Glee

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"There is nothing ironic about show choir!"
Rachel Berry, "Pilot"

Welcome to Glee, where every episode is the Musical Episode.

Glee 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. 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 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 (arguably on purpose) to the point of reviving a few Dead Horse Tropes.

Before the first season was finished it was renewed for both a second and third season, the second airing in 2010-2011 and the third in 2011-2012. The fourth season is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2012.

Can be viewed online in HD on the official FOX website.

Please add all character-related tropes to the Character Sheet. Also has its own Ho Yay, Wild Mass Guessing, Recap and Headscratchers pages, the latter of which is divided into Season 1, Season 2, Season 3, and Characters, since the initial page started getting kind of hefty. Because we're all obsessives here we even have a page going over every episode's aesop. If you just want to talk about the show, stop by our Glee Forum. And please keep Awesome Music examples on the appropriate page, otherwise we'll be here all night.

Please note that The Glee Project has its own page, so don't put examples from that here.


Tropes used in Glee include:


A-B[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Aborted Arc: Repeatedly.
    • Quinn's vague threat of doing something mischievous in New York only to just get a haircut.
    • The show makes a big deal out of setting up a Betty and Veronica love triangle with Sue, Coach Bieste, and Cooter, only for Bieste and Cooter to get married offscreen.
    • The second half of season one built up an Unlikely Friendship between Mercedes and Quinn, to the point where Quinn asked Mercedes to be in the delivery room with her. Aside from one line in the season three premiere, this friendship has not been mentioned since.
    • Sugar's lack of singing skill. It initially keeps her from getting into the New Directions, and we see a touch of it during the Troubletones' rehearsal time, but in actual performances it's never a problem. In fact, when the Troubletones are dissolved and rejoin the New Directions, she joins along with the rest of the former New Directions members, no fuss.
  • 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.
  • 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. Strangely 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?

  • Aerith and Bob: Of the new characters, this is somewhat the case. You have Blaine, Rory, Sugar and Joe.
  • 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.
  • Affably Evil: Sebastian has definitely acted this way this season, particularly when he told Kurt right to his face that he was going to try to seduce Blaine away from him, and then later after Blaine rejected him, when he injured Blaine's eye with a slushy filled with rock salt.
  • 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", and "Do You Wanna Touch Me".
  • All Asians Are Alike: 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 and Tina are Chinese, two 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.
  • 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).
  • 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: Quinn, in the beginning of the show, then Santana basically took over this spot, though even Santana seems to be moving away from this
  • 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 graduation.
  • 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?

  • Armoured Closet Gay: Dave Karofsky.
  • 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.
  • 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 Did Not Do the Research:
    • 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.
    • There's no such place as "Lima Heights Adjacent" that Santana keeps saying she's from (worse is the implication that the place is a ghetto, even though her dad is a doctor).
    • 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 an impressionable teenager, but saying he'd go to jail over it was right out.
    • Blaine would have to move to Chicago for the summer if he wants to perform at Six Flags, since that's the one closest to Ohio (the one in Ohio closed in 2007[1]). 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 it's a Rust Belt city, it's also unlikely for Carmel High to have such an outrageous budget for its glee club.
  • 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 may have had a line or two about once every three episodes, 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.
    • Lauren Zizes, the overweight 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 Santana'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.
  • Attack of the Political Ad: All of the congressional campaign ads in "Mash Off".
  • Auto-Tune: Every song to varying degrees. Including successful Broadway actresses like Lea freaking Michele. Also mentioned in-series.
  • 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 one to Finn in "Mash Off".
  • 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.
  • Betty and Veronica: Quinn and Rachel to Finn, Artie and Santana to Brittany, Bieste and Sue to Cooper.
  • 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.
  • Big Applesauce: The Season 2 finale takes place here.
  • Big Beautiful Woman:
    • With the exception of one episode where she has to lose weight for Cheerios, and has about as much trouble as Quinn did, Mercedes never really shows too much apprehension about her size.
    • Lauren Zizes. Her big solo number in the second half of Season 2 highlights this.
  • 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.
  • Bi the Way: Possibly Brittany; so far, she's only identified as bi-curious.
  • 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 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.
  • Blackmail:
    • 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.
  • 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).
  • Bowdlerize: The Rocky Horror Picture Show is butchered both in-universe and out.
  • 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.
  • Breather Episode:
  • 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.
  • Broken Aesop: Frequently on the show. YMMV obviously
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • But Not Too Gay:
    • Averted in truly spectacular fashion in "Original Song", where the kiss Blaine plants on Kurt is precisely the kind of hot, full-on whopper you'd expect any teenage boy to plant on the person he's crazy about. In "The First Time", they have two completely natural kisses.
    • Played straight with Brittany and Santana's relationship for quite a while, until it became a major controversy in the fandom. Finally remedied in "Heart", where the subject of their kissing is a minor plot point.
  • 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.

C-E[edit | hide]

  • 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.
    • 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 "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.
    • 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 Marry Christmas", Sue refers to Blaine as Other Gay.
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • 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 Pretty Boys
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Catch Phrase:
    • Will repeatedly uses the phrases "From the top", "Eyes on your own paper", and "This ends now". He must say "You're right" at least twice an episode.
    • 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!"
      • HORROR!!!
      • "Outstanding!"
    • Figgins: "Shue, my hands are tied!"
    • Kurt: "Mr. Schue, if I may..."
    • Holly: "I thought you'd never ask."
    • Rachel: "I'm going to hug you now."
  • 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 ass-beating.
  • Catholic School Girls Rule: Rachel, though not actually a Catholic schoolgirl, once dressed like one as Homage to Britney Spears.
  • Celebrity Paradox:
    • If Finn and Quinn are discussing Gwyneth Paltrow naming her daughter "Apple", why don't they realize substitute teacher Holly Holliday looks a lot like her?
    • What about Kurt and Rachel's obsessions with Wicked? Don't they notice that April and Shelby look like Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel?
    • Just who starred in Wicked in the Glee universe? Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth, obviously. Likewise Lea Michele 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.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Starting with the second half of Season 1.
  • 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 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 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". Guess who sings Patrick Swayze's part in "Time of My Life" at Sectionals in "Special Education"?
  • Chekhov's Gun
  • 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" and "Extraordinary Merry Christmas".
  • 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".
  • 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.
  • 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" mash-up.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Remember Becky Jackson, the cheerleader with Down's Syndrome in Episode 9? 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.
    • 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 "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.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: Sue removing Quinn and Santana's tanning privileges causes Santana to cry.
  • Cool Shades:
    • Emma suggests Finn and Quinn wear these to re-establish their coolness.
    • Everyone wears them in "Blame It On the Alcohol".
  • 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).
  • Curb Stomp Battle: Lauren and Santana. Lauren's the one doing the stomping.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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's only appeared a couple times at most, so far.
    • Emma in Season 3.
    • Tina virtually doesn't exist anymore except to further Mike's storyline. All the character development she's had since Season 1 has happened off screen, and then finally she disappears 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.
  • 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. He gets better, though.
  • Did I Just Say That Out Loud?:
    • Emma, to Will: "If we did a survey of the most crush-worthy 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!"
  • Did Not Do the Research:
    • In the first episode of Season Three, Santana describes Paula Abdul as a Latina, only to be "corrected" that she is an Arab; in fact, Paula Abdul is Jewish. This is made funnier by the fact that the character making the error is Jacob Ben Israel, and may, as such, have been deliberate on the part of the writers.
    • In the early episodes of Quinn's pregnancy, Will offers to help them contact Planned Parenthood. Finn says no due to Quinn being against abortion. PP isn't solely about providing abortions; they often help pregnant women with prenatal care and connect them with other resources to help pre- and post-birth. If Finn and Quinn had agreed, there probably wouldn't have been the plot about Finn desperately searching for a job because PP likely would have worked out a way to help Quinn for free or for very low-cost considering her circumstances.
    • Artie has the wrong type of wheelchair for a young man with his disability, and is portrayed as being unable to do things that a real disabled person would have learned to deal with every day. His wheelchair should not have armrests or handles that allow him to be pushed around, and he should be able to get himself in out and out of his chair and up steep ramps by himself. In fact, he probably would have even figured some maneuver to get himself up steps. Most of all, he should not be struggling with two pound weights in the gym.
    • In the first season, most of the characters pronounced "Lima", the place where the characters live, incorrectly. This has been fixed in Season 2, though it now makes for a pretty big inconsistency.
    • During "Extraordinary Merry Christmas", the kids cut away to a commercial break while filming their holiday special at their city's PBS affiliate. PBS does not show commercials.
  • 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.
    • In "Mash Off", Santana unloads a barrage of pretty familiar but still hurtful insults on Finn, he outs her in a crowded hallway, which also has the inadvertent consequences of also outing her to the whole Congressional district.
  • Dissimile:

Coach Beiste: Do NOT get up in the Panthers’ business lady. You’re all coffee and no omelet.
Sue: That doesn't make any sense.

  • 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 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.
  • Downer Ending:
    • When New Directions loses at the end of Season 2.
    • 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.
  • Down to the Last Play: The football game in "Preggers".
  • 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?"

  • Driven to Suicide: Karofsky. He gets better.
  • Drop What You Are Doing: Sue's overreaction to the Glee students using the photocopier.
  • 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)".
  • Dr. Feelgood: Whoever supplied Sandy with medicinal marijuana.
  • Duet Bonding: It's a show about kids singing. Of course they use this trope.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 case of Discontinuity, 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.
  • 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.
  • Expy:
    • 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.
  • Eye Scream: Blaine's eye getting pierced after being slushied by Sebastian because it contained rock salt.


F-H[edit | hide]

  • Face Heel Turn: Mercedes, Santana, and Brittany when they quit Glee Club to join Troubletones. Of course they later rejoin New Directions.
  • Failed Attempt At Drama: Rachel attempting to storm out in a wheelchair, and bumping into the doorframe.
  • Family Theme Naming: Burt and his son Kurt.
  • 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.
  • 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".
  • 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.
  • Flashmob:
    • 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)".
  • Forceful Kiss: Kurt and Karofsky in "Never Been Kissed".
  • Foreshadowing:
    • 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. A few episodes later, 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.
  • For the Evulz: Sue tends to operate on this.
  • Freaky Is Cool: The plot behind "Theatricality" and "Born This Way".
  • 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.

  • Funny Background Event: Glee loves this. Viewers would do well to pay attention to the background.
  • 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 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: Possibly. 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."
  • 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 Trope: 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 Adultery, Bad Adultery:
    • Emma having feelings for Will while being married to Carl.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • Hair Contrast Duo: Brittany and Santana.
  • Happily Married: Burt and Carole Hudson-Hummel and Hiram and Leroy Berry.
  • 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 certainly 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 Revolving Door:
    • Quinn.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • High School: The entire setting of the show.
  • High School Sweethearts: Will and Terri. Not a happy example of this one. Quinn tried to invoke this with her and Finn.
  • Hoist By Her Own Petard: What really ruined Sue's plot to destroy the glee club is that the set-lists 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.
  • 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 Finn is in perfect shape and twice Sam's size. People who saw him apparently had to get counseling, in-universe. The audience wasn't similarly traumatized.
  • Hold My Glasses: Lauren hands off her glasses to Puck before kicking Santana's ass.
  • Homage: "Extraordinary Merry Christmas" is one to classic Christmas specials, specifically, The Star Wars Holiday Special, The Judy Garland Holiday Special, and A Charlie Brown Christmas.
  • Hood Ornament Hottie: The Cheerios in "Acafellas".
  • 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 the performance of "Single Ladies" in "Preggers" with the performance at Glee Live 2011.
    • 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 face-paint 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: Aural Intensity, the third team competing at Regionals.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl:
    • 6'3" Cory "Frankenteen" Monteith with 5'2" Lea Michele.
  • 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.

I-L[edit | hide]

"I had sex with your mom. No, seriously - I cleaned your pool, and then we had sex. In your bed. Nice Star Wars sheets."

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."
  • 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.
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • 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".
  • Invisible Backup Band:
    • Usually averted, with backing vocals coming from the rest of the cast and a lot of instrumentals done a cappella. However, does crop up occasionally, especially in the more spontaneous That Reminds Me of a Song numbers.
    • Used more and more these days. In "The Power of Madonna", during "Like A Prayer", Mercedes sings the line "let the choir sing!": cue a curtain being raised to reveal that their high school auditorium suddenly has a stained glass window and contains a full gospel choir.
    • Lampshaded in "Theatricality".

Rachel(on the subject of the pianist): He's always around.

  • 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.
  • Ivy League for Everyone: Quinn's acceptance to Yale.
  • 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.
  • Jerkass: 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.
  • Jerkass Facade: Sue's method for dealing with her sister's death is to crank her usual nastiness Up to Eleven.
  • Jerk Jock: Puck was this originally, Finn was by peer pressure. Once they joined Glee, Karofsky and Azimio stepped up as the lead bullies.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Sue.
  • Jittercam: 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!

  • Kick the Dog:
    • Sue does it over and over and over.
    • 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.
  • Kill It with Fire: One of the Purple Pianos from the Season 3 premier.
  • Kindly Housekeeper: Sue seems to have one in the form of Imelda.
  • Lady Drunk: April (although she still does have her beauty and talent) and Will's mom.
  • Ladykiller in Love: Puck with Lauren.
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • Legion of Doom: In her irrational quest to destroy Will and to a lesser extent the Glee club, Sue put together one of these. Hilariously, it fails.
  • 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
  • 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? 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. As of Season Two, Sam has had serious chemistry with Quinn, Kurt, and Puck. And that's not even counting all the various Yays.
    • "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.
  • 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.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Shelby Corcoran is Rachel's birth mother.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: Frequently with Glee.

M-P[edit | hide]

  • 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 discovers Teri isn't pregnant and at the end of Season One when the class performs "To Sir, With Love".
  • 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.
  • Mistaken for Cheating:
    • Brittany and Mike by Artie and Tina.
    • Sam, Quinn, and Kurt in "Rumors," by everyone.
  • Mood Whiplash
  • 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 fairy tales 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).
    • Beth is one for Quinn and Puck.
    • Brittany is arguably this for Santana.
  • Mr. Fanservice: The majority of main male characters.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Musical Musical: It's about a high school glee club, and most of the musical numbers relate to that.
  • 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.
  • My Friends and Zoidberg: "All right, ladies and gentlemen. And Sue."
  • My Name Is Not Durwood:
    • 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.
  • 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 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 often 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 and Kurt tells him that "Bisexual is a term that gay guys in high school use when they want to [...] 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • The Not-Secret: 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.
  • No Yay: In-universe example with Santana and Karofsky. Tina thinks she might throw-up. Puck nearly does.
  • 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.
  • 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*

Sue: "God, it feels good to pop that zit known as Will Schuester."
Will: "Shut up, Sue. Look at us; we're even fighting in our voiceovers."

    • Sue's "This is not happening. The cruel slow-motion laughter is just your imagination."
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Plot Armor: Both New Directions and the Warblers advance past sectionals.
  • 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).
  • 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).
  • Product Placement:
    • In "Hairography", Schuester name-drops 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?
  • 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.
  • 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 hand-waved.
  • Put on a Bus: Multiple characters.


R-S[edit | hide]

  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The entirety of New Directions. Lampshaded by Olivia Newton-John, who accuses the club of invoking this trope for sympathy.
  • Reaction Shot: Another favorite of the shows.
  • Reality Ensues: Puck studies for his European geography test using "The Rain in Spain" from My Fair Lady, and finds out the hard way that the rain in Spain does not fall mainly in the plain.
  • Real Men Wear Pink:
    • The football team gains the confidence and cohesion to turn its losing streak around by practicing (and performing) Beyoncé dance routines, partly on the premise that if they can pull it off in public then they can do anything. Puck lampshades it earlier: "I'm a stud, dude. I could wear a dress to school and people would think it was cool."
    • In "Theatricality", Finn does just that. Since it's not Puck, it doesn't get the desired result.
    • In Season 3, Puck ends up wearing a dress (and wig) to school. And no, people don't think it cool and he ends up getting in a fight about it.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Sue and Santana are the masters of this. Though it bites Santana in the ass, when Finn retaliates in one episode and outs her in a hallway, after she goes too far.
    • Holly gives a minor one to Rachel, asking her if anyone has ever told her how much she sucks?
  • Refuge in Audacity: Sue lives and breathes this trope.
  • Relationship Upgrade
  • Replacement Mooks: After the football team joins New Directions in "The Sue Sylvester Shuffle", the hockey team takes over slushie facial duty.
  • Reset Button: Anytime Sue looks to finally stop going after the club, you can bet the Status Quo will be back to normal next week.
  • Retcon: When Rachel's dads appear in person on the show, they look nothing like the picture we saw of them three years prior in the pilot. And Hiram has a lighter skin tone than before.
  • Retool: The first half of Season 1 put a lot more focus on Will, and had a more quick paced storytelling and him narrating throughout the episode. But after the second half of the season got on, it began focusing more on the students and slowing down the plot to allow more drama to unfold.
  • Reverse Cerebus Syndrome: A mild example, but the first season (especially before the mid-season break) was a lot darker and more dramatic. In the second season, though, some episodes do nothing but bounce from gag to gag.
  • Ripped from the Headlines:
    • Kurt's "Single Ladies" video mirrors Joe Jonas' inexplicable decision to do so.
    • Jacob Ben Israel getting attacked by Twilight fans.
  • Romance-Inducing Smudge: In "Wheels", Puck and Quinn have a playful food fight while making cupcakes for a bake sale. Puck goes to wipe flour off of Quinn's cheek and they lean towards each other... then Finn walks in.
  • Romantic False Lead: Terri for Will.
    • To a lesser extent, Ken for Emma (but Ken was never taken seriously).
    • Quinn starts out as one for Finn and Rachel.
  • Rousseau Was Right: All but the most unrepentant Jerkasses have been shown to be basically decent people or at least have some desire to do the right thing. Of course, the more central a character is to the plot of an episode or to the show as a whole, the more likely they are to fall into this trope.
  • Running Gag:
    • The Slushie Facials. They were shown a couple of times in Season 1, but it's at the point in Season 2 where it's becoming a symbol of the series. Ad campaigns for the second season feature the actors throwing slushies at the camera and they're the album artwork for iTunes singles.
    • Sam literally has a really big mouth.
  • Salt the Earth: Sue actually salted the earth in her backyard when she sold her house.
  • Save Our Team: With The Power Of DANCE!
  • Scandalgate: In the first season, the Glee Clubbers sometimes referred to their "first scandal"--Quinn getting pregnant--as "Babygate".
    • The debacle of Chord quitting and/or being fired (the fandom has never received a straight answer) from the show after his option as a series regular was not picked up is commonly referred to as "Chordgate".
  • Schoolgirl Lesbians: Brittany and Santana could be the poster girls for this trope, though Brittany is technically bisexual.
    • Deconstructed though... since though it's ostensibly presented as titillation and harmless compared to the gay aspect of the cast as presented by Kurt, as of "Sexy", Santana's starting to acknowledge her feelings for Brittany and that part of her 'bitchiness' comes from anger and fear should people find out that she's not just having sex with Brittany but said feelings. In effect, while the sexual aspect of female-female relationships is perhaps more openly acceptable, the emotional aspect tends to get drowned out in that as much if not more so than for gay men.
  • The Scottish Trope: After Rachel's speech to the Celibacy Club in "Showmance":

Rachel: That's what contraception is for.
Quinn: Don't you dare mention the c word!

  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here
  • Serenade Your Lover: It's a musical show about high school. There are a few.
  • Series Continuity Error:
    • Rachel is a member of just about every extracurricular group there is at McKinley, so how is she so light on extracurriculars that it's an issue on her NYADA application?
      • Because such wide ranging activities would possibly suggest to NYADA that she's just milking the activities for credit or that if she's passionate about everything, she's not focused on performance and so may not maintain long term interest in NYADA. Compare that to Kurt who, while doing a broad array of activities listed below, virtually all of them involve performance, leadership, and public speaking.
    • To an even larger extent, Kurt is played as having almost no shot at getting into NYADA unless he becomes class president. However, along with being in the Glee Club, he brought the Cheerios to a national title, started a P-Flag chapter at McKinley, was in the school play and, most of all, organized his father's successful congressional campaign. And as a performing arts school, NYADA would definitely take notice of that, considering that Burt ran on a pro-arts platform.
  • Serious Business: Among the fandom, shipping is serious business. For example, within hours of "Never Been Kissed" being aired, there was already Fan Fiction, Youtube videos, photo collages, and arguments over the Portmanteau Couple Name for Kurt and Karofsky, plus Ship-to-Ship Combat with supporters of Kurt/Blaine.
  • Sexy Shirt Switch: April Rhodes is shown coming out of the locker room shower after a couple of football players wearing Puck's jersey.
  • Shaggy Dog Story: Finn spends most of "Furt" learning that his family is more important than his popularity, culminating in a vow to protect Kurt and a musical tribute to him. In the very next scene, Kurt transfers to Dalton Academy.
  • Shipper on Deck: The Warblers go up in arms when Blaine declares he wants to do a duet at Regionals. Then Blaine announces who he wants to do that duet with, and every single face in the room develops a knowing smirk. The confirming vote is unanimous.
    • As of "New York", Puck, Sam, Artie, and Mike are this for Finn and Rachel.
  • Ship Tease:
    • Puck and Rachel. So many times.
    • Kurt and Blaine.
    • Brittany and Santana.
  • Shirtless Scene: Puck, Sam, and Will have all had multiple shirtless scenes. Finn has had at least one. Mike took a while to get one, though his abs made a few appearances beforehand.
    • We got a Blaine shirtless in the shower singing scene recently as well.
  • Shout-Out: Becky plays the xylophone over the announcements in the same manner as it's played in Grease.
  • Signature Style: Many of the kids have genres and artists that they stick to for solos. Kurt does mostly showtunes with some occasional love for The Beatles; Sam and Puck like to perform acoustically; Rachel does Broadway; and Mercedes, Quinn, and Santana mostly do soul/R&B. Much of this corresponds to the actors' preferences
    • Artie also tends to do a lot of R&B (and he seems to be the club's rapper-in-residence), but the genres he's sung are actually really varied. Finn tends to do well with some classic rock; Will seems to do more adult contemporary or showtunes; Rory is shaping up to be the club's crooner.
    • Blaine likes current pop music.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Emma was worried that Will was this to Terri due to them being High School Sweethearts. She was then relieved to hear that he has had crushes on other girls, like April Rhodes.
  • Single Tear
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Both Quinn and Rachel choose Finn over Troubled but Cute Puck. As of the end of Season 1, Quinn seems to have backed off a bit and Rachel/Finn are firmly together.
    • Kurt fits this trope as well--sort of. All three guys he's shown interest in have been "good men": Finn, who told Puck not to shove Kurt into a locker once; Sam, who always keeps his word; and Blaine, who is just an overall dapper gentleman.
  • Sixth Ranger: Quinn, Santana and Brittany join the glee club in the second episode. Puck, Mike and Matt join a couple of episodes later. Season 2 has Sam and later Lauren. Season 3 has Blaine, Rory, Sugar, and Joe.
  • Skip to the End: Burt and Carole cut the priest off while he says the vows and say their "I Do"s, but it's out of excitement as opposed to just rushing.
  • Sleep Mask: Terri is seen wearing one to bed in "Ballads".
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Exactly where Glee falls on the scale remains up for debate. Watching the half-season "finale" (see Happy Ending above), one is hard-pressed to think the show isn't awfully idealistic. But characters like April Rhodes, and the end of "Mattress" give rise to an alternative series interpretation. There are those who believe the apparent idealism of the show masks a deep sadness. The season finale seems to confirm the idea that the show falls in the middle of the scale: New Directions doesn't place at Regionals and is almost shut down by Figgins, but ends up getting another year because of Sue.
  • Sliding Scale of Silliness Versus Seriousness: Glee has jumped around on this scale, though increasingly it appears to be coming to terms with its innately goofy nature.
  • SoCalization: The age of consent in Ohio is 16, however Jeremiah says he would be arrested for dating Blaine because he's underaged. Plus, you can't get arrested for dating, only sexual contact.
    • However, since Blaine is officially a junior in Season 3 (an obvious retcon), that would mean he was sophomore in Season 2 when this occurred and could have very well been 15 and thus not legal.
  • Softer and Slower Cover:
    • Rachel and Shelby's rendition of Lady Gaga's "Poker Face" was an...interesting take on it, if not strictly speaking unique. Gaga herself does it that way a lot.
    • Artie's rendition of "Dancing with Myself", which is closer to the much lesser-known Nouvelle Vague version than Billy Idol's original.
    • Kurt's cover of "I Want to Hold Your Hand" in "Grilled Cheesus", which was lifted directly from the version done in Across the Universe.
    • And most recently, Finn's cover of "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun", which was taken from Greg Laswell's cover.
  • Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace: Burt, Carol, Hiram, and Leroy plan on doing this at Finn and Rachel's wedding.
  • Spin-Off: One was planned for three "graduating" students, but it has since been cancelled.
  • Spiritual Successor: To High School Musical and, by extension, Grease.
  • Spoiled Brat: Rachel acts like one in "Extraordinary Merry Christmas", but she gets over it.
  • Spotting the Thread: It's relatively easy to realize that Artie's dance sequence is a Dream Sequence in "Dream On".
  • Springtime for Hitler: The "U Can't Touch This" performance in the library.
  • Stalker with a Crush:
    • Suzie Pepper and Rachel in "Ballad".
    • Jacob Ben Israel, stalker with a knickers fetish.
    • Sandy Ryerson for Josh Groban.
    • Kurt for Finn, especially evident after Finn is first shown to his new bedroom.
  • Status Quo Is God: All the time.
  • Stealth Pun: Dave Karofksy dresses as a gorilla in "Heart". What other gorilla has the initials D.K.?
  • Strawman Political:
    • Sue is a subversion of this trope -- while her opinions are indeed extreme, they don't skewer any one group or party but are rather a grab-bag of crazy. Although one post on Sue's Twitter seems to show she leans towards Republicans.
    • Both the Celibacy Club and Quinn's parents ("Honey, Glenn Beck is on!") are particularly anvilicious examples of this, as they reproduce, in more extreme, parodic ways, various arguments and strategies of the abstinence movement. Even a lot of abstinence supporters are squicked out by purity balls, and both Quinn's pregnancy and the fact that her parents throw her out over it seem to be deliberate criticisms of the abstinence movement and just fundamentalist Christianity in general.
    • In Season Two's Regionals, Kathy Griffin plays a wildly over-the-top Tea Party member (and blatant Sarah Palin/Christine O'Donnell Expy) who dealt with losing her nomination by tweeting that Obama is a terrorist.
  • Stuffed Into a Trashcan: Too many to count.
  • Stylistic Suck: Rachel's Run Joey Run video, especially highlighted by her, Puck, and Sandy's Bad Bad Acting.
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: After the club's performance of "Tik Tok" ends in disaster since they were all hungover from a night of partying, they expect to be suspended, only for Figgins to congratulate them on "staging" such a performance to get the student body off alcohol. They all uncomfortably nod along to his praise.
    • In "The First Time", Finn cooks a romantic dinner for Rachel, and she praises it saying she's never had a meat substitute taste that much like real meat. In reality, he forgot she was vegan and quickly changed the subject.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: While holding her Valentine's Day part in "Heart", Sugar thanks her daddy for booking the entire restaurant and reminds the guests that "he is not in the mafia!"
  • Sympathy for the Devil:
    • Rachel appears surprisingly sympathetic and supportive toward Quinn, at least in "Vitamin D" (her intentions are less genuine in "Throwdown", when she appears to be using her "support" for Quinn to get closer to Finn).
    • Quinn doesn't seem to get too mad at Rachel after she admits that it was her who told Finn that he wasn't the real father of Quinn's baby, in order to get Finn for herself. She later explained, saying Rachel was just doing what she should have done in the first place. Quinn was owning up to her mistake and realized that while what Rachel did was bad, it wasn't evil - Rachel was just protecting a friend.
    • Quinn going along with Rachel's ploy for Quinn to ask Finn out, to test if Finn really loves Rachel.
    • Rachel comforts Quinn (notice a pattern here?) when she didn't win Prom Queen, even when Quinn had slapped her across the face moments before.


T-Z[edit | hide]

  • Take That / Stealth Parody: Glee likes to do this.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Tantrum Throwing: Sue has done this twice when she gets especially annoyed.
  • Tastes Like Feet: 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.
  • Terrified of Germs: Emma, to the point of individually handwashing grapes.
  • Their First Time: An entire episode is dedicated to the first times of Rachel, Blaine, and Kurt. Fittingly, it is titled "The First Time".
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 for Emphasis, Bitch: Not quite successfully pulled off by Brittany... bitch...?
  • This Is Your Song: Many, especially in the episode "Ballad"
  • 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.
  • The Three Faces of Eve: The three main Cheerios: Quinn (the mother), Brittany (the child), and Santana (the seductress).
  • 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".
  • 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". Puck pulls her out of it though, when they crown each other king and queen of the "anti-prom" and go rejoin the actual prom.
  • Trailers Always Spoil:
    • For anyone who saw the preview for "Born This Way". Kurt returns to McKinley.
    • Averted with the trailer for "Funeral". While there was a lot of media hype about which character would die, the identity was not revealed in the trailer. In fact, none of the elements about the funeral subplot were mentioned at all in the promo.
  • 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.
  • 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 behavior towards Will.
    • It's later explained that after the fake pregancy stunt, she was diagnosed as Bipolar.
  • Two-Person Pool Party: Where Finn thought he got Quinn pregnant, despite them not actually having sex. Cut to Miss Conception.
  • Two Decades Behind: When we get a Flash Back 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.
  • Two First Names: Bryan Ryan, played by the king of three first names himself.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • V-Formation Team Shot: In "Theatricality", when the gang comes to Kurt's defense, in full Lady Gaga and KISS costumes, no less.
  • Very Special Episode: Multiple ones.
  • Villain Song: Sue's version of "Vogue". "Laura, Katheryn, Lana too / Will Shuester, I hate you."
  • 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".
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Sue freely admits she's one.
  • Wham! Episode: "On My Way". It ends with Quinn getting in a car accident.
  • 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.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: 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.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Emma is a mysophobe; she has an irrational fear of dirt and germs.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 cheated 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.
    • The only members of New Directions who have never either cheated on or helped cheat on somebody else are Artie, Blaine, Lauren, Joe, and Sugar.
    • Furthermore, Will cheated on Terri emotionally with Emma.
  • 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?

Notes

  1. And even that was four years after the Six Flags brand pulled out and the park went back to its original name of Geauga Lake