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LOS ANGELES Fox's new series Glee concerns the ins and outs of daily life at a high school—so a themey screening and party at the Willows Community School in Culver City was in order to kick off the show's first season, which the network has aggressively marketed all summer long in anticipation of the premiere. Fox vice president of special events Tomiko Iwata oversaw the event, tapping Sequoia Productions to produce it.
The screening of an episode of Glee—which had the audience roaring with laughter at times—took place in the school's gym, where pom-poms sat on chairs and hand-painted posters with messages like “Fight, fight, fight" lined the walls. A squad of cheerleaders in outfits with Glee logos kicked off the screening with chants about the network and the show.
The party took over the school's playground and cafeteria with a down-home look reminiscent of an actual school event—only with booze flowing from bars, where the specialty cocktail menu was announced on scrolling mini TV screens. Kensington Caterers supplied cafeteria-style buffets, offering mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, and pizza slices from the kinds of metal chafing dishes that you might see on a high school lunch line. A surly lunch lady—complete with hair net and rubber gloves—doled out trays to the crowd and chided the group to hurry along. A dessert buffet took the form of a bake sale table, complete with a banner that read “Celibacy Club Bake Sale," (a nod to a particularly audacious scene in the show), and price stickers on trays of brownies and lemon bars.
Other kitschy details included a booth for guests to pick up student ID cards bearing their photo from Josh Barash photography; girls in cheerleading costumes washing a car from sponsor Chevy in a mock glee club fund-raising stunt on the red carpet; and gift bags stuffed into Glee-logo brown bags evocative of school lunch sacks.
In perhaps an ironic twist, the school year started for Willows students on Wednesday, just hours after the Glee party wrapped.