McKinley High School’s boys are showing some skin this week on Glee. And while the show’s fans might be excited about the pec-tacular episode, Jacob Artist says that behind the scenes, the mood was anything but sexy.
“I remember when we were doing the wardrobe fittings for this episode and they said, ‘We’re going to be trying on a pumpkin,’ I was like ‘OK.’ Then I came in [and realized] it was literally just a pumpkin wrapping around my crotch,” says the actor, who plays Jake on the musical teen soap. “It was pretty hilarious. But we were all wearing really ridiculous costumes that day and got to be embarrassed together.”
Stripping down to his, um, pumpkin, isn’t the only way Jake will be exposing himself this week, however, Artist said. “Not only are we going to be shirtless but also everyone is really stripping down and showing a lot of layers of their characters.”
For Jake, that means finally confronting a lot of important questions about his relationship with Marley, which in recent episodes has started to heat up. “You’re going to see some developments with Marley and Jake and really get to explore their relationship and kind of see some sides of him you haven’t seen yet,” he says. “I think this is probably going to be a very crucial turning point for them. You saw in the last episode that they were really starting to commit to each other, and their feelings were really growing and this episode kind of amplifies that. They’re together, and now they’re deciding what the next step is — where they’re going from here and how do they really feel about each other.”
After a rough start to Jake’s time with the Glee club, Artist says the character is learning how to be a better version of himself thanks to his fellow Gleeks, especially Marley, his half-brother Puck, and Sam, who also has “some really really really great scenes” in the episode. “I think all of these relationships are really forcing him to let his guard down, and I think they’re all really truly helping him in such a positive light,” he says.
And as Marley continues to recover from an eating disorder, a plotline that came to a climax earlier this season, Artist says that Jake remains intent on returning the support. “I think you’ll see in the episode a big moment for the two of them. [Jake doesn't] directly address it, but he just kind of lets her know that he knows what’s going on and cares for her and [knows about] her whole situation,” he says. “[Her eating disorder] is definitely a factor in their relationship they’re definitely working on.”
On top of a heavy character arc, Artist had his musical plate full as well for this outing. In addition to a group tune, he also has a duet with Marley and takes on Ne-Yo’s “Let Me Love You.” After less than a season on the show, Artist says the heavy work load is a sign of confidence he appreciates. “I think starting the show, obviously, all of us new kids were definitely intimidated. Glee has become, obviously, what it’s become and there’s a lot of pressure,” he says. “The fans have been incredibly supportive and really, really great on backing us all up. So it’s made the process a whole lot more fun. That’s for sure.”
As for the very vocal non-fans, who take to Twitter weekly to complain about the newbies? “To be honest, I kind of just try to keep separate from all that. At the end of the day, we all just focus on really putting our best foot forward and not really looking at all the comments on the blogs and things like that,” admits Artist. “At the end of the day, we just want to make a really great show for all those who are enjoying it.”
Glee airs tonight on Fox.