Walking through the halls of fictional McKinley High a few weeks ago and peeking into Rachel's New York loft make it clear that love is in the air for another "Glee" Valentine's Day episode. The walls are littered with cupid signage and neon hearts. There are oversize plush animals and collections of red and pink balloons tucked into every nook and cranny. "Wedding" is even scratched on the choir room's chalkboard, a juicy hint that made Jenna Ushkowitz utter "Crap!" and that executive producer Dante Di Loreto seemed bummed to have to admit to the press visiting the set.
[Related: Look back at some memorable TV weddings]
"Well, there it is. There's the spoiler," Di Loreto sighed when a reporter pointed out the written equivalent of a smoking gun. (We now know it was referring to the long-awaited nuptials of Mr. Schue and Miss Pillsbury on the "I Do" episode, which is scheduled to air on Fox on Feb. 14.) "It's fair to say that there's romance in the air. There is a wedding in the air. What is exciting about this show is there are certain things about it that are undeniable. You could sit at home and think 'I really want this to happen' and it [will come] true. And there are also some things that are going to shock the heck out of you. That's the really fun part of what's coming down the pike."
Watch a preview of the "I Do" episode:
The clue is in New Directions' meeting spot, so it's safe to assume they will be performing at the wedding. But with that big event blown, the gathered cast and Di Loreto were careful to remain mum about other couples' prospects for V-Day romance, which only left us more curious about the Ryder-Marley-Jake love triangle.
"There are a lot of sweet moments coming up between Jake and Marley, and their relationship is getting stronger and more beautiful," said Jacob Artist (who plays Jake Puckerman) exclusively to Yahoo! TV after the press conference. "But the relationship between these three characters is always evolving, and the ongoing love triangle keeps things interesting and fresh. There has been a lot of coupling up and settling down on 'Glee,' and this, to me, seems more like a more realistic high school love story. Ryder is always a threat because he is such a good guy, and Jake is so conflicted because they are also friends."
See Jake serenading Marley with a performance of Ne-Yo's "Let Me Love You":
It doesn't help that Valentine's Day puts the pressure on the still somewhat new pair. "There might be some pressure on Jake to step up his romantic game on Valentine's," Artist said. "He came into it as a guarded, walls-up bad boy, and she was this girl who didn't know really how awesome and beautiful she was. But one of my favorite parts about the relationship is that her innocence and sincerity are very real, and they're rubbing off on him. She makes him want to be a better person and brings out the best in Jake in a way he has never experienced before. So he really wants to make Valentine's special for her."
As any guy trying to woo a girl around Feb. 14 can attest, it's not always an easy task. Melissa Benoist (Marley Rose), 24, admitted that was true in her experience. "In high school, Valentine's Day was always the worst day of the year for boys. At least, it was for the boy I dated when I was 16. He was freaking out about what to get me, how romantic he should be, and planning the perfect date."
Artist, 20, agreed. "Valentine's Day was really stressful in high school," he said. "Guys are under the microscope that day. You had to find the right gift that would impress her and her friends and be romantic, but so many standard romantic gifts -- like going away for the weekend -- aren't really options because you are still in high school. So much of the stuff you thought was romantic then, like giant teddy bears or balloons, just seems so silly when you look back. And God help you if you forgot it was Valentine's."
[Related: More Valentine's Day on Yahoo! TV]
Benoist is looking forward to seeing Jake turn up the romance. "It is wonderful to see the softer side of someone with such a bad-boy reputation. Jake really presents a hard edge to most of the world, but I think with Marley he shows a more vulnerable and real part of himself. That's been very awesome to explore."
But just because everything seems perfect currently with Jarley, Blake Jenner, 20, warns viewers not to dismiss Ryder just yet even though he did encourage Jake to tell Marley how he really feels about her. "I think he will always feel like he is a better guy for Marley, but he also respects her choice and his friendship with Jake. But, sure, he still has feelings for her and it's still technically a love triangle. I think he secretly hopes Jake screws up so he'll get his shot. I think it's natural for a guy to see this great girl hanging out with the bad boy and think, 'I would be so much better for her. I'd treat her so well.' I know I experienced that in high school. I don't know if Ryder will get his chance with her ever because they don't tell us these things very far in advance, but maybe."
"Glee's" Valentine's Day episode airs Thursday, 2/14 at 9 PM on Fox.
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