It’s about time that Jessalyn Gilsig’s “Glee” character Terri Schuester got her chance to shine with her own song.
“Yeah, Terri’s going to sing,” Gilsig confirms to Zap2it in an interview to tease the show’s spring return. “I haven’t done it yet. I’ve just been told that it’s coming. I know where it happens and I know who it happens with, but I don’t know why it happens yet.”
How intriguing. Considering that Terri’s life revolves around her estranged husband Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison), we wonder if she is either singing with him or perhaps one of her rivals for his affection, the doe-eyed Emma (Jayma Mays) or guest star Idina Menzel, who reportedly got hot and heavy with Mr. Schue.
“Uh yeah, I don’t want to talk about that. I’m really upset about it,” Gilsig jokes. “I’m just so misunderstood. But yeah, totally, she’s all up over my man.”
All kidding aside, the actress claims she didn’t have to sing in advance for the producers to find a song to fit her vocal style.
“When you’re on the show, it’s just make or break,” she explains. “So I just show up and I’m going to dig deep and I’m going to find it. I did musicals, but not really professionally … they were more plays where songs were required. I think that’s good enough.”
Gilsig’s ability to sing is secondary to her character’s reputation, which is spotty at best. As a grown woman who lied about being pregnant in order to keep her man Will from straying with Emma, Terri is a rather controversial character. She’s not without her fans though.
“I had this great encounter the other day,” says Gilsig. “A girl came up. She must have been 12, and she said, ‘Are you Mrs. Schuester?’ I said, ‘Yes, I’m Mrs. Schuester.’ She said, ‘I tell all my friends that he’s flirting with that girl at school and you can’t help it, you’re scared. And you just know that’s he’s flirting with her and you don’t know what to do.’ And I said, ‘You’re right. You should write a blog.’ That was awesome. Go Team Terri.”
As a giggling, happy mother of one, Gilsig is the opposite of the scheming, paranoid Terri, but still has affection for poor Mrs. Schue.
“I love Terri because she does stir the pot,” she explains. “I always think of her as the person who lights the match in the room. You need people like that on the show. I like that. I want to get to see her happy a couple times and I’m hoping that will happen.”
Happiness won’t necessarily be achieved easily though. A lot of work is ahead for Terri.
“She and Will are definitely on a break, and it’s fun because Terri’s gotta figure out who she is without him,” says Gilsig. “There’s always that feeling that if you’re in that kind of dysfunctional relationship of ‘If that person weren’t in my life, would I exist?’
“Like everything in life, it’s about relationships and who’s healthy for you and who’s not healthy for you. So hopefully she’s just going to spend time with people who are healthy for her and I think that’s what’s going to happen. She’s going to form new connections.”
Definitely new people in Terri’s life would be a good idea, unlike her sister Kendra (Jennifer Aspen), who was an enabler in the fake pregnancy department. Speaking of pregnancy, Gilsig observes how “Glee’s” award-winning costume designer Lou Eyrich approached Terri and Quinn’s (Dianna Agron) pregnancy bellies design-wise.
“She worked really hard on [Terri’s] belly,” she says. “We actually had several bellies because I had to grow over time. It was always a big discussion. You needed to see the progression. And I was noticing on the set the other day that Quinn’s belly is a lot more believable than Terri’s because it’s ‘real’ as opposed to what Terri’s was, which was kind of a pillow, and I think it’s fun that they made that distinction.”
With the faux belly out of the picture, we’d like to see Eyrich tackle Terri’s outdated wardrobe next.
“Terri is that woman that sometimes Oprah [Winfrey] has on her show who won’t let go of her haircut from high school,” says Gilsig. “Terri’s felt the best in her life in high school, so to let go of that profile it’s such a big deal.
“We think of her a little bit as not being able to let go of the cheerleader looks. So it’s a contemporized version, but still the silhouette but might not be totally age appropriate. She might be in the wrong stores at the mall but she just can’t let go of that because she feels like that’s where her power is and her self-esteem is.”
Terri obviously needs to lose the bad habits and empower herself through song, which is the “Glee” way. Gilsig has a guess about what Terri’s anthem ought to be: “I Will Survive.”
“Glee” returns to finish its freshman season on Tuesday, April 13 on FOX.
Photo credit: Getty, FOX