Jayma Mays Cheers Her New Glee Role, 'Ginger Supremacy' and a Very Special Christmas Duet

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This Tuesday’s Glee (Fox, 8/7c) features a little something for everyone, from those who’ve been longing for Mercedes to seize the spotlight again to those wanting more deets on Mike Chang (who has come a long way from being “Other Asian”). Among its strengths, the hour boasts one of Jayma Mays’ best acting performances, as guidance counselor-slash-school musical director Emma Pillsbury gets an unwelcome blast from the past.

TVLine invited Mays to weigh in on Emma’s new gig, “ginger supremacy” and whether Will can ever “fix” his OCD sweetheart. Plus, get the scoop on the joyous duet Mays is doing for Glee‘s Christmas album.

TVLINE | How excited were you to get folded back into Glee’s main action, as a co-director of the school musical?
I was really excited – and I love the fact that they put Coach Beiste, Artie and me, the three most unlikely people to direct the school play, together. We pick on each other a lot, but we’ve been having a lot of fun.

TVLINE | How do you envision Emma’s approach to casting? Is she the most practical, or is that Artie? Is she of the mindset, “Everybody gets a trophy”?
Artie probably is the most practical, the most opinionated and the most creative. [Laughs] That’s the funny thing, on this show the kids are all actually smarter than the adults!

TVLINE | Emma is the Paula Abdul. “You were wonderful, and you were wonderful….”
Everybody’s a winner! Emma’s always kind of championing everyone, but I love that about her. That’s a great quality for her to have.

TVLINE | I like how the co-directors were tiptoeing around things like, “Kurt’s not whatever enough to be Tony,” or “So-and-so isn’t Latina enough to be Maria….”
Right? Emma clearly was rooting for Kurt, but almost from a “safety” point of view. Because Emma’s still a virgin and she hasn’t experienced anything too bizarre in her life as far as sexuality goes, Kurt felt like the safe way to go. It would be comfortable for people to watch him; we don’t need brooding sexuality on the stage.

TVLINE | I thought Chris Colfer did really well with that Romeo and Juliet performance in the deeper voice. I was actually at mad at Beiste for laughing at him.
Wasn’t it good? When we were filming, I kept thinking he’s not doing it bad enough, and I’m laughing and I don’t really know why – especially since they’re supposed to be high school students. Watching the episode, I was like, “Oh my gosh, we look horrible, laughing at everybody….”

Exclusive Glee Video: Watch Mercedes Steal the Spotlight from Rachel!

TVLINE | Tell me about Emma’s folks, played by Donny Most (Happy Days) and Valerie Mahaffey (Desperate Housewives). What brings them to town? Is it a big love fest between the three of them?
I don’t know exactly how much I can give away about this, but… I definitely wouldn’t say it’s a happy reunion. And as for what brings them to town, if I say that it will give away too much.

TVLINE | Oh man, they’re there to announce they’re splitting up, aren’t they? That’s like the only reason parents come to town on a TV show.
[Laughs] No, no, that’s not why. They’re invited, but… Emma’s not happy to have them.

TVLINE | Emma’s parents tout themselves as “ginger supremacists” – can you personally relate to that struggle?
Totally. Anytime I pass a ginger on the street, you know we have that secret nod that we do, with a little wink. But if it’s a faux ginger, I won’t even look you in the eye. No, maybe my parents were a little disappointed that my husband [actor Adam Campbell] wasn’t a redhead, but what can you do?

TVLINE | Did you behold any reverence for the Ralph Malph? Or does Happy Days predate you?
Oh my gosh, I was so excited. When they told me, I said, “What? He’s my father?!” He was super, super lovely to work with. And so was Valerie. They both had me laughing so hard. We were doing one particular scene and they were shooting their coverage and I was like, “I’m so sorry, the back of my shoulders were shaking because I was laughing so hard.”

TVLINE | Now that Valerie has played Emma’s mom, what will we do if Susan Sarandon ever wants to swing by?
I know! She could totally be my aunt. She could be anything she wants to be! Maybe she could be the head of the Ginger Supremacists group? I think she could pull that off.

Ask Ausiello: Spoilers on This Week’s A-Plus Glee and Episode 5′s Kurt/Rachel Bombshell

TVLINE | At end of this week’s episode, there’s a very emotional sequence as Will sings “Fix You” to Emma. Ultimately, do you think he can?
Oh, that’s a very deep question…. I… I don’t know that anybody can fix anybody, but I do feel that if I’m going to be sentimental about it, there are elements to both Emma and Will that bring out the best in each other, and that’s what good about well-written couples. I definitely think that Will has the ability to do that for Emma.

TVLINE | What do you think was the net result of Emma’s whirlwind, intermittently presented romance with Carl (played by John Stamos)? What do you think we gained from that?
[Laughs] Well, I don’t know what you gained, but Emma needed that. Emma’s never done anything without thinking it through a year in advance, and to have that moment of being spontaneous and frivolous about the way she felt about something was a good thing for her to go through. It’s almost like she needed to be extreme in the other direction to see what it’s like to live.

Glee Exclusive: New Gay Warbler to Come Between Kurt and Blaine

TVLINE | There’s been a lot of talk of this season being “back to basics” for Glee, and “Asian F” seems like a strong step in that direction. Is that how you feel?
You know, we’ve got some new writers, and I feel like they’re killing it, they’re really writing good stuff for everybody. We’re getting to know everybody even more this season, which is great. Like, all the stuff with Mike Chang’s parents I just love, and Mercedes coming into her own…. I’m loving it so much this season.

TVLINE | Any performances coming up for you this season? I feel like the last time you sang, it was in that Puritan “Afternoon Delight” costume.
Which was my favorite thing to wear, ever. I want to have a party at home and answer the door in it. I was so happy in that costume – though I don’t know what that says about me as a person. A ruffle around the neck isn’t go to hurt anything! So no, no [on camera] performances, but Matt [Morrison] and I are doing a duet on the Glee Christmas album, which is very fun for me because I’ve never laid down an original song before. We’re doing an original song that Adam Anders, our music producer, wrote for us, and I felt flattered and honored to do that. Plus, it’s just nice to sing Christmas songs. I wore red pants the day I sang it!

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Comments (91)

  • Asian F is just going to KILL ME!!! In a good way though ;) THOUGH WHY CAN’T THE WEMMA DUET BE IN THE CHRISTMAS EPISODE?!!! That be the BEST CHRISTMAS PRESENT EVER!

    Comment by Charlotte – October 4, 2011 07:09 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Mark my words, “Fix You” (screengrabbed above) will WRECK you.

      Comment by Matt Webb Mitovich – October 4, 2011 10:34 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • OMG. I completely agree. I was sitting at my computer almost hysterical and my husband was like… “um, are you ok?” lol. This is possibly the best episode of Glee ever.

        Comment by Colleen – October 4, 2011 10:55 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • I was all-out CRYING during that song! I was so wrapped up in the emotion of it (I can relate to what Emma is going through) that I barely noticed that it maybe wasn’t the best song for Matthew Morrison’s voice. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE him, but I’m not a huge fan of his falsetto.

        Comment by Veronica – October 5, 2011 09:19 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

      Comment by Jessicca Tillotson – October 5, 2011 02:27 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’m so excited for tonights episode!!!! And I really like Jayma Mays! She’s a great person.

    Comment by Spencer – October 4, 2011 07:10 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I love her.

    Comment by Raksha – October 4, 2011 07:12 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • that romeo & juliet audition was hilarious i can’t even blame them for laughing!!! and it’s not because it’s cruel or whatever colfer’s fans are yelling abt it’s just because it’s so funny!!

    Comment by deanna – October 4, 2011 07:19 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • There was nothing even remotely amusing about that scene. It was cruel. Also the performance Kurt gave was extremely good. I myself am a Shakespearean director and the only criticism of Kurt’s performance was that he could have slowed it down a little, but I feel that that was the decision of the actor Chris Colfer. He had to make it believable, but also perform it as a 17 year old would do. It was a compelling performance of a difficult scene. The laughter mixed with that performance was why the audience felt the shock and the anger that this article’s writer mentioned. It was a brilliantly acted and directed scene. Very powerful and shocking.

      I really hope that this issue of gay-stereotyping will be carried on. It’s something that really needs to be addressed.

      Comment by SJW – October 4, 2011 11:00 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • I think the reason why the other characters laughed when Kurt was giving his performance was because they are used to seeing a different side of him. They were used to hear his normal voice everyday and see him dressed very fashionably and so seeing hearing him with a straight man’s voice and seeing him “hitting on” Juliet was kinda funny for them. I did think it was a little mean, but it was funny as well. It was meant to kind of shock the audience and give them a different yet small part of Kurt. I don’t think it was meant to be offensive or cruel.

        Comment by Patty – October 5, 2011 02:38 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • I agree… As a performer ((not shakespear, but still a stage performer)) I know that he pulled that off well… He needed to slow down, but for an audition, it was great… It was cruel AND unprofessional to laugh at Kurt… They not only have stereo-typed him, they have also humiliated him… Even if it is funny ((although his performance wasn’t funny in the least)) they need to hold back laughter… it only destracts the performer and makes an audition harder for them… Other than opening night, that is the scariest part of acting and to laugh at his skills was disturbing… I honestly hope they realise what they did wrong and try to fix the issue… I also hope that Kurt doesn’t take the laughter to think he can’t act manly because he really has the skills to be anyone he chooses to be =)

        Comment by Bec – October 12, 2011 06:22 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • what was funny about it? The fact that you couldn’t get past a gay actor playing a straight role? It happens all the time kiddo. It’s called acting.

      Comment by Sam – October 4, 2011 06:30 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Case in point: Neil Patrick Harris as Barney Stinson. NPH is an awesome actor, and Barney is an awesome character, but if you focus on the sexuality too much, you’ll miss the point of acting altogether.

        And I think that was the point of everyone laughing at Kurt. Even Rachel, one of his best friends, found it amusing that he had to kiss a girl. Only the gay man didn’t see anything wrong with it, and in this case, he was in the right.

        Comment by IceMetalPunk – October 5, 2011 02:30 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • i agree with the laughing at kurt doing shakespeare thing. even in the glee universe, i found it hard to believe they would laugh at him.

    Comment by DUH – October 4, 2011 07:25 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I know, laughing at Kurt was really cruel and i think they should apologise to him. He was really good as Romeo too. And Chris Colfer is so Hot. I would really love to see him as Tony.

      Comment by Joanna – October 4, 2011 11:03 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Blaine would be better, more of a man’s man

        Burt is right

        Comment by Jon – October 4, 2011 12:26 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • I went on to see the movie to see for myself what this Tony guy was about. Really, yeah Blaine would make a good Tony but so would Kurt. I think many got the impression Tony would be this “tough” guy because he is described as “leader of a gang” but watch the movie and come to your own conclusions.Now, if he is so not-manly I don’t get why the thought he was better as Officer Kurpke.

          Comment by Ana – October 5, 2011 02:45 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • This sounds like this episode is going to be one of those “moment” episodes of Glee you won’t forget. Its going to be great and can’t wait any longer. lol

    Great interview

    Comment by Guy – October 4, 2011 07:58 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • She’s so frickin’ adorable. I want to see the Smurfs movie just because she’s in it.

    Comment by dan – October 4, 2011 08:24 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Wemma tonight, Im so excited. A WEMMA DUET!? That has to be shown on screen please.

    Comment by Lindsay – October 4, 2011 09:24 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Jayma is so adorable. She sounds so humbke and nice. So excited for tonight’s episode!

    Comment by Alyson – October 4, 2011 10:07 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Jayma is truly the sweetest, and she is very excited about this season.

      Comment by Matt Webb Mitovich – October 4, 2011 10:34 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I adore Jayma!:) She’s the most humble, precious person on earth:) I’m SO excited for tonight’s episode of “Asian F.” I think that its going to be the best episode of glee since the show premiered.

    Comment by Kristyn – October 4, 2011 10:29 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’m so glad that this interview brought up the ‘laughing at Kurt’ issue. It was cruel and very unprofessional of teachers to laugh at a student that way. Kurt was extremely believable in the role of Romeo. he was very convincing and i for one could see him easily play the role of Tony. The laughter from Beiste, Artie and Emma was like a punch in the guts. Chris Colfer especially would be brilliant at portraying Kurt as Tony.

    Comment by Jonathan – October 4, 2011 10:51 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • It was not cruel, Burt was right he isn’t enough of a man to play Tony.

      Comment by Brad – October 4, 2011 12:43 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Kurt is all man. He has an XY chromosome, right? I think what you meant to say is that Kurt doesn’t display enough masculine stereotypes. Although I just watched West Side Story, and I think Kurt would do an amazing job as Tony.

        Comment by Tulip – October 4, 2011 03:17 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I love Jayma. She’s soo sweet and cute. I’m really looking forward to this episode, especially after the shock of the last one. I’m glad Jayma said that she thought Chris Colfer was really good as Romeo, because I thought so too and i couldn’t believe they laughed at him. I love you Jayma.

    Comment by Becky – October 4, 2011 11:09 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I have to admit I was really disappointed with Season 2 — to the point that I eventually stopped watching — but this episode sounds promising. Perhaps I’ll give it a shot.

    Comment by Ace – October 4, 2011 11:35 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • F**k Emma. I’m still on TEAM TERRI!!!!!

    Comment by Snapy – October 4, 2011 11:38 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • That psycho bitch is gone and no longer returning, peace out.

      Comment by Maddie – October 4, 2011 12:26 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Kurt wants to show manliness and picks Romeo and Juilet? Cmon man

    Comment by Mike – October 4, 2011 12:26 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I love this new scoop, Jayma is amazing and so is Wemma.

    Comment by Kylie – October 4, 2011 12:27 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Love Wemma, so excited for tonight.

    Comment by Jenna – October 4, 2011 12:29 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

    Comment by Stephanie – October 4, 2011 12:29 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I just know that Fix You is going to make me cry I just know it and its going to be so beautiful. Perfect for Wemma.

    Comment by Saria – October 4, 2011 12:30 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

    Comment by Linda – October 4, 2011 12:36 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Great news ! Now that we have a Wemma duet , how about some Wemma hot sex scenes ??
    They deserve this

    Comment by Layla – October 4, 2011 01:14 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • YAY I love Will/Emma together. I’m so excited for tonight’s episode!!!

    Comment by Sara – October 4, 2011 01:14 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • So excited for this duet! I also can’t wait for tonight’s episode! Go Wemma!

    Comment by Nicole – October 4, 2011 01:30 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Thank you for the Wemma scoop you guys rock.

    Comment by Lizzie – October 4, 2011 03:20 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Wemma rules, thank you from all the Wemma fans.

    Comment by Kinsey – October 4, 2011 03:21 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I think Will and Emma are so adorable.

    Comment by Amanda – October 4, 2011 03:23 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Thank you for the Wemma scoop Mike, its perfect especially with what is to come in just an hour.

    Comment by Mike – October 4, 2011 03:23 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

    Comment by Lorna – October 4, 2011 03:25 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Bout time they got a duet, geez. Im happy to see them together.

    Comment by Aja – October 4, 2011 03:26 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Im glad that Wemma are getting a duet, I hope they will perform it on the show.

    Comment by Yesi – October 4, 2011 03:27 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Well looks like I just found my new favorite Christmas song.

    Comment by Blair – October 4, 2011 03:28 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Wemma rules, gah tonight is going to be great!

    Comment by Nora – October 4, 2011 03:32 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Wemma are my favorite couple on this show so this makes me very happy.

    Comment by Francine – October 4, 2011 03:33 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Love me some Wemma, very much.

    Comment by Mandy – October 4, 2011 03:35 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • WEMMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by Jill – October 4, 2011 03:43 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • One of my favorite couples on Glee, Im so happy they’re finally together.

    Comment by Hannah1 – October 4, 2011 03:43 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Love this news, a duet is happening finally.

    Comment by Paula – October 4, 2011 03:48 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

    Comment by Jamie – October 4, 2011 03:49 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

    Comment by WEMMALOVE – October 4, 2011 03:49 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

    Comment by Jane – October 4, 2011 03:55 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Will and Emma make an amazing couple, I could not be happier for either of them.

    Comment by Vanessa – October 4, 2011 03:57 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Wemma and Klaine are my two favorite Glee couples, I think both are so cute.

    Comment by Cristy – October 4, 2011 04:01 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • A Will and Emma duet, AND its a christmas song, OMG I need the christmas episode now please.

    Comment by Reggie – October 4, 2011 04:02 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Im so glad everyone loves Wemma, I thought me and my friends at school were the only ones.

    Comment by Gail – October 4, 2011 04:06 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I enjoy this couple on Glee a lot, especially this year. They’re really mature and communicate very well, probably the most well developed couple this year.

    Comment by Henry – October 4, 2011 04:07 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Wemma is my OTP, haters to the left please, tonight is the night.

    Comment by Nicola – October 4, 2011 04:07 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I love he fact that Will and Emma are finally getting a duet, I just hope we see it on screen.

    Comment by Nat – October 4, 2011 04:08 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I love this couple so much, my favorite since The Pilot.

    Comment by Amy – October 4, 2011 04:09 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I have not been this excited for a Glee episode since Sectionals all the way back in S1. I hope it lives up to the hype.

    Comment by Becky – October 4, 2011 04:10 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Wemma my love for you is endless, and my love for Jayma is still infinity and beyond.

    Comment by Naomi – October 4, 2011 04:14 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

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