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Season One, Episode Nine
09 Wheels
First Aired November 11, 2009
Episode Guide

Wheels is the ninth episode of Glee's first season and the ninth episode overall. It premiered on November 11, 2009.

When Artie's chances of traveling with the group to Sectionals are in question, Will challenges the kids to step out of their comfort zones and experience life from a different point of view. The New Directions then hold a bake sale to raise money for a handicap accessible bus so that Artie can ride with the team. Quinn struggles with the medical expenses incurred by her pregnancy and Puck renews his offer to support her. At the same time Sue accepts a student with Down Syndrome onto the Cheerios leading Will to question her motives. Meanwhile, the Glee Club hosts its first "Diva-Off" between Kurt and Rachel as they compete for a solo performance at Sectionals, and Sue reveals her softer side.   

The episode was directed by Paris Barclay and written by Ryan Murphy.


Will is informed that the school budget will not cover a handicap accessible bus to transport the glee club to Sectionals, meaning Artie will have to travel separately from the rest of the club. Will encourages the other club members to support Artie, not only by holding a bake sale to raise funds for a handicap bus, but also by spending time in wheelchairs to experience what life is like for him. Meanwhile, Quinn is struggling to cover the medical expenses of her pregnancy, and threatens to break up with Finn if he cannot pay her ultrasound bill. She also needs money to buy maternity clothes. Puck fights with Finn, who he feels is not doing enough to support Quinn. By including cannabis in the cupcakes, Puck ensures the bake sale is a success and offers Quinn, his "baby mama" the
money raised. She apologizes for previously calling him a loser, but refuses to accept the money, and is relieved when Finn is able to find a job.

As Finn fixes Rachel's wheelchair, she voices her concerns on winning the Diva-Off, and Finn tells her to not worry. Rachel says it will be a popularity contest and because 'no one likes' her, she will lose. Finn responds by saying 'Yeah you might want to work on that... I like you'. Finn and Rachel look at each other, until Quinn interrupts by telling Finn to get a job to pay for her medical bills or she'll end their relationship.

When Rachel enters the classroom to compete in the Diva-Off, Finn goes to her and says 'Good luck. I'm
rooting for you,' which Quinn notices. Kurt and Rachel compete for a solo on Defying Gravity. The part (normally performed by a female) is initially offered to Rachel, but when Kurt's father complains to Principal Figgins that his son is being discriminated against, Kurt is allowed to audition for the solo. His father receives an anonymous abusive phone call about his son's sexual orientation, and Kurt deliberately sabotages his own audition to spare his father further harassment and embarrassment.

Artie reveals the origin of his disability to Tina, explaining that he was paralyzed from the waist down (he says his penis still works though) in a car accident at the age of eight. He likens his wheelchair-use to Tina's speech impediment. The two go on a date and kiss, but part on bad terms when Tina confesses that she has been faking her speech impediment since the sixth grade, in order to deflect attention from herself.

Having previously removed Quinn from the cheerleading squad due to her rapidly growing pregnancy,
coach Sue Sylvester is forced to hold open auditions to find a replacement. She accepts Becky Jackson, a freshman with Down syndrome. Will is suspicious of her motives, increasingly so when Sue donates money to the school to fund three new handicap ramps for students with disabilities. It is revealed to the audience that Sue's older sister Jean also has Down Syndrome, and lives in a residential home for people with disabilities. The episode ends with New Directions performing Proud Mary, staging the entire routine in wheelchairs in support of Artie.


Song Title Original Artist Performer(s)
Dancing with Myself Billy Idol Artie Abrams
Defying Gravity Cast of Wicked
(Idina Menzel pop version)
Rachel Berry and Kurt Hummel
Proud Mary Creedence Clearwater Revival
(Tina Turner version)
New Directions

Background Music

  • Flight of the Bumblebee by The Swingle Singers. Background music when Sandy gives Puck some Chronic Lady.

Guest Cast

Guest Stars


Absent Cast Members


  • Zach Woodlee, the choreographer for Glee, stated that Proud Mary was one of the hardest numbers to do because of the ramps and wheelchairs.
  • During filming of the song Proud Mary, every cast member fell out of their wheelchairs at least once.
  • Lea Michele, Cory Monteith, and Dianna Agron went everywhere with their wheelchairs.
  • The creator of Glee, Ryan Murphy, called this episode the "turning point" for Glee.
  • The story of Kurt being initially denied the chance to audition for "Defying Gravity" was inspired when Chris Colfer told Ryan Murphy that the same happened to him in drama club.
  • The scriptwriter for Glee, Brad Falchuk, was diagnosed with a very serious spinal cord problem. After undergoing surgery he made a full recovery and his experience inspired the plot line for this episode.
  • This is the only time that the 9th episode of a season begins with a "Here's What You Missed On Glee"flashback.


  • By the beginning of the episode, Kurt has a line of acne going across his chin, but by his Defying Gravity number, he has a few next to the corner of his lip and line across his chin is gone. After the scene and Kurt is back to his father's shop, the line across his chin is back and the few next to his lip have disappeared.


Somewhere in that pea brain of yours is a man. Access him and tell him to prove to me that I chose the right guy to have a baby with.

Quinn to Finn

Kurt: Raise your right hand. Your right hand, Brittany.
Santana: It's this one.
Brittany: Oh, sorry.

Kurt, Santana and Brittany

Mr. Schue, kids are busier than when you went here. We've got homework, and football, teen pregnancy... lunch.

Finn to Will

Wait. You're joking, right? I mean, bake sales are kind of bougie.

Santana to Will

If I have a pregnant girl doing a handspring into a double layout, the judges aren't going to be admiring her impeccable form, they're going to be wondering if the centrifugal force is going to make the baby's head start crowning.


This one's for you, Artie.


Will: I'm sorry about how they all reacted, Artie.
Artie: It's okay, I'm used to it, they just don't get it.

Will and Artie

I love you more than I love being a star.

Kurt to Burt



Behind the Glee Wheels03:12

Behind the Glee Wheels

Glee-wind Recap of Episode 902:28

Glee-wind Recap of Episode 9.flv


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