Six Awesome Reasons to Love Jane Lynch

Illustration by Hilton Dresden

Comedy queen Jane Lynch celebrates her birthday this week, so what better occasion for us to celebrate her excellent talent, from iconic cheer captain Sue Sylvester to ex-pornstar Laurie Bohner.

Sue Sylvester on Glee (2009-2015)

In perhaps her most famous role to date, Jane Lynch threw zingers left, right, and center. When, in season six, Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison) finally asks what’s wrong with her, she neatly sums up what so many of us feel but can’t quite get away with saying: “Oh, it’s just a flare up of my chronic hate disorder.” 

Constance Carmell on Party Down (2009-2010)

There are shows that get canned for good reason (anyone ever see Heil Honey, I’m Home? No? There’s a good reason for that), and shows that some corporate schmo kills for no good reason. Case in point, Party Down, in which Lynch wowed as the caterer Constance. Although it was cancelled after two seasons, Party Down remains a perennial darling of the critics.

Christy Cummings in Best in Show (2000)

Christopher Guest’s dog-competition mockumentary endures as one of our favorite comedies of all time. Lynch made us howl like dogss on heat as Jennifer Coolidge’s assertive, competitive beau, as well as editor-in-chief of lesbian-purebred-dog-owner zine American Bitch.

Sergeant Calhoun in Wreck it Ralph (2012)

In this underrated Disney sensation, Lynch dazzled as Sergeant Calhoun, the tough, steely leader of the force against a swarm of alien mutant insects. She revealed a tender side when her character fell for the equally lovable Jack McBrayer.

Laurie Bohner in A Mighty Wind (2003)

As pornstar-turned-housewife-and-witch Laurie Bohner, Lynch again brought her signature flair and charisma to the screen. Her pairing with director Christopher Guest is the stuff dreams are made of.

Paula in The 40 Year Old Virgin (2005)

As Steve Carrell’s co-worker Paula, Lynch charmed and creeped us out with her haunting rendition of a Guatemelan love song formerly sung to her by the seductive gardener, Javier.

‘Glee’ to Make “Call Me Maybe” Even More Insufferable

Trekkies. Star Wars fans. Cookie Monster. Barack Obama. Swimmers. Guys in drag. CorgisRandom tweens. Nobody can get enough of Carly Rae Jepsen’s "Call Me Maybe," and we, as a nation of idiiots, can’t get enough of people who can’t get enough of it. And now, of course, Glee is set to add their own overly autotuned version into the mix, as is their way. (Yes, I’m referring to Glee as a group of people. A group of terrible, terrible people.)

As Entertainment Weekly reports, the upcoming season premiere will feature the poppy pop hit. The episode will be called "The New Rachel," and I assume that it’ll be about the robot doppelganger of Lea Michelle coming to murder the rest of the cast except for Jane Lynch, who in this scenario I will allow to be left unscathed and dignified as long as we never make mention of Ryan Murphy’s exercise in ruining musical theater ever again. 

Gay Actors Are Coming Out in a “New” Way

June is Gay Pride Month, so everybody’s talkin’ about gay people. Yesterday the New York Observer took a look at the business of outing celebrities (while slyly suggesting that Gossip Girl star Chase Crawford might indeed be in a glass closet himself). Today Entertainment Weekly shared a sneak peak at this week’s cover story, which focuses on "the new art" of coming out. On the cover are popular TV actors like Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Jane Lynch, Zachary Quinto, Neil Patrick Harris, and Jim Parsons, as well as comedian Wanda Sykes and Bravo’s Andy Cohen. But is this a rising trend or just a puffy trend piece?

It’s true that we’ve come a very long way from when Ellen DeGeneres came out fifteen years ago, which truly ushered in a new age in which LGBTQ actors (and, hell, normal people) were seen in a completely different light. For a community still struggling with the impact of HIV/AIDS and continued discrimination, DeGeneres and her show’s treatment of her sexuality was groundbreaking—displaying it matter-of-factly and as a normal thing rather than something to be terrified of or find revolting. While her show was cancelled soon after, she bounced right back and is today a much-loved TV personality. And her coming out certainly inspired others to do the same. As EW says on its site:

Even if it’s accomplished in a subordinate clause or a passing reference, coming out casually is, in its way, as activist as DeGeneres’ Time cover, although few of these actors would probably choose to label themselves as such. The current vibe for discussing one’s sexuality is almost defiantly mellow: This is part of who I am, I don’t consider it a big deal or a crisis, and if you do, that’s not my problem. It may sound like a shrug, but it shouldn’t be mistaken for indifference. By daring anyone to overreact, the newest generation of gay public figures is making a clear statement that there is a “new normal” — and it consists of being plainspoken, clear, and truthful about who you are.

But, are people being plainspoken, clear, and truthful? Jim Parsons made headlines when his sexuality was revealed in a New York Times profile last month, but it was buried in the end of piece. Is it not a big deal that someone on a high-rated show is gay and has kept it mostly hidden from his audience for years? EW also brings up T.R. Knight’s name, but you may remember that he was outed after gossipy rumors about his sexuality circulated online following a on-set fight in which his Grey’s Anatomy co-star Isaiah Washington called him a "faggot." 

And what can we say about the fact that there are still no major film actors who are open and out? Isn’t it still clear that an actor’s sexuality impacts his or her career? Of the eight celebrities on the magazine’s cover, only three have recently played or are currently playing gay characters on TV. (Neil Patrick Harris, for example, has been playing a womanizing sleazeball for years.) In an industry in which most gay characters are reserved for straight actors (actors who are then lauded with awards for bravely portraying those who are generally doomed), I ask this question: Should we reward a handful of people who treat their sexuality with a casual shrug, or should we ask for more? After all, there are still people who every day struggle with their sexuality, often keeping it hidden from friends and loved ones out of fear. Whether you want to admit it or not, coming out is still sort of a big deal.

Jane Lynch Not ‘Glee’-ful About Obama’s Mishandling of Gay Marriage

Over the weekend, The Guardian profiled Glee saving grace Jane Lynch. Like all things Jane Lynch (except for those agonizing minutes of Glee free of her presence), it was delightful, insightful and indicative of American greatness. Winsome quotables include “This is going to make my parents sound terr-i-ble, but all through high school, we were the drinking house. We’d sit around the kitchen table with my parents and drink beer,” and, on the topic of her sexuality, “I think if I were an ingénue–if I were Kate Winslet– it probably would hurt my career, but because I’m Jane Lynch and I’m a character actor, the world isn’t projecting their romantic fantasies on me.”

The discussion of sexuality eventually segues into the American mishandling of gay-marriage:

“Shouldn’t there be safeguards against the majority voting on the rights of a minority?” Lynch wonders. “If people voted on civil rights in the 60s, it would have never happened. It took somebody like [President] Lyndon Johnson going, ‘F all of you! I’m going to do this.'” She pauses for a moment, then says, “Obama won’t do it. He’s a huge disappointment to me.”

An up-note though. When the series returns, Lynch will be singing and dancing in top form. Below, she does a little of the former with that delightful drunk from The Office.

Jane Lynch: ‘Glee’ Grace, ‘Tonight’ Delight, ‘SNL’ Host?

Once upon a time, well just months ago really, a small show premiered on Fox called Glee and it was just so darn promising. Fast forward about seven episodes and the once-promising musical dramedy has crumbled into a soppy morality play punctuated by embarrassing musical breaks (that you can fast forward through if you’re the type who watches it online). Thankfully, there’s Jane Lynch, who has been on every single television show, from Party of Five to Weeds, since time immemorial. Jane Lynch, who’s really the only reason why any of us continue watching Glee. She’s the only one on Glee who has yet to break into song, but as demonstrated on last night’s chat with Conan O’Brien (and here, too!), she’d handle that with aplomb.

The appearance also showcases the very reason that an episode of Glee without much Lynch may as well be pre-empted by the MLB. And to echo EW, here’s hoping SNL finds an unlikely host in Lynch after last week’s misfire. Especially if Taylor Swift can ace it.

‘Glee’ Finds Heart That ‘Nip/Tuck’ Never Had

FOX has a history of meddling with my heart, making it violently shake as if I’ve followed up a jug of red wine with a pot of the blackest Turkish coffee. First they gave me that snappy show with the chick who talks to plastic animals. That lasted a prolific three episodes before it was pulled. Then they paired Parker Posey with Lauren Ambrose, but not before dooming them to a Friday night racked by a merciless laugh track. They even brought Shirley Manson to primetime only to axe The Sarah Connor Chronicles. And lately, the network looks a little starved for quality scripted programming — which is why Glee may be a boon. Thanks for not fucking it up, FOX.

Glee is like Ryan Murphy’s way of reaffirming that inside his chest beats a heart. Which, given the rampant scandal on Nip/Tuck, was beginning to look doubtful. The premise is simple. A well-meaning teacher wants to shepherd a motley crew of outcasts and get them to realize their full potential through song and dance. The group of misfits includes a sassy fat black girl, an effete gay boy, the obligatory wheelchair-bound nerd with a secret rock instinct, an overachieving iCarly lookalike, and of course, the football hero-turned-choirboy. And in this magical world of Glee, people are able to dance vigorously, while simultaneously singing without running short of breath, and eventually come to a well-timed epiphany.

But before you roll your eyes and proclaim this a politically correct serialization of High School Musical that’ll probably suck, consider the flourishes. High school performances of Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab”, Jane Lynch’s off-color banter, and a teacher who’s not above framing a student in order to extort him into joining the glee club, are all bursts of moral relativism that enthrall. They’re also what makes Glee better than actually recalling memories of when you were in high school, pock-marked and socially inept, trying to hit on that exchange student from Hokkaido while watching Princess Mononoke in The Animé Club.

So, unless you have an Adam Lambert vigil to attend Tuesday, you’d be wise to re-live your glory days by way of tuning in.