Hubbub with Brad Falchuk
SOMETIMES WHEN A THING IS UNLEASHED onto the world it causes such fury and uproar that it becomes an uncontainable force of nature. Like Glee, which is rampaging toward the conclusion of its second season this month on Fox. We caught up with the hit show’s co-creator and writer, Newton native Brad Falchuk, to find out just how much singing and dancing he did back in his high school days at Chestnut Hill’s Beaver Country Day School (class of 1989).
Fans of your show aren’t shy about sharing their opinions. Your Twitter feed is like the 2011 version of standing out there with a torch and trying to fend off an angry mob.
A lot of people really relate to the characters, so when someone in the show is in love or breaking up, they almost feel like it’s happening to them. Some of them get a little personal with me.
So basically you’re getting threatening letters from 13-year-old girls.
Exactly. That’s why I only read my Twitter feed once a week now.
How much does the high school in Glee resemble the one you went to?
A lot. Obviously Beaver is nothing like McKinley High — a big school in the middle of Ohio — but there seems to be a uniform experience of being a teenager: the joy and excitement and possibility and horror of it. A lot of the characters are also named after my friends from high school, which they get a kick out of.
Do you hear from them?
Oh yeah. The guy I named Puckerman after, Noah Zuckerman, he’s married and has three daughters. Every time he watches the show, he calls and complains to me because his wife looks at him like, “Did you do that?” And he’s like, “No! He’s just named after me!”
So Zuckerman’s kids one day will be like, “Oh, I didn’t know Dad was selling pot cupcakes at the school bake sale….”
Exactly. And I don’t want to get him in any trouble, so let’s just say that story is made up.
How many of the pranks that are on the show are things that actually happened?
There was a lot of dumpster-tossing. I would say a pretty good chunk of the stuff actually happened.
You were more jock than glee-clubber, it sounds like.
I definitely was not comfortable with my artistic side just yet. I wasn’t a particularly good jock, either. I did a play or two, but it wasn’t until I got to college that I started really expressing that part of myself.
You actually went back and gave the graduation speech at Beaver and had some strong words for an old teacher, right? That’s like every kid’s dream.
I was a terrible student, but my English teacher in 10th grade was especially awful to me. She told me at one point that I wouldn’t amount to anything. So when I came back to speak at the graduation, I called her out and told her to kiss my ass.
I know you’re a big Red Sox guy, which has got to be tough since you live out West. It’s funny, a lot of people would probably be surprised that the guy behind Glee is a die-hard Sox fan.
I’m definitely one of those “good day when the Red Sox win, bad day when the Red Sox lose” kind of people. The only thing you don’t get out here is the community feeling and the energy of September in Boston when things are tight. I definitely miss that. I sneak little jokes about A-Rod or Jeter into the show. The character Sam Evans is named after Dwight Evans. I throw Red Sox names in there all the time.
Thinking back to high school, if there were one thing you could redo, what would it be?
I think I would have been nicer to people. Just like anyone in high school, I was scared and defensive and might not always have been as kind as I would have liked.
And you would have occasionally broken out into song and dance to defuse situations, right?
Well, I did that anyway. Everybody does that.
Follow Jason Schwartz on Twitter @SchwartzHub.