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Glee Wiki

I thought you'd never ask.

—Holly Holliday, The Substitute

Holly Holliday is a recurring character on Glee during the second and fifth seasons. She is a former substitute teacher, who worked at William McKinley High School. She seems to be able to teach many subjects such as Sex-Ed, English, History, Spanish, Math, and French.

She is portrayed by award winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow.


Holly substitutes for Will Schuester in Spanish class. When Kurt becomes tired of Rachel being the leader/dictator of Glee Club during Mr. Schue's absence and hears Holly singing Conjunction Junction, he suggests her to be Will's substitute as Glee Club adviser and she accepts. When walking into the Glee room, she slides over the buttered floor that Puck makes as a substitute teacher prank, much to the surprise of the New Directions. The Glee kids attempt to trick her by switching names, but Holly tells them she knows they're lying, and explains that she knows their names because she watched New Directions perform at Regionals, coming in last. Puck questions if she can actually sub for Mr. Schue, because as an adult, she doesn't know much about today's music, suggesting Cee Lo Green. She then performs Forget You with the New Directions and quickly gains their trust (except for Rachel, who seems to resent her talent) because, unlike Will, she listens to the suggestions of the club. Holly then gains Rachel's trust, when she asks Rachel what sort of music she wants to perform. When Rachel describes the song, she and Holly perform Nowadays/Hot Honey Rag from the musical Chicago. Holly even gains the trust and friendship of acting principal, Sue, which results in Will getting fired and replaced by Holly. She feels guilty for Will losing his job, but feels that her more relatable personality is better than Will's more authoritarian approach, and refuses to pass up the opportunity presented to her.

However, when her more wild and laid-back attitude results in inspiring Mercedes Jones to damage Sue's car as an act of revenge for taking the tater-tots from the school lunch, Holly is left horrified at how she has failed as a teacher. She then goes to Will, asking for advice, where she reveals that several years ago, she was a much more uptight, meek and rigid sort of teacher, who ended up getting punched in the face by a girl who did not like her methods. They talk and drink beer together for a while. This resulted in her taking on a more relaxed and flaky personality, so as to better relate with the kids. At this moment, Will's ex-wife Terri shows up, and assuming that she and Will are on a date, begins to openly insult Holly and make demands of Will. Holly watches as Will dismisses his ex-wife, feeling awkward about it. Later when Will returns as the leader of the glee club, he finds himself shocked by how the kids, while glad he was back, were unhappy with the fact he refused to hear them out. Realizing that Holly was somewhat right in her method of teaching, he sought her out, and found her teaching history, dressed up like Mary Todd Lincoln. Will explains about how he wants to perform a certain song, but that he wants it to appeal to the Glee Club, and asks for her help in modernizing it. Together, Holly and Will take lead vocals as they and New Directions perform a mash-up of Umbrella and Singing in the Rain.

Holly teaching Sex Ed

(The Substitute)

Holly Holliday is back giving sex education lessons at McKinley High. Will asks her to educate the New Directions through song, during participation of Holly's Jazzercise class. This prompted Holly to perform Joan Jett's Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah). Will later rehearses a rendition of Prince's Kiss with her, culminating in a kiss. Holly turns down his advances, explaining that she would end up hurting him. Puck and Lauren plan to make a sex tape, until Holly informs them that it would be considered child pornography. A shocked Puck joins the celibacy club as a result. Annoyed by Holly's lessons, Emma has the celibacy club perform Afternoon Delight for New Directions, unaware that the song is about sex. Carl approaches Holly about counseling, revealing that Emma is still a virgin. Emma confesses that she may have feelings for Will, and Carl tells her he will be moving into a hotel until she is certain of her feelings.

Holly also counsels Santana and Brittany when they express confusion about their sexuality. She joins them for

Holly and Will dancing

a performance of Landslide by Fleetwood Mac, after which Santana confesses that she is in love with Brittany and wants to be with her, but is afraid of being ostracized by the student body for being in a same-sex relationship.

Holly is dismissed from her teaching position due to parental complaints about her classes. She tells Will that she wants to learn about romance; he offers to teach her, and they kiss. Although Holly isn't in Original Song, she and Will are on the phone after New Directions wins Regionals, and Will says that he loves her. It is assumed that this is in response to Holly saying she loves him. (Sexy)


On a pizza date with Will, she gave him the idea for the "night of neglect" prompting A Night of Neglect. Dustin hit on her (under Sue's instructions) and nearly got in a fight with Will. During the "night of neglect" concert, she performs Adele's Turning Tables as a break-up song to Will. She moved to Cleveland to teach French for 4 months, and hence breaks up with Will. When he asks if she will someday settle down, she says that there is a possibility of that happening, but tells him that she won't be settling down with him because he is "in love with someone else." She shares one last kiss with Will and turns to go, but Will asks if she will come back to visit someday. She repeats her trademark phrase "I thought you'd never ask," and leaves. This is the last time we see Holly in Season Two. (A Night of Neglect)

April gets Holly to come back as a way to try and cheer the Glee club up as April feels bad about raising their hopes and then disappointing them all.

April butters the floor for Holly to make an entrance, and when Will asks how they know each other and they tell him that there is a Facebook page for all the guests of Glee club. She says that she has quit being a substitute teacher because she doesn't want to be tied down. Now she is popping up in classrooms to teach one lesson and then leaving. She is shown being escorted out of a classroom in a flashback because of this.
April and Holly 100.jpg
Rachel tells her that for this week they are singing their favorite songs previously performed. Holly says that she doesn't look in the rearview mirror so she is going to sing a new song instead of a re-done one. This leads into her performing Happy. The episode ends with Holly and April sitting in the rafters of the auditorium watching Will thank the older New Directions for going on this ride with him. They are drinking wine and they vow to save the Glee club together. (100)

The episode opens with Holly and April playing "Kill, Marry, or bone," in the teacher's lounge when Sue comes in and joins them. April asks about Holly and Sue being friends. Then Holly and Sue are shown in matching track uniforms for their Amazing Race audition tape in which they talk about what they are looking forward to on the race and tie their legs together to practice racing together. Holly and April then ask Sue if they can bring more music to the school that isn't Glee club. Sue allows them to try and bring music to other extra curricular activities and asks them to try and involve Will in their plans as a way to soften the blow on him. Later, Holly is seen walking down the hall with Will, who questions whether or not her plan is a good idea. This leads into Holly talking with the Animal Husbandry club dressed as an animal rights activist and then singing Party All the Time to the club.

Party all the time still.jpg
Holly and Will are talking to Sue in her office. She tells them that due to Holly's performance to the animal husbandry club she has received lots of complaint letters and that is the end of trying music in other extracurricular activities. Holly looks like she is about to protest, but Will says he understands and it won't happen again and then leaves the office. Holly follows him and says that they can't give up. Will says he just wants to get through the last week of glee club and enjoy graduation. Then Holly approaches Artie and says she needs his help. He mistakenly thinks she means she is in love with him, but she says no and to get his camera equipment and meet her in the Spanish room. Holly arranges the video to Will's child. In the video she tells him/her that she once hooked up with his/her dad and could have potentially been the mom.

After Don't Stop Believin', Holly and April are seen standing and watching everyone on stage. April tells her that she did good and Holly says that their work is done and they looked flawless doing it. Then she asks April to go on a gay boy cruise with her as they will be get all the attention because they will be the only girls there and they leave. This is the last time we see Holly in the show. (New Directions)


Holly in Glee The 3D Movie

Holly Holliday is a laid back, 'cool' substitute teacher who replaced Will Schuester as both the Spanish teacher and the glee club director in Season Two, when Will was sick and unable to work. Not much is known about her, but it is revealed in Sexy that she can also teach Sex-Ed. Holly has a kind nature, as demonstrated when helping Santana admit her feelings for Brittany.


Total - 10

Solos (In a Group Number)
Song Episode Solos with
Happy 100 April, BlaineMercedes, and Will




Main article: Holly's Quotations