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'Glee' Season 4 Finale: Meredith Baxter On Working With Patty Duke, Being Gay Role Models On TV

05/09/2013 05:19 pm ET
Fox

On the "Glee" Season 4 finale, "Family Ties" actress Meredith Baxter will appear with Patty Duke as one half of a gay couple offering up advice to Kurt (Chris Colfer) and Blaine (Darren Criss) as they get ready to take their relationship to the next level.

Baxter took a few minutes to speak with The Huffington Post via phone to discuss her character, Liz, working with Duke, who plays Jan, and the special scenes they share with the show's fan-favorite gay couple. She also talked about what "Glee" has done for the TV world and whether or not she'd come back for more.

How did you get the part of Liz? Did Ryan Murphy recruit you?
I would love to be able to tell a story like, "Well, they all came to my door and begged me to be on their show." But that's really not what happened. I just got a call from my agent saying, "Hey, you want a part in Glee?" And I was like, "OK, I'll take it." I hadn't even read it and I said yes.

Will you be singing at all?
Well, that didn't happen. It would have been nice, but it didn't happen. It was just a lovely, quiet scene with me, Patty Duke, Darren Criss and Chris Colfer.

Patty Duke is a legend. Was it intimidating to enter into a TV relationship with her?
I don't watch a lot of TV, so she was just Patty to me. I didn't think "Oh my God, I'm talking to a legend here." She was lovely. It's always good to work with an accomplished actor, and I think you're only as good as who you're working with. It's not a solo act. I connected with her, and we have a wonderful story to tell. We tell the story of a couple who's been together for many decades and serve as an example to Blaine and Kurt to show them what longevity can look like.

We know Jan meets Blaine when he's picking out an engagement ring for Kurt. How does Liz come into play?
I'm not in the jewelry shop scene, it's just Jan. She says at some point something to the effect of, "Come have dinner with me and my partner." Then it's just the four of us in a restaurant, and we get to talking. We talk about ourselves and how the scenery has changed since we started our relationship, moved in together and have been together all these years. We went to the prom together, but we went with two boys, because you had to have a beard in those days.

The show obviously wants to support same-sex marriage, but these are still two teenagers. Are Liz and Jan supportive of that?
The nice thing is that we weren't in the position of offering advice, I think we just talked about ourselves and our experiences. So we're not in the position of coming out and meeting someone and in the same day giving them advice about their lives.

How do you think your life would have been different if there had been a show like "Glee" on when you were young?
I did watch more television then. I think it would have been helpful and remarkable. I think I would have loved all the music -- I'm a big musical girl. I love show tunes. I was probably a gay boy when I was a kid. [Laughs.] I would have just been thrilled.

How do you think "Glee" has changed the TV world?
It's all conjecture on my part, but I would say teens want to see themselves represented and have a musical genre, which is lovely. Kids like to see themselves reflected on shows. So there are gay and straight characters, which is very much like high school. It can only be beneficial to show intelligent solutions to problems.

Is it true you'll be back for Season 5?
Well you say a prayer there, girl, because that would be so much fun.

The Season 4 finale of "Glee" airs Thurs., May 9 at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.

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