Toronto Writers Pen 'Glee' Guide

Published: October 28th 2010
in Culture » Books

Don't Stop Believin'
Pic: ECW Press
Don't Stop Believin' (full cover)
Pic: ECW Press
Suzanne Gardner (left) and Erin Balser singing
Pic: ECW Press

Glee has captured the hearts of millions of fans, including Erin Balser and Suzanne Gardner. The two writers have separate Glee blogs and decided to team up to write Don’t Stop Believin’: The Unofficial Guide to Glee. The book, published by Toronto’s ECW Press, features in-depth episode descriptions of the hit TV series, interviews with actors from the show, biographies of the main characters and more. Shalom Life talked to Balser, one half of the writing duo, about the new guide.


What drew you to write Don’t Stop Believin’?


I had been a celebrity and television blogger for a few years and wanted to turn this into something more substantial. I knew Ryan Murphy and his work and love musicals, so the idea of Glee intrigued me. I tuned in, really enjoyed it and through my network of friends, met the editor at ECW press and sent in a proposal for a Glee book. I love that Glee has so many things going on: the music, the drama, the laughs. They've created interesting, complex characters that go beyond their stereotypes. It's reflective of high school, yet transcends it, creating universal characters and emotions.


I read you guys got a lot of information for the book from Twitter. Is that true?


Not "a lot," but some. It was great to see the personalities of the actors unfiltered, and Twitter helps with that. They also Twittered about behind the scenes stuff and personal stuff, so we used that occasionally in the book. Perhaps one of the biggest "get" via Twitter was the confirmation that Chris Colfer's deep intro in "Give Up the Funk" was, in fact, him.


Which character were you most like in high school?


Definitely Rachel. I was an obnoxious, driven type-A who needed to be the best at everything, whether it was playing basketball or physics.


What was your favourite episode of season one?


Bad Reputation. I know, the episode wasn't the "best" but I love when Glee reinterprets old songs. I love the cheese factor immensely. The hilarious costumes were great and the choreography of “Ice Ice Baby” was some of the best they've ever done. Some of the plot points were weak, but the music makes Glee, and with this episode, it was at it's cheesy musical best. I do think the "best" episode, though, was the pilot. The pilot hit every note and every character perfectly and "Rehab" and "Don't Stop Believin" set the tone for the rest of the show so well.


What do you think of the second season so far?


It's okay. It's doing everything it needs to do, but it hasn't broken out of its zone and wowed us. Glee is at its best when it's being creative and it's still in its box. The Britney episode was solid, but I don't watch Glee to see music videos being recreated. I watch it for the characters and the new ideas. However, the Rocky Horror episode may change all that.


Which Glee cast member would you most like to meet in real life? 


Jane Lynch! She's done so many amazing things in her career and seems to be loving life so much right now. I think she'd have a lot of interesting things to say and is passionate about her fans.


Which five songs would you like to see them cover on the show?


This changes all the time, but the five songs that come to mind right now are: 


The boys and Mr. Schue: "Glory Days" by Bruce Springsteen. Finn needs to do a Bruce Springsteen song and this bittersweet tune is perfect for where Will is in his life and has themes all the boys can relate to.


Related articles: (Glee, Jane Lynch, guide, book, Lea Michele, Ryan Murphy)

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