Welcome to ‘Glee,’ Jeff Goldblum!
Because the Fox show needed to get a little bit Jewier
Rachel Berry has two dads. We’ve known this since the 2009 pilot episode of Glee, but what we haven’t known is who they are. Imagine our excitement, then, when it was announced that Jeff Goldblum (Jeff Goldblum!) and Tony winner Brian Stokes Mitchell were cast as Hiram and LeRoy Berry, the musically inclined adoptive parents of (Jewish) Rachel, played by Lea Michele (born Lea Michele Sarfati, what up).
And their debut in the Valentine’s Day episode, Heart, didn’t disappoint. We first meet Hiram (Goldblum) and LeRoy (Stokes Mitchell) in the high-school auditorium, where Rachel and Finn arrive after receiving mysterious notes signed Mandy Patinkin (!). Hiram and LeRoy enter with a rolling piano, naturally, but something’s amiss: LeRoy had a dream about Tony Danza, and Hiram can’t contain his jealousy. Dads, am I right?
The best scene, however, comes later in the (otherwise lackluster) episode when Finn’s family is invited over to the Berry’s for dinner. Spoiler alert: High-school seniors Rachel and Finn got engaged, and the celebratory meal is part of a parent-concocted reverse psychology scheme to get them to ultimately realize they are too young to get married. Spoiler alert: It doesn’t really work.
Goldblum rocks a kind of amazing purple v-neck sweater and generally plays Hiram absurdly, referring to Nate Berkus as a “dear, dear friend” when Finn’s mother compliments the home decor (LeRoy cuts in and informs her it’s not true). He refers to his daughter as “Ruchela,” reminds her never to go to bed without moisturizing, and then informs Leroy he’s already taken three Xanax. The performance works, oddly enough, because Rachel herself is so insanely high-drama and spotlight-hungry—why wouldn’t her dad be even more outrageously so?
Yet Hiram is quickly seized by guilt (classic) when he realizes the extent to which they’ve lied to their only child, pretending they approve of her engagement when really they think she’s too young to be making those kinds of decisions. “Honesty, respect, dance,” Goldblum somehow deadpans, “Those are the foundations of the Berry family.”
Jeff Goldblum can do no wrong. As Marc Tracy pointed out in December, when Goldblum himself was awarded a spot on Tablet’s 100 Greatest Jewish Films, “he doesn’t even need to act! He just needs to be Jeff Goldblum.”
See for yourself:
‘Glee’ casts Rachel Berry’s dads [CNN Marquee blog]
Related: Outsiders [Tablet Magazine]
No. 75: Every Jeff Goldblum Movie Ever [Tablet Magazine]
Earlier: Jewish Characters on ‘Glee’ to Reunite
‘Glee’ Star Scores Golden Globe Nod