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Entertainment behind the scenes

Neil Patrick Harris, Joss Whedon pay a visit to “Glee”

May 19, 2010

TVGEXGlee-Ep118_Sc21_2108Fox’s ” Glee” was full of its trademark goodness this week, and a guest turn by Neil Patrick Harris (better known as Barney Stinson on “How I Met Your Mother“) and directed by Joss Whedon were a particular treat.

A opening scene flashback to Mr. Schuester’s (Matthew Morrison) zit-marked high school days watching a mullet-haired Bryan Ryan (Harris) serenade The Monkee’s “Daydream Believer” set the tone for the rest of the episode. Harris, known for his love of magic, even managed to weasel a trick into the scene.

The episode brimmed with a love-hate bromance between Will and Bryan — a combination that put fans in Glee heaven. The former high school rivals tried to out-sing one another with Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” and Aerosmith’s “Dream On”.   Harris may not be a trained singer, but he hit those G-A flat falsetto notes perfectly.

118Glee_Ep118-Sc29_143 There were two other heartfelt storylines woven into this episode about hopes and dreams (if you couldn’t tell from the song selection).

One involved Rachel Berry’s (Lea Michele) search for her biological mother, played by famed Broadway star Idina Menzel. The resemblance between the two singers is uncanny. It was only a matter of time before they had a duet together and this episode was it. That it be a Broadway number — “I dreamed a Dream” from Les Miserables – was particularly fitting.

The other storyline involved wheel-chair bound Artie Abrams (Kevin McHale) and his dreams of walking again. In a fantasy segment that played homage to the many real-life “Glee” flash mobs around the world, Artie lead a mall dance sequence to “The Safety Dance” by Men Without Hats. It was a rare chance for McHale — who previously belonged to a boyband and is actually one of the best dancers in the cast — to show off his moves.

H119Glee-_Sc22_1420Artie’s dreams are crushed, and he expressed his bittersweet acceptance with a rendition of Ozzie Nelson’s “Dream a Little Dream of Me” as Mike (Harry Shum, Jr.) and love interest, Tina (Jenna Ushkowitz), tap danced around him.

Glee fans will likely take particular delight in Artie’s mall scene, given the “Glee”  flash mob tributes around the world: Rome, ItalyMadrid, Spain; Seattle and Ohio, USA; Dublin, Ireland; Tel Aviv; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

This isn’t director Whedon’s first foray into musicals.  The mastermind behind TV cult favorite “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” directed a classic musical Buffy episode, “Once more, with feeling” and paired up with Harris on “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog”, an internet musical series written during the WGA strike in 2007.

What did you think of this episode? After 19 episodes, does “Glee” still have it? Share your “Glee”  love (or hate) here.

Photos: (Top) Bryan Ryan (guest star Neil Patrick Harris, R) and Will (Matthew Morrison, L) perform in the “Dream On”. Michael Yarish/FOX
(Middle) Shelby (guest star Idina Menzel, L) and Rachel (Lea Michele, R). Adam Rose/FOX
(Bottom) During a dream sequence, Artie (Kevin McHale, C red shirt) dances with a flash mob at the mall. Michael Yarish/FOX

Harris IS a trained singer – he’s appeared on Broadway.

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