'Glee': Jane Lynch responds to last night's shocking death of [SPOILER]

GIANT SPOILER ALERT IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED LAST NIGHT’S GLEE!

Are you still wiping tears away from your eyes, Gleeks? Last night’s episode of Glee, fittingly titled “Funeral,” featured the shocking death of Sue Sylvester’s beloved sister Jean, played by actress Robin Trocki. EW managed to talk to star Jane Lynch yesterday at Fox’s upfronts and she admitted that the hour was a tough one to film. “People with down syndrome rarely last past 30,” says Lynch. “Robin is 55. So this really hit home. Her sister is there with her all the time, Sharon. They have a very tight relationship. So it was very bittersweet. The funeral was awful [to shoot] with the kid’s singing ‘Pure Imagination.’ It was really rough and I will miss her very much. I love working with Robin!”

Co-creator/executive producer Ryan Murphy made sure Lynch was comfortable with the plot twist before moving forward with it. Says Lynch, “He took me aside at a party and said ‘I want your blessing on this before we move forward.’ I said, ‘It sounds like a really great storyline.’ It’s the thing that will break Sue Sylvester’s heart and get to where she lives.”

Listen below for the New Directions’ haunting version of “Pure Imagination”:

Comments (148 total) Add your comment
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  • Tye-Grr

    I think this was one of the best episodes of the season. Lynch finally got to show once again why she’s an Emmy winner, something she rarely got to do this season. I thought her scenes with Lauren Potter’s Becky were some of the best of the night. I just recently had a grandmother pass, and the funeral scene really hit home for me. I was glad that they used this opportunity to make it hit home for Sue as well. Hopefully this will lead to much better storylines and a whole new side to Sue for Season 3.

    • Cygnus

      I think the episode just continued to show how the writers can’t make up their minds on the type of person they want Sue to be. It’s back and forth, back and forth, 20 different personalities. Even with the different range of characters they have Lynch playing, it’s starting to get stale. I like Jesse St.James’ reappearance. It’s gone a long way further in 2 episodes, than Blaine and horrible Warblers did all season long.

      • JMB in FL

        No one is one-dimensional, and it’s silly to expect Sue to be a cartoon character all the time. In fact, fans complain when she is. I happen to love the added layers for her character. Plus, any reason to get Jane Lynch more screen time is fine by me!!

      • crispy

        It’s not an “added layer.” It’s a totally different character.

      • maya

        It’s not a different character. They would’ve named her something else, no?

        If you’re one emotion and one thing all the time in real life, that’s sad to hear.

      • crispy

        I wasn’t suggesting that people are one emotion all the time. But they typically don’t fly back and forth between personalities unless they have a manic disorder.

      • Bobby’s Robot

        I agree with crispy. It’s not that Sue doesn’t have layers, but to go from physically abusive and evil one week to creampuff the next and then back again is just poor writing. The writers just haven’t done a good job showing her layers, just giving her the personality they need for any given episode. That said, Jane Lynch is flawless.

      • KevLev

        I totally disagree. I think it goes a long way in to showing the depth of her character. On the outside Sue is a bully, but bullies are what they are because they are masking their inner fears and insecurities. This was a moment in Sue’s character that allowed her inner self to shine thru and display some of her inner emotions that get buried by her bully exterior.

        In the scenes she shot through the series with her sister, Sue was always a softer, gentler person.

        People do have layers, people put up walls and fences as defense mechanisms. It will be interesting to see what kind of Sue we’ll get next season. Has this changed her…I think not. Her walls will shoot right back up…her character in that way is too important a part of the show.

      • Dan

        I don’t agree. Death happens… it’s a part of life. And it changes you… in a lot of ways. It can make you into a COMPLETELY different person.

      • C.S.

        I just wanted to comment on the Blaine/Warblers jab you threw in there. First of all, the Warblers aren’t meant to be characters that are part of the main plot. They are part of the school that Kurt went to. Even so, many fans got attached to them and gave them characters – because we have imaginations, and can think to ourselves about what they are thinking. Also, Blaine has been a character that is more just a piece of Kurt – BUT he is getting more development as we go. I like that it’s slower and that it’s not just “HE’S GREAT” or “HE’S A JERK”. Blaine has his moments of being really sweet or being somewhat inconsiderate or just not knowing what to say or giving great advice or whatever. He is not just one thing or one personality. Anyways, I felt like I wanted to throw that in there.

      • Jess

        Don’t be ridiculous. I know someone a lot like Sue. The meanest person is often very sad that they don’t have closer relationships and it takes a traumatic experience to make them vulnerable enough to be sweet. This was a great episode and a great portrayal of her character.

      • john

        I did’nt realize there were so many critics in the world.

    • Brian Cantor

      It was a tremendous performer for Jane Lynch that might keep her in the Emmy race after an otherwise awful season for Sue.

      But I definitely agree with people who feel it is tough to swallow THIS character and yet still buy her cartoonish “bad guy” character. I asked her about keeping Sue’s credibility across the two vastly different personalities in a conference call before the Super Bowl episode, and she responded to me like I was an idiot. Glad to see people also agree.

      • Brian Cantor

        Performance*

      • PJ

        EXACTLY – this was the whole purpose of this episode – an Emmy nomination for Jane Lynch, just like last fall’s episode with Burt’s near death is just an Emmy showcase for Chris Colfer. I’m not surprised people lapped this up, some people are so easily manipulated.

      • js

        @PJ
        totally agree with you!

      • Cynic

        “Says Lynch: “Ryan took me aside at a party and said “I want your blessing on this before we move forward.” And all I heard was “Emmy award, Emmy award, Emmy award…”

      • Futurama

        Colfer didn’t win the emmy, Eric Stonestreet did. He and Lynch are in the comedy categories remember not drama.

      • California

        The episode PJ was refering to for Chris was aired this fall, and is meant to be a showcase for the emmy awards which have not yet occurred. Chris lost last year’s award which was based on Glee’s first season, and Eric won for his work on the first season of Modern Family. New season, new emmys.

    • BFD

      I will never be able to hear “Pure Imagination” without crying.

      • Nick

        My thoughts exactly.

    • Alan

      I like seeing a different side to Sue, but I think this season they were too OTT with Sue’s “mean side”. Physical abuse of students, shoving students into lockers, holding Arnie hostage and almost drilling into his mouth, almost shooting Britney from a cannon, wanting to kidnap and kill the Glee club, etc etc. I think they went too far, which made her soft side seem a bit too unreal.

  • Marc

    They killed off the show’s best character, but overall, it was so boring! The music was terrible, especially the songs from the auditions! Bah! Kill Rachel next time, please!!!

    • @ Marc

      Thanks for your childish insight. Now don’t you have some puppies to kick?

      • Derrrrrrr

        Jazz hands will make you feel better. Douche.

    • sam

      Kill Finn and Will.

    • Jason

      While the show itself was good, I kind of agree with Marc on the music. I didn’t really like a single song from last night (not even the Wonka song). The show has had really good songs before, but this episode didn’t highlight that. Also – not really feeling the Original Songs- it lets you know who Glee really wants watching their show- and that’s when I feel silly for watching it.

      • Laura

        Who doesn’t like “Try a Little Tenderness”???

      • crispy

        I’m normally pretty cynical about these things, but Mercedes to’ it up!

    • um, no

      “My Man” is a fantastic song and Lea Michele did a very respectable job of covering a song that in many ways “belongs” to Barbra Streisand. “Pure Imagination” was a nice rendition of the song turned toward memories rather than thoughts of the future.

      • Fingerlakes Dave

        I don’t know…I felt kind of weak. I would have taken Mercedes in a heartbeat.

    • get over yourselves

      the show is amazing and all the singers are amazing, on top of which they choose such a variation of songs to show all their talents. if you all want to complain so much then stop watching the show because clearly theres enough people out that that love and enjoy it

      • Derrrrrrr

        You know they electronically alter their voices to sound better, don’t you? Perhaps you should stop spending so much time watching TV and take a remedial English course at the local community college.

      • Mere

        Derrrrr, while I agree that “get over yourselves” needs some remedial English, I contend that the crew has talent. The live concerts and more events like them give the cast a chance to prove that they have very good voices.

      • Camys

        Derrr: you do know most of them are broadway actors and most of them can really sing, don´t you? Not everyone is Britney Spears.

    • deedee

      the show’s best character? really?

    • Glee hater

      Although it would great to have Rachel killed – don’t. Please keep her on this loser show so she doesn’t infiltrate any other area of my life.

    • lori

      They should’ve killed off the ugly girl with the big nose.

      • PART

        How do you live with all the anger and bile in your system? I generally ignore you, and will go back to that. That is all.

    • Brandy

      I agree about the songs on the show last night. All terrible and boring except Pure Imagination.

  • Yesenia

    I thought it was lovely and Jane Lynch really went through the spiral of pain and loss. The music for me was good but the only one I really cared about was Pure Imagination. So beautiful and the timing of it really made me choke up.

    • Amy

      I have a brain injured and retarded sibling and I was tearing up throughout the episode. I can’t imagine my life without my brother. However, what really hit home with me was that my brother loves Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I absolutely lost it at that point.
      I haven’t been in love with Glee this season, but I enjoyed last night’s episode.

      • DJ

        I can’t believe Amy referred to her brother as retarded, really?

      • Flyer

        @DJ – Walk a mile in Amy’s shoes, and then you can lecture her on how to properly refer to her brother. Sheesh!

      • teresa

        Most people get offended when you call their mentally challenged sibling “retarded”. Amy: wake up, it’s the 21st century. We don’t use that term anymore.

      • lori

        Stupid liberals.

      • JasonInDFW

        From reading the various forums, I know that lori is a fan of Jesus, just not a follower. She never fails to take an opportunity to judge others.

      • Jackie

        Actually when used in the proper context as it is here, retarded is simply a word that refers to someone that falls within a certain IQ range. It’s comparing those people to people with an average IQ who act like they have lower intelligence that is offensive.

      • K

        in some places it has changed,but ‘mental retardation’ is still an official medical diagnosis. I work with peole wit developmental disabilities and most have the diagnosis of ‘moderate mental retardation’ or ‘severe mental retardation’ somewhere, though in some places this has changed due to the commonness of using ‘retard’ as a slur…

      • Derrrrrrr

        Teresa, you’re super-retarded.

      • Really, lori???

        So what is the proper term for Lori, who either IS five or has an IQ of five?

      • Dayna

        The proper term for Lori is “troll”. I can’t believe people on these boards still react to whomever it is posting under that name. We need a giant “Don’t feed the trolls” sign.

    • Kent

      There is NOTHING offensive about the word “retarded” when used in a clinical/respectful context. Retarded simply means slowed or delayed, and a word doesn’t is not made into a slur for people who use it correctly by people who don’t.

  • District 12

    The funeral was so heartbreaking to watch, also @Marc why kill off Rachel, she is the one Glee member that can really sing! (and Kurt)

  • Aaron Vaar

    That’s nice, but I feel theneed to correct one thing. While it wad true in the past that many people with down syndrome used to have a life expectancy of 30, they now regularly live into their 50s, thanks to medical advances and the movement against institutionalization. How do I know? I have an 8 year old with DS, and I’m very proud if the way Glee has portrayed thee characters

    • Bobby’s Robot

      I have a cousin with DS in her 70’s. I know it’s probably quite rare, but it’s possible.

  • Allison

    What was so shocking about it? A character who had been on like four times maybe died a not very shocking death for plot purposes. Basically, Jane Lynch needed some new material for that Emmy reel because her character has stunk this year.

    • Blorp

      Yeah, I thought I was the only one who thought this was kind of icky…

    • crispy

      Not shocking at all. It happened off-screen, to a character we haven’t seen or cared about in months, and felt like an anti-climatic end to an online PR campaign. Furthermore, you can’t take a character who is morally bankrupt beyond reproach one week and make them a sentimental do-gooder the following week. Glee doesn’t have character arcs, it has character zigzags.

      • Kayla

        I think they’ve been very consistent with Sue… She’s always a selfish jerk, but she has a huge soft spot when it comes to her sister. Sue has never wavered in her devotion to Jean, and I think her character has been very consistent.
        This even works for her way of dealing with Mr. Schu/the glee kids, Sue said in this episode that Jean was always telling her she should be nicer to Mr. Schu… If that’s confusing, I guess I really have no more argument because it would be pointless, however I do wonder about the people who can’t follow simple concepts like different layers of a character’s personality (by no means singling any one person out… I’m seeing it in a large number of Glee fans).

      • crispy

        You are wrong. (Not to mention condescending as heck). Sue is anything but a consistent character. But don’t let your fangirlish devotion to this silly show cloud your judgment.

      • missy

        No crispy, you are wrong (and – ironically – condescending as heck.) People are going to complain about the Sue character no matter what. First she’s too one-dimensional. The complaints are that nobody is that mean all the time. Then they give her some vulnerability and the gripe is that she is inconsistent. My point is that people are inconsistent. Nobody is mean all the time. Sure, Sue’s antics are often over the top but thats what makes her entertaining. On the other hand, if she just turns into a complete be-yatch all the time whats the fun in that? But if you’d like to dismiss my opinion as fangirl devotion, so be it. Of course, one might say that dismissing someone’s opinion as inferior in a a patronizing way is the very definition of the condescending.

      • crispy

        It’s not ironic. It was intentional. Fight fire with fire, no?
        The people who complain about Sue’s character being one-dimensional are absolutely right. If she’d been allowed to show a shred of humanity in the last 3-4 episodes, last night’s emotional side wouldn’t have seemed so abrupt.

      • Kat

        I have to agree with crispy. I cried during last night’s episode because I respond strongly to love and death and all that…but Sue is one of the most inconsistent characters on TV. In season 1, I liked that she was a real b*tch but had a soft spot for her sister and therefore other people with DS or disabilities (didn’t she fund a wheelchair ramp or something?). That’s valid. HOWEVER, the direction they took Sue this season was just insane. She wants to shoot students out of cannons. She punches people, she knocks them down stairs to injure them, she slams students into lockers, she tries to ruin the hopes and dreams of kids, she has their flight redirected through Libya to kill them (a joke which I did NOT think was even remotely funny)…with no repercussions and no regrets (until now!). That is not the same kind of person who can suddenly become nice and hold hands with their sworn enemy just because the one person she cares for in her life told her to be nicer. (This is in reference to Kayla’s explanation; personally, I thought the episode indicated that Sue was moved by what the Glee club had done for her sister and became nice…and whether I can accept that as a valid character shift depends on how Sue behaves in the future. Based on the way Glee has operated previously, I kind of expect Sue to go back to her usual creepy ways.) So anyways. I appreciate that a character can be sweet with one person and mean to everyone else. But I can’t accept the wild shifts in Sue’s behavior as being “consistent”. As crispy said earlier, someone like this would have a manic disorder.

      • trunuyawkr

        Hi Crispy- With all due respect, I think you are forgetting the episodes with Sue’s mom (Carol Burnett) and the ones from the end of last season where we got tosee the inside of Sue’s place, with all of the trophies. The story lines for these showed some of the reasons why Sue is so messed in the head, and full of rage and vendetta. She had to fight for her and her sister her entire life, having dealt with absentee parents (they even touched on it in last night’s episode – when Kurt asked if Sue called her mom, Sue replied “She said her good bye to us a long long time ago”.) Yes, Sue DOES swing wildly from hatred to love for her sister, but I think the writers did attempt to show why.

      • crispy

        Wasn’t the Carol Burnett episode like 10 episodes ago? I readily admit there have been other times when Sue’s shown a vulnerable side, but they’re far too infrequent and inconsistent to form a believable character. It wouldn’t surprise if those episodes were written by a different screenwriter.

      • Jewls

        Ummm… perhaps Sue DOES have a manic disorder? Next season: Bi-Polar awareness!

      • rich

        @missy, its bad writing….a villian can have a heart deep down when it counts and it wont look as if she is completly abandoning her character. i get what they are saying about sue. vanessa williams basically played a charecter very similar the difference is the writing was far superior to that of glee, yet she never received any recognition.

  • sam

    This show is phony and manipulative.

    • Redhead

      Isn’t that the point? Tell a story and take you on a journey with the characters?

    • Mere

      A synonym for “fictional” is “false.” So yes, the show is phony I suppose. As for manipulative, I’d love to hear any kind of reason to call the show manipulative.

  • Marcel

    They had me at the part about the phone calls.
    You never realize until it’s too late how much you’ll miss a person’s voice.

  • GS

    This is the Jane Lynch I love! Such a great actress and they finally used her as more than a joke. I bawled during the funeral scenes and when she made Becky captain. Great work Jane!

  • glenn

    The scene where Sue asked Becky for a hug and the camera cut to Becky’s little hands clasped around Sue’s back was a real tearjerker.

    • Yer mom

      oofah..yes..I couldn’t see the screen though..it was blurry..

  • DrewinKC

    I thought this episode was great. Am I the only person who is excited that they appear to be retiring the whole “sue hates glee club. must kill glee club” storyline? It was so tired.

    • crispy

      Haha, you can’t be serious. Sue will be hating the Glee club by the end of next week’s episode.

      • DrewinKC

        I’m just so over that storyline. They are wasting a good actress with total crap.

      • crispy

        Oh, I totally agree with you! But the Glee writers haven’t given us any reason to believe they can do real character growth. Any time a character seems to learn something or develop, the very next week it’s like they completely forgot.

      • DrewinKC

        So true. It is quite sad!

      • creamy goodness

        Sue is the only reasonable person on the show. EVERYONE should hate Glee.

    • Kat

      I would love this development if I could believe for even a second that Glee won’t just reboot Sue and make her hate the glee club all over again, for no reason other than plot convenience and lack of writing skill. How many times has Rachel had episodes in which she learns to share the spotlight and be nice?

      • DrewinKC

        Or Mercedes struggling with feeling like an outsider and embracing her inner diva.

      • Bobby’s Robot

        Or (any) two characters that hate each other one week and are BFF’s the next with no explanation.

      • peggym

        Let’s not all forget the many faces of Mr. Schue. Wise advisor, love-sick puppy, icky seducer, village idiot. Which one will they make him into this week?

  • Cygnus

    Pure Imagination was a great song to choose, and it started fine with Curt singing it, but as usual Finn totally torpedoed it. He’s such a terrible singer, dancer, and actor. Wish he and Quinn would go bye bye.

    • Keli

      TOTALLY agree that Finn is kind of awful, but they’ll never get rid of him because he’s Rachel’s lover. It would be nice if they could not have him sing as much, though. Quinn can just go for good. She’s by far the most irritating, one dimensional character on the show. Really tired of the whole Quinn/Rachel/Finn love triangle and how every episode talks about how beautiful Quinn is in every episode. Ok, we get it….she’s pretty. Next…

      • Kat

        Agreed, I think Quinn’s character has become really tiresome this season. She’s a flat, utterly predictable foil. You can count on her to always make the worst, most selfish choice possible. If they don’t know what to do with her character, and are going to be reducing her to a Mean-Girl caricature, they should just get rid of her.

    • Lidie

      I kind of agree with that actually. He really is not a very good singer. When he sings with Lea Michele she easily drowns him out because she has such a strong voice and he doesn’t. Heck, even when he sings with the other guys I feel he comes up short. Hands down, Kurt is the best singer of the boys in that group and should be team captain. I mean when they sang Pure Imagination there was such a difference in the way Kurt sang it as opposed to Cory.

  • K

    yeah, people witj DS live much longer than 30 now – but do have shortened lifespans….so sad.

  • Terry

    I totally agree with letting the Sue vs. Glee Club storyline die…all this season she’s been more cartoon character than human. Last night she was brilliant.

  • Bob

    Jane, you need to update yourself on the life expectancy of people with Down Syndrome. The “live to 30″ average is from the days of institutionalization, which ended a long time ago. Read up, then become an advocate.

    • Casey

      They expressly stated that when Jean was born the average life expectancy was 30. For someone born in the 50’s this is not incorrect. She did not say that this is accurate for people with DS who are born now or within the last 2 decades.

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