The Price of Glee, Discovery+’s three-part docuseries that premiers in January, promises an inside look at “the highs and lows” of making the show during its 2009-2015 run, but a number of former cast members have been criticizing it for months.
Kevin McHale became the latest Glee alum to speak out against the series when, on Friday, he quote-tweeted a tweet about the series, saying, “This is [trash emoji],” then adding, “This was the nice version, [for the record]. Don’t make me speak on this again.”
Earlier this month, McHale, who hosts a Glee rewatch podcast with fellow former cast member Jenna Ushkowitz, said in an interview with In Touch Weekly that they don’t want to talk about or even correct the documentary’s inaccuracies: “You don’t necessarily want to give something more attention than it maybe deserves or needs. But we’ll see. Us and all of our friends have nothing to do with it, so we’ll see what happens,” McHale added.
To McHale’s point, a release from Discovery+ last week seems to concede that the series actually won’t feature cast members—just relatives and friends of the cast as well as crew members.
It’s no wonder, then, that the former cast members are making their distance from the production clear. Back in August, before many details about The Price of Glee were even publicly revealed, Becca Tobin, who played Kitty Wilde on the show, criticized the idea of the documentary on the Everything Iconic With Danny Pellegrino podcast. “There’s somebody out there who’s trying desperately to put together a documentary or a tell-all or something or other who keeps contacting us relentlessly,” she said. Tobin continued, “At the end of the day it’s a family.”
Chord Overstreet, who played Sam Evans, said on the Elvis Duran Show last month that the Discovery+ documentary is “bullshit,” and echoed Tobin’s criticism that it won’t include firsthand perspectives. Overstreet also wrote it off as “a tabloid thing trying to sell.” In October, Chris Colfer, who played Kurt Hummel, told KTLA5 that he isn’t interested in further commenting on his experience on the show and going “back and [reliving] some painful memories.”
Ushkowitz, who played Tina Cohen-Chang, told Buzzfeed last month that “in terms of the Discovery+ documentary, it feels even more important, to me at least, to do the podcast because we were the ones who were there.”
Glee has been surrounded by tragedy since it was on the air. Cory Monteith, who played Finn Hudson, died in 2013 following a fatal overdose, while Rivera, who played Santana Lopez, died in 2020 by drowning in a lake while swimming with her 4-year-old son. Salling, who played Noah “Puck” Puckerman, pleaded guilty to possessing child sexual abuse content in 2017, before taking his life in early 2018.
The show’s highest-profile alumna, Lea Michele, has also been followed by controversy. In 2020, cast members publicly accused her of racist and transphobic acts while on the set of the show. In October, Colfer said on The Michelle Collins Show that he had no plans to see Michele in Funny Girl on Broadway, explaining, “No, I can be triggered at home.” And in 2021, another Glee alum, Heather Morris, told the Everything Iconic podcast that Michele was “very unpleasant to work with.”
There’s undoubtedly a lot to unpack around the making of Glee, but none of its cast members seem interested in doing so. And despite the sensitive issues at hand, it appears that the creators of The Price of Glee have no intention of taking the former cast’s lead.