This article is about Dream On (Episode). You may be looking for the song with the same name.

Dream On is the nineteenth episode of Glee's first season and the nineteenth episode overall. It premiered on May 18, 2010. Will's former high school nemesis, Bryan Ryan (guest star Neil Patrick Harris), causes trouble for the Glee Club by trying to figure out which programs to cut out of the school's arts department and has his eyes set on the glee club. Meanwhile, Artie makes the decision he will never achieve his dream to dance, for his incapability to walk despite Tina's attempts to give him hope that he will regain functionality of his legs one day. With Jesse St. James' help, Rachel undergoes further attempts to find out who her biological mother is.

The episode was directed by Joss Whedon and written by Brad Falchuk.


Figgins summons Will to his office to meet the newest member of the school board, Bryan Ryan, Will's high school nemesis and old glee club rival. in a flashback Bryan performs the song Daydream Believer and doing a magic trick for a girl. He is two years older than Will and got all the good parts as well as the girls. After high school, he went on cruise ships and did theme park work, but then got a crack addiction and nine years later realized that the arts and glee club were good for nothing (blaming them for ruining his life) and is now a bitter and ruthlessly cynical man out to cut school funding and get rid of the glee club in revenge. Now the head of 


a show choir conversion group, Bryan is there to audit the school's art programs and says he will be cutting the glee club from the school's arts department Bryan addresses the glee club, having them each write down their biggest dream on a piece of paper. He then takes Artie's piece of paper, crumples it up, throws it in the trash, and tells them their dreams will never happen, crushing the kids' spirits in the process. Will tries to stop this, but Bryan simply presents Will as an example of someone whose dream didn't come true. Tina confesses to Artie that she read his crumpled paper in the trashcan. He wrote that his dream is to be a dancer. Tina asks Artie to perform a dance number with her for this week's glee assignment. They rehearse their soft shoe number with taps on Artie's wheels. He tries using a pair of crutches to stand. Artie takes a few steps, but then falls. Embarrassed, Artie blames her for encouraging him. Later, Tina apologizes. She did some online research and read about new studies that could someday cure Artie's condition. Tina tells him not to give up on his dream.

Jesse returns from his spring break and makes up with Rachel. He asks what her dream is. She says that she has always wanted to know who her birth mother is. Jesse encourages her to do some investigating. Later, Rachel announces to Jesse that she's quite sure her mother is either Patti LuPone or Bernadette Peters, but she's afraid to find out who her mother really is. Jesse suggests she start digging around in her house for clues.

Will buys Bryan a beer to convince him that he's wrong about glee club. Bryan confesses that he used to have a crush on Terri, and Will says that things didn't work out when he married Terri, but music gave him the strength to
move on. Bryan admits that he's miserable since he stopped performing. Will puts Piano Man on the jukebox, and he and Bryan sing it together. Will convinces Bryan to audition for the local community theater's production of Les Misérables.

Jesse helps Rachel rummage through her childhood memorabilia stored in her basement. She doesn't notice when Jesse slips a cassette into one of the boxes. The cover of the tape reads "From mother to daughter." Jesse wants her to play it right away, but Rachel says she isn't ready.

500x glee dream on intro 519

At the Les Mis auditions an unknown woman auditions with Big Spender. Will and Bryan rekindle their old rivalries when they're both up for the same part with the same audition song. The director makes them perform one song as a duet. They have a heated musical battle singing Dream On as each tries to upstage the other.

Tina steps away from Artie's wheelchair at the mall. Artie fantasizes he's dancing in a flash mob dance with the other mall patrons to Safety Dance.

Unbeknownst to Rachel, Jesse has a secret meeting with Shelby, the coach of Vocal Adrenaline. He says he hasn't been able to convince Rachel to listen to the tape. Although Jesse is following Shelby's orders, he's developing feelings for Rachel and feels bad for manipulating her. Shelby has Jesse stick to the plan for one more week and then he can return to Vocal Adrenaline. Shelby explains that she took money for carrying the baby in return for not contacting Rachel until she turned 18. Even though she failed as an actress and never married, Shelby's only regret in life is giving up Rachel.

Artie asks Emma for help in coping as he undergoes the process of being able to walk. Emma looks at the printouts of research Artie has and says there won't be a cure for his injury for a very long time. Emma can see how disappointed Artie is in hearing the truth.

Bryan meets with Sue to say he's cutting the Cheerios budget in favor of the glee club. He brings the glee kids presents with their new budget money such as dance wear, bedazzled jean jackets and stacks of Broadway sheet music. Sue comes in and congratulates Will on landing the lead in Les Mis over Bryan. Disappointed and upset that his dreams were crushed yet again, Bryan takes his gifts back and says that he's cutting the glee club.


Catching up to Bryan later, Will reminds him what it was like to be in high school with kids being labeled as a jock, queer, nerd, and others as soon as they walked through the doors freshman year and what glee once meant to him. Will then describes what happens when a star dies: not only does it fade, but becomes a black hole that takes any nearby light with it. He then compares the kids of New Directions to stars and claims that if Bryan cuts glee, he'll have created thirteen "black holes," and that the kids will then grow up to be as bitter,

angry, and cynical as he is. He then goes on to state that Bryan has become a "black hole" and needs to remember what it was like to be a star. Will offers to give Bryan his role so that he'll understand how important the arts are to a person's soul. In exchange, Bryan agrees not to axe the glee club (and presumably gives his gifts back off-screen).

Jesse persuades Rachel to finally listen to the tape from her mother, but only after Jesse agrees to leave Rachel alone. Rachel sings along with Shelby while the both sing I Dreamed a Dream in a dream sequence.

Will announces to the glee club members that he resigned from the community theater production so that Bryan would not cut their group's budget.

Artie tells Tina that he won't dance with her because he needs to focus on dreams that really can come true. Tina has Mike tap dance with her instead while Artie sings Dream a Little Dream and forlornly watches on.


Song Title Original Artist Performer(s)
Dream On Aerosmith Bryan Ryan and Will Schuester
Safety Dance Men Without Hats Artie Abrams
I Dreamed a Dream Cast of Les Misérables Rachel Berry and Shelby Corcoran
Dream a Little Dream Ozzie Nelson Artie Abrams with New Directions

Unreleased Songs

Background Songs

  • Dream Weaver by Gary Wright. Background song in the bar scene.

Guest Cast

Special Guest Stars

Guest Stars


Absent Cast Member


  • The episode was directed by acclaimed writer Joss Whedon, who is, according to reports from the set, a massive Brittany fan.
  • The episode was watched by 11.59 million viewers.
  • It is revealed in this episode that Terri's maiden name is Del Monico.
  • This is the second episode which has the same name of a song featured in it (the first one was Home). Coincidentally, both the songs Home, sung in that episode, and Dream On, which is sung in this episode, are sung by Will's old glee club friends.
  • The sophomore singer played by actress Molly McCook, is friends with Lindsay Pearce because they did Spring Awakening in LA together.
  • Every unreleased song from this episode was sung again in other episodes:
  • Harry Shum Jr. stated in an interview that prior to this episode he had never tap danced before and had two days to learn to do so.
  • The impulse control disorder Trichophagia was mentioned very briefly, not by name, during one scene in this episode. When Artie is talking to Miss Pillsbury in her office, she mentions that she usually only deals with students diagnosed with psychological disorders, "like a certain junior female that eats her own hair".


  • Rachel states that she was born in December 1994, but in Pilot, she was already 16. In order for her to be 16 in Pilot, she would have to been born in December 1993 not December 1994.
  • When Mr. Schue shows Bryan the McKinley yearbook, some of the characters' names are listed incorrectly. Puck is listed as Nathan Puckerman, and Tina's name is abbreviated to Tina C, while it only says 'Brittany' other than her full name. The rest of the character's names are written properly.
    • As well, in the description of the Glee club, it says "This years" when it should be "This year".
  • Puck lists his dream as "threesome" implying he has never had one, but then in Britney 2.0 Puck tells his brother that he had his first threesome when he was seven. Although, he could have been exaggerating when he made that statement.


Rachel: I came in first place.
Jesse: You were eight months old.
Rachel: I was very musically verbal.

Rachel and Jesse

She wanted you to hear this.

Jesse St. James

You can't feed a child sheet music, Will. I suppose you could, but they'd be dead in a month.

Bryan Ryan to Will

Jesse: When you lie awake at night, what's missing?
Rachel: My mom.

Jesse and Rachel

I sound like someone put tap shoes on a horse and shot it.

Artie to Tina

Show biz dreams are the most unrealistic of them all.

Bryan Ryan

Bryan: Should I lock the door?
Sue: No. I've got a secret room upstairs. Like Letterman.

Bryan Ryan and Sue


Bryan Ryan presenting his gift to New Directions



Behind the Glee Dream On

Behind the Glee Dream On


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