The Glee Renaissance: And That’s What You REALLY Missed


Glee first aired in 2009 and had its final episode in 2015, but it still remains a pop culture fixture. There is something about the show, as well as its characters and cast, that continues to resonate with audiences even today. Sure, Glee is not perfect. There are simply too many lines of dialogue, plot points, and song choices that would not fly in 2022. But it was, and remains, a cultural reset. No TV show at the time was anything like Glee, and there hasn’t been anything like it since. Something about a show choir full of high school misfits dealing with serious issues (and some not-so-serious teenage drama), all while singing musical hits from decades ago to now, really speaks to viewers of all ages and backgrounds.

The Glee Renaissance truly began during quarantine. Everyone wanted to watch their comfort shows for nostalgia and the reassurance of the known, and Glee fit the bill. That’s why Kevin McHale and Jenna Ushkowitz, who played Artie Abrams and Tina Cohen-Chang respectively, decided to make two different podcasts about the show. Their first podcast called Showmance: The Glee Recap Edition lasted for two years (2019-2020). It was partially a Glee recap, bringing in other cast and crew to discuss episodes and characters, as well as what was going on behind the scenes. In addition, they brought actors and actresses from other TV shows and Broadway to discuss showmance-related topics.

Now they are back in 2022 with a brand new podcast called And That’s What You REALLY Missed. In this podcast, they are really going all in for the Gleeks. The two will rewatch every single episode from all six seasons of Glee and address each individually. Plus, they will talk about promotional content as well, from the Super Bowl to a world tour. What really makes this podcast special, though, is that McHale and Ushkowitz are answering questions and addressing topics that no one from the show has ever publicly discussed. Everything is on the table and nothing is being held back.

This is clear just from the first two episodes. The podcast started with a three-hour-long interview with Ryan Murphy, split into two parts. Murphy was one of the show’s three creators, as well as producer, writer, and director for Glee. During this interview, McHale and Ushkowitz ask him about how Glee came to be. They discuss its inspiration, its original screenplay, and even its first screen test. Apparently, prior to the airing of the pilot, they did not have much hope for the show. Murphy states that it was a passion project, and just getting to make it and work with the cast and crew was enough for him. The fact that the pilot did so well, as did each subsequent episode, was more than they ever could’ve hoped for. It is so much fun to be able to hear them discuss the early days of making Glee.

However, the podcast is not entirely lighthearted. Many tragedies are attached to Glee, particularly the deaths of some of its cast members. Previously, those who worked on and in the show have remained tight-lipped about these tragedies, wanting their feelings to remain private. But in And That’s What You REALLY Missed, McHale, Ushkowitz, and Murphy open up for the first about what they felt and thought, specifically about the death of Cory Monteith and his tribute episode titled “The Quarterback.” His character Finn Hudson was part of the main cast, so the three talk about what it was like to navigate the death of their friend while also trying to decide how to move on with the show appropriately.

Nevertheless, McHale and Ushkowitz state that they feel Glee brought a net positive to both their lives and the lives of others, with Murphy in agreement. The show is so relatable, dealing with real-life issues while also managing to produce a lot of laughs. For this reason, it is beloved, something audiences chose to rewatch time and time again. Ryan Murphy said he only allowed these two to do their podcasts because he felt they really loved the show and understood the passion behind it. So if you want to know anything and everything about Glee, tune in each week for And That’s What You REALLY Missed!

Writer: Sarah Moloney
Artist: Solymar Estrella