If you’re not watching Fox’s new show Glee, which airs Wednesday nights at 8 pm, you’re missing a truly original creation – at times hilarious, at times shocking, but always entertaining and unique. The debut aired months ago and has been viewed all summer over the internet, with episode three airing tonight. And the best part is knowing that Mark Salling, who plays “the bad guy” Puck, grew up in Lake Highlands.
Mark graduated from LHHS in 2001 and his parents, John and Condy, still live in the “L” Street area. Condy works at LHJH, where she still can’t get used to people coming up and remarking on Mark’s new show. “The whole idea of watching my child on TV is overwhelming,” she told me. The show revolves around Mr. Schuester, an inspiring young teacher who takes over the school’s past-its-prime Glee Club and invites kids from a variety of student groups to join. It’s part Breakfast Club, part High School Musical, with the anticipation of Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland’s “let’s put on a show” and the breakthrough talent of Fame. And I get a tiny twinge of Rocky Horror Picture Show – campy and edgy, like maybe you shouldn’t tell your mom you watch this.
Mark’s mom, on the other hand, is over-the-moon-proud of her son. “He always had a bent toward music – at four he begged for piano lessons.” They made him wait until he was five. “As a kid, he was always ‘out there’ – articulate and expressive beyond his years. He loved to play dress up and put on a show. When he started writing music and taught himself to play guitar, we recognized his God-given gift.”
Condy’s not wild about Puck’s signature Mohawk, (she asked him not to wear it to a family wedding) but she realizes it demonstrated the ‘sarcastic athlete’ image he needed to get the part. In fact, when he sent in his head shot and music, auditions were already closed. His agent had to beg the casting crew to look at one more kid.
Condy says she is “immensely proud” that Mark persevered through seven years of rejections in L.A. before reaching his goal. The show is a “perfect combo of his music and acting,” and when he called to tell her he won the part, he was so excited he couldn’t speak and scared her to death. Mark was amazed when the cast landed in Boston for a ten-city tour this summer and big crowds showed up. “The big news,” she told me, “is that Fox announced on Monday that it ordered 9 more episodes, to complete a full season of 22.”