'Glee's' Murphy Anticipates the Zeitgeist

With shows like Nip/Tuck and Popular under his belt and Glee pulling record ratings in its second season, it’s safe to say that co-creator/executive producer/writer/director Ryan Murphy knows a thing or two about creative success.

On Oct. 13, he spoke at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills as part of the Center’s Innovators Series. The surprisingly intimate discussion was moderated by Maria Elena Fernandez of The Los Angeles Times, who managed to (in her own words) shed some light on Murphy’s “unique ability to find the zeitgeist before it’s the zeitgeist.”

Here’s a look at what Murphy had to say:

On creative success:

“You can’t ‘make’ a hit. The gods give it to you. You have to be passionate [and honest] about what you’re doing.”

On his writing ritual:

“I have a little bit of obsessive-compulsive disorder in that my environment has to be incredibly organized and controlled, almost antiseptic, in order for me to be able to do chaotic stuff.”

On what he learned from Popular, which was canceled after two seasons:

“The first thing I learned was [to] never satirize a WB show on the WB.”

On what he doesn’t like about himself:

“I’m incredibly restless. I wish I could pause and stay in something…I’m always thinking ‘What’s next? What’s next?’ and I’m not happy about that.”

On pursuing his career goals:

“I always knew what I wanted. I wasn’t afraid of rejection and I wasn’t afraid of ‘no.’”

On reading critical responses to Glee on Twitter:

“You have to force yourself not to read it. But you want to read it! It’s like heroin. It’s like crack…People turn on you, and it’s hard. I think it’s a very American thing, to help you up and then cut you down so you can grow back.”

On why he really doesn’t have a Twitter:

“I’m afraid of drunk Twittering…like the John Mayer effect.”

On what Sue Sylvester would say about Hulu:

“I support Steve Levitan expressly.”