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Pilot is the first episode of Glee's first season and the first episode overall. It premiered on May 19, 2009. An extended director's cut version aired on September 2, 2009.

Optimistic high school teacher Will Schuester tries to rekindle his own passion for the performing arts while reinventing McKinley High School's Glee Club and challenging a group of outcasts to realize their star potential. Pitted against McKinley's cruel high school caste system and facing harsh criticism from everyone around him, Will is determined to prove them all wrong. This episode introduces major storylines including Will's motivation to form New Directions, Rachel and Finn's relationship, the choice between football/Cheerios and Glee Club, Sue's motivation to tear the Glee Club apart, and Quinn's desperate attempt to get Finn back.

The episode was directed by Ryan Murphy and written by Brad Falchuk, Ian Brennan and Ryan Murphy.



Sue is angry and confused

The McKinley High Cheerios are practicing a difficult routine from their relentless cheerleading coach, Sue Sylvester. Spanish teacher Will Schuester parks his car, which has a loose exhaust pipe, and then walks past several members of the football team, including Finn Hudson and Noah "Puck" Puckerman, who are surrounding flamboyant student Kurt Hummel by the dumpster. Will greets them warmly and walks past, unaware of what the jocks have in store for the little teen. As he walks away, the jocks grab Kurt and unceremoniously throw him into the dumpster after allowing him to remove his expensive, brand-name jacket.

Will gazes at the school's trophy case, where a plaque honoring the late Glee Club coach Lillian Adler reads, "By its very definition, Glee is about opening yourself up to joy." Later, Will teaches verbs to his Spanish class, where a bored Finn struggles to concentrate.

Current Glee Club coach Sandy Ryerson and his lead soloist Hank Saunders are practicing "Where Is Love" from "Oliver" together in the choir room, where Sandy inappropriately touches Hank's stomach while a jealous Rachel Berry watches from outside the door.


Rachel looks through the door and sees Hank singing Where is love from the musical Oliver with Sandy

In the teachers' lounge, Will asks his colleague and McKinley High football coach Ken Tanaka where the coffee pot is. Ken remarks that Principal Figgins got rid of it due to budget cuts and suggests they go on strike over it. Sue enters the room with lattes for the two of them, just as guidance counselor Emma Pillsbury enters the room with her lunch, which is stored in Tupperware, and she also uses disposable gloves and wet wipes to clean the table she eats at, implying that she is a perfectionist and mysophobic. Emma politely greets Ken and Will, with Ken eyeing her as she eye Will, both clearly interested. Emma asks why Sue bought lattes, to which Sue remarks that she felt bad that Figgins cut the coffee budget to pay for a nutritionist for the Cheerios, which leads to a little banter between the two. Ken tries to flirt with Emma, who is uninterested, and Emma finally brings up the fact that Sandy got fired. Will then asks who is going to take over Glee Club.


Will complains to Figgins

Will meets with Principal Figgins in his office and asks to take over the Glee Club, but Figgins is cynical. Figgins mentions that it costs $60 a month to keep the program going, and that if Will wants school support, then the Glee Club would have to bring in the same kind of money that the Cheerios bring in. While in bed with his wife Terri, Will tries to think of a way to hide the money from Terri and then motivate the kids to join. During his thought process, he wakes up after coming up with a name for the club: New Directions.

At a poster with a sign-up sheet for the Glee Club, various students sneak in to sign up: Mercedes Jones, a diva-like student, sings a powerful rendition of Aretha Franklin's Respect; by Aretha Franklin. Kurt Hummel auditions with Mr. Cellophane from the Broadway musical Chicago, during which he hits an impressive high note (D5); Tina Cohen-Chang, a shy Asian-American student, and wheelchair-bound student Artie Abrams sign up, and Tina comically auditions with Katy Perry's recent hit I Kissed a Girl; and finally, the talented Rachel Berry auditions with a moving version of On My Own from Les Misérables.


Star on the sign-up list that Mercedes, Kurt, Tina and Rachel auditioned with the songs Respect, Mr. Cellophane, I Kissed a Girl and On My Own.

During a voiceover, Rachel mentions that she signs her name with a gold star because it is a metaphor for her being a star. After she signs in, Puck hits her in the face with a slushie. Rachel also reveals that she was the one who reported Sandy to Principal Figgins for touching Hank, to which she dramatically cried to Figgins about how wrong it was. However, Rachel smirks suspiciously after this admission, but claims that she didn't do it because Sandy gave Hank the solo she felt she deserved. Rachel reveals that she has two gay fathers through surrogacy, and mentions that she was given dance and singing lessons from a young age to give her a competitive edge. She reveals that she posts a MySpace video every day to keep her talent alive and growing, but her videos are viewed by the Cheerio squad, where head cheerleader Quinn Fabray leaves her cruel messages.


Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat

After the audition, Rachel confidently asks when rehearsals will begin. During rehearsals, the New Directions put on a disastrous performance of Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat from Guys and Dolls. Rachel is upset that Will cast Artie as the lead, especially since Artie is in a wheelchair. After Artie defends Will's choice by saying that he chose irony to enhance the performance, Rachel storms out of the choir room, claiming that "there is nothing ironic about show choir".

Will finds Rachel sitting alone on the bleachers watching Sue yell at the Cheerios, and she tells that him she needs a male lead who can follow her musically and physically. She also reveals that she's tired of being hated and laughed at and doesn't want to make a fool of herself. Ken stops by to tell Will that Figgins needs to talk to him. Figgins tells Will that they are going to use the choir room for AA meetings, but Will convinces him to keep it going until they win sectionals but at the cost of running detention for free.

At a store called Sheets-N-Things, Terri teaches an incompetent employee how to fold a sheet, to which he says he can't do it because he's dyslexic. Will stops by with Terri's lunch, to which Terri nags that Will put mayonnaise in her sandwich and mentions that if her diabetes returns, she will not be able to get pregnant. Will then reveals to her that he has detention and will be home late, which upsets Terri. Will then runs into Sandy Ryerson at the store, who tells him that he is now a drug dealer and offers to let Will in on the deal, which Will declines, but not before Sandy gives him a free pack of medical marijuana in his shirt.


Sandy tries to give Will drugs

Will asks Emma for advice on how to get more kids to join Glee Club, to which she mentions that they would follow the popular crowd. So Will asks Sue and Ken to get some of the Cheerios and football players to join, but is shot down by Sue and is disappointed to learn that the football team has destroyed his sign-up sheet. Will is about to give up when he hears a student in the showers singing Can't Fight This Feeling by REO Speedwagon. It turns out to be Finn Hudson. Will is intrigued by the boy's talent and decides to do something rash.


Will and Emma sitting together

Will brings Finn into his office and accuses him of possessing marijuana, which Will claims to have found during a bi-weekly afternoon locker check. Finn denies that it's his, but Will counters that mere possession is a crime. Will says that Finn will be kicked out of school and his football scholarship. Finn begs him not to tell his mother, and Will reveals that he sees a lot of himself in Finn, mentioning that he knows what it's like to struggle with life choices and expected more from him.


Can't Fight This Feeling


lovin' touchin' squeezin'

In a voiceover, Finn reveals that Will's words really got to him and talks about his past. In a flashback, Finn reveals that his father died at a young age and that his mother, Carole, struggled as a single parent. He mentions that she was happiest when they splurged and bought Emerald Dreams, an industry that colored their yard to look green. The worker, Darren, got Finn to sing when they sang along to Journey's Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'. Darren and Carole eventually start dating, but things end on a sour note when Darren runs off with a beautiful blonde, leaving Carole devastated.

Back in the present, Will tricks Finn into joining Glee Club by giving him the choice of six weeks of detention or joining New Directions. Finn chooses to join.

The New Directions perform You're the One That I Want from Grease together, to which a flirtatious Rachel tries to woo Finn during their duet. Mercedes breaks up the duo and says that she is not okay with singing backup because she is "Beyoncé, not Kelly Rowland". Will tells her that it's just one song and that there will be more, which satisfies Mercedes, who then compliments Finn on being good, but he better "bring it".


Mercedes praises Finn for singing with New Directions

At their apartment, Will and Terri are doing a puzzle together in Terri's craft room, and Will tells her that the New Directions are working hard and that he was thinking about taking them on a field trip to Carmel High, whose Glee Club is the team to beat at Regionals, and asks Terri to chaperone, who refuses. This eventually leads to an argument about Will's future, and Will claims that he does not want to be an accountant and that his passion is teaching.


Puck looks worried

Later, Will puts up the sign-up sheet for chaperones in the teachers' lounge, and an eager Emma quickly signs up. High school bully Puck overhears Ken chewing out Finn for missing practice on Saturday to go on Will's field trip to Carmel High and asks him what it was about. Finn lies and says he had to help his mom around the house because she had her prostate removed. Despite the fact that women do not have prostates, Puck believes the story and leaves it at that.

On the field trip to Carmel High, Rachel compliments Finn that he is very talented and mentions that the rest of the team expects the two of them to become an item, to which Finn deflects by saying that he has a girlfriend, Quinn Fabray, who is the captain of the Celibacy Club and whom he has been dating for four months. Will and Emma share a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and talk about Will's marital problems, and Will mentions that Terri rides him all the time, but he thinks it's because she wants him to be better, except he doesn't know what he needs to be better at.

Will, Emma, and the New Directions sit down in the school auditorium, where Will confidently states that Vocal Adrenaline, the Glee Club's rivals and last year's winners at Nationals, don't have the talent that the New Directions have. They watch Vocal Adrenaline perform an impressive rendition of Amy Winehouse's "Rehab," which leaves New Directions stunned, with Tina declaring that they are "d-d-doomed"ю



At school, Finn is surrounded by his football teammates, where Puck tells him he looked online to learn that women actually don't have prostates. Discovered, Finn admits the lie and is paintballed by the team.


Terri waits for Will to tell him that she is pregnant

Will comes home to find Terri holding two glasses of champagne with a banner that says "Congratulations" on it. Terri then reveals that she is pregnant and Will is ecstatic.

Will gathers the glee club kids in the auditorium, where he tells them that he is stepping down as glee club director and that he will find them a replacement, much to their disappointment. Despite their promises to work harder, Will mentions that sometimes they have to give up the things they love and that they'll understand that one day when they grow up. After Will finds out that his wife Terri is pregnant, he decides to be left alone on stage and starts singing Leaving on a Jet Plane by John Denver.

Emma catches Will in the teachers' lounge applying for an accounting job at H.W. Mencken. She tells Will to come to the Career Center for guidance, much to his reluctance, but he agrees for her.

Rachel meets Finn at his locker and questions his absence from Glee Club. Quinn and Santana Lopez interrupt and ask Finn why he's talking to her. Rachel covers that they are working on a science project and the two cheerleaders leave them alone. Finn says that he can't do Glee Club anymore and Rachel tells him that he has a gift and that he shouldn't worry about what people think of him.


Finn pushing Artie around the football field

Finn and Puck walk across the football field where Puck says he's not going to apologize for the paintball incident. He then questions Finn's motives for joining Glee Club, which Finn lies about, saying that Will wanted to give him extra credit for Spanish class. As a "welcome back to normal" gift, Puck reveals that he trapped Artie in the port-o-potty with the intention of flipping it and letting Finn have the first roll. After thinking things over, Finn finally decides to do the right thing and help Artie. Disappointed, Puck tells him that he's a loser, but Finn replies that they're all losers. Over Puck's protests, Finn tells him that both the football team and the Glee Club need him to win, so he'll do both. While pushing Artie to practice, he sees Darren spraying the football field and singing to Journey's Don't Stop Believin'.

At Glee Club rehearsal, the New Directions members are growing frustrated with a controlling Rachel when Finn wheels Artie backstage with the group. Finn then apologizes to them for all the bullying he and the football team have put them through, saying that they're all here for the same reason: to be a part of something special. Finn then rallies the Glee Club to put on an amazing performance.


Emma looks at Will as he remembers his time in Glee Club

In the teachers' lounge, Emma shows Will a clip of the 1993 McKinley High Glee Club at Nationals, performing a mash-up of two KC and the Sunshine Band songs. Emma tells Will that it's the happiest she's ever seen him, and Will reveals that it was the greatest moment of his life because he loved what he was doing. He reveals that he was also that happy when he found out that he was going to be a father and that he had to provide for his new family. Emma asks him what he's providing for them, the understanding that money is more important or that the only life worth living is one that you're truly passionate about.


Sue, Quinn and Santana spy on New Directions

As Will gets ready to leave, he hears the New Directions in the auditorium performing Journey's Don't Stop Believin'. Following the sound, he enters the auditorium and discovers that the Glee Club has greatly improved and is getting better. Unbeknownst to Will and the Glee Club, an envious and competitive Sue, along with Quinn and Santana, are watching from above. Puck is also watching the performance from the entrance, watching Finn. After the performance, Will applauds them and gives them advice on how to improve. Finn asks if that means he is staying, to which Will says it would kill him to see them win Nationals without him.


Song Title Original Artist Performer(s)
On My Own Cast of Les Misérables Rachel Berry
Can't Fight This Feeling REO Speedwagon Finn Hudson
Rehab Amy Winehouse Vocal Adrenaline
Leaving on a Jet Plane John Denver Will Schuester
Don't Stop Believin' Journey New Directions

Unreleased Songs[]

Background Songs[]

  • You Can Do It/You Keep Me Hanging On by Ice Cube/The Supremes.
  • Shining Star by Earth Wind & Fire.
  • Flight Of The Bumblebee by The Swingle Singers.
  • Soul Bossa Nova by The Swingle Singers.
  • Golliwog's Cakewalk by The Swingle Singers.
  • Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head by 101 Strings Orchestra.
  • A Fifth Of Beethoven by The Swingle Singers featuring Shlomo.
  • Chewing Gum by the cast of Annie.
  • Moonlight Sonata by The Swingle Singers.
  • Don't Stop Believin' by Journey.
  • Looking Back by Kerry Muzzey.

Guest Cast[]

Guest Stars[]



  • The episode drew 9.6 million viewers and a 5.6 rating in its original airing, and 4.2 million viewers for the extended director's cut.
  • This episode has the most songs with fourteen, including unreleased songs. Of these fourteen, only five were released, one of which was only included in the Extended Director's Cut.
  • As a joke, there is a flyer next to the Glee Club audition list that says, "Lima: You know? Like the bean?"
  • Lea Michele and Amber Riley revealed in an interview that Glee originally had a theme song that was never used. They did not record it because FOX still owns the rights to it.
  • Dianna Agron joined the cast just one day before filming began. On her first day, she had to do a make-out scene with Cory Monteith, where director Ryan Murphy told her to look sexy, but she was so nervous she couldn't concentrate.
  • In the original script, Artie's name was spelled "Arty". This is made clear when Tina signs her name and Artie's name on the Glee Club sign-up sheet and it's spelled "Arty".
  • In the original script, there was an Indian boy named Rajeesh who was supposed to be Mercedes' love interest, but he was replaced by Kurt Hummel.
  • In the Extended Director's Cut, the stars are listed by importance rather than alphabetically.
  • In the original script, Rachel uses YouTube to upload her songs instead of MySpace.
  • The Vocal Adrenaline dancer putting on his suspenders and stretching out his leg was head choreographer Zach Woodlee.
  • This was Lea's favorite episode to shoot.[1]
  • This is the first episode ever written by all three co-creators, the other six being Showmance, The QuarterbackLoser Like Me, 2009Dreams Come True.
  • This is the first episode where Time for Some Girl Talk does not play over the credits. The second time is in "Shooting Star", and the third time is in "The Quarterback".
    • However, it is included in the Netflix release of the episode.
  • Glee's pilot episode is discussed and reviewed along with Smash, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist in episode #213 Musical TV Pilots Get Broadwaysted!
  • This is the only season premiere in which a main cast member or main character speaks his or her first words.


  • In the Extended Director's Cut, the opening flashback scene shows then-choir director Lillian Adler welcoming The Singsations to Nationals. However, the sign on the stage reads "1993 Glee Club Invitational".
  • When Tina signs her name on the sign-in sheet, she writes the letter T several times as a sign of her stuttering. However, when Rachel comes to sign her name on the same piece of paper, Tina's name is written without the extra T's and with a different color of ink.
  • Sandy reveals that he was given medical marijuana to treat his nervous breakdown. Ohio has not yet legalized medical marijuana. The closest state would be Michigan, but taking it across state lines would be a felony.
  • In Rachel's locker, we see a strip of photos with her and two men, presumably her fathers. However, when they make their first appearance on the show, they are portrayed by two other actors, not the people in the photo.


Sue: You think this is hard? Try being waterboarded. That's hard!


Rachel: (voiceover) My gold stars are a metaphor for me being a star.


Rachel: Being a part of something special makes you special, right?


Mercedes: I'm not down with this background singing nonsense. I'm Beyoncé, I ain't no Kelly Rowland.


Finn: Don't you get it, man? We're all losers. Everyone in this school. Everyone in this town. Out of all the kids that graduate, maybe half will got to college and two will leave the state to do it. I'm not afraid of being called a loser because that's what I am. But I am afraid of turning my back on something that actually made me happy for the first time in myself.


Will: I need to provide for my family.
Emma: But provide what exactly? The understanding that money is the most important thing? Or the that the only life worth living is the one you're really passionate about, Will?

Will and Emma




Glee Deleted Scene- Santana, Quinn and Rachel Scene



v - e - d

Glee Episodes

Season One
PilotShowmanceAcafellasPreggersThe Rhodes Not TakenVitamin DThrowdownMash-UpWheelsBalladHairographyMattressSectionalsHell-OThe Power of MadonnaHomeBad ReputationLaryngitisDream OnTheatricalityFunkJourney

Season Two
AuditionBritney/BrittanyGrilled CheesusDuetsThe Rocky Horror Glee ShowNever Been KissedThe SubstituteFurtSpecial EducationA Very Glee ChristmasThe Sue Sylvester ShuffleSilly Love SongsComebackBlame It on the AlcoholSexyOriginal SongA Night of NeglectBorn This WayRumoursProm QueenFuneralNew York

Season Three
The Purple Piano ProjectI Am UnicornAsian FPot o' GoldThe First TimeMash OffI Kissed a GirlHold on to SixteenExtraordinary Merry ChristmasYes/NoMichaelThe Spanish TeacherHeartOn My WayBig BrotherSaturday Night Glee-verDance with SomebodyChokeProm-asaurusPropsNationalsGoodbye

Season Four
The New RachelBritney 2.0MakeoverThe Break-UpThe Role You Were Born to PlayGleaseDynamic DuetsThanksgivingSwan SongGlee, ActuallySadie HawkinsNakedDivaI DoGirls (and Boys) on FilmFeudGuilty PleasuresShooting StarSweet DreamsLights OutWonder-fulAll or Nothing

Season Five
Love, Love, LoveTina in the Sky with DiamondsThe QuarterbackA Katy or A GagaThe End of TwerkMovin' OutPuppet MasterPreviously Unaired ChristmasFrenemiesTrioCity of Angels100New DirectionsNew New YorkBashTestedOpening NightThe Back-Up PlanOld Dog, New TricksThe Untitled Rachel Berry Project

Season Six
Loser Like MeHomecomingJagged Little TapestryThe Hurt Locker, Part OneThe Hurt Locker, Part TwoWhat the World Needs NowTransitioningA WeddingChild StarThe Rise and Fall of Sue SylvesterWe Built This Glee Club2009Dreams Come True