saturday to go on Will's field trip to Carmel High and asks him what it was about. Finn lies and says that he has to help his mom around the house because she had her prostate removed. Despite the fact that women do not have prostates, Puck believes the story and leaves it at that.
At field trip to Carmel High, Rachel compliments Finn that he is very talented and mentions that the rest of the team expects the two of them to become an item, to which Finn deflects by saying that he has a girlfriend, Quinn Fabray who is the captain of the Celibacy Club, whom he has been dating for four months. Will and Emma share a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and talk about Will marital problems and Will mentions that Terri rides him all the time, but believes it's because she wants him to be better except he doesn't know what is he needs to be better at.
Will, Emma, and the New Directions all sit down in the school's auditorium where Will confidently states that Vocal Adrenaline, the glee club's rivals and last year's winner at Nationals, don't have the talent the New Directions have. They watch Vocal Adrenaline perform an impressive rendition of Amy Winehouse's Rehab that leaves the New Directions dumb-founded with Tina stating that they are "d-d-doomed."
At school, Finn is surrounded by his football teammates where Puck tells him he looked online to learn that women actually don't have prostates. Discovered, Finn admits the lie and is paintballed by the team.
Will comes home to find Terri holding two glasses of champagne with a banner that reads "Congratulations" hung up. Terri then reveals that she's pregnant and Will is left ecstatic.
Will gathers the glee kids in the auditorium where he tells them that he is resigning as glee club director and that he'll find them a replacement, much to their disappointment. Despite their promises of working harder, Will mentions that sometimes they have to give up the things they love and that they'll understand that one day when they grow up.
Emma catches Will in the teacher's lounge applying for an accounting spot at H. W. Mencken. She tells Will to come to the career center for guidance, much to his resistance but agrees for her.
Rachel meets Finn at his locker and questions his absence at glee club. Quinn and Santana Lopez interrupt and asks Finn why he's talking to her. Rachel covers that they are working on a science project and the two cheerleaders leave them be. Finn says that he can't do glee club anymore and Rachel tells him that he's got a gift and that he shouldn't worry about what people think of him.
Finn and Puck are walking through the football field where Puck says that he's not going to apologize about the paintball incident. He then questions Finn's motives for joining glee club which Finn lies by saying Will was going to give him extra credit for Spanish class. As a "welcome back gift to the normal," Puck reveals that he trapped Artie in the port-o-potty with the intent to flip it and lets Finn have the first roll. After thinking things through, Finn finally decides to do the right thing and help Artie. Disappointed, Puck tells him that he is a loser but Finn counters that they're all losers. Over Puck's protests, Finn tells him that both the football team and glee club need him to win, so he'll do both. While pushing Artie to practice, he sees Darren spraying the football field singing to Journey's Don't Stop Believin'.
At glee club rehearsal, the New Directions members are growing frustrated with a controlling Rachel as Finn wheels Artie into the backstage with the group. Finn then apologizes to them for all the bullying that he and the football team had done to them and says that they're all here for the same reason: to be a part of something special. Finn then unites the glee club together to put on a showstopping performance.
In the teacher's lounge, Emma shows Will a clip of the 1993 McKinley High glee club at Nationals, performing a mash-up of two KC and the Sunshine Band songs. Emma tells Will that that's the happiest she's ever seen him and Will reveals that that was the greatest moment of his life because he loved what he was doing. He reveals that he was also felt that happy when he found out he was going to be a father and that he had to provide for his new family. Emma then asks him what he's providing them with, the understanding that money is more important or that the only life worth living is the one he's really passionate about.
As Will is getting ready to leave, he overhears the New Directions in the auditorium performing Journey's Don't Stop Believin'. Following the sound, he steps into the auditorium to discover that the glee club has improved greatly and are getting better. Unbeknownst to Will and the glee club, an envious and competitive Sue along with Quinn and Santana are watching from above. Puck also watches the performance from the entrance, observing Finn. After the performance is over, Will gives them an applause and gives them advice on how to improve. Finn asks if this means he is saying, to which Will says it would kill him to see them win Nationals without him.
|Song Title||Original Artist||Performer(s)|
|Where Is Love? †||Cast of Oliver!||Hank Saunders and Sandy Ryerson|
|Respect †||Aretha Franklin||Mercedes Jones|
|Mr. Cellophane †||Cast of Chicago||Kurt Hummel|
|I Kissed a Girl †||Katy Perry||Tina Cohen-Chang|
|On My Own||Cast of Les Misérables||Rachel Berry|
|Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat †||Cast of Guys and Dolls||New Directions|
|One †‡||Cast of A Chorus Line||Rhythm Explosion|
|Can't Fight This Feeling||REO Speedwagon||Finn Hudson|
|Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin' †||Journey||Finn Hudson and Darren|
|You're the One That I Want †||Cast of Grease||New Directions|
|Rehab||Amy Winehouse||Vocal Adrenaline|
|Leaving on a Jet Plane ‡||John Denver||Will Schuester|
|That's the Way (I Like It)/|
(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty †‡
|KC and the Sunshine Band||The Singsations|
|Don't Stop Believin'||Journey||New Directions|
- † denotes an unreleased song.
- ‡ denotes that the song was either cut from the episode entirely or featured in the Director's Cut only.
- You Can Do It/You Keep Me Hanging On by Ice Cube/The Supremes (danced by the Cheerios).
- Shining Star by Earth Wind & Fire.
- Flight Of The Bumblebee by The Swingle Swingers.
- Soul Bossa Nova by The Swingle Swingers.
- Golliwog's Cakewalk by The Swingle Singers.
- Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head by 101 Strings Orchestra. (Heard during the Sheets 'n' Things scene)
- A Fifth Of Beethoven by The Swingle Swingers featuring Schlomo
- Chewing Gum by the Cast of Annie.
- Moonlight Sonata by The Swingle Swingers. (During Rachel/Quinn/Finn lockers scene and then the Finn/Artie/Jocks scene)
- Don't Stop Believin' by Journey.
- Looking Back by Kerry Muzzey.
- Stephen Tobolowsky as Sandy Ryerson
- Patrick Gallagher as Ken Tanaka
- Iqbal Theba as Principal Figgins
- Romy Rosemont as Carole Hudson
- Ben Bledsoe as Hank Saunders
- Justin Gaston as Football Player
- Kent Avenido as Howard Bamboo
- Jane Galloway Heitz as Lillian Adler
- Melanie Henderson as Barb
- Aaron Hendry as Darren
- Jerry Phillips as Young Finn
- Naya Rivera as Santana Lopez
- Link to the original script is here.
- Link to the Extended Director's Cut is here.
- This episode is one of the three times Coach Sylvester calls Emma by her real name. The others being in The Purple Piano Project and I Do.
- Every Glee student, minus Artie, had an audition. Every song that the Glee students performed during their audition was actually the song that actress/actor sang to get cast on Glee, with one exception. Jenna Ushkowitz sang Waiting for Life to Begin during her Glee audition, but because she messed up the verse she had to choose another song.
- When Rachel auditions for the Glee Club, she sings the song On My Own from Les Misérables. Lea Michele, who plays the role of Rachel, had performed in the Broadway production of the show as Young Cosette.
- Because Dianna Agron (Quinn) joined the cast just a day before the start of the filming, her character doesn't have many lines in Pilot, but she gets more lines in the next episode.
- During an interview, Lea and Amber said that Glee originally had a theme song that they never ended up using. Lea and Amber didn't sing it because they said FOX still has the rights to it.
- We are first aware of Tina's stutter when she signs up for Glee club, signing it: T-T-T-Tina.
- When Tina signs Artie's name, she is seen writing it Arty. This could just be Tina spelling his name wrong though. It is also a coincidence that in the original script, Artie was actually spelt Arty.
- The episode achieved 9.619 million viewers on its first broadcast, and 4.2 million when the director's cut was aired.
- This is the episode with the most songs in it. In Pilot, there are 20 songs. However, of these twenty songs, only four were released.
- In the original script, Quinn was named Liz.
- In the original script, there was an Indian kid in New Directions named Rajeesh. He was replaced with Kurt Hummel after Chris Colfer was added to the cast.
- Finn and Rachel sing Grease's You're The One That I Want in this episode. This song was used instead of Grease's Summer Nights which was sung by Mercedes and Sam in Yes/No (as evidenced in the original script)
- Rachel was originally going to sing Look At Me, I'm Sandra Dee instead of On My Own (as also evidenced in the original script)
- Mercedes was going to be Rajeesh's love interest (as seen in the original script)
- The original script contains many scenes that ended up being in this episode, as well as many scenes that weren't. Some scenes were cut from the original script.
- As an in-joke, there is a flyer next to the glee club auditions list that says: "Lima, you know, like the bean."
- Dianna Agron (Quinn Fabray) was the last person of the original cast to get a part. On her first day she had to do a scene with Cory Monteith (Finn Hudson) in which they 'made-out' together. Director Ryan Murphy told her to look sexy, but she was so nervous that she couldn't focus.
- Stephen Tobolowsky plays a character named Sandy Ryerson, the same last name as his character in Groundhog Day, Ned Ryerson.
- In the Extended Director's Cut, the credits were not in alphabetical order and were instead listed by importance.
- Among the deleted scenes from the screener version of the Pilot:
- The episode originally began with a flashback of the 1993 McKinley High glee club about to perform at Nationals, when Lillian Adler, the original coach, gives them a pep talk. They then perform. A clip of this scene would later be used as a flashback in "Saturday Night Glee-ver."
- A scene with Quinn and Santana bothering Rachel in the bathroom, making a joke about her.
- Originally, after the title card, we would go straight into the scene where the original five members of New Directions would perform "Sit Down..." and Will would explain the history of glee club, after he graduated from McKinley high, and how it became a "stool choir" under Sandy's direction. At this point, we would see them perform One from A Chorus Line with stools. This explains Figgins' line, "But we need those stools for workshop."
- Originally, we would see Sandy get fired by Principal Figgins, where we would see him sobbing and denying his sexuality.
- The comments on Rachel's MySpace video for On My Own written by the Cheerios were way harsher, with death threats. Only the "Please get sterilized" comment remained in the final cut.
- After Rachel said, "When do we start rehearsals," there was a scene where Will would have the club wear the disco outfits from 1993 Nationals. A clip of Kurt asking Will, "Is she gonna diva out after every rehearsal?" in reference to Rachel was used in the promos. This scene also explains why Will says to Rachel, "You changed out of your costume." Photos of this scene were used in promotional materials for the show.
- The scene at Sheets 'n' Things was longer.
- In the gym room scene, Puck said he could sing, and goes up to show his vocal abilities, but ends up farting. This scene was restored in the director's cut on the DVD.
- Will's narration during discovering Finn singing in the shower was longer.
- Ken would confront both Will and Emma. This scene was restored in the director's cut.
- There was a scene of Will singing Leaving On A Jet Plane. This was also restored in the director's cut.
- At the end, the credits were much slower with Rehab playing in the background. When the credits were done there was a period of blackness in which the song finished playing.
- Chris Colfer originally auditioned for the role of Artie, but Ryan Murphy liked his audition a lot. He asked him if he was ever in The Sound of Music and Chris told him he had played Kurt von Trapp. Thus, Ryan created Kurt Hummel just for Chris.
- Several scenes from this episode are seen as flashbacks in the Season Three finale, Goodbye.
- In the original script, the name of the school was Harrison High.
- The dancer that is shown putting on suspenders at the beginning of the Vocal Adrenaline number is actually Zach Woodlee, Glee's head choreographer.
- In the Extended Version of the Pilot, in the first scene, when young Will Schuester is about to perform with his Glee Club That's the Way (I Like It)/(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty while the stage is getting ready it says '1993 Glee Club Invitational,' but when the kids are getting ready with their coach Lillian Adler she says clearly 'Welcome to Nationals.'
- When Tina signs her name on the sign up sheet, she writes the letter 'T' several times, as a sign of her stutter (or maybe she was nervous). However, when Rachel comes to sign her name on the same piece of paper, 'Tina' is written perfectly, neat and clean, and with a different ink color.
- When Rachel is explaining things about herself, she has a picture of her dads in her locker. They are clearly different physically, in contrast to Heart, when they appear for the first time.
- When other students sign their names to the Glee Club sign-up sheet, we see Artie's name has been written as "Arty."
- Sandy Ryerson says he got medical marijuana to treat his nervous breakdown. Ohio does not have medical marijuana yet. Michigan does, but bringing it across state lines would be a felony.
- After Finn claimed his mother was having her prostate removed while actually going to Glee, Puck confronts him and claims "Chicks don't have prostates, I looked it up." However in a 2002 medical research study, it was found that they do. This could be intentional since Puck isn't very smart.
- When we hear the narration by Rachel in the beginning of the episode, she states that she tries to post on MySpace everyday to keep her talent alive and growing. However, when the Cheerios are watching Rachel's cover of "On My Own." in the box that says "Similar Videos," it states that there are no other videos from Rachel. It should be noted that Rachel said that she tries to post videos and not that she actually does post them.
Being a part of something special makes you special, right?
One day, you will all work for me.
I won my first dance competition when I was three months old.
I'm not afraid of being called a loser. Because that's what I am.
Emma: Since when are cheerleaders performers?