The new 'Glee' documentary dives into the dark side of the famous series

'I don't want to say the c word—the 'curse word'—but that's where your mind goes'

Naya Rivera, Mark Salling and Cory Montieth Glee headshots
(Image credit: PictureLux / The Hollywood Archive / Alamy Stock Photo)

The forthcoming Glee documentary suggests that one of our favorite nostalgic TV shows wasn't as joyful behind the scenes as it was on screen. 

Ryan Murphy's popular series is known for its hit musical numbers from the fictional New Directions group at William McKinley High School. But above that, the 2000's sensation also tackled important social issues regarding race and sexuality, to name just a few. Despite the name and the demeanor, it appears something has plagued the show according to the creators of the doc, The Price of Glee

"I don't want to say the 'c word'—the 'curse word'—but that's where your mind goes," an interviewee states in the teaser trailer. 

Is the show's legacy really what we believe it to be?

What is the 'Glee' documentary about?

Though not necessarily a true crime documentary, The Price of Glee does shed light on equally heavy material, including the deaths of three main stars: Cory Monteith died from a drug overdose in 2013, Mark Salling took his own life in 2018 after pleading guilty to child pornography charges and Naya Rivera drowned in 2020. 

"We have a lot of tragedies," we hear another subject state in the trailer. 

In addition, it's believed the doc will focus on the behavior of the cast, particularly Lea Michele who came under fire for mistreatment and racial discrimination while on set. Now as the lead in Funny Girl on Broadway, the actor and singer claimed to The New York Times (opens in new tab) that she is learning from her past.

"I really understand the importance and value now of being a leader," she told the publication. "It means not only going and doing a good job when the camera’s rolling, but also when it’s not. And that wasn’t always the most important thing for me."

Who will we hear from in 'The Price of Glee'?

According to a press release, The Price of Glee will interview "relatives and friends of Glee cast members; those who were on the set and close to it such as set decorators, hairdressers, stylists and publicists; and entertainment reporters who covered the phenomenon."

This particular note did not sit well with Glee actor Kevin McHale. Upon writer Ashley Ray-Harris' tweet indicating that the show's cast and crew would be featured in the three-part doc, he replied, "Show me this “cast” you speak of. This is [trash bin emoji]." He added, "This was the nice version, ftr. Don’t make me speak on this again."

Cory Montheith's friend and former roommate, Justin Neill, appears in the project and notes that he still feels the loss every day. 

"He [Montheith] had this mentality like, 'I should be working on roofs in [his native] Canada in the snow, this wasn't supposed to happen!' But being human, he did have days where he was exhausted. And he needed separation and alone time. He just couldn't be on 24/7," he revealed to People (opens in new tab)

He continued, "This just shows that sometimes even having it all isn't enough to make someone happy."

In the project, we're also expected to hear from Naya Rivera's father about her tragic passing.

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'The Price of Glee: where to watch

The Price of Glee is a three-part docu-series that will premiere on on Investigation Discovery and stream on the the Discovery+ app beginning January 16, 2023.

Danielle Valente

Danielle is a writer for woman&home and My Imperfect Life, covering all-things news, lifestyle and entertainment. 


The heart of her time at Future has been devoted to My Imperfect Life, where she's been attuned to the cosmos, new TV shows and relationship trends.  


Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids and a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, amNewYork and Newsday, among other outlets. 


When Danielle is not working, you can usually find her reading a book, coffee at hand, or attempting a new recipe. (Recommendations always welcome!)