9 p.m. tonight, Fox
Jane Lynch, who plays the wonderfully wicked cheerleader coach on Fox's "Glee," says it's good to be bad.
"When I put on that track suit, I have a license to say anything I want," says Lynch, aka Sue Sylvester, McKinley High's scheming sociopath who hates the Glee Club.
"I think it's probably very good therapy. I'm a much nicer person at home because I get it all out at work."
Perhaps this won't come as a huge surprise, but Lynch admits that, in daily life, she is in touch with her darker impulses.
"That kind of contemptuousness and heinous behavior (which Sue exhibits every day) is just very shallowly below the surface for me," Lynch says.
"I don't have to dig deep for it. But it's great I can do it on the set, so I don't have to do it at home."
Q. As awful as Sue can be, one of her great moments this year came when she showed tough love for a Down syndrome cheerleader. Was that one of the highlights of the season for you?
Yes. That was the "Wheels" episode. Sue Sylvester's sister, we find out, has Down syndrome and is in a home. It's a more touching episode, and we get to see a softer side of Sue. I think there's a decency to Sue. There were three or four different moments where you saw a kind of a decency and rationality.
Q. But then, in the blink of an eye, she can turn nasty again.
Absolutely. Good Sue is very short-lived. She just really enjoys being an awful person. She really gets great glee, if you will, out of being a terrible person. I think she just really enjoys shocking people.
Q. Most of the characters you play, like Sue, like your parts in "A Mighty Wind" and "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," tend to be acerbic. Last year we saw a different side of you in "Julie & Julia." Was it fun to play somebody who was nice for a change?
Yes, she's somebody who's kind of eccentric. Joy is the first thing that erupts from her. It's her instinct to find out what's passionate and wonderful about the situation. I don't play a lot of those people. It was very liberating to just be open and passionate and curious and kind-spirited.
Q. You've been doing good work for a while, but "Glee" has made this something a breakthrough year for you. Does it feel any different now?
When you're in it, it's almost like you can't feel it. But when I was home for Christmas - I was in Chicago - and my family is beside themselves, thrilled that they have a family member on television. When I see how excited they are, it kind of kicks in for me. But when you're in it, it's different. It's kind of overwhelming. So for me, I just choose not to feel anything at all.
Q. You get to sing in an upcoming episode, doing a rendition of "Let's Get Physical" with Olivia Newton John. How great was that?
It's fantastic, and it's kind of a dream come true, because I love to sing. I got to record singing in "A Mighty Wind" and that was a dream come true as well. So I had done that before. It's not as easy as one thinks. You have to be right on pitch-wise, and you have to be right on time-wise. I always thought I was very good at those things. But according to our director, I am not. He had to direct me several times.
Q. Many actresses talk about how, once they reach a certain age, it's hard to find good parts. But you seem to get busier and busier, and the parts get better and better. What's your secret?
In a way, I started working at 40. It's just because I'm a character actress and my particular brand of it is more mature and it's not something I was able to be cast at when I was younger and fresh-faced. So I had to wait until my age caught up, which happens to be the trick in my little arsenal.