"There is nothing ironic about show choir!"
— Rachel Berry, "Pilot"
Welcome to Glee
, where every
episode is the Musical Episode
is about a high school teacher's attempts to organize his small public school's show choir while dealing with his personal issues and the torrid personal lives of the students around him. The first episode alone featured music from such disparate sources as Journey and Guys and Dolls
, and the show goes on to showcase everything from Charlie Chaplin
to Lady Gaga
The musical numbers are usually given an in-universe justification with the activities of the Glee club, instead of seemingly springing fully formed from the minds of characters in normal situations, as with most musicals. That Reminds Me of a Song
is in full effect here. From time to time, an individual does
just break into a full-on song and dance sequence with back-up dancers and props and so forth, and it cuts from location to location mid-stream (just like a music video), based on contextual clues these moments appear to be taking place at least partially in the individual's thoughts.
Tons of character stereotypes show up (maybe on purpose) to the point of reviving a few Dead Horse Tropes
Although the first half of Season 1 was well received and put all of its main cast in the spotlight, Glee has become one of Fox's most divisive shows. This was helped by the fact that before the first season was finished it was renewed for both a second and third season, both with 22 episodes. A fourth 22-episode season was ordered for 2012. The show finished its fifth season, as part of another double renewal deal. It was later confirmed by Ryan Murphy
that the sixth season would also be the final season.
Can be viewed online in HD on the official Fox
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If you just want to talk about the show, stop by our Glee Forum
The series had a Fake Crossover with the Archie universe
in "Archie Meets Glee"
Please note that The Glee Project
has its own page, so don't put examples from that here.
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- Aborted Arc: Repeatedly. Most notably was any Finn story lines occurring past season 4, since between season 4 and 5 Cory Monteith passed away.
- Absentee Actor: Everyone's missed at least one, with Kevin McHale winning the prize for best attendance going into the final season (so far he's appeared in all but two episodes - "Opening Night" and "The Back-Up Plan," both in season five).
- A Cappella: Blaine's group the Dalton Academy Warblers is an all-male A Cappella group (played by the Real Life Tufts University Beelzebubs).
- Accidental Misnaming:
- The only time Sue calls Emma by her correct name is in the pilot. All other times, she has "mistakenly" called her names like Irma, Alma, Ellen, Arlene, You, or the Redhead.
- Sue appears to not do this purely out of malice. In Furt she claims that her repeated references to Kurt as "Lady" were because she thought it was his name - though she has referred to him by name on-screen in previous episodes. When Kurt points out that he takes offense to it, she allows him to choose a different nickname for her to call him. He chooses the name Porcelain, which she uses exclusively afterwards. The implication is that the nicknames are a way for Sue to express contempt, respect or possibly even affection without losing her Drill Sergeant Nasty persona. Of course, only Sue knows which she's expressing at any given time.
- Adam Westing:
- Josh Groban plays himself as silly and Olivia Newton John is a big enough bitch that even Sue doesn't like her.
- Lindsay Lohan is obsessed with making her comeback and Perez Hilton is obsessed with finding something scandalous about her.
- Adaptation Displacement: An in-universe example. The lines Finn and Rachel run are from the film version of Cabaret, suggesting they are putting on an adaptation of that rather than the original stageplay. The songs from the film often do find their way into stage productions of the play in real life, however.
- Similarly, the versions of Rocky Horror and Grease that the club puts on are movie based rather than the actual stage productions.
- Adults Are Useless: To an extent.
- The adults do nothing about bullying at McKinley (although this is Truth in Television), and even Will passively permits this. The school board dismisses the claim of Karofsky's death threat and only give him a verbal warning. Averted by Sue, who genuinely wants to help Kurt, but is held back by protocol, and even resigns the position of principal so that she can help him better. Not that it helps.
- Twice within the first three episodes of Season 1, everything is going to pot until the kids stop listening to the adults and take charge themselves. In fact if you include the Disco/Push it dilemma, they're three for three.
- Will is an aversion, at least if you ask the members of New Directions. They even sing "My Life Would Suck Without You" in his honor. (Many viewers, however, consider that an Informed Attribute because he actually has been pretty useless when the kids needed him (Kurt being bullied, Santana's public outing, etc).
- This trope is brought up in the episode On My Way. When Karofsky tries to kill himself the faculty of McKinley conference in the principal's office. Among the things said, Sue says that she should've seen it coming, because she was principal when he was bullying Kurt and she knew something was up. Will says that they were all hard on Dave because they thought he'd hurt Kurt, they just didn't imagine that he'd hurt himself.
Principal Figgins: It wasn't our job to know.
Emma: Then whose job was it?
- A minor example in "Dynamic Duets". The Glee Club's Nationals Trophy is stolen by the Warblers, who refuse to give it back unless Blaine rejoins them. Eventually, Blaine and Sam break into the school and take it back. Principal Figgins doesn't seem to care much that a major piece of school property was stolen and is being held for ransom - in fact, his reaction is never mentioned, nor is that of the Dalton administration.
- Adult Fear
- Karofsky's father walking in on his son's suicide attempt.
- The scenes of the kids trapped in the choir room (and Brittany alone in the washroom) while the school is in lockdown thanks to a possible shooter.
- Kurt getting gay bashed. His father Burt's reaction is absolutely heartbreaking. He is livid, yelling at Kurt, before breaking down and lamenting that Kurt was supposed to be safe in New York.
- Aesop Amnesia: All the freaking time. If someone learns a lesson, don't expect it to stick.
- A particularly stinging example is Rachel's audition for NYADA (the fictional New York Academy of the Dramatic Arts). Back when she auditioned for West Side Story, Shelby suggested she perform a more vocally-trying song than originally intended, and that she'd never get anywhere without taking risks. But when it's time for her big NYADA audition, she sticks to a "safe" song and even tells Kurt to do the same.
- Age Inappropriate Art: Every so often, New Directions performs musical numbers that are really not appropriate to be taught at schools; examples include "Push It," "Toxic," the entirety of "The Rocky Horror Glee Show," "Do You Wanna Touch Me", and any number involving twerking.
- A Good Name For A Rockband: Several are suggested in "A Katy or a Gaga" for Kurt's new band, including: The Apocalipsticks, The Nip-Slips, and Areola 51, before they settle on Pamela Lansbury.
- All Gays Are Promiscuous: Inverted in Kurt's case; he is (well, was) a virgin and is actually quite nervous about what sex with a guy will be like, preferring chaste romances where "the touch of the fingertips is as sexy as it gets." Played with in Santana's case; her promiscuity with boys is a way of hiding from her feelings for the one girl she sleeps with, Brittany (who, on the other hand, will do Anything That Moves). Played straight in Sebastian's case, whose promiscuity is implied at through his first meeting with Blaine being intercut with a rendition of "A Boy Like That".
- All Guys Want Cheerleaders: Quinn, as head cheerleader was the most popular girl in school, when Santana took over as cheer captain she claimed that title.
- All Part of the Show: In a totally natural sense, Figgins believes that the Glee Club's vomit attack during their performance of "Tik Tok" was all special effects. In reality, New Directions was drunk off their asses.
- Alpha Bitch: It seems to be a constantly rotating spot on the show, with each example eventually vacating the spot after becoming a Lovable Alpha Bitch. It was Quinn at the beginning of the show, followed soon after by Santana for the next two seasons. Kitty was introduced to take over role in season 4 after Santana moved to New York. After Kitty came Bree in season 5, who even the former title holder thinks is a "stone cold bitch".
- Altar the Speed:
- Emma and Ken, almost, in the first season... and then Emma and Carl for real in the second season.
- In "On My Way" Rachel and Finn attempt this.
- Will tries to push Emma into doing this because he's afraid the Glee kids won't come back for the wedding after they graduate and move away from Lima.
- Ambiguously Bi: Rod Remington, WOHN news anchor.
I partied with Mercury back in the seventies, and I partied... hard
... and back then we didn't care about labels.
- Quinn, as of the season 4 episode "I DO".
- Anachronism Stew: The first part of season 5 is taking place where season 4 left off in the Spring of 2013 to finish off the school yard. The fourth episode features the songs Applause by Lady Gaga and Roar by Katy Perry. Two songs that came out in AUGUST 2013.
- Armor-Piercing Question: After she pushes him too far, Finn asks Santana one in "Mash Off."
Finn: Hey Santana! Why don't you just come out of the closet?
- Armor-Piercing Slap: Santana to Finn after he outs her. It's so powerful it closes the episode in stunned silence.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In "Bad Reputation," after the premiere of Rachel's "Run Joey Run" video, Jesse and Finn are upset that Rachel manipulated them for the sake of changing her reputation, while Puck seems more concerned with the fact that the video sucks.
- Art Imitates Life: Quite sadly, and potentially as a "Funny Aneurysm" Moment when you realize that but months after Cory Monteith died, Heather Morris (Brittany) gave birth. Then, in the show, but months after Finn died, Emma gave birth.
- Artistic License – Geography: While the writers have clearly done some research on Ohio locales (such as Rachel mentioning EJ Thomas Hall in Akron), there are smaller details they get wrong that an Ohio native can point out. Some are the result of Socalization, while others are just plain wrong:
- Outside the larger cities and their suburbs, the smaller cities like Lima don't have particularly large Asian or Jewish populations.
- Lima does, however, have a significant Black population, at least more so than we've seen on the show.
- Westerville, the location of Dalton Academy, is a suburb of Columbus and almost 2 hours from Lima. Kurt commuting when he attended Dalton and dating Blaine at leisure must take a hell of a lot of gas.
- Ohio's age of consent law is 16. It technically wasn't illegal for Jeremiah, Blaine's previous crush, to date him and be intimate. It's not unreasonable for an adult to be uncomfortable having that sort of relationship with a teenager, but saying he'd go to jail over it was right out.
- Since Blaine was retconned to being a sophomore in season 2, he very well could have still been 15 by Valentine's day.
- Blaine would have to move to Chicago for the summer if he wants to perform at Six Flags, since the one in Ohio closed in 2007. His better bets would be Cedar Point in Sandusky, or going back to King's Island in Cincinnati.
- The students at McKinley are often seen lounging outside before class during times of the year when it would be way too cold to do so (from late October to mid-April, if you're lucky). In fact, most Ohio high schools don't have much in the way of outdoor accommodations at all for that reason.
- Akron, Vocal Adrenaline's home base, is 3 hours from Lima, making it extremely unlikely that the kids from one town can travel to the other at leisure. And since Akron is basically a slightly-smaller Cleveland, it's also unlikely for Carmel High to have such an outregeous budget for its glee club.
- Allen County does not have a community college, though this is forgivable since NYADA is equally fictional.
- Artistic License – Sports: The episode "Preggers" gives us the notorious "All the Single Ladies" football play. In real life, a play like that would get flagged for false start, offside, delay of game, illegal formation, playing music over the sound system while the play clock was running and illegal motion (more than one person moving before the snap).
- Ascended Extra:
- Becky - rather than being a one off character for the particular episode she was in has continued to show up and has even gotten more screen time and lines as Sue's assistant.
- Heather Morris who plays Brittany. She was originally supposed to teach the actors the Single Ladies dance before becoming a guest star and eventually a main character in season 2.
- Harry Shum Jr. as Mike Chang was only known as "Other Asian" for the majority of the first season, he had about 4 lines throughout the entire first season, and was only a dancer/background for the show choir. However, in the second season, he's dating Tina, and his role is greatly expanded. He also got to sing twice in season 2. Season 3 takes this to the next level and gives him his first (and only) solo.
- Lauren Zizes, the plus-size homely girl who appeared in one-off scenes throughout the series, becomes a much more important character in season two, eventually becoming Puck's girlfriend.
- Ascended Meme:
- In Britney/Brittany, the gang goes to Emma's new dentist boyfriend for a various procedures. All needing gas. What does Rachel say right after coming out of her drug-fueled dream? "Is this real life?"
- "Britney/Brittany" also gets Stoner Brett's "Leave Brittany Alone!" and Brittany's "It's Brittany... bitch."
- Mike being referred to as "The Situasian". He was originally named that out-of-show - soon he was referred to that in-show.
- Quinn, Santana, and Brittany were collectively referred to by fans as the "Unholy Trinity." Many fans were excited to hear Santana use the term herself in the third season premiere.
- A number of the couple nicknames (Puckleberry, Finchel, etc.) came from fans.
- In "Furt", Finn makes a speech about Portmanteau Couple Names in the school.
- In End Of Twerk, Sue pointed out the Unfortunate Implications of Will singing Blurred Lines to a bunch of twerking teenagers - either intentionally or unintentionally acknowledging the Pedo!Will meme. They also sang, er, Blurred Lines.
- Attack of the Political Ad: All of the congressional campaign ads in "Mash Off."
- Author Appeal: As with any Ryan Murphy show there are a number of gay characters. Also in fanfiction, the songs featured will usually be ones that the author likes
- Author Existence Failure: Sadly invoked in between seasons four and five, with the death of Cory Monteith. Finn will be put to rest as well.
- Auto-Tune: Every song to varying degrees. Including successful Broadway actresses like Lea freaking Michele. Also mentioned in-series.
- Almost every time we hear the entire New Directions sing at once, it's auto-tuned to sound like there's more of them. There were only two exceptions, both in the first season. The first was "Gold Digger", in which the background singing was left alone, presumably for budget reasons. The second was the entire number "Ride Wit Me", which was completely unplanned, and therefore not recorded in a studio.
- Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other : Cassandra finally lets up on Rachel in "Wonder-Ful."
- Axes at School: "Shooting Star".
- The Baby Trap: After thinking she's pregnant and finding out it was just a hysterical pregnancy, Terri continues to claim to be pregnant to continue her failing marriage with Will. Quinn also tells Finn he's the father of her baby when in actuality Puck is really the father. And in testament to the utter ridiculousness of the show, the two manage to overlap.
- Backhanded Apology: Santana delivers a nasty one to Finn in "Mash Off":
Santana: Hey Tubs! Can I talk to you for a second?
Rory: Hey, listen here. You can't make fun of Finn anymore.
Santana: Shut your potato hole, I'm here to apologize. [to Finn] Rachel's right, I haven't been fair to you. You're not fat. I should know, I slept with you. I mean, at some point I must have liked that you look like a taco addict who's had one too many back alley liposuctions.
Santana: Please stick a sock in it or ship yourself back to Scotland. I'm trying to apologize to Lumps The Clown. [back to Finn] I am sorry, Finn. I mean, really, I'm sorry that the New Directions are gonna get crushed by the Troubletones. And also sorry that you have no talent. Sorry that you sing like you're getting your prostate checked, and you dance like you've been asleep for years and someone just woke you up. Have fun riding on Rachel's coattails for the rest of your life, although, you know what, I would just watch out for her come holiday time if I were him, because if I were her, I'd stick a stent in one of those boobs and let the Finn blubber light the Hanukkah lamp for eight magical nights.
- The Bear: It is is lampshaded and discussed by Kurt and David Karofsky, who we find out in season three has taken to hanging out at a local gay bar and been dubbed a bear cub because of his youth and rather burly stature. Kurt, apparently not knowing anything about the term, jokingly asks if he's a cub because he "looks like Yogi."
- This trope is apparently the type of guys Karofsky usually is attracted to, and knowing this fact, Sue, who plans to get Blaine (who is now dating Karofsky) back together with Kurt, puts an actual bear in his and Karofsky's apartment.
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: An averted male example: After Kurt gets gay bashed his face, neck, and hands are very bruised and cut and remain that way for the rest of the episode. Lampshaded when his dad laments his "beautiful face" and Kurt says he doesn't mind and actually wants it to leave a scar.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Puck and pretty much every girl he flirts with.
- Berserk Button:
- Don't say the word 'fag' around Burt. Don't let him find out you have been harassing his kid, either.
- Will's Berserk Button is supposedly messing with any of the students in New Directions, but he's rather inconsistent about it.
- Beta Couple: Artie/Tina were this in Season 1. Mike/Tina and Sam/Quinn (until the latter couple broke up) were this for Season 2, later joined by Puck/Lauren. Season 3 had Kurt/Blaine firmly in the beta position, until Season 4 broke them (and most other) couples up.
- Betty and Veronica: Quinn and Rachel to Finn, Artie and Santana to Brittany, Bieste and Sue to Cooper.
- Better Than a Bare Bulb: The writers will take any chance they get to poke fun at some of the show's stranger aspects. The longer it runs, the more frequent the lampshades.
- Beware the Nice Ones:
- Will when he found out Terri wasn't pregnant. It wasn't pretty.
- Finn when Rachel tells him who the father of 'his' child really is. Pretty much everyone predicted this outcome, but it was still immensely satisfying to watch.
- We can see more of Will's rage with the Trophy incident in "Funk."
- Finn's explosion directed at Kurt in 'Theatricality.'
- Near the end of "Journey" Emma flips out and gets into a screaming match with Principal Figgins
- Emma yells at Will for being such a skank and doesn't beat around the bush about it.
- Bi the Way: Brittany.
- Big Applesauce: The season 2 finale takes place here.
- Due to Kurt and Rachel attending the fictional school of NYADA, some episodes of season 4 also take place here, Santana joins them in later episodes.
- It's even taken Up to Eleven in Season 5, due to the cancellation of the glee club, after "New Directions", the show ONLY takes place here, with Blaine, Sam, Artie, and Mercedes joining. (Until season 6, of course.)
- Big Damn Heroes:
- Rachel happens to quit the musical and rejoin the glee club right at the moment when Will kicks April out - in the middle of a performance, no less.
- Finn, after Will convinces him to re-join the club despite his ill will toward Puck and Quinn, and Finn arrives right before their big sectionals performance with a new number that helps them to take Sectionals despite the other clubs stealing their set list
- SUE of all people in "Journey," getting Principal Figgins to give the club another year after they failed to place at Regionals. This is also a Villainous Rescue.
- Puck in "Special Education" when he convinces Lauren to join the Glee Club and again in "The Sue Sylvester Bowl Shuffle" when he convinces the Football team to play the game.
- Big Game: In "Preggers," the football game is the climax of the episode. There is also the show choir competitions, though the build up usually varies in effectiveness as well as the championship football game in the episode following the superbowl.
- Billy Elliot Plot:
- Finn, to a certain extent, although his father is dead.
- Also Mike is a variation, but his father wants him to pursue medicine, but after seeing Mike perform in sectionals, he relents and gives his blessing.
- Black Best Friend: Mercedes to Kurt, at least after "Acafellas," and to Quinn, after "Home." Also Azimio to Karofsky until 'On My Way'; in the hospital, Karofsky mentions to Kurt that Azimio doesn't want to see him any more because of his sexuality.
- Black Comedy: Fairly common, depending on the writer. As in the third episode when the shop teacher loses both his thumbs and they get him a cake with hands on it and the legend "Two Thumbs Up!"
Will: How do you guys answer the phone?
Mercedes: What up?
Artie: Who dis be?
Kurt: No, she's dead; this is her son.
- Black Comedy Rape: Brittany lost her virginity at summer camp when an "alien" came into her tent.
- How Sue blackmailed Figgins, by slipping him a roofie and then taking a picture of two of them in bed together. As Sue was in her tracksuit at this point, we don't know if anything happened or she just made Figgins think it did.
- Santana blackmails Karofsky into not only being her beard, but also reforming in order to get Kurt back in McKinley
- Sue is the master at this. She pulls it twice on Figgins in the first season alone.
- Blah Blah Blah: Mercedes is third wheel to Blaine and Kurt. Mercedes is going into tots-withdrawal. The result: "Gay Gay Gay" (and a tiny pink purse.)
- Blessed with Suck: One of the more interesting subtexts of the show — Musical talent is treated as a heady mix of this and Cursed with Awesome, depending on the situation. This becomes even more thought-provoking once you think of all the times the characters Just Want To Be Normal.
- Blondes Are Evil: Sue, Terri, and Kendra (Terri's sister) are all played fairly straight, although with the exception of Kendra they are given redeeming qualities in varying degrees. Quinn starts out this way, but changes as the series progresses, especially after getting pregnant and later getting kicked out of the Cheerios. Averted by Brittany, who seems genuinely sweet (possibly because she's too dumb for cruelty).
- Book Ends: In the "Loser Like Me"/"Homecoming" two-part season 6 premiere. Near the beginning of the first episode Rachel hops into a golf-cartand is driven out of her studio. At the end of the second she hops in another one and rides it to the homecoming dance.
- Bowdlerize: The Rocky Horror Picture Show is butchered both in-universe and out.
- Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: In "Hell-o":
What do you say when you answer the phone? Mercedes:
Whadda? Artie: Who dis be? Kurt:
No, she's dead
, this is her son.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Done a couple of times.
Will: Shut up, Sue! Look at us. We're even fighting in our voiceovers.
- A truly hilarious one in the start of 4.02: first, we hear Brittany's voiceover and see her walking on the corridor, shot from behind... then the camera cuts so that we see her face and see her talking the voiceover. Cue Blaine:
Blaine: Brittany, who are you talking to?
Brittany: I thought I was doing a voiceover.
Blaine: ... okay.
- Brittany sorta does this too in 4.09 when she talks to Sam about "all the lesbians of the nation" going to go all Lima Heights on Sam, though she does not address the Brittana fandom directly, pretty much no one was fooled.
- Break the Cutie:
- Rachel has too many to count, she seems to be the writers' favorite punching bag. Quinn has a few of these moments too.
- And as of "Original Song," we have one cutie breaking the other.
- Kurt gets hit with this a lot as well.
- Blaine too - after 5x16, it seems something has been wrong for a while...
- Break the Haughty: If you consider Santana this, then her getting called to the office in "Mash-Off" to find that she's going to be outed to all of Ohio before she even has a chance to come out to her parents definitely counts. "I haven't even told my parents yet."
- Breather Episode:
- The (mostly) lighthearted and almost farcical "Theatricality," after the rather dark and depressing "Dream On." Then again, any episode would be Lighter and Softer following the guy who's famous for his dark and depressing shows.
- "Choke", a very heavy episode which had a Downer Ending for all of the plots contained in it, was followed immediately by "Prom-asaurus", which contained such elements as cheerios wearing dinosaur masks and a subplot focused around Blaine's abundance of hair gel.
- "Dynamic Duets", a very goofy episode, sandwiched between "Glease" and "Thanksgiving", which deal with Kitty's attempts to make Marley bulimic, the aftermath of Kurt and Blaine's painful breakup, and Marley collapsing in the end of "Thanksgiving"", causing New Directions to lose Sectionals.
- At first, many fans believed "Shooting Star" would be one given the previews involving Brittany singing to her cat and the entire plot of the first half. Subverted in the second half the moment the gunshots go off.
- Brick Joke: Rachel's gold stars came back in "Funeral."
- In the pilot, Emma shows Will a video of him in show choir to convince him to stay at the school. In S 03 E 16, "Saturday Nite Gleever", we get to see that clip for ourselves.
- In one of the first episodes of the first season, Puck says: "I'm a stud, dude. I could wear a dress to school and everyone would think it's cool." In 3.20, he finally does... and no one thinks it's cool.
- As of "Glease", the glee club has finally gotten all the way through "You're the One That I Want" after two aborted attempts in Season 1.
- A single-episode example: In "Night of Neglect," Holly gives a presentation about Wallis Simpson. Simpson was, according to Holly's presentation, a Nazi sympathizer. At the end of the episode, one of the questions on the quiz show was about...Nazi sympathizers.
- Brutal Honesty: In "Unicorn," Kurt is feeling insecure about his masculinity, after learning he may not be a shoo-in for the lead in West Side Story as he previously though, and goes to his dad for advice. Burt, on the other hand, tells his son he's probably one of the most least masculine boys ever, but manages to turn this speech into a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming.
- Broken Aesop:
- While the Aesop in "Blame it on the Alcohol" was good, the kids most likely threw up onstage not because they were drunk but because what they drank contained various remnants of Rachel's dads' liquor cabinet, kool-aid, cough syrup, and crumbled up oreos. Many believe the episode to be a Spoof Aesop that's been thinly disguised to appease the network.
- Another one in "Blame it on the Alcohol": Kurt says that bisexuality is a myth used by people who are afraid of being "totally gay," and Blaine calls him out on it. In the end, Blaine realizes that he isn't actually bi because he has no chemistry with Rachel. So bisexuality isn't a shield to hide your gayness, it's just brought on by drunkeness!
- There seems to even be one in-story in "Born This Way." The word Will writes on the board is acceptance and then tells the kids to make t-shirts about things that make them different and special that they should embrace because they can't change, and most of the kids do that but Will tells Emma that her shirt should have been about her OCD, and while she does need to admit that she's got OCD, it's not something that she should just accept because it can be changed and in Emma's case it really needs to change because her OCD is having severe effects on her ability to live her life.
- In general, a lot of the Aesops concerning bullying, especially when the show seems to take every instance of anti-gay bullying seriously but alternates in whether other forms of bullying are equally serious or something to be Played for Laughs.
- Bury Your Disabled: Averted with Artie, who, being paraplegic, is perfectly fine otherwise. Played straight with Jean Sylvester - Sue's sister - who has Down's Syndrome, although she dies at a fairly late age.
- The Bus Came Back: For Jesse, Sunshine, and April at different points in Season 2, as well as Shelby in Season Three. The bus was also nice enough to stop and bring back Sam Evans in Season 3 - just in time for Sectionals no less!
- Santana returns in "Diva", having quit her cheerleading scholarship at Louisville (apparently her Brutal Honesty was interpreted as bitchiness, surprisingly). She then moves to New York and moves in with Kurt and Rachel.
- After disappearing at the start of Season 4, Roz Washington finally returns as the new cheerleading coach.
- But Not Too Gay:
- More prominent in earlier seasons, mostly due to network restrictions. In season two, Kurt and Blaine have their first kiss and it's full, on the mouth. In season three however, both Kurt and Blaine and Santana and Brittany barely show any affection on screen. In fact, Santana and Brittany took over a dozen episodes from becoming an official couple and sharing their first on-screen kiss. The whole thing was Lampshaded in "Heart" when they got in trouble for sharing a peck in the hallway, while straight couple Finn and Rachel could make out all over the place with no consequence.
- Season four was pretty much the same, but there was at least an excuse considering all the show's couples were broken up. There were still a couple aversions of this trope however, most prominently in the episode "I Do", which had Kurt and Blaine having a full-on makeout session in the car. In general, in seasons three and four, gay couples would only kiss if it was a Very Special Episode.
- Season five finally started to avert the trope for real. In the first two episodes of the season, Kurt and Blaine share duets, get engaged in the most over the top proposal ever, share two passionate kisses, and Santana also gets a new girlfriend that she flirts with and kisses on screen. Once Blaine moves in with Kurt mid-season, the trope is completely smashed. They cuddle in bed, duet, dance, share steamy and casual kisses, have realistic arguments, and their very active sex life becomes somewhat of a running joke. And when Brittany comes back later in the season, she and Santana get back together with a passionate kiss.
- Season six so far continues to avert the trope. Brittany and Santana share sweet moments cuddling in bed, kissing, sharing loving words, and getting engaged in a simple, but adorable, proposal. Kurt and Blaine, while not even dating, share a very steamy kiss, while also getting the chance to talk about their relationship.
- Butt Monkey: The whole Glee club. Rachel, however, is probably the biggest one for frequently being insulted and picked on within the Glee club. And yes, it's Played for Laughs.
- California Doubling: Though the show is set in northwestern Ohio, it's filmed in LA. This gets more and more obvious as the school year progresses and we continue to have August weather with the guys walking around in t-shirts and the girls in knee-length skirts. By "Sectionals" we were into late fall/early winter (with football season having ended), and yet there was no recognizable shift toward warmer clothes.
- Call Back:
- The final musical number in "Sectionals," "My Life Would Suck Without You," features the kids doing dance moves from past performances.
- Finn finds Sam singing in the showers, just like Will found him.
- Rachel meets Brody this same in "The New Rachel"
- The entire sequence of Rachel signing up to the be the lead vocalist in "Funeral" is a callback to her first audition in the Pilot.
- In "Asian F," Figgins once again mentions Tina's supposed vampirism. Apparently she's been using it to get special privileges from him.
- In "An Extraordinary Merry Christmas" Sue refers to Blaine as Other Gay. This might be a reference to her referring to Tina and Mike as Asian and Other Asian in a Season 1 episode.
- In the season 3 premier, Quinn looks at the club longingly from elsewhere in the theatre, just like she did in the pilot. In the season 4 premier, Jake does the same thing from where his brother Puck was standing (also in the pilot).
- In Glease, Finn and Rachel perform opposite each other in a group version of "You're The One That I Want." That was their first duet after Finn joined the New Directions in the pilot. note
- In "Sweet Dreams", Puck makes Finn some Grilled Cheesus for breakfast.
- In "100" there are plenty, but a cute one is Holly Holiday's entrance: she glides into the room on a buttered floor.
- Santana's performance of "Don't Rain on My Parade" in "Frienemies" is a Call Back to Rachel's performance of the song in the Season 1 episode "Sectionals," including entering from the back of the auditorium and sitting on a chair singing to an audience member.
- The Cameo: Chewbacca appears briefly in Artie's dream sequence in "Extraordinary Merry Christmas."
- Camp Gay: Kurt seems very much at peace with his "feminine" side. He loves clothes, day spas, and fancy costumes. He wears a dress in "Theatricality," performs numbers from Victor/Victoria, and tries to join the girls' group in boys vs. girls competitions. However, in "Furt" he resents being referred to as a lady unless it is from a friend, similar to N-Word Privileges. In one episode when he's watching movies with Mercedes and Rachel, one of the girls says she's feeling emotional and Kurt replies "But our periods don't come until the end of the month."
- He's been much less camp later. While still into fashion, he's much less flamboyant as he grows older.
- Burt gives Kurt this blunt assessment as to his leading-man qualities:
- Camp Straight: Jesse, Bryan, and even Will. It's worth noting that the actors who play the first two are in fact gay.
- Sue and Bieste are female versions. They both look like butch lesbians (and are played by them) but are straight.
- Canon Discontinuity: This seems to be the case with the season 5 episode, "Previously Aired Christmas." The premise behind the entire episode is that it's an episode that was made last year only to be rejected by the network and replaced with the canonical season 4 Christmas episode "Glee, Actually."
- Can't Get In Trouble For Nuthin': In "Bad Reputation," the less popular Glee kids pull stunts to try and raise their Badass cred. It doesn't work.
- The Casanova: Puck. Also, Emma tries to tell Will that he is this in her "you're a slut" speech, and he doesn't object, although it doesn't seem to be quite true: he kissed Shelby and Emma, but he married his high school sweetheart (Terri), so chances are she's the only woman he's ever slept with.
- Cast Full of Gay: Despite most characters being cishet, the list of gay characters is rather long. As of season 5 there have been five regularly recurring characters (Kurt, Blaine, Santana, Brittany, and Unique), eight major recurring characters (Sandy, Dave, Sebastian, Rachel's dads, Adam, Dani, Starchild) and a ton of one-shot characters that are queer.
- Fanfic writers believe Dalton is a SCHOOL full of gay. So do many of the characters, whose reaction upon encountering Dalton or the Warblers for the first time usually has something like 'is this a gay school or just a school that appears gay?' between the lines.
- Plus, there are a LOT of out actors on the show. Chris Colfer, Dot Marie Jones, Jane Lynch, and Alex Newell all play main characters, but there have been a ton of out guest stars including Adam Lambert, Matt Bomer, Neil Patrick Harris, Cheyenne Jackson, Meredith Baxter, Jonathan Groff, Charice, Victor Garber, Ali Stroker, and Ricky Martin.
- Cast Full of Pretty Boys: All of the male cast members can be grouped as either Bishounen or The Hunk. Some of them both.
- Casting Gag:
- Casting Lea Michele (Rachel) and Jonathan Groff (Jesse) as love interests, considering their past in Spring Awakening.
- Will has major Ship Tease going on with both Shelby and April, implying either might become part of a Love Triangle. The two are played by Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth who famously were part of a Love Triangle over Fiyero in Wicked.
- Barry Bostwick and Meat Loaf both appear in "The Rocky Horror Glee Show," though as conservative strawmen who want Sue to fight the show.
- Matt Bomer, known for playing a con man plays a guy who stars in credit report commercials, which are known scams.
- Cast the Expert: Heather Morris was only brought in to teach the Single Ladies dance (she was a back-up dancer for Beyonce on tour) but when the producers needed a third cheerleader, Heather Morris was cast to play Brittany.
- Captain Ersatz: A majority of the alter egos of the Superhero Club in "Dynamic Duets" are based off of actual comic book heroes. Blaine lampshades it when Artie dresses as a certain telepathic member of a certain band of mutants, and informs him that members of the club can't dress as existing superheroes or else risk copyright violation.
- Artie's Dr. Y is Professor X as noted above, and his name might be a homage to Doctor Who.
- Marley's Wall Flower (later Woman Fierce) is Wonder Woman.
- Kitty's Femme Fatale is Catwoman.
- Jake and Ryder's Mega Studs are Superman.
- And Blaine's Nightbird is Nightwing, a nice callback to his brief moment as Robin in "Makeover".
- The Cast Showoff: Given that it is a musical show, it is entirely justified when even minor characters start singing and dancing. Kurt breaking out the sai swords, on the other hand...
- Since he spends the majority of his time in a wheelchair onscreen, Kevin McHale could be this anytime Artie is given a dream sequence that allows him to dance.
- Cat Fight:
- "Auditions" had one between Quinn and Santana shortly after Quinn got her position as head cheerleader back and Santana (due to getting a boob job) was demoted to the bottom of the pyramid.
- Lauren averts this. She doesn't bother with slapping and scratching, and goes straight for the body slams, giving Santana a much-deserved assbeating.
- Catch Phrase:
- Will: "From the top".
- Sue: "Do you think this is hard? Try [Refuge in Audacity]. That's hard!"
- "I'm gonna break it down for ya."
- "And that's how Sue c's it!"
- Figgins: "Shue, my hands are tied!"
- Kurt: "Mr. Schue, if I may..."
- Holly: "I thought you'd never ask."
- Catholic School Girls Rule: Rachel, though not actually a Catholic schoolgirl, once dressed like one as Homage to Britney Spears.
- Inverted/Deconstructed with the Warblers, who always wear private school uniforms.
- Celebrity Paradox:
- Just who starred in Wicked in the Glee universe? Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth, obviously. Likewise, Lea Michele and Jonathan Groff presumably still starred in Spring Awakening. There are just a couple people in Lima, Ohio who sort of look like them.
- In "Grilled Cheesus," Burt mentions that Kurt has a copy of Grey's Anatomy season 6. April Kepner appears in this season, who looks suspiciously like Suzy Pepper.
- Early on in the series, Emma says that there are people out there who get famous without any talent - like John Stamos. I suppose her new boyfriend Carl just happens to look exactly like him.
- Will had a storyline when he considered trying to make it on Broadway. Guess it must have been his doppelganger who originated Link Larkin in Hairspray, which must exist in universe, because the kids sang "You Can't Stop the Beat."
- Within the first couple of episodes, there's a scene where Finn shows Quinn his name for their baby (Drizzle) and says he got inspiration from Gwyneth Paltrow's baby name, Apple. Fast forward one whole season, and a teacher named Holly Holliday shows up. No one even acknowledges the eerie resemblance.
- In episode 3.03, Kurt laments the fact that he is not the "leading male" type, with a comment that no-one is looking to cast him opposite Kate Hudson. 20 episodes later, Kate Hudson shows up as Rachel's new dance teacher, Cassandra July. And once again, no-one ever mentions the resemblance.
- In a Sue's Corner web episode, Sue does a piece on 'sneaky gays', in which she laments gays no longer being obvious. Among the sneaky gays are Neil Patrick Harris, who later plays Bryan Ryan, and Adam Lambert, who later plays Elliott Gilbert, AKA Starchild. Naturally, no mentions whatsoever are made on how much they resemble certain celebrities.
- The deaf club choir director defends the stealing of "Don't Stop Believin'" by saying that it's the number one downloaded song on iTunes. Which is correct (or was at the time), if you include the Glee cast version with the Journey version. And the original experienced a major resurgence in popularity after it was Glee, and so the song probably wouldn't be very downloaded - or popular among high-schoolers - if it weren't for the show, which apparently has to exist inside itself. Ouch.
- Pretty much all of the main cast seems to exist in the Glee universe, if Blaine and Sam apparently watching "Frenemies" during "Tested" is anything to go by. Yeah, have fun figuring that one out.
- Cerebus Syndrome: Starting with the second half of Season 1.
- Channel Hop: Moving from Channel 4 to Sky (in the UK).
- Re-runs are still shown on E4, if you can't afford £40-odd a month for Sky (cable TV).
- Champions on the Inside: They lost the regionals at the end of the first season, but they still get determined to do better next time, especially since the Glee club will still be supported.
- The Character Died with Him: The writers have decided to invoke this with Finn due to the sudden death of Cory Monteith.
- Character Shilling: For Will and Finn. Particularly, other characters stand around gushing about how talented, good-hearted, and attractive they both are.
- The Cheerleader: Between them Quinn, Santana and Brittany pretty much cover all aspects of the trope , though no one character is the trope trifecta of stupid, bitchy and slutty. The offscreen Cheerios seem to fit the Brainless Beauty side of the trope if their test scores are any indication ("I have in my hand a Spanish quiz in which one of your Cheerios misspelled her name & answered every question with a drawing of a sombrero!")
- Chekhov's Gag:
- When Sam first introduces himself to New Directions, Artie makes a crack at his "Bieber cut." Guess whose songs Sam is singing in "Comeback"?
- Sam says that he was going for Patrick Swayze's look in Point Break with his hair in "Duets." He later sings "Time of My Life" at Sectionals in "Special Education", a song from Dirty Dancing, one of Patrick Swayze's most famous movies.
- Chekhov's Gun : Cannons, in this case. Sue's budget for two glitter cannons is cut in the first episode of Season 2. Later in the season, the glitter cannons are too boring for her and she gets an actual cannon which leads to Brittany, Santana, and Quinn leaving the Cheerios.
- Chekhov's Classroom: Early in "A Night of Neglect," Holly is teaching Brittany and Artie's history class about Hermaphrodite Nazi Sympathizers. Guess what the final category is in the Academic Decathalon?
- Chekhov's Gunman: Lauren Zizes appears in several minor parts in the first season but it's not until "Special Education" that she joins the glee club.
- Chewing the Scenery: Blaine/Darren Criss in the whole "Love Shack" at the end of "Heart." In fact the whole cast was hamming it Up to Eleven in that number.
- Christmas Episode: "A Very Glee Christmas", "Extraordinary Merry Christmas", and "Glee, Actually".
- Chromatic Theme Naming: Emma's parents Rusty and Rose, both considered shades of red, are ginger supremacists.
- Circle of Shame: Lampshaded by Sue. "This is not happening. The cruel slow-motion laughter is just your imagination."
- Circling Monologue: Rachel and Sunshine have a choreographed one during their duet of "Telephone."
- Clean Pretty Childbirth: Played straight, where Quinn gets a Screaming Birth scene set to "Bohemian Rhapsody."
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience:
- During the "Like a Virgin" sequence, all three women are wearing lilac nightgowns and all three men are wearing dark gray/black shirts. (Lilac, apparently, symbolizes first love.)
- In addition, Dustin Goolsby wears dark colors in every scene he's in, so he probably isn't on ND's side. Jesse, too, but he's got the Heel-Face Revolving Door thing going.
- Averted with Blaine, who wears dark gray/black/maroon in every scene where he's not in uniform, but has shown himself to be firmly on ND's side now that Regionals is over. In fact, when he transfers to McKinley, Blaine shows up wearing their colors - black shirt, red pants, and a black, red and white bow tie - to tell Kurt about his transfer and perform his introductory number.
- Rory Flanagan, the Irish exchange student, wears green shirts throughout most of his first episode. Though this might be Justified in that he's trying to keep up the ruse that he's a leprechaun.
- Coming-Out Story:
- Everyone (with the exception of Mercedes) already knows Kurt is gay before he actually comes out. He even pretends to be straight in "Laryngitis" in hopes that his dad will like him more, and fools pretty much no one except, of course, Brittany.
- Santana's got one, too. A couple seasons worth, after a half season spent for her to realize she's a lesbian, before abruptly being forced out and even then there's another season coming to terms with this and confirming the sexuality. According to Finn, though, "everybody" knew. Conversely to with Kurt, Brittany seems to be the only one who knew all along.
- Continuity Nod: In "Hold on to Sixteen," when Harmony is singing "Buenos Aires" from Evita, Rachel tells Kurt, "This it torture, I should be singing that song!" - a nod to "Dream On," in which she tells Jesse that starring in Evita is one of her dreams.
- Remember Becky Jackson, the cheerleader with Down's Syndrome in episode nine? She's still on the squad six episodes later. In the Season 2 premiere, she's helping Sue with Cheerios auditions, giving her own snarky commentary.
- Sue's sister from the same episode also returns for the back nine.
- The entire "My Life Would Suck Without You" routine in Episode 13 is a continuity nod to the choreography of many past numbers.
- The waitress at the gourmet restaurant (Breadsticks) who Brittany and Santana were rude to in "Hell-O" was the same one who spelled it out to Sue that Will had stood her up in "Funk"
- The Hummels and Hudsons eat at this restaurant in "Home" and we see a sign advertising the store in the Mall on Artie and Tina's date in "Dream On".
- The female Vocal Adrenaline singer, Andrea Cohen, who sang the "With Ray!" solo during their performance of "Rehab" all the way back in the Pilot and was identified by Rachel in "Acafellas" (1x3) when the Glee kids visit Carmel High, reappears toward the end of the season in "Funk." She's also there when they perform at Regionals.
- Finn discovers Sam's awesome voice while he's in the shower singing 80's power ballads . . . the same way Will discovered Finn's voice in the pilot.
- "Britney/Brittany" had a subtle (and hilarious) one - Kurt's facial expression upon discovering that Brittany doesn't brush her teeth, harking back to "Laryngitis".
- Rachel compares her Britney Spears inspired wardrobe change to her Grease-inspired one in "Britney/Brittany".
- Promos for the Superbowl Episode have Sue wearing the fur-lined tracksuit that Kurt recommended Will buy for her in "A Very Glee Christmas".
- In "A Very Glee Christmas," Blaine mentions performing in the show at King's Island theme park. In "Silly Love Songs," he says "That was the most embarrassing thing I've ever done—and I've performed at theme parks." In the final scene of "New York," he says that he's trying out for the summer gig at Six Flags.
- When the priest at Burt and Carol's wedding skips the customary prayer, a reference to Brittany's line from "Grilled Cheesus": 'Whenever I pray, I fall asleep.'
- When Will suggests a solution for Bieste's problem with disunity on the football team Bieste says "you're going to kiss me again" a nod to "Never Been Kissed"
- In Season 1 Episode 2 Sue tells Will 'I don't think you will find anyone else to swim over to your Isle of Misfit Toys.' Guess what song is sung in A Very Glee Christmas.
- In "Brittney/Brittany", Brittany mentions singing a Ke$ha song. She finally does in "Blame It On the Alcohol".
- When Blaine is trying to cheer up Kurt after losing regionals he tells them there are "plenty of GAPs in Ohio."
- At the end of "The Rhodes Not Taken", April plans on making an all-white production of The Wiz. In "Rumours" she mentions that it ended up being a disaster.
- The pompoms that Kurt and Finn come across in "Funeral" made their first appearance way back in "Wheels".
- Puck and math class:
Season 1, episode 6:
Puck: Dude, what's wrong with you? Go see the nurse. Every day, I say I have a headache, I sleep for three hours. I haven't attended a math class in two years.
Season 3, episode 1:
Rachel: The point of the assignment was to find people who couldn't help but join. The more people that we sing in front of, the more chances we have of getting one, okay? It's simple mathematics!
Puck: Which I stopped attending years ago.
- In "Asian F", we find out that Figgins still thinks that Tina is a vampire (which she first convinced him of in "Theatricality").
- "100" and "New Directions" border on constituting a Continuity Cavalcade, but special mention goes to "Don't Stop Believin'". The choreography is an homage to the original staging from "Pilot" and "Journey", while the members of New Directions (past and present) enter the stage in the order of their joining the Glee club. Add to that a heavy dose of symbolism in who sings which line.
- Comically Missing the Point:
- Principal Figgins believes that vampires actually exist and forces Tina to lose her Perky Goth style because Jacob Ben Israel was attacked by rabid Twilight fans and he doesn't want any more incidents. Tina points out that she doesn't even read Twilight or watch the movies because her parents don't allow her to, but she has to do it anyway.
- Both Rachel and Emma completely miss the point of Will's "Don't Stand So Close To Me/Young Girl" mashup.
- Artie thinking that joining the football team and getting abs is what he needs to do to win Tina back.
- In "A Very Glee Christmas" Finn entirely misses the point of Rachel's speech about the Christmas Tree being the foundation of Christmas and the hearth of the Christmas home. He fails to realize that she is actually alluding to their relationship. In the same episode, the entire glee club fails to grasp the meaning of The Gift of the Magi.
- In the third season Christmas episode, Artie's been pushed to direct a local Christmas show.
I am absolutely delighted that our channel's Christmas special is being directed by a teenage disabled boy. You're like a modern day Tiny Tim. Artie:
long stare]] Station Manager:
Oh, I am sorry. Tiny Tim could walk.
- Concert Kiss: Finn and Rachel at the end of "Pretending," complete with Held Gaze. Subverted in that the audience didn't seem too pleased, and all the other New Directions members seem to be of the opinion that it cost them a place at Nationals.
- Contractual Immortality: Oh, it's Senior Year and most of the main characters are leaving. Of course New Directions are going to win Nationals.
- Double Subverted in Season 4. Marley faints on stage, and the New Directions are disqualified, leaving Dalton Academy as the victors. However, Dalton is convicted of doping, leaving New Directions as the winners by default.
- Cool Shades:
- Emma suggests Finn and Quinn wear these to re-establish their coolness.
- Everyone wears them in "Blame It On the Alcohol."
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: Sue removing Quinn and Santana's tanning privileges causes Santana to cry.
- Counting to Potato:
- Counterpoint Duet: "Happy Days Are Here Again/Come On Get Happy," "For Good."
- The Cover Changes The Gender:
- "Rose's Turn," "Stronger," and "Forget You."
- "4 Minutes," too. It was originally sung by a guy and a girl, and still is, but Kurt takes the female role and the line "Come on, boy," becomes "Come on, girl."
- "Sing!" from "A Chorus Line" gender-swaps, as well. Mike takes the girl's part and Tina takes the guy's part. As Tina says, it's perfect for them because Mike is insecure about his lack of singing skill.
- "Never Been Kissed" invokes this by having New Directions sing gender flipped mash ups of popular songs. And they sound totally awesome.
- Averted with "Just The Way You Are." "She" and "her" remain in the song even though it's being sung to Kurt. The lyrics also remain unchanged ("Baby girl, where you at...") when the Warblers and Blaine sing "When I Get You Alone" to Jeremiah.
- When Brittany sings "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)," she swaps the line about needing a man to needing a woman.
- The Cover Changes The Meaning: A specialty of Glee's.
- Covered in Gunge: The slushie facials that glee members and other unpopular kids receive.
- Crazy Homeless People:
- A previous, unseen Glee Club member known only as Patches was driven insane by his peers and now lives outside the library.
- Rachel encounters one in "New York." He sells her expired tickets to Cats and makes her swipe her credit card through his butt crack.
- Crazy-Prepared: Despite Kurt being certain that performing "Music of the Night" is the best audition number he can do, when he decides to switch to "Not the Boy Next Door" immediately before his audition its revealed that he already had backup singers prepared and had the proper outfit underneath his costume.
- Creator Cameo: Producer Ian Brennan voices the Previously On segment, and also appeared as Late-Night TV Host and Regionals Judge Svenboolie the vampire. Choreographer Zach Woodlee also appears briefly in "Props" (he's holding the boom box).
- Cross Over: With Archie Comics.
- Cultural Cringe: A localized version of the trope: several characters utterly despise Lima, OH, and small towns in general, and fantasize about moving to New York (and seem to have a very rose-tinted, idealized view of NYC).
- In season four, apparently Bushwick = Williamsburg. Anyone who's ever been to Bushwick knows this is really not the case.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Lauren and Santana. Lauren's the one doing the stomping.
- Cut Song: Several, due to last-minute changes or time constraints. Some of them managed to even be recorded and/or filmed, with the latter occasionally released as deleted scenes. A list can be found here.
- Dance Party Ending: "Prom Queen," while not the big season-ender, definitely falls under this.
- A Date with Rosie Palms: In "Britney/Brittany," Sue, unfortunately, catches Jacob Ben Israel naked in the school library pleasuring himself to a video of Rachel in her Britney Spears schoolgirl outfit.
- Dating Do-Si-Do: At this point is easier to list the couples who didn't get together at some point.
- Dawson Casting: The people playing the "teen" characters are so old that it is hard to tell them apart from the teachers.
- A Day in the Limelight:
- "Wheels" shelves a few dominant plot arcs in order to give screentime to secondary characters Kurt, Tina, and Artie. This was the episode in which former background dancer Brittany was elevated to secondary character, as well.
- Brittany gets her big moment in the "Britney/Brittany," starring in two songs and basking in the comedy spotlight.
- Dave Karofsky and Coach Beiste do not get an episode entirely dedicated to themselves, even though they are both characters with arcs that heavily impact the season. However, they are often featured just as prominently as the main cast in several episodes in which they do appear.
- "Asian F" for Mike Chang. We meet his family, find out about their expectations for him and his own dreams, and we get to hear him sing (for real this time).
- Dawson Casting: Most of the cast, but especially Harry Shum Jr., Cory Monteith, and Mark Salling, all of whom are only four years younger than Matthew Morrison. Inverted in the case of Matthew Morrison, who was 31 when the series premiered (born 1978). Will's Nationals performance happened in 1993, when he was (presumably) 18, which would have made him born in 1975, and the character three years older than the actor.
- During the first season, there was a lot of kerfuffle regarding some—ahem!—pictures of the cast appearing in a gentlemen's mag. The reason: despite the cast pictured being above the age of majority and hence able to appear in the magazine in fairly provocative poses, they were portraying high school students in the series, resulting in some mixed messages occurring.
- However, the show didn't really have a choice due to the fact the cast works very long hours that would violate Hollywood's child labor laws.
- Deadpan Snarker: Everyone at some time or another - see World of Snark. However, for round-about snarkiness, Kurt, Sue and Artie take the gold medal and snark it into... Something more goldy.
- Demoted to Extra:
- Terri. When the show started, it looked like she was going to be a regularly appearing character, and for the first half of Season 1, she was. After her fake pregnancy was exposed, however, she started appearing more and more sporadically in the second half. In Season 2 she only appeared a couple times at most and was eventually Put on a Bus.
- Emma starting in season 3.
- Tina virtually didn't exist anymore except to further Mike's storyline. All the character development she had since Season 1 has happened off screen, and then finally she disappeared for an entire episode without any mention as to why. The focus came back in"Props", however, were she finally got her own plot and was also set up to be the female lead in season 4, where she was able to come back into the centre of things.
- Ken Tanaka began as a major character, to the point he could even be seen as a Distaff Counterpart to Sue and/or Terri. After the first half of season 1 he only made a couple of appearances and then was Put on a Bus over the summer and replaced by Beiste.
- Denser and Wackier: Many have noticed a general trend in this direction. The first half of the first season was a lot darker and, except for explicit fantasy sequences, seemed committed to making sure their stage numbers were possible in a school undergoing a budget crisis. Since the second half of Season 1, it's increasingly moved away from realistic musical numbers, with brand-new, out-of-this-world costumes for every number and extras ranging from harpists to gospel choirs.
- Department of Redundancy Department:
Dustin Goolsby: "Admit it. I'm handsome, I'm good looking and I'm easy on the eyes. Also, I'm gorgeous."
- Don't forget that Jesse St. James has a full ride to the University of California, Los Angeles. Maybe you've heard of it. It's in Los Angeles.
- Depending on the Writer: The show had three different writers for the first two seasons, which is why it almost seems like three different shows in one. Season 3 hired 6 new writers and it went as well as expected.
- Designated Hero/Designated Villain: An In-Universe example. When Mercedes demands that Sue returns the tots to the cafeteria, she is treated as the hero, despite Sue pointing out that the nutrition in the school really is terrible and Mercedes' reaction to seeing broccoli was to think it was a toilet brush.
- Despair Event Horizon: In "On My Way," Dave Karofsky hits one of these and is Driven to Suicide. They get better, though.
- Deus ex Machina: In Season 4, the discovery that the Warblers used steroids during their Sectionals performance functions as one of these, reversing the loss that the New Directions suffered. It's especially bad in this case because there's no reason at all that the first event should result in the second. The New Directions were disqualified for breaking a show choir rule, something that should remain the same regardless of whether or not the Warblers cheated.
- However, It is left ambiguous as to whether the judges invoked the disqualification rule, and thus whether New Directions were disqualified or simply voted in last place.
- Did I Just Say That Out Loud?:
- Emma, to Will: "If we did a survey of the most crushworthy teachers in school, you'd be number one with a bullet."
- In "Auditions," Finn agrees with Rachel when she says she's controlling.
- When Sam (making out with Quinn) and Tina (making out with Mike) both imagine Coach Beiste in compromising positions to 'cool down', they both accidentally moan out "Beiste."
- And, of course, "Marry me, Will!"
- Diet Episode: Mercedes is told to lose weight to stay on the Cheerios.
- Digging Yourself Deeper: After Santana confronts Karofsky about checking out Sam's ass.
Santana: You really need to be more careful with your leering.
Karofsky: I was just checking out what kind of jeans he was wearing.
Santana: Like that's any less gay.
- Disproportionate Retribution:
- Shockingly, Sue: "I sold my house to a nice young couple and salted the earth in the backyard so that nothing could grow there for 100 years. Know why I did that? Because they tried to get me to pay their closing costs."
- In the episode 'Special Education'. Finn lies to Rachel about sleeping with Santana the previous year before he and Rachel became a couple. In response to the revelation Rachel decides to hurt Finn in the best way she can think of by hooking up with his best friend who happens to be the same dude that knocked up his OTHER ex. This was supposed to make them even. Finn didn't see it that way.
- Vocal Adrenaline TP's the choir room. Puck and Finn slash their tires.
- Santana bullies Finn calling him fat and talentless. He responds by outing her in a crowded hallway.
- Disqualification-Induced Victory: In the season 4 episode "Thanksgiving", Marley passes out during the performance at Sectionals because of her eating disorder. Because the rest of the glee club left the stage to check on her when she fainted, they are disqualified, allowing the Warblers to win. However, in the season 4 episode "Sadie Hawkins", members of the New Directions discover that the Warblers (the team that had won at Sectionals) were using steroids, leading to their disqualification. This allows the New Directions to take their place at Regionals.
- Does This Remind You of Anything??:
- During the Screaming Birth/"Bohemian Rhapsody" montage, a nurse says, "The baby's crowning!" after which it cuts to Jesse emerging from a circle of Vocal Adrenaline dancers.
- Bryan Ryan bemoans "I've been living a lie!" and admits he's been telling his wife that he's going on "business trips" when he's actually visiting New York to see Broadway plays. He has a secret stash of playbills in the basement, which is lampshaded immediately afterwards. "Like porn, Will!" (Ryan is played be Neil Patrick Harris, who came out of the closet several years earlier).
- In "Rocky Horror Glee Show," Will objects to Figgins punishing Finn for walking around the school in his Rocky Horror costume (Underwear and glasses) saying that when Santana "pantsed" Brittany, she was showing a lot less than her underwear. Figgins said that that was in a moment of celebration.
- Double Meaning Title: The Season 4 premiere, The New Rachel: It's both about New Direction's quest for the next big star of the club, who they refer to as "the new Rachel," as well as (the old) Rachel learning to adapt in New York and become a "new and improved" version of herself.
- Double Standard:
- Figgins comes down on Santana and Brittany for making out, but Rachel and Finn are allowed to kiss for several minutes with no complaints. Santana is understandably pissed off by this.
- There were several instances of gay couples' kisses being cut from montages by Fox.
- Invoked in-universe by Jake. He thinks it's unfair that he gets called out for wanting to sing a Chris Brown song because of Brown's alleged abuse of Rhianna, but no one has a problem singing Britney Spears or Whitney Houston songs despite their own less-than-perfect behavior.
- Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male:
- Discussed in 4.20. Ryder tells the glee club he was molested at 11 by his female teenage babysitter. Several of the glee club guys start congratulating him for it. Tina and Mr. Schuester try to point out what a bunch of idiots they're being, but they don't get it.
- Averted in the case of Tina rubbing a vapor medicine into Blaine's chest when he was unconcious, though it may be because Blaine's gay (thus nobody would congratulate him for being molested by some girl). It's treated as creepy and she never really lives it down.
- 'The Hurt Locker'. Sue gets called out (though doesn't suffer any suitable consequences) for kidnapping, but no comment is made about how she forced two young boys to perform a semi-sexual act on each other and actually threatened to release on them a substance which would cause a sexual stimulation to their genitalia, and possibly make them, in her words 'hump, hump, hump' (or, if we take it to it's logical conclusion, even possibly cause the less resilient one of them to try to rape the other). Very funny. Now try to imagine, say, Figgins doing this to Santana and Brittany.
- Down to the Last Play: The football game in "Preggers."
- Downer Ending:
- When New Directions loses Nationals at the end of Season 2. It gets even worse in Season 5, which causes the glee club to end.
- When Quinn gets hit by a car in the Season 3 episode On My Way.
- The end of the Season 3 episode Choke. Coach Beiste goes back to her abusive husband, Rachel has ruined her chances of getting into NYADA and Puck has failed a test he needed to pass for graduation.
- In Season 5 the Glee club loses at Nationals and Glee club is forced to disband forever. And that's it. No saving it last minute this time. There are two episodes of emotional goodbyes and then it actually does end. Most of the characters were graduating, but we have no idea what happened to Marley, Unique, Jake, Ryder, or Kitty.
- Dramatic Drop: Sue's overreaction to the Glee students using the photocopier.
- Dramatic Irony: Many of the scenes involving Will and Finn's reactions to Terri and Quinn's pregnancies respectively - after the audience is made aware that Terri isn't really pregnant, and Puck is the real father of Quinn's baby. One of the best examples is in "Mash-Up" when the other football players are teasing Finn about joining glee, and one of them offers this (not knowing just how close to the truth he is):
Azimio: "Can't believe you was man enough to knock up Quinn Fabray. You sure a real man didn't sneak in there and do it for you?"
- The Dreaded: According to Tina and Blaine, "Throat Explosion" in season 5. They're essentially a better-funded, constantly practicing version of New Directions, right down to being a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits.
- Dr. Feelgood: Whoever supplied Sandy with medicinal marijuana.
- Driven to Suicide: Karofsky. He gets better.
- There have also been a few brief but very clear references to the fact that this might have been Kurt's fate if the glee club never existed, including this most recent one from Kurt himself:
Kurt: I can say, without a doubt, that you're dad saved my life. Little Tracy and Hepburn wouldn't have a daddy if it wasn't for your dad.
- Drunken Song: Most of the songs in "Blame It On The Alcohol." Will and Beiste sing "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer," and the kids sing "Tik Tok" and "Blame It (On the Alcohol)"
- Seen again in "Previously Unaired Christmas" with Kurt, Santana and Rachel singing "Christmas Don't Be Late" drunk on spiked eggnog.
- Duet Bonding: It's a show about kids singing. Of course they use this trope.
- Dull Surprise: Fans were puzzled on Kurt's line "Is this about Finn?" in "End of Twerk."
- Early-Bird Cameo:
- "Last Christmas" was a standalone single released in 2009 and didn't appear in the show...until the 2010 Christmas episode.
- Both Samuel Larson and Alex Newell sang on the 2011 Christmas Album, even though their characters won't be appearing until the 2012 half of the season.
- Early Installment Weirdness: The opening episodes feature less music and a lot more focus on Will than the later ones, not to mention Artie played the guitar.
- Empty Piles of Clothing: Parodied in when Kitty punishes Dottie Kazatori. She has her Left Behind Club leave piles of clothing all over the meeting room right after Dottie leaves, and when she returns she thinks the rapture has occurred and she thinks the rapture occured.
- Enemy Mine:
- Will and Sue team up to get rid of coach Beiste after she gets both of their budget cuts, but Will backs out after Sue goes too far.
- Jake and Puck get their mothers to bond by reminding them that Mr. Puckerman had seduced and left both women, as well as both his sons.
- Even Evil Has Standards:
- In "Journey," Sue defends New Directions against the other judges, seeing them as not having the right to mock the group due to not being personally involved with them like she is.
- The football bullies will throw slushies at people they deem 'uncool,' beat up gay kids, harass anyone in Glee, particularly their fellow jocks, but their moral code won't let them punch Artie because he's in a wheelchair. This is a Retcon, actually, because earlier in the series, they had no problem wit the idea of locking him in a porta potty and tipping it over.
- Santana and Sebastian might be conniving and vicious as all get out, but even they will admit that things have gone too far when someone attempts suicide.
- In "Thanksgiving", Santana says that Kitty is pure evil. Santana said that. Granted, this is long after she stopped being "evil" per se, but she has clearly lost none of her capacity for Brutal Honesty.
- Jean-Baptiste in "City of Angels," who stops gloating over Throat Explosion's superiority to chew out a teammate who's mocking Finn. Later on, after discovering one of his teammates stole New Directions' Finn plaque, he kicks the offender off the team and mails it back with an apology.
- In "Loser Like Me", we learn that Rachel's TV show was so offensive, it apparently managed to piss off every special interest group with initials, including NAMBLA, an organization of pedophiles.
- Estranged Soap Family: Very few of the parents on Glee show up to watch their kids, and even some of the ones who have been established to support the club are absent during important performances.
- Everybody Knew Already: Pre-"Preggers," Kurt's homosexuality to his dad. After coming out of the closet, Burt reveals that he knew Kurt was gay ever since he asked for a pair of "sensible heels" for his third birthday.
- Everyone Can See It: Finn points this out about Santana and Brittany's relationship in "Mash Off."
- Evil Laugh: Sue gives a pretty good one when she tells Will that Beiste is quitting.
- Evil Versus Evil: The rivalry between the football team and the hockey team sometimes comes across like this, especially with the more jerk-ish members of the teams. Both teams have members that like to bully the less "popular" students.
- Executive Meddling:
- "Candles," the duet between Kurt and Blaine at Regionals, is considered by many to be the weakest Warbler song due to way in which Kurt and Blaine's registers clash. Normally the songs are overseen by music producer Adam Anders, but writer Ryan Murphy intervened for this song and specifically requested that it be sung in those registers.
- In the original draft for "Pilot," Rachel uses YouTube to upload her songs (as a normal person in the year 2009 would do) but in the actual show version she uses Myspace. Why the change? The fact that the same company that owns Myspace also owns Fox, the network that airs Glee in the US, probably has something to do with it.
- One of the judges for the second season regionals, Sister Mary Constance, is the next best thing to a Sister Act crossover.
- Kathy Griffin's Sarah Palin/Christine O'Donell Expy in the same episode.
- All of the NYADA Hopefuls are clones of either Kurt or Rachel, and they all seem to be wearing bits and pieces of the characters' previous outfits.
- Kitty and Jake are expys of Quinn and Puck from early in the show. It seems that most of season 4's new characters are expys of previous characters: Marley = Rachel, Marley's mom = Bieste, Blaine (although not new) = Kurt, Unique/Wade = Mercedes, Jake = Puck, Ryder = Finn, and Kitty = a cross between Quinn and Santana.
- Eye Scream: Blaine's eye getting pierced after being slushied by Sebastian (the slushie contained rock salt).
- Face-Heel Turn: Mercedes, Santana, and Brittany when they quit Glee Club to join Troubletones. Of course they later rejoin New Directions.
- Fake American: Finn, Terri, Sugar and Hunter are all played by Canadians.
- Failed Attempt at Drama: Rachel attempting to storm out in a wheelchair, and bumping into the doorframe.
- Fallen Princess: The Alpha Bitch Quinn becomes pregnant despite being president of the celibacy club. She is then embarrassed in front of the school, kicked off the cheerleading squad, and forced to move in with her boyfriend after her parents kick her out of the house. And it only got worse when it was revealed that the baby's father was actually her boyfriend's best friend.
- She later subverts the Character Development that you usually get from this trope - after she gives the baby up for adoption, she does her damndest to get her status back, and her goal of season two is to become prom queen, no matter what the cost - even if it means cheating on her boyfriend and, when she doesn't become Prom Queen, conspiring to get the Glee club disqualified from Nationals out of spite and jealousy. Strangely, she could still count as a Fallen Princess - while she has some of her popularity back, her desire to be popular again stems from the idea that there's no real future for her, and that the best she can do is be the popular girl, get an average job and marry someone like Finn.
- Rachel Berry since Season 6. She finally got her dream to be a Broadway star and her "Funny Girl" show was a hit, but after a failed attempt to be a TV star from "That's so Rachel" (which gets hate from various groups and is also the lowest rated TV show), she is forced to come back home in Lima, and when she gets home, it gets even worse for her, her dads get divorced and they put their house on the market.
- Family Theme Naming: Burt and his son Kurt.
- First Kiss: It turns out that neither Kurt nor Beiste have ever been kissed, and lose theirs by the end of ..."Never Been Kissed". Except that in Kurt's case, he kissed Brittany in "Laryngitis" when he pretended to be straight. This was simply his first kiss with another boy, hence his line to Blaine that it was the first one that "counted."
- First Name Basis: Rachel, who continues to be the only person to call Noah Puckerman solely by his first name. The rest of the cast refers to him as Puck or Puckerman.
- Five-Token Band: The original 5; Kurt (gay), Mercedes (African American), Artie (paraplegic), Tina (Asian) and Rachel (Jewish and the daughter of mixed-race, same-sex parents). The writers originally planned to have another character in the glee club named Rajish. Kurt replaced him.
- Artie does one in an Imagine Spot in "Dream On" to "Safety Dance."
- The Glee Club holds one for Rachel in "Born This Way" to "Barbra Streisand." This time it was real.
- Another in season 3 with Brittany performing "Run the World (Girls)"
- F Minus Minus: Only Brittany could receive such a grade.
Sue: Now, your performance, very same exam, unearthed the hitherto undiscovered grade, F Minus. You answered every question with "see other side", where you composed an elaborate crayon-scape entitled "Happyville: The Town Where Math Was Never Invented".
Brittany: Yeah, that's me, and that's Santana, and that's Kurt and Rachel in Heaven, and look, that's you.
- Forceful Kiss: Kurt and Karofsky in "Never Been Kissed."
- Foregone Conclusion: Due to Cory's death, no matter what happens on Season 5, expect Finn to get killed off after 5x02
- At the end of "Original Song," during the judging scene, there is a poster for the stage show, Wicked. Easily passed off as 'just a stage musical reference' at the time, but come "New York," Kurt and Rachel take a visit to the Broadway set of Wicked.
- This is very subtle and possibly unintentional, but Sebastian called Blaine to ask how to remove a wine stain from his Dalton jacket. Guess what the first aid for a fresh (red) wine stain is? Rub salt into it. Later in the episode, Sebastian threw a rock salt laced slushie at Blaine (although it was meant for Kurt), lacerating his eye.
- Karofsky's apology speech for the New Directions in "Born This Way". "[Santana] showed me all these stories online about kids who had jumped off roofs or hanged themselves because of bullying". Come "On My Way", where Karofsky is outed in his new school, gets bullied, and tries to hang himself.
- In seasons 2 and 3, during the prom story arcs, there was occasional talk of whoever was crowned Prom Queen getting the Carrie treatment. It finally happens in season 5 with Tina.
- For the Evulz: Sue tends to operate on this.
- Formally Named Pet: Brittany's cat Lord Tubbington.
- Freaky Is Cool: The show in general. It especially takes this idea starting around season 2 and runs with it. The plots behind "Theatricality" and "Born This Way" especially stand out.
- French Jerk: The lead singer of Throat Explosion in season 5, Jean-Baptiste, who may or may not be french but who frequently use french words and invokes this trope, is this in spades. However, it's partially subverted: while he makes it very clear to New Directions that they aren't going to cut them some slack and crush them, he is also angered when one member of their team acts disrespectful towards the memory of Finn, and became furious when he discovered that one guy of their team stole Finn's portrait, prompting him to kick him out of the team and mail back the portrait to the New Directions, while apologizing for what happened. Blaine sums it up nicely:
Blaine: (midly surprised) A bully with a moral code.
- Freudian Excuse: Both Finn and Puck had no father figures due to Finn's dying and Puck's being a deadbeat. So naturally both want to be there for Quinn when she announces her pregnancy.
- Freudian Slip: Santana has one after realizing the perfect plan to use Karofsky to get Kurt back at McKinley and become Prom Queen.
Santana: I've gotta gay. Go! I've gotta go.
- "Friends" Rent Control : As of the fourth season, Rachel and Kurt live in a huge loft in Brooklyn for $1800 a month. While that's cheap for NY real estate, it's not explained how they're paying for it, since Rachel is a student and Kurt an intern. Handwaved by being located 45 minutes from NYADA.
- Justified for Kurt, since his father is a congressman.
- Front 13, Back 9+44/Series Fauxnale: The writers weren't sure the show was going to be picked up for a full first season. The 13th episode (which was as many as they had confirmed at first) was specifically written to be decent enough series finale if they got cancelled. (Glee club won their competition and the major plots of the first 13 were adequately wrapped up) However, the show ended up being a hit and got picked up for at least three seasons before the first season was finished.
- Funny Background Event: Glee loves this. Viewers would do well to pay attention to the background.
- Friends with Benefits: Santana with Puck and also Brittany though with the latter it does eventually change into a real relatonship.
- Fun with Subtitles: Half of "The Spanish Teacher" is spent lambasting Will's poor Spanish, including literal translations of what he's saying.
Will (subtitled): Who's more macho of/from Will Schuester?
- Gay Aesop: Often.
- Gay Guy Seeks Popular Jock: Kurt crushes on Finn, freaking the latter out. Later, they become friends and stepbrothers after Kurt's dad marries Finn's mom.
- Gay Panic:
- Seen during "Duets," when Santana and Brittany are necking. Brittany brings up wanting to sing Melissa Etheridge's "Come to My Window" with Santana, who promptly freaks out at the thought of wanting to make "ladybabies" with Brittany, disguising their previous necking as her needing "something warm under [her] to help digest [her] food" while Puck is in juvie.
- In "Sexy" Santana reveals that her previous panic and bitchiness was just a way to hide from feelings that scared her. She admits to Brittany that she loves her, but Brittany gently turns her down because she doesn't want to hurt Artie.
- Geographic Flexibility: It takes almost two hours to drive from Lima to Westerville, yet the New Directions/Dalton Warblers interact an awful lot (well, Kurt and Mercedes and Blaine, anyway) and even hang out at the same restaurant. It's never been said where Blaine lives, however, and he could commute to Westerville to go to Dalton Academy like Kurt had to when he transferred there.
- Gilded Cage: Dalton Academy for Kurt, per a rather unsubtle metaphor at the end of "Special Education."
- Girl-on-Girl Is Hot:
- Santana and Brittany's plan for seducing Finn in "Hell-O" is to have him buy them dinner and then allow him to watch the two of them making out.
- Subverted by Artie in "Rumours"; he sees Brittany's cheating with Santana as no different from any other cheating and his reaction to it ends their relationship.
- After Santana's outing, she gets harassed by a jock who calls her homosexuality "smokin'" along with him telling her how she just needs "the right guy."
- The only logical explanation for Santana and Quinn's one-night-stand.
- Go Look at the Distraction: Becky pulls one when helping Puck spike the punch bowl at prom.
Becky (to Sue): Hey coach, is that a sniper in the rafters?
- Gonna Need More X: When Kurt rehearses "Music of the Night" for his NYADA audition, the stage is littered with candles and candelabras. When reconsidering his song choice, he says he needs something fresh, something new, something exciting... or maybe he just needs more candles.
Blaine: No more candles. Oh God, no more candles.
- Good Needs Evil: Sue states in season five that the New Directions are at their best when they have a villain going after them. And since she is the principal and needs glee club to win in order to make herself look good, she appoints Bree to be just such a villain.
- Graduate from the Story: Technically eight members graduated from Lima at the end of season 3. However, Rachel, Kurt, and Santana receive a decent chunk of screen time due to the New York narrative, and Finn spent a majority of season 4 hanging around Lima. The other four (Puck, Quinn, Mercedes, and Mike) made a few cameo appearances after graduation but were ultimately unimportant to the plot.
- Grand Romantic Gesture: Several, usually in the form of a song. Blaine is especially fond of these, like his marriage proposal to Kurt. He convinced three rival show choirs to do an elaborately choreographed (and costumed) dance to "All You Need Is Love" by the Beatles throughout the entirety of the large Dalton Academy, where they met and fell in love. Blaine is singing, all of Kurt's friends and family are there, and the proposal concludes on the stairs where they fell in love with an equally elaborate speech. Kurt very emotionally says yes.
- Gray and Grey Morality: Everyone on the show, no matter how "good," seems to have very human moral failings. And Sue, who's admittedly a scary dark shade of gray, has her moments of decency (every scene with her sister or Becky, for example).
- Greek Chorus: It varies, but any of the minor characters can fall under this.
- Good Adultery, Bad Adultery:
- Emma having feelings for Will while being married to Carl, and also, Will's behavior towards Emma while he was married to Terri.
- All through season three the show has hyped Rachel and Finn's first kiss as something super romantic and epic. No one seems to remember that he was dating Quinn at the time.
- Hair Contrast Duo: Brittany and Santana.
- Happily Married: Burt and Carole Hudson-Hummel and Hiram and Leroy Berry. The latter get divorced in Season 6.
- Happy Ending: In "Sectionals:" the Glee club winning despite Sue's machinations, Principal Figgins taking Sue off the Cheerios and suspending her, Will leaving Terri and running down the hallway in slow motion after Emma and finally kissing her after half a season of UST. This is likely due to the fact that the episode was planned as a series finale if FOX dropped the show.
- Hard Work Hardly Works:
- Averted in the first two seasons. While New Directions is good and certaintly has a lot of heart, they neither beat Vocal Adrenaline in Regionals in season 1, nor Nationals in season 2.
- Rachel and Kurt's respective NYADA Auditions. Rachel picks a song she already knows forward and backward, and messes it up on top of that. That's not to mention the mark on Rachel's disciplinary record from having stuffed the ballot box earlier in the year. Meanwhile, Kurt goes with a more difficult, risky song (complete with elaborate routine, backup dancers and costumes) and performs it very well, according to the judge. Guess who ultimately makes the cut.
- Heel-Face Turn:
- Quinn, Puck, and Karofsky have all done this. Santana, as well.
- Plus Judy Fabray and Mike Chang Sr.
- In "On My Way," Sebastian Smythe.
- Heel-Face Revolving Door:
- Jesse St. James. He dates Rachel and ostensibly transfers schools for her, turns out to be The Mole for Shelby, comes back as the an evil, mean-spirited "helper" for the New Directions in Season 2, and then as Vocal Adrenaline's mean-spirited coach for Season 3.
- Her Boyfriend's Jacket:
- Discussed and subverted in the second season. Finn and Rachel think that Sam is dating Kurt after they see him wearing Kurt's jacket, specifically citing the common practice among girls of wearing their boyfriend's jackets. It later turns out that Sam's dad lost his job, with the result of the Evans family becoming so poor that they're staying in a hotel room. The jacket in question was part of a handout package consisting of Kurt's old clothes given specifically with the intent of helping out Sam's family.
- In the fourth season, a Betty and Veronica Love Triangle is established between Marley, Kitty, and Jake when Marley spends a few days wearing Jake's coat (from a You Must Be Cold moment) and Kitty demands it as this trope when she and Jake start dating (though he doesn't like labels).
- Heteronormative Crusader: Alma, Santana's grandmother, who believes that girls should marry boys. She later attends her granddaughter and Brittany's wedding, though, after previously decided not to attend due to what she believes about homosexuality.
- Hide Your Pregnancy: After Heather Morris became pregnant, Brittany was noticeably absent for a couple episodes. She comes back for the season 4 finale and it is explained that she will no longer be attending McKinley (and therefore why her character will either not be on the show ever again or for... a while). Heather has a noticeable baby bump that was clearly trying to be hidden with some looser clothes.
- High School: The entire setting of the show.
- Sue - in most of season one, she tries to have the Glee Club disbanded, but when Principal Figgins threatens to disband it at the end of the first season, Sue goes out of her way to save it, only to go back into "I hate the Glee Club" mode at the start of Season 2.
- Pretty much the entire school - the Glee Club switch from Slushee targets to heroes when they win Nationals in Season 3, but at the start of Season 4, "order is restored" and they're back to being last-class citizens at the school.
- High School Sweethearts: Will and Terri. Not a happy example of this one. Quinn tried to invoke this with her and Finn. Also, Kurt and Blaine, and Santana and Brittany (if they're on right now...). Finn and Rachel were supposed to be this.
- Hoist By Her Own Petard: What really ruined Sue's plot to destroy the glee club is that the setlists she leaked to the other choir directors were on Cheerios letterhead ("Circumstantial evidence"), in her own handwriting ("I didn't do it") and personally signed by Sue herself. ("FORGERIES!") Once New Directions won the other judges sent the evidence to Principal Figgins. The list of progressive excuses is lifted from Sherlock Holmes's own list in Scandal in Bohemia: Maybe she thought she had good precedent.
- Hold My Glasses: Lauren hands off her glasses to Puck before kicking Santana's ass.
- Holiday Volunteering: Sue attempts to recruit homeless shelter volunteers for Christmas hoping to get the Glee Club.
- Hollywood Autism: Subverted and parodied with Sugar, the girl with self-diagnosed Asperger's, who's clearly just using the false diagnosis as an excuse to be a jerk.
- Hollywood Pudgy: One subplot of "The Rocky Horror Glee Show" involves Finn intimidated by the idea of walking around in his underwear, partially because he's afraid of measuring up to toned, yet fashionably skinny Sam, even though even Finn would have a body most high school boys in real life would kill for. People who saw him apparently had to get counseling, in-universe. The audience wasn't similarly traumatized.
- Hood Ornament Hottie: The Cheerios in "Acafellas."
- Hopeless Auditionees: With the New Directions becoming popular by the start of season 4, everybody wants to join. The seem to have forgotten they need talent, however, leading to one of these.
- Hope Spot: In-Universe. Sue was told Jean probably wouldn't live past 30. But then she turned 35, then 40, then 50, and Sue finally believed that they could grow old together. Unfortunately, Jean passed away in "Funeral."
- Hotter and Sexier:
- The Glee Club's performance of "Push It" at the assembly is much more... exciting than the disco routine that was originally planned.
- Sue and Olivia Newton-John remake her "Physical" music video with much hotter guys.
- Compare Kurt's adorable performance of "Single Ladies" (which is silly and adorable) in "Preggers" with his performance at Glee Live 2011, where he really thrusts his hips and flirts with the audience. Yowza.
- Compare Tina's audition number in the pilot to the group rendition of "I Kissed a Girl" in the season three episode of the same name.
- How the Character Stole Christmas: One of the subplots of "A Very Glee Christmas," with—you guessed it—Sue as the Grinch who tries to steal Christmas from the Glee club (and it's even invoked, with Sue dressing up in a Santa suit and green facepaint and Becky dressing up as Max). There's even a scene with Sue and Brittany that parallels the one with the Grinch and Cindy Lou Who, and towards the end of the episode the Glee Club performs "Welcome Christmas."
- Hufflepuff House: Any of the third teams competing at Regionals.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl:
- 6'3" Cory "Frankenteen" Monteith with 5'2" Lea Michele.
- Mercedes and Shane.
- Human Cannonball: Sue attempts to use this as part of the cheerleading routine at Nationals, willfully ignoring that this type of stunt is very dangerous outside a cartoon. She is called on this by Quinn and Santana who quit the team in protest right before the competition.
- Hypocrite: Although he was cheated on by his last two girlfriends and pretty broken up about it, Finn's more than eager to help Quinn cheat on Sam with him.
- And when she points that out he explains that when they cheated on him, it meant that they didn't love him.
- In "Sexy", Blaine is completely okay with using sex appeal during a performance. Then, during season's 3 "Hold on to Sixteen", he describes it as "selling themselves", and tears down Sam for suggesting to do so.
- Also all the Glee Club members who join in 'It's Not Right But It's OK'. Almost all of them have cheated or helped cheating on someone.
- Sue is this for many people since she preached against bullying even though she's one of the most vicious ones herself.
- The football team. They love to pick on the Glee club for being "losers", despite the fact that they themselves never win any football matches! In fact, they only began to win games after the "losers" from Glee club joined them.
- In the season four episode Swan Song, Finn, as the new Glee club coach, acts as if the club members have committed some sort of mortal sin by joining other clubs after the club loses Sectionals and Sue takes over their choir room, conveniently forgetting that when he was in high school, he was in Glee club while simultaneously playing football and no one complained about that.
- Rachel Berry, since season 5. At first, she didn't want Santana to be her understudy for "Funny Girl", yet later she asks her to do so, due to being stuck in L.A. traffic after having an audition that didn't go well. Also, in season 3 Finn once asked Rachel to go to L.A. with him to pursue his future career (at that time) there and told her that she could be a Hollywood actress, but Rachel said no because Broadway is her destiny and she's not a Hollywood actress, and later in season 5, she is offered to do a TV show about her in L.A., and she says yes.
- I Banged Your Mom: Puck uses this to rattle an opposing football player:
"I had sex with your mom. No, seriously - I cleaned your pool, and then we had sex. In your bed. Nice Star Wars sheets."
- I Can't Believe a Guy Like You Would Notice Me: Rachel's reaction to Jesse, and to a lesser extent, Finn. Also, gender-swapped with Artie and Brittany.
- Idiot Ball: Seasons 2 and 3 of Glee seem to run on this.
- Identical-Looking Asians: Seems to be a running gag with Mike and Tina. They got together at Asian Camp and in "Duets," after they started arguing, Mike says they "should go to Asian couples therapy." Tina wonders why it has to be Asian. Furthermore, they are able to find out that Rachel gave Sunshine directions to a crackhouse for auditions because the "Asian community is very tight-knit." Sunshine is Filipino while Mike is Chinese and Tina is Korean, three communities that generally have little in common.
- As a meta-example, Mike Chang is played by Harry Shum, Jr., a Chinese-American. His father is played by a Korean-American actor and his mother is played by a Japanese-American actress.
- I Gave My Word: Sam gave one to Finn during "Duets." When Finn tells him that he shouldn't sing a duet with Kurt because that will make him a target for bullies and "we live in their world." Sam replies that he gave Kurt his word and in his world, that's that.
- I Have No Grandaughter: When Santana's being disowned by her grandmother
- I'll Never Tell You What I'm Telling You: When Brittany is asking Will embarrassing questions.
Will: Brittany, who told you to ask these?!
Brittany: Miss Sylvester says I'm not at liberty to say.
- I'll Pretend I Didn't Hear That: In "Extraordinary Merry Christmas," the guy hiring Artie as a director calls Artie "a modern day Tiny Tim." When he draws an offended look from Artie, he says "I'm sorry. Tiny Tim could walk." Artie's response is "In the spirit of Christmas, I'll pretend you never said that."
- Imagine Spot: Many, throughout the show's run. Among the more noteworthy ones is "The Safety Dance", in which Artie stands up and leads a Flash Mob.
- I'm a Man, I Can't Help It!:
- According to Puck. Quinn isn't pleased.
- Rod says something similar to Sue after she catches him with Andrea.
- Implausible Deniability: Sue in "Sectionals." Being Sue, she takes it to Refuge in Audacity levels.
- Important Haircut: Quinn. Initially played straight in "New York" where cutting her hair is enough to help stop her from trying to sabotage their chances at Nationals, but later subverted when it turns out cutting her hair didn't really fix her problems to set her off on a path of positive character growth.
- Incompatible Orientation:
- Kurt's crushes on Finn and Sam, and Mercedes and Brittany's interest in Kurt. As you can see, this involves Kurt a lot.
- Rachel's interest in Blaine in "Blame it on the Alcohol."
- Puck acknowledges this with Santana in "I Kissed a Girl," joking that "I know I was just a phase." She also deals with this from a rugby player who hits on her in the hallway, saying she just needs to "find the right guy."
- Tina's crush on Blaine.
- Blaine's crush on Sam.
- Indecisive Parody: Because the show has three runners who take turns writing episodes, it can really oscillate in its tone and message. Is this show a quirky high school drama with comedic elements (and awesome music) or is it a comedic parody of a high school drama (with awesome music)? No one seems to be sure, as the show veers wildly back and forth, sometimes not taking itself seriously enough for the former, and sometimes taking itself way too seriously for the latter.
- Indy Ploy: Used a lot by Quinn, Santana and occasionally by Sue Sylvester, a la Doctor Who.
- Informed Flaw:
- Pretty much any "bad" song is still better than most people would be able to do in real life. This was especially obvious in "Sectionals," when a judge comments the McKinley kids looked "under-rehearsed" in a performance that's still better than many school/amateur groups could manage with several weeks' practice.
- Their fictional version of Lima is made out to be a bad place to live and the school is almost constantly undergoing budget cuts yet almost everyone seems to have an Upper Middle Class lifestyle and McKinley is a pretty rich-looking high school. They can even afford fog machines and costumes, apparently.
- Quinn's official Facebook page makes her out to be ditzy and lacking in knowledge about some really basic things, but that's seemingly contradicted by who she is in-story: a straight-A student who kept up her average even during an unwanted pregnancy and gets into Yale early-admission; even outside of the classroom, her intelligence shows through her role as a Deadpan Snarker.
- Will's drinking problem comes out of nowhere, and somehow Sue knows all about it. He goes from having a beer with dinner to grading drunk to deciding he has a problem and is going to quit drinking.
- Finn's weight. While clearly lacking the six pack abs of Sam and Mike, he's not remotely overweight by any standard and yet any insult sent his way that isn't about his truly terrible dancing is usually about him being fat.
- In Spite of a Nail: During Artie's It's a Wonderful Plot Dream Sequence in "Glee, Actually", Rory comments that Quinn texts and drives, and consequently paralyzed in all possible timelines.
- Innocent Innuendo: Listen to the first few lyrics of "My Cup." Yeah.
- Inspirationally Disadvantaged: Ooh boy.
- Artie is this occasionally, though it's not his entire character.
- This also applies to the two characters with Down's Syndrome, Sue's sister Jean and Becky the cheerleader, although the latter seems to be breaking away from it.
- Then there's Shawn the quadriplegic from "Laryngitis," an unabashedly heavy-handed use of this trope, not helped by the fact that the character was never seen again now that he's taught us all his lesson.
- Made all the more ridiculous by the fact that Finn and Rachel see a paraplegic every day at school. Apparently, he's not sad enough to serve this purpose.
- The deaf choir that competed in "Sectionals" was also like this. The Dumb Blonde judge then pointed out they were terrible singers.
- Instant Birth, Just Add Water: In "Journey," Quinn seems to give birth within a five or six minute time frame.
- Instant Web Hit:
- Averted with an embarrassing video of Principal Figgins, which only got two hits.
- In Real Life, many of the musical numbers, though FOX has made it difficult by raiding YouTube.
- Sue's "Physical" music video in "Bad Reputation."
- Santana and Brittany's sex tape in "Saturday Night Glee-ver."
- Also in "Saturday Night Glee-ver", Mercedes lands a recording contract within days of Sam uploading a video to YouTube of her performing "Disco Inferno" in the choir room.
- Strictly speaking the contract comes in "Goodbye" weeks later and it's as a back-up singer, so it's not quite as ridiculous.
- Invisible Backup Band:
- It's All About Me: Rachel interprets any attempt Will makes to give another glee member some of the spotlight as personal sabotage. She seemed to be getting better, only to revert back in the season two opener when a wonderfully talented exchange student wanted to audition.
- It's a Wonderful Plot: Artie's Dream Sequence in "Glee, Actually", where he visits a parallel universe in which he was never paralyzed and Rory acts as his Clarence. Artie never provided the spirit to keep the glee club together, Will is still married to Terri and became an alcoholic, Kurt wasn't able to graduate and never met Blaine, Rachel is stuck as the school librarian, the jocks are still jerks, with Finn being the biggest homophobic jerk of all of them, Becky didn't develop any self-respect and thus became the school slut (and she is pregnant) and Quinn lost the will to live after her accident, her body and her mind broken.
- Ivy League for Everyone: Quinn's acceptance to Yale.
- Somewhat justified in that Quinn is often shown to be an excellent student and her parents are implied to be very rich.
- In "Sadie Hawkins", Lauren Zizes tells the "Too Young to Be Bitter" club that the dance empowered her to apply for a wrestling scholarship at Harvard. Ivy League schools don't offer athletic scholarships.
- Tina gets accepted to Brown after being waitlisted.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy
- I Want You to Meet an Old Friend of Mine: Subverted in "Acafellas" when it turns out Sandy's "friendship" with Josh Groban was just him being a Stalker with a Crush, and Groban just came to the concert to give Sandy a restraining order. Played straight with Jonathan Groff appearing as Rachel's beau Jesse St. James, with him and Lea Michele being pretty much the poster children for Platonic Life Partners.
- Jerk Ass: Olivia Newton-John in "Journey." Dear God... damn far cry from how she is in real life. Let's put it this way: Fictional!Olivia Newton-John is so utterly callous and self-absorbed that Sue Sylvester is disgusted.
- Jerk Ass Facade: Sue's method for dealing with her sister's death is to crank her usual nastiness Up to Eleven.
- Jerk Ass Has A Point: Sue and Bryan Ryan have a duelling Jerk Ass session in which they drop a number of necessary anvils about the utility of athletics/phys-ed and drama/music. Then they anger-bang.
- Sue rightfully pointing out that by denying Wade the chance to go onstage and go Grease, she's protecting...it...from a lot of hate. Then again, she also states that most of the hate would be spurred on by her as well.
- Jerk Jock: Puck was this originally, Finn was by peer pressure. Once they joined Glee, Karofsky and Azimio stepped up as the lead bullies. Once Beiste forced the football team to be nice to the glee kids, the hockey players took up the bullying torch in season 3. The boys who out Karofsky at his new school also count.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Sue.
- Jitter Cam: And a lot of it.
- Kangaroo Court: Played for laughs. The Warblers, being extremely set in their ways, are scandalized every time someone suggests that something be done differently:
Blaine: I am merely suggesting that instead of wearing blue ties with red piping, we wear jackets with red ties and blue piping for the competition.
(outraged mumbling among the other Warblers, Wes bangs his gavel to try to silence them)
Trent: This is a kangaroo court!
- Keep Circulating the Tapes: Well, in the United Kingdom anyway, because people believe the DVD sets are Edited for Syndication versions.
- Kick the Dog:
- Sue does it over and over and over.
- Sue cracking wise about Burt's near death from heart attack. Even for her that was a low blow.
- Sue cracking weight jokes to a distraught Beiste in 'Choke' comes off as a Kick the Dog moment in a supposed Pet the Dog moment.
- Terri tearing Emma to shreds might also qualify.
- Jesse and Vocal Adrenaline luring Rachel out into the parking lot and egging her. No matter how much you may dislike Rachel, she didn't deserve that. Hell, even putting aside the horribleness of the act itself, Rachel's vegan.
- This is the general reaction to the rare instances of people being mean to Brittany.
- Kindly Housekeeper: Sue seems to have one in the form of Imelda.
- Kill It with Fire: One of the Purple Pianos from the season 3 premier.
- Lady Drunk: April (although she still does have her beauty and talent) and Will's mom.
- As of Season Four, Cassandra July.
- Lady Killer In Love: Puck with Lauren.
- And more seriously, Puck with Quinn. It's been implied he loved her back in Season 1, was one of the only people who was able to bring her back from the brink in Season 3, and in Season 5 they finally get together for real.
- Lame Comeback: Rory attempting to trash talk Santana. It comes with being a Fish out of Water.
Rory: You're skinny like all the crops failed on your family's farm.
Santana: That is the lamest thing I didn't understand a word of.
- Remember the potato famine and WWI. That was one evil comeback, being something the Irish wouldn't wish on anyone.
- Lampshade Hanging: A favorite of Glee.
- Last Minute Hookup: Sam and Mercedes at the end of Season Two.
- Quinn and Puck in "Goodbye". It came out of nowhere.
- Law of Inverse Fertility: Terri is desperate to get pregnant yet can't. Quinn breaks her celibacy vow once (while cheating) and ends up with a baby. Shelby had Rachel and gave Rachel's dads full custody, but now that she's older and wants children, is unable to have any.
- Lecherous Licking: In "Blame It on the Alcohol," Santana pours salt on Brittany's stomach and licks it off.
- Left the Background Music On: A subtle example in "Silly Love Songs": when Blaine reveals that the guy he's going to serenade at Valentine's isn't Kurt, Kurt makes an Oh, Crap face and dramatic music starts playing. The scene immediately cuts to a gramophone playing the same music in Rachel's room, where Kurt is having a sleepover with Mercedes and Rachel and lamenting said inconvenient plot twist.
- LeagueOfDoom: In her irrational quest to destroy Will and to a lesser extent the Glee club, Sue put together one of these. Hilariously, it fails.
- Lethal Chef: More literally than usual.
Principal Figgins: And to anyone who ate the ravioli at lunch and are not up to date with your tetanus shots, please see the school nurse immediately.
- Licensed Game: In 2010, Konami released a special Glee version of Karaoke Revolution, exclusively on the Wii.
- Likes Older Women: Josh Groban, of all people, seems to be this way. And, more blatantly, Puck.
- Littlest Cancer Patient: In the episode "Comeback" a significant plot point involves a pediatric oncology ward, including a sing-along with a large group of pre-adolescent cancer patients.
- Living Prop: The backup musicians. One has to wonder if the members of the Jazz Band get slushied with as much regularity as the Glee kids do.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: Put it this way, a Season Four promotional group shot featured eighteen characters (main cast and recurring) and was notably missing no less than eight other characters of similar standing.
- Loophole Abuse: Ain't no rule that says a wheelchair can't be used as a battering ram in football!
- Love Dodecahedron:
- Lord, where does one even begin? In season one there's the Rachel/Finn/Quinn/Puck/Kurt relationship with Rachel and Puck dating briefly and Santana and Brittany trying to seduce Finn into a menage a trois, then there's the Terri/Will/Emma/Ken grouping. There's even a conjunction between the two groupings when Rachel gets a short-lived crush on Will.
- For season two, "Blame It On the Alcohol" takes the cake with the Kurt-Blaine-Rachel-Finn-Quinn-Sam-Santana-Brittany-Artie-Tina-Mike thing. Plus Puck tying in via Santana and Quinn, Lauren tying in via Puck, and Mercedes tying in via Sam.
- Season four becomes the most extravagant of all and a visual can be found here. No one has less than five spokes!
- Season 5 becomes even more convoluted, and a chart can be found here. Everyone's spokes have increased!
- Love Epiphany: Blaine for Kurt when he sees Kurt performing "Blackbird." Santana for Brittany while singing "Landslide" together with Holly.
- Love Makes You Crazy/Love Makes You Dumb/Love Makes You Evil: Oh sooo much. But then, they are in high school.
- Love Triangle: Too many to the point where it gets ridiculous.
- Some of the more significant ones include (with the "central" person in the middle: Terri/Will/Emma, Will/Emma/Carl, Quinn/Finn/Rachel, Finn/Quinn/Sam, Finn/Quinn/Puck, Santana/Brittany/Artie, Santana/Brittany/Sam, Kurt/Blaine/Sebastian, Artie/Tina/Mike, Artie/Sugar/Rory, Finn/Rachel/Brody, Finn/Rachel/Jesse, Jake/Marley/Ryder, Marley/Jake/Kitty.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: Shelby Corcoran is Rachel's birth mother.
- Lying Creator: All of them at one point or another, but Ryan Murphy is the most egregious of the three.
- Lyrical Dissonance: Frequently with Glee.
- Magic Feather: The "magic comb" Artie gives to Brittany. You comb your hair with it and you can't lose.
- Mama Bear: Sue, surprisingly enough, for Becky and to a lesser extent Kurt.
- A Man Is Not a Virgin: Played with.
- Manly Tears:
- In "Rumours" when Rachel and Finn bring Sam back the guitar bought back for him by the glee club after he sold it with all his other possessions.
- Will occasionally has episodes of these. Particular examples are when he finds out the sex of his baby and sees her on the sonogram for the first time, discovers Teri isn't pregnant and at the end of Season One when the class performs "To Sir, With Love."
- This also occurs when Will is seen crying while holding Finn's jacket, shortly after he learns about Finn's death.
- Pretty much every guy in that episode including Puck, Artie, Sam, Kurt, Blaine, and Burt.
- Matzo Fever: The reason Puck and Rachel date. Not to mention that the former is a total Ladies Man who managed to steal his best friend's devout Christian girlfriend and the latter is the definition of Hollywood Dateless, especially considering her Stalker with a Crush is named Jacob Ben Israel.
- Meaningful Background Event: At the beginning of "The Substitute," several Cheerios are seen carrying a large trophy down the hallway. Shortly later we realize that Sue is the new principal, and it's being moved to her new office. When Sue resigns at the end of "Furt," the cheerios carry the same trophy down the hallway in the opposite direction.
- Meat-O-Vision: Mercedes, forced to diet by Sue, starts seeing the rest of the glee club as desserts (and a burger), before passing out. Quinn tells her that she went through the same thing.
- Miss Conception: Finn believes Quinn when she claims he got her pregnant from premature ejaculation in the hot tub.
- Finn also thinks that cucumbers can cause AIDS.
- Mistaken for Cheating:
- Brittany and Mike by Artie and Tina.
- Sam, Quinn, and Kurt in "Rumors," by everyone.
- Mood Whiplash:
- In "Shooting Star", the episode goes from the Glee choir singing "More Than Words" to Brittany's cat Lord Tubbington to Gun shots going off in the school with students and teachers fearing for their lives.
- The Prom Queen voting scene in "Tina In The Sky With Diamonds" is loaded with this. One minute, Tina is smiling and celebrating having been voted Queen, the next minute, Bree pulls a Carrie-style prank on her and everything just goes completely quiet.
- Moral Guardians:
- When "Showmance" aired, some groups were angry because the show was showing kids act "sexy."
- An in-universe example: After the sexy "Push It" number, Will explained to Rachel that the inappropriate performance, while popular with the student body, would discourage parents from letting their kids join glee club. Also, in response to the performance Principal Figgins composed a list of "approved" songs that the club could sing, with help from his pastor. Rachel looks at the list and asks what a luftballon is, referencing the song "99 Luftballons," a song about an accidentally triggered apocalypse - possibly a Take That at the cluelessness and/or mixed-up priorities of Moral Guardians.
- Conservative parents were once more angered by Blaine and Kurt's kiss scene, though one has to wonder why any of them were surprised in a show that is so upfront about its pro-gay message.
- Also a common reaction to certain photo shoots where the Glee actors (particularly Lea Michele and Dianna Agron) have dressed in provocative clothing, often coupled with a strange expectation that adult actors are required to act like they are minors if they happen to play them on TV.
- "The First Time" is the most controversial episode so far—even airing with a content warning—for dealing with Kurt and Blaine losing their virginity to each other. This is despite the fact that their love scene was no more risque than Brittany's and Santana's a season prior.
- Morality Pet:
- Sue's sister has Down's Syndrome and lives in a nursing home. Sue goes to visit after work frequently and reads fairytales to her. This continues later, as while talking about her sister, Sue reveals that her relentless mocking of Will's hair is due to her feeling insecure about her own hair, which was badly damaged in a childhood incident and can't do much more than the "Florence Henderson look." (Given the absurdity of that anecdote, it seems likely that it was a lie.)
- Brittany for Santana a lot.
- Beth is one for Quinn and Puck.
- Puck reveals he also always thought of Finn as one after his death
- Moral Myopia: Many of the character suffer from this but none worse than Finn Hudson. He cheats on Quinn in "Showmance" and he's just confused about his feelings. Rachel cheats on him and he treats it like a crime against humanity. He entices Quinn to cheat on Sam with him (just weeks after breaking up with Rachel for the exact same thing) and he just has unresolved feelings for her. It's all right for him to out Santana, because she's called him fat and untalented. Screaming at the Glee club for joining other activities is fine, despite that he was on the football team for three years.
- Motive Decay: After Principal Figgins reveals in "Wheels" that the Cheerios boosters "write fat checks" to pay for most of their expenses, it becomes unclear why Sue needs to bring down New Directions in order to finance even her more lavish Cheerios demands. If her donors can finance plane tickets to Albuquerque, they can certainly afford a fog machine. So what is Sue's motive - if she has one to begin with?
- Mr. Fanservice: The majority of main male characters.
- Special mention must go to Chord Overstreet (Sam) showing up shirtless in nearly every episode.
- A Season Four subplot involving Blaine and Tina revolves mostly around appreciation of Blaine's body, with fan-service camera-shots to match.
- Mushroom Samba: The kids' performances in "Vitamin D" along with a good chunk of Finn's performance after Terri gets him started on the stuff.
- Also in "The Substitute," Will hallucinates the entire Glee Club as toddlers when he first catches a cold of the semester. Later, he has an over-the-top dream sequence of him and Mike dancing to "Make 'em Laugh".
- Musical Episode: All of them.
- The Musical Musical: It's about a high school glee club, and most of the musical numbers relate to that.
- Musicalis Interruptus:
- They get through about thirty seconds of "You're the One That I Want" in Pilot before Mercedes divas out about being in the background.
- In Season 2's Auditions, Sunshine and Rachel start a duet of "Telephone" before Sue barges into the bathroom and tells them to SHUT UP.
- Tina starts performances of both "My Funny Valentine" (in "Silly Love Songs") and "I Follow Rivers" (in "A Night of Neglect") before breaking down into tears.
- And then there's the moment in "Ballad" from Season 1, with Rachel and Will riding his car. Rachel's got a crush on Will, and she asks him to put a tape in the stereo so that she can sing "Crush" to him, but she doesn't get more than 10 seconds into the song before Will ejects the tape out of embarrassment.
- Musical World Hypotheses: Ryan Murphy has three rules for the musical numbers: "It will be done where they’re on stage rehearsing or performing or whether they’re in the rehearsal room, or it will sort of be in that sort of fantasy that has been routed on the stage, and you realize that they were performing it in their head or performing out to the auditorium the entire time." In troper terms, all the musical numbers have to either be diegetic or all in the character's heads. In other words, it has to make sense in narrative context.
- Some musical numbers have been very close to breaking these rules, but it still remains.
- My Friends... and Zoidberg: "All right, ladies and gentlemen. And Sue."
- In the episode "Never Been Kissed", in which the guys... and Tina uses Beiste as a "cool down"...
Will: I am actually ashamed of you. You really hurt someone who was a great addition to this school.
Rachel: I’m sorry. What exactly did we do?
Finn: No, it’s us. The boys.
Mike: And Tina.
Finn: We sort of... figured out that picturing Bieste while making out was even better than a cold shower. I mean I don’t, ever.
- Nature Abhors a Virgin: Will finds out that Emma is still a virgin, and - along with other reasons (like her OCD and Will's recent divorce) - this is grounds for them to "take a break" from each other.
- Naughty Nun: Loretta Devine guest stars as a stripper-turned-nun who judges Regionals in "Original Song."
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
- Will cooperating with Sue in order to help her make Coach Bieste her new nemesis. This results in Bieste getting very mad when Finn tries to get Artie onto the team. She kicks him off the team, and before that tells Will that she had heard that Will was really cool and that Sue was the school bully. Nice job, Will.
- Rachel causes Sunshine to join Vocal Adrenaline because, in order to keep the girl from stealing her spotlight, she sent her to a crack house. Sue, of course, is the cause of getting Vocal Adrenaline to take Sunshine on.
- Rachel's dads' plan to stop Rachel getting married by encouraging Rachel and Finn to go for it.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Sue lands an Award Bait expose on New Directions putting on a production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show due entirely to Will's jealousy over Emma, but makes her case so well that Will cancels the show.
- No Accounting for Taste: Will and Terri.
- No Bisexuals:
- Possibly averted with Brittany, though the show oftens seems to not take bisexuality seriously. Brittany has never officially declared herself bisexual; in fact, the show seems to be taking pains to avoid the word, instead using more ambiguous words like "bicurious" or "fluid" to describe Brittany's sexuality, words that leave plenty of room for a Hand Wave that she is straight/lesbian. Add that to the Word of Gay on Santana, and Ryan Murphy's apparent belief that bisexual kids don't need TV role models the way gay kids do, and you can see why many fans predict Brittany's sexuality will wind up being either gay or straight.
- And then there's the painful episode in which Blaine thinks he may be bisexual because he enjoyed drunk kissing a girl and Kurt tells him that "Bisexual is a term that gay guys in high school use when they want to hold hands with girls and feel like a normal person for a change." Blaine does call him out on the hypocrisy, but then he ends up still identifying as gay at the end of the episode. So now bisexuality isn't for kids who want to stay in the closet, it's a product of drunkenness!
- In the season five episode 'Tina In The Sky With Diamonds', Santana goes on a mini rant against bisexuals, saying that Brittany's bisexuality was the reason her relationship with Brittany didn't work out (untrue) and that by dating a "real" lesbian she's avoiding having her girlfriend "stray for penis".
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Tammy Jean Albertson is a blatant expy of some modern conservative politicians (mainly Sarah Palin and Christine "I'm not a witch" O'Donnell). Made even funnier as she's played by Kathy Griffin.
- No Theme Tune
- Non Sequitur Thud: April gives Kurt alcohol to boost his confidence. Suffice to say he can't hold it too well.
Kurt: Oh Bambi. I cried so hard when those hunters shot your mommy.
- That scene is a rather delightful example of "Non Sequitur Puke".
- No Yay: In-universe example with Santana and Karofsky. Tina thinks she might throw-up. Puck nearly does.
- Not So Different: The kids spent three years complaining about Rachel hogging the spotlight. What happens after she graduates? The senior members bitch at each other about who should be "the new Rachel," completely forgetting the gripe they had with the old one.
- Nothing Is the Same Anymore: As of season 5's New New York, the show has abandoned the Mc Kinley High storyline, and takes place completely in New York, following the glee club alumni.
- Though in season 6 the show goes back to its original premise, what with Rachel and the alumni reforming the glee club.
- Odd Friendship:
- Quinn and Mercedes, especially when Mercedes was dating Quinn's baby daddy.
- Artie and Rachel seemed to have struck up a kind of friendship, seemingly having gotten over their previous "He can't keep up!" and "You're irritating!"
- Really, the entire club is held together with one big web of odd friendships.
- Offhand Backhand: Done by Finn to Rachel accidentally in "Born This Way" due to his terrible dancing skills.
- Offscreen Breakup: Puck and Quinn (season 1), Sam and Santana (season 2), Mike and Tina (some point between season 3 and 4), Kurt and Adam (season 5), Santana and Dani (season 5).
- Oh, Crap:
- A song in the cafeteria is met by someone throwing a plateful of spaghetti at the club. Puck barely has time to say "Oh god, no" before a food fight erupts.
- Kurt's reaction to the massive support Brittany receives for her Senior President campaign.
- Kurt congratulates Harmony on her Sectionals Performance in "Hold On To Sixteen." Her reply?
Harmony: Good thing I'm only a sophomore; next year's going to be a bloodbath!
Kurt makes an D: face
- After Karofsky shows up in his gorilla suit to confess his love to Kurt on Valentine's day in the third season and Kurt shoots him down, only for Karofsky to turn around and see someone from his football team.
- Jesse's reaction when he sees Wade Performing as Unique, his female alter-ego.
- Kurt and Finn's reaction when they see Rachel completly fail her audition for NYADA.
- Ominous Latin Chanting: "O Fortuna" is used to hilarious effect during the Will vs. Sue scenes in "Throwdown."
- Again in Season 2's "The Sue Sylvester Shuffle" as Sue destroys Principle Figgins' waiting room and the football locker room and even abuses a few students.
- This happens a third time early in Season 4, when Figgins makes it clear that he's fine with Finn leading the New Directions. Sue once again terrifies the students outside Figgins' office by knocking books down and pulling glasses off a student's face and throwing them across the hall. Figgins finally reacts quickly enough to throw a verbal response her way while she continues:
Figgins: You are a menace to the state of Ohio!
- Once an Episode: In any episode of season two, you have a good chance that Sam'll take his shirt off and Kurt'll cry. Though not at the same time, mind you.
- Once a Season: The sixth episode of every season is a mash-off competition. In the first two seasons it was boys vs. girls ("Vitamin D" and "Never Been Kissed"), and in the third it was New Directions vs. The Troubletones ("Mash Off").
- Season Four broke the pattern.
- One-Gender School: Dalton Academy and its sister school, Crawford Country Day.
- One Steve Limit:
- Averted. Jerk Jock David Karofsky, Warbler David, and Spanish Teacher David Martinez all share a name. There are also two Andreas - Andrea Cohen from Vocal Adrenaline, and Rod's co-anchor.
- There's also the point that Mike and Tina share a surname (Chang) although it's hyphenated in Tina's case (Cohen-Chang). On that note, she also shares it with Andrea Cohen.
- As of season 3 there are two students with the surname Adams - Azimio and Wade.
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Sue, in "Journey" has managed to become one of the four judges at regionals, poised to take down New Directions for good. The other three judges turn out to be Olivia Newton-John, Josh Grobin, and a local newscaster who stood her up on a date. They all turn out to be even smugger than Sue, and mock, not only New Directions but McKinley High as well. This leads Sue, not only to vote for New Directions, but to save the club from being cut after they come in last.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping/What the Hell Is That Accent?: Virginia-born Jayma Mays as Emma Pillsbury. She's supposed to be from Ohio, but she sounds more like she had a weird lisp.
- Operation Jealousy: Brittany dates Artie to get back at Santana, and Artie plays along to get back at Tina. Neither are aware of the other's ploy, though. To be fair, they do to develop genuine feelings for each other, proven when Santana admits her feelings to Brittany and Brittany rejects her in favor of Artie.
- Opposing Sports Team: Mostly averted with the two teams Glee faces in "Sectionals" (their teachers cheat, but they feel bad about it and admit to it); played straight with Vocal Adrenaline, the "evil empire" of show choir.
- Orbital Kiss: The Concert Kiss at the end of "Pretending."
- Out-of-Character Moment: Will's furious reaction to finding out about the faked pregnancy. Some people have argued it resembles domestic abuse, but it's precisely how far that is from his usual personality that make it so chilling. Frequently referred to as "Five minutes of Mad Men in the middle of Glee."
- Overly Long Gag: In "Britney/Brittany," Jacob's now infamous jizz in his pants during the "Toxic" number.
- Painting the Medium:
- Pair the Spares:
- Rachel and Puck try this but it doesn't workout. This doesn't stop the shippers, seeing as Puckleberry has some of the most vocal fans in the online community.
- Possibly Mercedes and Sam, as well.
- Pandering to the Base: In-universe, this is Aural Intensity's MO. In the first season they sing a Josh Groban/Olivia Newton John medley and in the second season they do a mix of Christian songs. It never really works for them since they always become runner ups. The second time, one of the judges was a nun and even she wasn't impressed by the blatant pandering.
- Papa Wolf:
- Burt Hummel with regards to Kurt.
- Mr. Shue with regards to his glee club students.
- Parent with New Paramour: Both for Finn's mom and Kurt's dad. Together.
- Pet Homosexual: The show seems to thrive on this device.
- Pet the Dog:
- Sue gets one of these with her treatment of the handicapped in "Wheels" (particularly the end of the episode, which reveals her devoted relationship with her disabled sister, and her (rightful) insistence that refraining from harassing one of her cheerleaders because said cheerleader is mentally disabled would be condescending and wrong.
- Sue does this again in "Journey" when she actually votes for New Directions to be in first place in Regionals and persuades Figgins to let New Directions have one more year.
- And again in "Comeback" when she goes to the cancer ward with Will and sings to the kids.
- Possibly her best moment yet: When Will proposes to Emma, she walks down the hallway and several other staff members and friends hand her flowers to form a bouquet; among them is Sue. The expression on her face as she hands Emma the flower is the sweetest, warmest smile you will ever see from her after Jean's death.
- Picture Day: Inverted in "Mattress" - the students don't really seem all that concerned about their individual pictures (minus Rachel), as all the drama is about the group pictures. So the typical conventions of the trope are absent.
- Pitbull Dates Puppy: Quinn and Finn's relationship, as Quinn was portrayed (at first) as a total bitch while Finn was a genuine Nice Guy.
- The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Despite being the Spanish Teacher, Will rarely seems to be shown teaching. This comes back to bite him in the arse on "The Spanish Teacher". After this, he teaches history. Again, this is rarely shown.
- Planet of Hats: Invoked in-universe. Some of the judges apparently wondered, due to it being an all boy school, whether Dalton Academy was actually a school for homosexuals... or if they just happened to have a lot of gay students.
- Plot Armor: Both New Directions and the Warblers advance past Sectionals.
- Plot Hole: In Season 4, the New Directions were disqualified at Sectionals due to Marley fainting and the group heading offstage, letting Dalton Academy win against only one other school. However, when Dalton are disqualified for doping, the New Directions end up winning, despite both being disqualified and there being another school aside from Dalton and McKinley that wasn't disqualified!
- Poke the Poodle: The Gleeks attempt to do something scandalous, and the best they can come up with is causing a disturbance in the library. And even that fails spectacularly.
- Popular Is Dumb: Played straight with Finn, Puck, Brittany, and Terri (back in her high school days that is).
- Portmanteau Couple Name:
- Wemma or Wilma (Will/Emma)
- Finchel (Finn/Rachel)
- Quick (Quinn/Puck)
- Puchel/Puckleberry (Puck/Rachel)
- Faberry/Quinchel (Quinn/Rachel)
- Winn (Will/Finn)
- Take a wild guess what Finn/Puck is. Hint: it ain't "Pinn."
- Puckurt/Purt/Pummel (Puck/Kurt)
- Furt (Finn/Kurt)
- Kinn is also becoming popular among Finn/Kurt fans for reasons that become quite obvious once one tries to say "Furt" out loud. Not to mention the fact that they are step-brothers—you know, kin?
- Bike (Brittany/Mike)
- Mark Salling requested that fans make Puck/Artie videos because "Puck + Artie = Party!" My God... He's one of them!
- Brittana (Brittany/Santana), or "Santittany," according to Naya Rivera.
- Puckleberry Quinn!
- Tartie or Artina (Tina/Artie)
- Meanwhile, shippers for the actors who play them dub them "McHalowitz".
- Quartie or Quarter (Quinn/Artie)
- Changel (Mike Chang/Kurt Hummel)
- St. Berry (Rachel/Jesse)
- St. Fabray (Quinn/Jesse)
- There already exists Skurt or Kum for Sam/Kurt fans.
- Or the lesser used "Hevans".
- Shell (Shelby/Will)
- Chachang (Tina/Mike), also called Chang Squared, Changcest, or Tike. Chitty Chitty Chang Chang was used on the actual show in "Prom Queen".
- Sack (Sam/Puck)
- Sinn (Sam/Quinn) as of "Duets". Most fans use Fabrevans or Quam.
- Sinn was also used for Finn/Sam for a while, but those fans have begun to use Hudevans due to the tumblr tag being filled with "Vampire Diaries, watches, and pornstars".
- Arittany (Artie/Brittany)
- More commonly, Bartie - and the less-flattering "Barfie" from the Brittana shippers.
- Klaine is used for Kurt/Blaine. Though Blurt is also a used alternative.
- Due to the events of "Never Been Kissed", "Karommel" has been offered for Karofsky/Kurt...although "Kurtofsky" is more popular.
- Blam/Slaine (Blaine/Sam)
- Kublam for Kurt/Sam/Blaine threesome.
- Save for Sam/Karofsky and Blainofsky for Blaine/Karofsky have both taken off.
- Mersamchel for the Mercedes/Sam/Rachel friendship in "Prom Queen", which was used in the Glee-Wind for that episode.
- Lauren/Puck reference on the show is "Pizes". Fans call them "Luck".
- Samcedes (Sam/Mercedes) which is now canon.
- Rory and Karofsky had one long before Rory appeared on the show. So long before that they didn't know what Damian's character's name would be. The shippers went with Irishofsky.
- Seblaine or the lesser used Blastian or Andersmythe for Sebastian/Blaine.
- Huntbastian is Hunter/Sebastian. The fandom seems to have willingly taken his claim of being "not even remotely bi-curious" in the opposite direction to that intended.
- Kurtbastian or Sebkurt for Sebastian/Kurt.
- Rory/Sugar is Sugory or, occasionally, Sweet Potatoes.
- After their performance of 'Smooth Criminal', some fans have taken to calling the coupling of Sebastian and Santana 'Sebtana'. It is an interesting pairing, considering that both characters are gay, and as Sebastian's actor Grant Gustin noted, Santana's coming out storyline has been a pretty important one for her. This, combined with Sebastian's haughty air and confidence, makes it seem terribly unlikely that the couple will ever come to fruition.
- Rorbastian is Rory/Sebastian.
- Rormony is Rory/Harmony.
- As of Season 4, the pairing of Brody/Rachel, or Brochel, Westberry, West Side Berry or Westonberry has become popular.
- Product Placement:
- In "Hairography," Schuester namedrops Pep Boys.
- In "Britney/Brittany," Emma's new boyfriend mentions that he shook up his dull life by impulsively buying a convertible at his local Chevy dealership. Not long after, Will "impulsively" buys the exact same model, and in case you can't identify cars by sight, the camera helpfully stays fixed on the Corvette logo for several seconds. Guess what sports car appears during the very next commercial break?
- All technology is made by Apple. The school uses iMacs, all characters seem to have Macbooks, the phones are all iPhones... (except in Season 4, when the phones seem to be Samsung phones).
- The Problem with Pen Island:
- The glee club is known as the "New Directions" (Nude Erections). Better yet, Will comes up with the name while in bed.
- Used again and lampshaded by Sue when she called Aural Intensity "the obviously not stupidly named" (Oral Intensity).
- Prom Is for Straight Kids: Discussed, as Blaine is reluctant to go because of a bad incident during a Sadie Hawkins dance at his former school. But it's averted (mostly) as Kurt and Blaine seemingly go without a hitch and Brittany can be seen dancing with a girl at one point.
- Properly Paranoid: Kurt (and Santana) both dislike Rachel's new boyfriend in New York, Brody. Seeing as Brody is secretly a sex worker...
- Protagonist-Centered Morality: If a character makes fun of or bullies the Glee Club, they are portrayed as jerks who need to be shown up. Anyone within the club who picks on or mistreats someone (and there are plenty of instances), it is played for laughs and handwaved.
- In "Hold onto Sixteen", Quinn is repeatedly told by Rachel that she would be doing the wrong thing by informing people of Shelby's sexual relationship with Puck, which would cause her to lose her job, prove her an unfit mother and allow Quinn to retake her child. Despite Quinn having selfish motives for wanting to reveal the affair, the fact remains that Shelby shouldn't have gotten involved with Puck, a student at the school she works at and if she had lost the job and the child as a result of this, it would have ultimately been her own fault.
- Put on a Bus: Multiple characters.
- Special note goes to pretty much all of the new New Directioners. It makes sense, mind you, since their plot was intended to be tied to Finn's, with his death making them more or less redundant, but it doesn't make it any less jarring when they essentially disappeared, with only Marley even getting a line in the episode "New Directions."
- Take That/Stealth Parody: Glee likes to do this.
- An unequivocal Take That was directed at Chris Brown and Rihanna's relationship during the episode Guilty Pleasures.
- After Pitch Perfect took all sorts of shots at the show, it hit back in "The Untitled Rachel Berry Project" when Mary says "the A Cappella thing" is so overrated and "yawn!" done, boring.
- A meta-example during the Stylistic Suck Show Within a Show "That's So Rachel," which seems to combine some of the stupider plot elements into one big strange un-funny sitcom.
- Take That, Audience!: In "Swan Song" Brittany mentions that lesbians have emailing her about Santana and says that she doesn't want to put Sam in danger. This is a reference to the Brittana fandom going crazy about the chance of Brittany and Sam hooking up.
- Ryan Murphy has been known to do directly on his Twitter account as well.
- Take That, Critics!: Season 2 began by lampshading various fan complaints (song selections, Will's rapping, Auto-Tune), to which Kurt told the anonymous commenters of Jacob's blog to say it to his face next time. He promptly got slushied.
- The show has a habit of doing this in lieu of actually doing anything to change the actual content/quality of the show.
- Talk Show: Brittany's web show, "Fondue For Two."
- Tangled Family Tree: Because Shelby adopted Beth, Quinn and Puck are the parents of Rachel's sister, the latter of whom she dated. Rachel was dating her sister's mother's ex-boyfriend Finn, whose mother is married to Kurt's father.
- In "Pot o' Gold," this becomes even more complicated after Puck hooks up with Shelby. Meaning he is dating his ex-girlfriend's biological mother, who is also the adoptive mother of his biological daughter.
- And more, after adding Puck's half-brother Jake to the mix!
- Tantrum Throwing: Sue has done this twice when she gets especially annoyed.
- Tastes Like Purple: While drunk, Rachel yells out that wine coolers, "taste like PINK!"
- Teacher/Student Romance: A brief, one-sided one occurs in "Ballad," when Rachel begins to crush on Will. Puck and Shelby begin a genuine one in "Pot O' Gold."
- In "Choke," Puck tries to invoke this trope in with his European Geography teacher, so she doesn't fail him. It doesn't work.
- Technician Versus Performer:
- Within New Directions, this is the basis of Rachel and Mercedes' diva rivalry. Rachel has a trained voice with performance technique down pat, while Mercedes has a strong voice and follows her instincts.
- It's also the basis in the New Directions vs Vocal Adrenaline rivalry. Vocal Adrenaline are technicians whose performances include spot-on choreography and amazing vocals, but lack human warmth (at one point they describe themselves as souless robots). On the other hand, the New Directions are performers who, while packing less technical proficiency, tend to really get into their songs and transmit a genuine sense of caring for what they're performing. In a subversion of what normally would be expected (the victory of the genuine performers), the New Directions lost to Vocal Adrenaline in both Season 1 and Season 2.
- Tempting Fate: Marley tells Jake that she won't be the one to let the New Directions down at Sectionals. She collapses while performing onstage as a result of starving herself for the past few weeks, which leads to the New Directions being disqualified.
- Terrified of Germs: Emma, to the point of individually handwashing grapes.
- The Eighties : Several of the performance / fantasy sequences play with the fashions and accessories of the time period (evoking the music videos), particularly "Hot for Teacher," "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go," and "Take On Me."
- Their First Time: An entire episode is dedicated to the first times of Rachel, Blaine, and Kurt.
- Theme Naming:
- Every girl after Will in "Ballad" has a food related name (Emma Pillsbury, Rachel Berry, Suzie Pepper, and Terri Delmonico—a type of steak).
- Rhyming theme naming with star on again off again couple Finn and Quinn, and father and son Burt and Kurt.
- Sam's younger siblings are named Stacey and Stevie.
- Third-Option Love Interest: Played straight in "Bad Reputation." Puck is the Third-Option Love Interest in the Finn/Rachel/Jesse triangle.
- This Cannot Be!: Finn and Kurt's reaction to Rachel failing her audition during the episode "Choke". Complete with Oh, Crap faces:
Finn: Oh God.
Kurt: This isn't happening.
- This Is Your Song: Many, especially in the episode "Ballad."
- This Loser Is You: Jacob Ben Israel seems to be a caricature of Internet reviewers.
- Those Two Guys:
- Mike and Matt. They're really just there to fulfill the club's needed minimum of 12 students in Season 1. In Season 2, Mike gets some character development and more lines. By Season 3, he gets A Day in the Limelight and even sings. Matt, however, is put on a bus, having transferred to another school. Matt left after getting lines in a grand total of two episodes: "Theatricality" and "Journey."
- Brittany and Santana started off like this but they were developed and are now major parts of the plot. In fact, their storylines are more prominent than those of some of the original main cast, like Tina.
- Wes and David are simply Warblers, and possibly Blaine's friends. They've only spoken once or twice, and always about the Warblers, such as when Blaine enlisted their help to address Kurt's spying.
- They Plotted a Perfectly Good Waste:
- An in-universe example. Finn and Rachel's rendition of "Born Again" from "Duets." To be fair, they were actually trying to throw the competition. One can only imagine if it had gone over well.
- Much of the fandom feels this way about Santana's coming out.
- Think Unsexy Thoughts: Finn has a problem with "arriving" too soon, but can easily cool off when he thinks about the mailman he almost killed when learning how to drive. The other boys (and Tina) think of Coach Beiste to cool off themselves. Thoroughly deconstructed, however, when Beiste finds out.
- Timeshifted Actor: Eight year-old Kurt appears in flashback scenes in "Grilled Cheesus," played by young actor Adam Kolkin who bears an astonishing resemblance to Chris Colfer.◊
- Title Drop:
- Done by Kurt and Beiste in "Never Been Kissed".
- Finn in "Furt" and "Grilled Cheesus".
- Mike and his dad in "Asian F".
- Token Minority Couple: Puck invokes this with him and Rachel (Jews), and later Mercedes (Jewish and African American). Then there is Mike and Tina (Asian). Also, Mercedes' Season 3 boyfriend.
- Took a Level in Jerkass:
- Sebastian was always a jerk, but adding rock salt to a slushie and throwing it in Blaine's face was a new low.
- Gradually inverted with Sue over time; as much as she still takes Refuge in Audacity, she has begun to develop more caring aspects of her character.
- Becky, of all people, through Season 3. She goes into full-on Jerkass mode when she doesn't get nominated for Prom Queen in "Prom-asaurus".
- Too Soon: In-Universe.
Will: Everybody loves movies. They don't just tell stories, they transport us to other worlds. They are inspirational. They provide comfort. They help us escape our day-to-day anxieties.
Kitty: Like being left at the altar?
Ryder: Whoa, too soon.
- Trailers Always Spoil: For anyone who saw the preview for "Born This Way." Kurt returns to McKinley.
- Train-Station Goodbye: Happens at the end of "Goodbye" between Finn and Rachel.
- Trans Equals Gay: Averted. Wade/Unique makes it quite clear that she wants to dress as a woman because she identifies as one, not just as an extension of his campness. Sue, however, doesn't get it and tries to get Kurt to perform in drag in order to compete with her. Although Wade later has a crush on Ryder and catfishes him as a girl named Katie.
- Also averted by Coach Beiste who's transitioning into a man despite being straight, or as Sam puts it, "So you want to be a gay man?"
- Trope Overdosed
- True Companions: The Glee Club.
- True Meaning of Christmas: Played with in "Extraordinary Merry Christmas." Rory reads Linus' speech from A Charlie Brown Christmas, which is about the birth of Christ, to the rest of club. However, the speech is more of a reminder for them to stop being so selfish and materialistic.
- Truth in Television: Exaggerated, of course, but the school's money troubles mirrors a lot of Ohio's schools' problems.
- Tsundere: Terri's behaviour towards Will.
- It's later explained that after the fake pregancy stunt, she was diagnosed as Bipolar.
- Two Decades Behind: When we get a flashback to Will and Bryan in high school, everyone has mullets and 80's-style clothing. But the pilot states that Will's glee club won nationals in 1993, placing the flashback in the very early 90's. People were dressing a little differently then. Possibly because small rural towns are notoriously time-lagged, especially when it comes to fashion. In some parts of the country, the 80's didn't end until about 1998.
- Will's music taste, which is heavily lampshaded.
- Twofer Token Minority: Santana who's both Hispanic and a lesbian
- Actually, strictly speaking she's a Triple Shot Minority, being Latina, lesbian, and left-handed.
- Also Leroy Berry, one of Rachel's dads, is gay and black. Her other dad, Hiram, is gay and Jewish.
- The Cohen part of Tina's last name suggests that she's possibly both Asian and Jewish.
- Jake Puckerman is half black and Jewish.
- Unique is black and transgender.
- Blaine is gay and biracial (At least his actor Darren Criss is biracial. There's been a few comments on the show that imply Blaine is as well but his race has never been explicitly stated).
- Two First Names: Bryan Ryan, played by the king of three first names himself.
- Two-Person Pool Party: Where Finn thought he got Quinn pregnant, despite them not actually having sex. Cut to Miss Conception.
- Tyrant Takes the Helm: "Throwdown," where Sue becomes co-captain of Glee. She ends up being the impetus for everyone leaving the Glee club and then coming back. She leaves at the end, but not before revealing to the entire group that Quinn's pregnancy is now public knowledge.
- But semi-subverted when Sue becomes Principal. In her brief time in charge, she actually does something about Kurt's bullying and introduces healthier food in the cafeteria. The latter is regarded as unforgiveable by Mercedes, however.
- When Sue became principal again in season 5, she managed to get rid of Figgins, New Directions, and also, its director, Will, who becomes the new director for its rival, Vocal Adrenaline (after losing Nationals), and it gets even worse in Season 6, with much more strict policies, and apparently Sue also transfers the former members of New Directions to another school except Kitty.
- Underdogs Never Lose: Subverted.
- Unfortunate Names:
- One student from the Jane Addams Academy is named Aphasia, which is a type of language disorder.
- Finn wanted to name Quinn's baby "Drizzle."
- Puck wanted to name Quinn's baby "Jackie Daniels."
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: Tends to get resolved later on.
- Very Special Episode: Multiple ones.
- V-Formation Team Shot: In "Theatricality" when the gang comes to Kurt's defense, in full Lady Gaga and KISS costumes, no less.
- Villain Ball: Sue holds it for the first season until the end. Starting in season two, she basically just dribbles it.
- Villain Song: Sue's version of "Vogue." "Laura, Katheryn, Lana too / Will Shuester, I hate you."
- Viral Marketing: Italian network "Italia Uno" ("Italy One") has aired bumpers such as this one (see the others in the related videos). GLEE-talia Uno! Evidently Mediaset wants to surprise anyone who doesn't have internet and/or anyone who's never heard of Glee. It's almost sickening.
- Visual Innuendo: Emma singing about how she could have "done a thousand things I've never done before" combined with a close-up of a pearl necklace?
- Vomit Indiscretion Shot: When Santana and Brittany throw up during their performance of "Tik Tok."
- Wacky Marriage Proposal: A synchronized swimming performance, the glee club singing "We Found Love," and Will jumping in the pool in a white tux (complete with top hat and tails) definitely counts. Averted later in the episode with Finn and Rachel.
- Not really wacky but extremely extravagant, Blaine's proposal to Kurt includes four rival showchoirs dancing in elaborately choreographed routine that takes place all throughout Dalton Academy while Blaine sings The Beatles' "All You Need Is Love". All of Kurt's family and friends are there and it concludes with an equally elaborate speech on the stairs where they first met.
- Wardrobe Wound: Unpopular students often have slushies thrown at them as a form of bullying.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Sue freely admits she's one.
- Wham Episode:
- "On My Way". Karofsky attempts suicide, and the episode ends with Quinn having a car accident.
- "Thanksgiving", At the end of "Gangnam Style", Marley collapses on stage from food deprivation. In the next episode we find out it caused New Directions to lose Sectionals.
- "Shooting Star", Becky brings a gun to school because she's scared for her safety, and when Sue tries to take it from her it goes off. Then Sue covers for Becky, and it gets her fired.
- What Could Have Been: An in-universe example. After Rachel and Santana perform "So Emotional", Rachel expresses regret that the two girls never performed together before due to mutual dislike, despite their vocal chemistry.
- Kurt would never have existed if Chris Colfer didn't audition since the role was created specifically for him. And what a different show that would have been....
- A spinoff was considered after Season 3 featuring some of the graduates. It never happened so the graduates were integrated into Season 4.
- What the Hell, Hero?:
- Burt gives one to Finn after overhearing him call Kurt "faggy".
- Rachel gets one from the entire Glee club after her cruelty scares away Sunshine, the foreign exchange student with the pipes to rival Rachel's own.
- Will gives one to the boys (and Tina) for their treatment of Coach Beiste (see Think Unsexy Thoughts above).
- Will gets TWO more in "The Rocky Horror Glee Show," with Carl calling him out using the glee club to make a move on Emma, and Sue calling him out on pushing boundaries just for the sake of pushing boundaries.
- Shelby really lets Quinn have it when she finds out Quinn tried to make her look like an unfit mother, especially with the last thing she says before kicking Quinn out of her house:
Shelby: Just because you took out your nose ring and dyed your hair blonde doesn't make you any less lost.
- In "The Spanish Teacher," Santana cuts Will's cojones off for making a mockery of her culture with his crappy Spanish lessons, actually causing him to rethink the direction of his teaching career.
- Marley gives one to the Glee club when they join in on joking about the lunch lady's weight. Besides being a horrible thing to do in general, she reveals that that's her mother.
- Wheelchair Antics: After some coaching from Artie, New Directions performs a wheelchair dance to "Proud Mary" in Wheels.
- Whole Costume Reference:
- In "Theatricality," the girls (and Kurt) and guys dress up in costumes from Lady Gaga and Kiss respectively.
- During the black and white holiday special portion of "Extraordinary Merry Christmas," Finn and Puck appear to be dressed as Luke Skywalker and Han Solo respectively.
- Whole Plot Reference: In "A Very Glee Christmas," Sue's plot is How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, from the moment Will addresses her as a Grinch. Becky fills in for Max the dog, and the Glee club for the residents of Whoville (with Brittany as Cindy-Lou Who).
- Will They or Won't They?:
- Emma and Will, and Finn and Rachel in season 1. Both are resolved by the end of season 2. They do.
- Kurt and Blaine. They do. and later, they don't in Season 6.
- Santana and Brittany. They do.
- Puck and Quinn in season 1. Pretty much dropped since then, aside from an instance of Quinn trying to seduce Puck into making another baby with her in season 3. As of New Directions - halfway through Season FIVE - They do.
- World of Snark: Most of the characters get a swing at this.
- Worst Henchmen Ever: How Sue describes The League of Doom.
- Writers Cannot Do Math:
- Just have a look at Will's equation in "A Night of Neglect." 5000*0.25=20000 is NOT correct! According to Amber Riley's Twitter, this was indeed done on purpose, and was an inside joke of sorts with the cast.
- Finn was apparently born right before the Gulf War... which started and ended in January 1991, meaning Finn should have graduated a year before the show even started, though this may be explained by the fact that his dad didn't actually die in the war.
- X Meets Y : Degrassi meets High School Musical.
- Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: Will and Sue team up to get Beiste fired, for "stealing" their budgets. When Beiste quit after she was humiliated in "Never Been Kissed", Sue calls Will to the auditorium and showers him with confetti. Will is not pleased at what happened.
- Your Cheating Heart:
- Quinn and Rachel both cheated on Finn with Puck.
- Quinn cheated on Sam with Finn.
- Tina kissed Mike just before she and Artie broke up.
- Brittany and Santana both cheated on (both, in Brittany's case) Artie and Sam with each other.
- Mercedes kissed Sam while she was still with Shane.
- Rory tried to get Brittany to sleep with him while she was still with Santana.
- Kurt was accused of infidelity by Blaine after the two of them became distant with each other and Kurt began texting another boy.
- As of The Break Up, Blaine cheats on Kurt because "Kurt wasn't there and he was lonely".
- The only members of New Directions who have never either cheated on or helped cheat on somebody else are Artie, Lauren, Joe, and Sugar.
- Furthermore, Will cheated on Terri emotionally with Emma.
- In season 5 Jake cheats on Marley with Bree because she wouldn't have sex with him.
- Your Mom: Puck uses this to try and throw an oppossing football player off his game. Then he explains that this is Not Hyperbole.
- Zany Scheme: Hiram plans one to stop Finn and Rachel from getting married.
Hiram: When the justice of the peace says "Does anybody here object?"
Burt: Yeah, hell yeah! I do!
Hiram: We all say "We do!" with feeeeeeeling. Burt, you will run interference with Finn. Carole, you will distract the Justice of the Peace with your feminine wiles. I will hustle Rachel out the side door and into our waiting car where you, Leroy, will drive (I don't drive) straight to Broadway. And if that doesn't start to get our baby girl back on her career track, I don't know what will. Are we agreed?
...and that's what you missed on Glee