Max Adler Talks About Character Dave Karofsky, Season 2 HighlightsThursday, May 26, 2011
On “Glee” Adler plays Dave Karofsky who is best known as closeted WMHS football stud and Kurt Hummel’s (Chris Colfer) former bully who is on the path of redemption. “Chris is really, really great to work with. He’s always on his game.”
“He’s a complicated guy,” Adler said of his character. “He’s like a ying-yang. He’s got two complete different sides and he has a guard up about everything. Whoever he is, he’s not liking who that person is. That’s the problem. You can see him fit in but you also see the sad, confused side. He has two sides battling within him. He’s at war with himself. He needs to be educated,” he added.
Adler credits external forces as a contributor to Dave’s aggression. "If I could change anything about him it would probably be his insecurities. I think it’s more society and peers dragging him down than anything else, you can see how happy he is when he’s playing football or dancing. I think people could like him.”
In the episodes “Furt” and “Born This Way” Dave’s father, Paul, plays a role in bully intervention. “I think it’s so smart that Paul and Burt (Hummel, played by Mike O’Malley) are accepting. I expected Karofsky’s dad to be a bad guy but he’s very loving and in touch with his son.”
As a way to bring Kurt back from Dalton Academy and in hopes of winning enough popularity to become Prom Queen, Santana Lopez (Naya Rivera) blackmailed Dave into forming “The Bully Whips”, an anti-bullying group. Santana and Dave, who are in a “bearded” relationship to secure the secret of their sexual preference, dress in a “Bully Whips” uniform, intervene in any bullying situation they see take place at WMHS, and escort Kurt to his classes as a way to ensure his safety. “The wardrobe team wanted us to look like the Black Panthers,” Adler said. “When we saw the berets, they were better than what we were expecting. The Jacket is like the Pink Ladies jacket,” he said with a laugh. “It’s fun to walk around in a beret. When Kurt came back and stood up for himself, Karofsky started to wonder if he could do that too. That’s the message of ‘Glee.’ People will accept you because you accept yourself.”
Although their relationship is a fraud, Dave and Santana didn’t let that keep them from shaking their tail-feather on the dance floor at the prom. “That was all her and I,” Adler admitted about the comical dance moves. "They told us that we would be dancing along. I didn’t know it would make it into the episode. All the moves were made up on the spot. It’s so funny, I keep hearing that people enjoyed it. I’m glad they did.”
The dancing might have made it into the episode but one surprising scene did not. “We kissed on the dance floor to show off that we’re straight,” he said. Adler admits he’s not sure why it didn’t make the final cut but predicts, “It didn’t fit with the storylines.”
During the big Prom King and Queen announcement, Dave received Prom King but Santana wasn’t named as his Queen. In a cruel practical joke, Kurt was given the title Prom Queen. Humiliated, Kurt turned and ran from the gymnasium as Dave remained seated on the throne. “Kurt ran away so Dave didn’t have to. He let Kurt take that fall,” Adler said. “I think it was awkward for him. He wasn’t sure what to do.”
Many fans have their fingers crossed for a possible romantic development between Kurt and Dave in Season 3 but Adler is more interested in seeing Dave’s personal journey. “That’s so far off,” Adler said of a real relationship for Dave. “I think he needs to be happy with who he is first. I don’t know. It could develop into that. I think it’s not so much a crush, it’s more of a connection. Kurt is the only gay person Karofsky has ever encountered,” he explained. “Karofsky’s looking for someone to connect with. What other guy was he going to try that out on,” Adler added of the shocking locker room kiss in “Never Been Kissed.”
“Never Been Kissed”, “The Sue Sylvester Bowl Shuffle”, and “Prom Queen” are among Adler’s favorite episodes. Dave suggests to Finn (Cory Monteith) that the football players and glee club perform a warm-up number before the big "Thriller/Heads Will Roll" mash-up.
He might not have performed lead on his suggested performance of The Doors’s “She’s Not There” in the super bowl episode but fans are hopeful that Adler will have an opportunity to showcase his vocal talents next season. “I was in show choir in high school,” Adler said. “I was like Finn (Cory Monteith) because I was in student government, national honor society, choir, and I was fairly popular. He’s straddling both stereotypes and he’s all over the place and that’s where I was. Michael Buble would be fun to have on ‘Glee’ but it depends on the circumstances,” Adler said of which artist’s discography he would like Dave to choose a song from. You never really know what he’ll do. Everyone has different idea for what they want him to sing and they’re all smart ideas. We’ll see what happens.”
One thing Adler prefers leaving to the imagination is the whereabouts for the wedding cake topper Dave stole from Kurt. “It was never in the script again so there’s no real answer. It’s up to the imagination. I don’t know if it’s coming back. We might not ever see it again, I don’t know. I like to leave it mysterious. Everyone has their theory about it.” He might not have much time away from work but Adler says he’s a “boring” guy. I don’t have many days off. It’s all about shooting or meetings or going to auditions. I’m pretty boring when I do have free time,” he said with a laugh. “I like reading, checking out movies. There might be a perception that because I’m in Hollywood that I go out and party but I’m all about hanging out in pjs or basketball shorts and lounging with a movie. I love those nights.”
Adler is also involved with anti-bullying campaigning and the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). “I did a video for ‘It Gets Better.’ And I’m very involved with that. The part of Karofsky is making this difference for people. It’s so cool when people say they’re coming out or feel inspired by him. I called them and told them I wanted to help,” Adler said of MDA. “My mom and grandma both had it. I was looking to get involved and thought MDA would be the best because it was a way to honor my mom. I try to raise awareness about what it is. It’s important to keep society included on what’s going on. It helps if people know what it is and contribute,” he said.
Since hanging up his WMHS letterman jacket for the season, Adler has been playing a different role in “Detention of the Dead.” “It’s like ‘The Breakfast Club’ meets ‘Zombieland’,” he explained. “A zombie apocalypse happens while they’re in detention. I play Jimmy who’s a jock and best friends to the main quarterback. There’s a twist that makes Jimmy one of the heroes. It’s been a lot of fun.”
Adler’s devoted fans, who call themselves “Pirates”, are a source of Adler’s inspiration. “The Pirates are my best fans ever who I love,” he said. They’re awesome. They support me so much. When I say I’m representing fans, the Pirates are the people I have in mind. The Pirates are my peeps,” Adler said.