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Glee’s Kevin McHale and Jenna Ushkowitz Say Cast Inspired Alcohol Episode: ‘We Got Drunk on Set’

Kevin McHale and Jenna Ushkowitz confessed that the iconic drunk episode of Glee was inspired by one of the cast’s on-set shenanigans.

“We got caught having a dance party at base camp — where our trailers are — after going to lunch and having a little bit of some substances,” Ushkowitz, 37, recalled on the Monday, July 31, episode of the “And That’s What You REALLY Missed” podcast. “And by substances I mean sake.”

McHale, 35, remembered that the cast decided to go to a nearby sushi spot, and one of their costars instigated the boozy lunch.

“We went out, and I won’t name names. There was one person who was the ringleader. It wasn’t either of us … [they] started pushing us all to drink,” he confessed. “And we’re like ‘I don’t know if we should.’ Some of us partook more than others.”

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Both McHale and Ushkowitz teased that neither of them got too intoxicated during lunch. However, they did reveal that the “ringleader” and some of the other cast members ended up going into others’ trailers and doodling on the walls with permanent markers. Ushkowitz was “very upset” that her trailer was one of the victims.

“Then the producers came down and they partook in our dance party … but then went back and snitched on us and we got in trouble,” Ushkowitz said. “And they wrote an episode about it”

Glee Kevin McHale and Jenna Ushkowitz Says Cast Inspired Drunk Episode
Jenna Ushkowitz and Kevin McHale Stephen Greathouse/Shutterstock

The incident inspired the season 2 episode, “Blame It on the Alcohol,” which focuses on underage drinking. The Glee club was enlisted to perform at an anti-alcohol assembly, but the students showed up to their performance intoxicated. “We got drunk on set y’all, that’s why,” McHale quipped.

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In the episode, Lea Michele’s character throws a house party for the glee club while her parents are out of town. The group gets drunk, does some karaoke and plays a game of spin-the-bottle (A game the cast also played offscreen.)

Some of the character’s drunken moments were inspired by their real-life mannerisms including Ushkowitz’s “cackle” and McHale trying on women’s clothes.

Glee Kevin McHale and Jenna Ushkowitz Says Cast Inspired Drunk Episode 2
Chord Overstreet, Cory Monteith, Jenna Ushkowitz, Kevin McHale, Dianna Agron, Harry Shum Jr., Lea Michele and Amber Riley perform on the Glee! concert tour at Staples Center in Los Angeles on May 28, 2011. Jim Ruymen/UPI/Shutterstock

“There were a lot of our ‘isms’ in this entire thing. Where Santana [Naya Rivera] mouths ‘Kiss me’ … she’s sort of making fun of herself,” McHale said. “We’re making fun of each other in all of this.”

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Ushkowitz pointed out that Rivera saying “No me gusta” was very much like herself while McHale noted that Michele, 36, calling out for “cheers” repeatedly was also very accurate.

While the episode’s inspiration stemmed as an on-set consequence, both McHale and Ushkowitz agreed that filming the house party scene was one of the “funnest” things they got to do on set.

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