“Glee” Set Scoop: Darren Talks Happy Endings and Jacob & Blake On Being “Naked”

Blaine and Kurt. GLAAD Media Awards nominations. Nakedness.

Those were just a few of the buzzworthy topics that came up yesterday when AfterElton dropped by the set of Fox’s Glee, where a Q&A was held on the final day of the Television Critics Association winter press tour.

Looks like Klaine fans will have to wait for more tender scenes like this one…

In attendance in McKinley High’s Glee Club set were cast members Darren Criss, Kevin McHale, Heather Morris, Jenna Ushkowitz, Jacob Artist, Chord Overstreet, Melissa Benoist, newest cast member Blake Jenner as well as Executive Producer Dante Di Loreto, who fielded questions about the episodes to come once the show returns January 24th.

First off was the just-announced GLAAD Media Awards nomination, for which Glee received a Best Comedy Series nomination. Di Loreto was more than pleased at the news. “Anytime we get recognized, it’s exciting,” he said. “And the wonderful thing about the show is we’re in the entertainment business, right? All we’re hoping to do is to make people laugh, smile, feel something in their heart for 42 minutes once a week. But this show touched a nerve with a lot of people. And without being a show about particular issues, it made it okay to be who you are, to be an outsider. It made it okay to sing and dance, you know? It made it okay to join your choir. It made it okay to do a lot of things. And it did it in a way that really was door‑opening. And I think it was because we all knew it. You knew it. We knew it in our heart that this is how people behave. And to be recognized for it is great and also to recognize it has changed people’s perceptions about the arts and about ideas about identity is really important to us.”

One of the reasons for the nomination, obviously, is the way the show has handled the relationship of gay teens Kurt (Chris Colfer) and Blaine (Criss). As for the future, the good news is Criss said he wants to see Klaine back together. However, the not-so-good news is he’s fine waiting some time before that happens, which seems likely since news broke that Kurt has a potential new love interest (played by British actor Oliver Kieran-Jones) on the horizon. “I think for any relationship that got such a killer start as the two of them,” Criss explained, “it’s good to have some troubled water to ultimately have some kind of payoff.” He added that there is some good that comes out of seeing their relationship drama play out realistically. “I think it’s good to show young people especially that have really strong relationships, when they do part, it’s not necessarily the end. It’s sort of a new chapter for both people.”

One plus, as we saw in the “Glee Actually” episode, is that while they may still be split, Blaine and Kurt are not completely apart. “I do like that they’re very much staying in each other’s lives,” Criss said, adding what he’d like to happen next. “I would like to see, if Blaine or Kurt do meet people, that in lieu of those relationships, they can still be in each other’s lives to sort of help them through any rough times that they may face.”

But when all is said and done, though, Criss admitted with a smile, “Of course I want to see them together in the end. Duh.”

“Wait, now who’s spotting who?”

(l-r, Samuel Larsen, Chord Overstreet, Jacob Artist, Blake Jenner, Darren Criss)

Besides talk of Klaine, the next obvious topic was the “Naked” episode, airing January 31st. Post-Q&A, Artist told us that there was some bonding that occurred between the guys. “I think that we help each other out so much on those days where we have to be shirtless,” he explained. “It’s like ‘Okay, drop. 25 push ups’ and everybody will get down and just start doing it. Those were some fun days on set, for sure.”

He added that Overstreet leads the charge when the script calls for the guys to wear very little clothing. Artist said his blond co-star “actually is like the fitness guru. ‘Okay, guys, we have a shirtless scene tomorrow, next week. Let’s go to the gym.’ He is our fitness leader!”

The actor, who plays Jake Puckerman, was glad he’s had some time on the show before the “Naked” episode popped up. “Had that been my first scene when I started the show,” he said, smiling, “I probably would’ve been hyperventilating and panicking but [his co-stars are] all so great and it’s such a great environment that it makes it so much easier and fun.”

Jenner, who joined the show as Ryder Lynn after winning The Glee Project last year, said he had to calm his nerves for this particular episode. “It was my first real shirtless scene for an actual prime time show, so I was nervous, but then we got into it and it was all fun.”

“Pumpkin shorts and Timberlands? Looking good, Puckerman!”

Being two of the newer cast members, Artist and Jenner each agreed on how they feel about the new level of attention they’re now receiving. “Just being a part of something so special,” Artist said, “and having people come up and reacting and saying ‘this show has done so many great things for me and helped me through this and that.’ That’s just the incredible bonus of being on a television show. It’s amazing.”

Jenner, who has a gay brother in real life, shared, “I’ve met a few gay fans and they just love the show and like my character. It’s just all the same. No matter what your sexual orientation, if you love the show, you love the show, and it’s awesome to have their support and that they’re into it.”

Beyond the “Naked” eye-candy-filled episode there will be a Valentine’s Day episode, which is the episode the cast took a break from shooting to talk to the visiting press. Any story teases for that episode? “I think it’s fair to say that there is romance in the air,” said Di Loreto, adding, “there is a wedding in the air.”

While rumor has it that it’s Mr. Schuester (Matthew Morrison) and Emma (Jayma Mays), the producer teased some unpredictability to come. “There’s certain things that you could sit at home and think ‘I really want this to happen’ and ‘that is so true’ and ‘it’s so undeniable.’ And there are also some things that are going to shock the heck out of you. That’s the really fun part, and that’s what’s coming down the pike.”

Glee returns with new episodes at 9pm on January 24th on Fox.

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