September 28th, 2010 by thetvchick
In my mind, Glee changed the face of television as we know it. I know that musical episodes have been done before (Buffy The Vampire Slayer set the bar high) but never has there been a show like this. If you don’t know by now, it centers around McKinley High School’s show choir New Directions which features students from all over the social spectrum. This unlikely group of people came together last season to form a singing powerhouse. But the show’s not just about the incredibly talented kids. The faculty at the school are just as amazing and talented. Jane Lynch’s portrayal of Sue Sylvester has become a pop culture icon, and everyone fell in love with quirky Emma Pillsbury (the guidance counselor, played by Jayma Mays) and Will Schuester (the tireless leader of Glee Club, played by Matthew Morrison). Their on again/off again relationship is slowly becoming the modern day Ross and Rachel. From the very beginning, Emma was one of my favorite characters. Her incredible sense of style, her desire to keep everything clean and her expressions that light up the screen caused me to take notice from episode one. I recently had the chance to chat with Jayma Mays about everything from the Emmys, to the reason why Emma didn’t go running back into Will’s arms in the season finale last year, to the upcoming Rocky Horror episode where she sings and of course her new love interest played by John Stamos. She is one of my absolute favorite people to talk to ever and I know I’m not the only one who hopes she’s in a ton of episodes in season two. Also, in a TV Chick FIRST (of many I hope), there is a link after the interview to download a (very long) portion of the audio from the interview!
When you first started the show, did you ever think it would become such a phenomenon?
No. (laughs) I didn’t. I think if you’re a realistic actor, you never think that you’re going to be on anything that’s an amazing hit like that. Not to be pessimistic, but I just think you go into things being a little bit more realistic most of the time. And I remember when we first did the pilot and I read the script, I knew it had the potential to be something great. But you never know if people are going to respond the same way that you do.
What has awards season been like for you? What were the Emmys like?
Ooh, Emmys were fun. (laughs) I feel like a gawker. I feel like I go and I’m such a fan of so many people there that I literally just kind of sit and look at people. I’m probably like a stalker to be honest.
I would probably do the same thing.
(laughs) I feel a little creepy, I’m not gonna lie. It’s fun. It still feels surreal. I think the fact that we’ve only been on a year and we’ve already been to quite a few of these award shows. It’s very humbling in a way, and it really just doesn’t feel real.
Yeah. I’m sure if I had to be in a room with all these TV stars, I would just stare endlessly.
Yeah. I’m such a starer. And I try not to be. I try to do it out of the corner of my eyes, but I have a feeling that everyone knows what I’m doing.
That’s okay! And Emma showed a new side to her in the finale. Why do you think she didn’t immediately run back into Will’s arms?
(Sighs) Good question. I think first of all, I was really grateful for the way they wrote those scenes for her to show her strong side. To show that she does have a back bone. And I think there were a few scenes like that, towards the end of the last few episodes. I was really grateful for that, because it shows that she’s a really well rounded character. But I also think because of that, that it might take a bit longer for her to maybe run back into Will’s arms. I think it shows that she’s a smart girl, and she’s level-headed and she does think about things and I think when truly something is meant to be, and I think that we all want Will and Emma to be meant to be, I think that you have to be smart about it and move at a pace that’s right and natural. And I just don’t think it’s been right for them just yet. She’s a cautious girl, you know. She doesn’t do anything spontaneous. It makes sense that she’s cautious about her love life as well.
And the surprise kiss in Journey between you and Will was just a crazy great moment. What was going through your head? Did you have any idea at all that it was coming?
I had no idea. It was such a surprise to me. (laughs) It was a total shock. I had no idea. But it was great because it was such a heated moment for her anyway, to have something so reactionary and so opposite from the way she was feeling at that moment, (laughs) It put her into overload — emotional overload. She can’t handle things like that. But it was a total, total shock. I didn’t see it coming at all.
Did you hit him afterwards or something? (laughs)
I think I just — I feel like I remember standing there, thinking “What just happened?” That wasn’t in the script. Was that scripted and maybe I just didn’t read it?
You’re like “I don’t think that was there…”
I think I was thinking “Gosh, I should really read these scripts a bit better, because I wasn’t prepared for that.”
(laughs) That’s really funny. So what would you say has been your biggest challenge filming the show so far?
Gosh, that’s a good question. I guess probably for me, it’s just the signing and the dancing. I haven’t had to do it a lot, but for me that’s the biggest challenge because I’m not a singer and I’m not a trained dancer or anything like that. And it seems to work a different muscle in your brain when you’re doing all of that on camera. And I enjoy it. I absolutely love it, but it’s definitely a challenge for me.
That makes sense. Switching gears a tiny bit, the fashion of the show is quite iconic, especially Emma’s wardrobe. It has spawned quite a following, so do you have a favorite designer or outfit that you’ve worn and how do you think fashion has shaped her because I think it has.
Oh my goodness, totally. I feel that the clothes for that character, for Emma, really has helped me in so many ways, kind of shape and form her as a character as well. Lou Eyrich, our costume designer, I think is the most talented brilliant costume designer out there. I don’t know how she keeps all of it straight. I mean there’s how many of us — what 20 of us? She has it all so well defined. I just think she’s brilliant. I will wear anything she puts in front of me, too because I know it’s just amazing. I trust her completely. As far as designers, she shops everywhere. There was a lovely little red dress that we had last year that had a big red bow and I think that was a Valentino red. I loved that little dress. But I feel like she put a little J. Crew belt on it and made it something completely different, made it Emma wear-able. But we do wear a lot of J. Crew stuff. I think that if there was one designer that encompassed Emma, it would probably be J.Crew. I wear a lot of that stuff. But Lou’s brilliant. A lot of vintage stuff as well. She just knows how to put stuff together for her.
Definitely. I’ve just enjoyed seeing all of the outfits every week, and all the jewelry you wear.
Yeah, she’s great at finding jewelry. And funky pins. One of my favorite things that I wore last year was a “hello” pin. It was a phone and out from the phone, the phone wire spelled out hello. It’s wonderful things like that. I don’t know where in the world she finds this stuff, but she’s just amazing.
It’s so great to watch. And obviously, I know you can’t spoil too much. So what would you like to see from Emma this season? Will she address her issues, her OCD? Will she become stronger like we saw in the last few episodes?
I definitely think that Emma is — what’s the best way to say this — I think she’s evolving into a stronger person, or at least we’re starting to see that side of her more and more. I think she’s becoming more confident, and she’s definitely working on the issues — the OCD, the mysophobia, all that. I definitely think she’s still working on the love department, trying to figure out what’s best for her. But I love the fact that, in the first season there was the thing with the coach, and I feel like Emma seemed to be really lost as far as love went. It was kind of like she was settling for things. And I kind of feel like now in the second season, we’re seeing that she’s actually trying to find what’s best for her, which just shows a wonderful, stronger, more confident, independent side of her. And I love that.
Will she have a greater presence in the first season — or at least the first part? You were noticeably absent in the back 9 because you were filming a movie.
I hope so! You never know which direction the show’s going to go in. There’s so many of us. There’s so many story lines. I don’t know how the writers juggle all of that. But I hope so. But what’s great, is that I trust the writers to know when to really delve into Emma stuff and when to delve into other characters. They’re so smart. They know how to write for all of us so well, that I one hundred percent trust that they know what they’re doing as far as Emma’s presence in the show. It’s a good feeling to feel that.
Let’s talk a little bit about John Stamos, who plays your new love interest, Carl. It’s so exciting!
Dr. Howell. Dr. Carl Howell. The hardest name in the history of television to say!
You have to practice it over and over.
Yes. Yes! I literally sit at home: “Dr. Carl Howell, Dr. Carl Howell, Dr. Carl Howell.” I’m trying to get it to five times, but I haven’t yet.
(laughs) It’s like a tongue twister.
It’s a tongue twister! I think they did it on purpose.
They wanted to mess with you a little bit.
Exactly. They were like “what could we do to Jayma this season? We can give her a boyfriend with a ridiculous name.”
(laughs) I know I grew up watching him as Uncle Jesse on Full House. So what has it been working with him?
Wonderful. He is a wonderful man. Ridiculously talented. Another triple threat –singing, dancing, acting, the whole thing. I knew him growing up as well. So I was a fan of his already. He’s been absolutely wonderful. I think what’s great is when you meet him you actually realize [that] on top of everything else, he’s actually a really lovely guy. He’s so nice to be around. He’s interested and interesting. He’s really just melded right into the cast, it’s been great.
Why do you think Emma falls for Dr. Carl Howell, besides his good looks and such?
Well I think that there’s some obvious reasons. (laughs) Physical attraction is important. I think — I don’t want to give anything away — but I do think that he suits her as far as — he’s very good at dealing with Emma, and kind of helping her be the best person that she can be. And I think that’s important in any relationship, even television relationships. But it seems to be a real reason why they’re together and I think that’s why she’s with him. I think they really do care for each other in the show.
Well that’s good. And will we maybe get to see Emma’s home life at all? And her apartment?
I don’t know! I would love to. That is something I would absolutely love to see. I mean, what in the world must her house be like?
The most organized house ever!
Exactly. And I just imagine everything’s wrapped in cling film. I would love to see her home. Not that I know of, I don’t know that it’s happening yet, but I would absolutely love to see it.
And is there anyone in season two that you have a scene with that you haven’t had before? Or anyone that you want to have a scene with in season 2 that you haven’t had before?
Let’s see, I feel like who have I had a scene with? I feel like at some point or another, I’ve had scenes with most of the kids. They’ve needed guidance (laughs) at some point in their lives. You know who I’ve heard is coming on as a guest star, but I am ridiculously obsessed and have been since I can even remember, since I was three or four, with Carol Burnett. And I mean, I don’t know why I’d have a scene with her because I think the rumor is that she’s playing Sue’s mom. But I would just die. That would be the end all be all for me.
Well you should show up anyway, at least!
I know! Again, I’m going to be a stalker that day. I’m literally going to walk around and pretend like I’m doing something on set, even if I’m not. I’m going to schedule myself a costume fitting, something so I can just show up the same day.
Maybe there’s a reason for Sue’s mom to need guidance perhaps?
Yes, yes! Right! For sure! Mom’s with a teacher at the school. I think we can work that in some how.
Yeah definitely! Definitely! Start a campaign!
And you sang “Toucha Toucha Touch Me” for your audition song and you worked on a production of Rocky Horror.
I did. It was a small local production in Los Angeles.
So I understand you are singing it on the show, so can you talk a bit about the process of the episode and the musical number? Is it a dream come true?
It actually is! Again, because I did it in a very small production here in Los Angeles, it is one of those moments where I’m like “Oh my gosh, I’m actually doing it on television now!” And it being so funny because that was 5, 6 years ago when I did it on a little stage here. And I loved it then, and I love the song. So I loved it then, and I’m loving doing it now. But it definitely feels strange, another one of those surreal moments. But it’s very interesting the way it works on the show. You get the song. They’re like “You’re singing this song,” and you run to the recording studio and you record it and then they finalize it. And then you start dance rehearsals with it, and you film it. So it’s quite a process. Even though I always admire the kids, it really makes me admire them even more that they’re constantly doing this with multiple songs every episode. It’s pretty intense. I just am in awe of them that they do this every single day. But it’s wonderful. I’m really enjoying it.
Can you say who you are singing it with?
You know, I don’t know if I’m allowed to say. So when in doubt, it’s probably best not to say.
I figured you probably wouldn’t be able to but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to ask!
I’m not sure what we’re allowed to give away or not, and I don’t want to get in trouble.
And I don’t want to get you in trouble!
(laughs) Thank you.
Of course! Now did you choose that as your audition song because you had been in a production of it fairly recently?
Yeah, that was a big reason. That’s literally the only musical I’ve ever done. And I thought about picking another song, but once I read the script, and read who Emma Pillsbury was, I kind of thought “This song is perrrfect for her.” That kind of innocence and wanting to get dirty — it all kind of tied in together, so I just thought “Oh my gosh, what luck!” The one song that I know is the perfect song for this character.
Yeah, definitely. And on that same note, do you have a dream song or dream duet that you’d like to sing at some point on the show?
You know it’s funny, this used to be my answer to this question — the Toucha, Toucha, Touch Me song.
You can’t say that anymore!
I know! So now I have to find a new song that I really want to sing. I was joking for a while that I wanted to sing the TLC song “No Scrubs” but I was going to change the words and say “I just want to scrub.”
Because I think that suits Emma very well. So maybe I can say that. But I need to find a new song to want to sing now. That’s for sure.
Well it’s good that you get to sing your dream song, so that’s awesome.
I know! I know! Now I just need to think of another one, maybe they’ll let me sing that one. It’s got to be a good one. I have to think hard. Because apparently they’re listening.
I guess they are, because you wanted to sing that one! So they’re definitely listening!
There was a scene in one of the episodes in the back nine where you are talking about a fake baby…
Yeah! That’s a scene with Will. Where I’m talking about, yes, yes, yes.
Sorry to confuse you!
No that’s okay, I thought “Did I film a scene that I don’t remember?” It’s possible, anything’s possible.
Do you remember the context of that scene? Because they showed it in all the promos and then they cut it, and everyone was disappointed.
Yes, I do remember. That was in I feel like the first episode of the back 9 when Will and I were trying to make it work. And there was another very similar scene to that that we had in that episode, if I remember correctly. We were sitting on the couch and talking about the relationship and some of the issues that I needed to overcome. Especially as far as intimacy goes. So it was another scene that was very similar to that scene, and I believe that’s why it got cut. They were too similar. It was kind of the same thing that was happening. But I remember saying something about — I think the line was pertaining to me feeling uncomfortable making out with him on the couch that he made a fake baby on.
Or something like that.
I was just curious, because I know everyone was so excited when they saw that in the promos and then they were wondering where the scene went.
It was a good line. It was a good line, the fake baby line.
Definitely. And now that the show has gotten so big, have you had any interesting fan encounters and reactions to your character?
First of all, people are so lovely that come up [to me]. I have not had any crazy people come up to me, everyone’s really lovely. I tend to get direction a lot when people come up and they’ll say “Can I take a photo,” and I’ll say “Of course, take a photo.” Then they’ll want to direct me in the photo. They’ll say “Oh can you pretend like you don’t want to touch me.” Like “I’m going to hand you my pencil that I’m holding, but pretend like you don’t want to hold my pencil.” That’s been really funny, the fact that people come up with an idea for the image that they want to capture, and they actually give me direction. That’s been really funny for me. I love it! It’s great. It makes for an interesting photo. But it’s actually just been a very interesting by-product of what’s going on with that character.
Yeah, I wonder how long it took them to think that up.
(laughs) Right, right. They had it all planned out. They’re like “Right, this is the image I want to get.” There’s a lot of directors in this town.
Right, like this is my new Facebook photo, I’ve got to think really hard about what this is going to be.
Right! I love them for it. I like creativity.
I’m glad you haven’t gotten any crazy people coming up to you!
No, no I haven’t. I’ve been very fortunate. Everyone’s been really lovely.
Is there anything about Emma that we don’t know yet that we’re going to find out?
That’s a good question as well. Probably if you don’t know something about Emma, I definitely don’t know it about Emma. (laughs)
(laughs) I mean she definitely wears her heart on her sleeve.
Yeah, definitely. I’m trying to think if there’s anything that I found out this season that I didn’t know. You know what, no. I think you’re right. She’s so open, and I don’t think she’s very good at hiding her feelings. She can’t really fake that too well. So I kind of think that what you all see in her as a character is exactly what I know about her at this point.
I think the virginity thing last season was a big thing that I didn’t really see coming. I guess I sort of saw it coming, but…
It wasn’t a total shock for her as a character, but it was definitely a surprise. For me, that was the biggest of her for that season. No I don’t know anything new like that about her.
Yeah, as you said, she’s very open and you can see in her expressions what she’s feeling.
Yeah, she doesn’t hide the emotions too well.
Yeah, definitely. And I know you can’t spoil too much but can you give us a little teaser about what’s coming up in season 2 for Emma. You were sadly not in the premiere.
Oh it was wonderful. I loved the premiere so much, it was one of my favorites to date.
Oh my gosh, I wanted to see Emma come up to Dot Marie Jones’ character — the new coach — and just be totally confused by her. (laughs)
Oh I know. Actually, you know what, she’s someone I do want to have a scene with.
She was great!
Wasn’t she brilliant in that episode? Oh my gosh, she’s so perfect — heartbreaking and funny. I could watch her all day. I just love her so much. I have yet to meet her. I’m totally going to be a little bumbly when I meet her. I would love to work with her.
So give us a little teaser of what’s coming up!
Let’s see, let’s see. I could say briefly that perhaps Emma does get a little bit messy.
Oooh! Perhaps with Carl? (laughs)
Well, I’m not telling you that! You’re very good at questioning! You’re a good interviewer. I see where you’re going with this question!
I will not get you in any trouble. I’ll stop my line of questioning!
I’m just going to say that. It’s more intriguing that way anyway.
I look forward to seeing her get messy. It will be a nice change.
Be sure to tune in tonight to FOX at 8 pm for what is sure to be an epic episode of Glee!
And if you want to listen to the audio from this interview (certain parts are edited out for continuity and to get rid of me rambling) - CLICK HERE! Please don’t share this audio on any other site without my consent. (Copyright of The TV Chick 2010)Tweet