What a difference 18 months can make.
Need proof? Step into our wayback machine.
The year was 2009, the month was April and the world was an entirely different place. Bieberfever had yet to infect a nation of teenagers, Conan O’Brien fans were anxiously awaiting his ascension to THE TONIGHT SHOW throne, and your very own TV Addict was lucky enough to have been given the opportunity to drop by a nondescript Santa Monica area high school to chat with the cast of a risky little show called GLEE.
Cut to the hear-and-now and listen as Jenna Ushkowitz — aka the now-monster-hit’s Tina — marvels at the fact that the show that dared to try and make musicals cool again (and succeeded beyond anyone’s wildest imaginations) will be airing in the much-coveted post-Super Bowl slot this Sunday.
“It’s been insane, an insane roller coaster, but one that’s been absolutely amazing,” she admits with a laugh. “Every step we take is another surprise. But at the same time, because of the nature of the show and how time consuming it is, we’re always working in this GLEE bubble. So when we walk out and encounter fans, we realize the gravity of what we’re doing for kids and for people, so it’s actually really, really cool. The most positive thing is that you’re able to be a role model, and have this responsibility because people look up to you and have people care.”
Of course, being put on a pedestal can lead to a tough balancing act for anyone living in the public eye. “The hard thing is that you do have to kind of keep yourself in check,” she admits. “Not that it’s a bad thing, but it’s definitely a different way of life. Two years ago, I wouldn’t have had to worry about brushing my hair before going to the supermarket, but it’s okay because it comes with the territory of what we do.”
On the plus side, it’s tough to become tabloid fodder when you’re schedule consists of eating, breathing and promoting the very show which thrust you into the spotlight in the first place! Take, for example, the episode airing after the Super Bowl — which she and several other cast mates are psyched to be attending. “We started shooting right before Christmas, and we just finished two days ago!” she reveals. “The episode and the storyline are so crazy, with every character really intertwining with one another. It feels like we’ve been working on that one episode for an eternity, so I’m pretty sure it’s going to be epic!” How can it not be, given the much-buzzed about Thriller sequence. “In terms of the makeup and hair, our crews were amazing and they got to have a lot of fun with that. So it’s been really crazy… I’m really excited to see it!”
Meanwhile, she’s also stoked about what’s in store where her alter ego’s love life is concerned! (Note to Artie and Tina Shippers… stop reading now!)
“In the episode after the Super Bowl, it’s Valentine’s Day, and Tina and Mike get to celebrate together,” teased Ushkowitz. “Tina gets to sing Mike a song.” Does this mean former beau Artie is out of the picture? “I don’t know,” she admits. “It’s funny, because at first, the writers were all about putting them back together, but then Artie and Britney got together. Now, we don’t know!”
GLEE’s post-Super Bowl episode is scheduled to air this Sunday at 10:30PM (EST) on FOX (Global TV in Canada)