The ‘How I Met Your Mother’ star and oft-tapped awards-show host guest-stars as Bryan Ryan, a McKinley High alum who graduated from the school and glee club with big dreams… only to see them fall short, leaving him scrounging for work as a cruise ship crooner.
Now, Bryan is a member of the school board out for revenge against onetime show choir rival Will Schuester (played by Matthew Morrison), threatening to detour New Directions for good.
‘Glee’ cocreator Brad Falchuk says Bryan was written with NPH in mind, a presumption that gave them pause late in the game. “We were like, ‘Oh my God, what if for some reason Neil gets too busy and can’t do it? No one else can play this character; we’ll have to rewrite the whole episode.'”
Luckily, Harris’ busy schedule made way for the ‘Glee’ visit, in which he engages in “singing, dancing, acting, being funny… all the things that make him great,” says Falchuk.
Indeed, Harris’ performances will include a duet of Aerosmith’s “Dream On” with Morrison.
Calling the shots for the episode was guest director Joss Whedon, who had previously led NPH through the viral sensation ‘Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.’
Speaking to Fancast about the special Whedon touch, Falchuk says, “When any great director directs something – even when it’s something they weren’t involved in the writing of – you can feel that director in it,” and that was the case with the auteur of such cult-fave fare as ‘Buffy’ and ‘Firefly.’
“Joss was incredibly reverent and respectful of the material, because he loves the show,” Falchuk notes, “and we were also very reverent and respectful of him because we think he’s such a genius.”