8:30am PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Glee's' Patty Duke, Meredith Baxter on Mentoring Blaine and Kurt
Fox's Glee wraps up its fourth season Thursday with an hour that puts the spotlight on the couples who helped pave the way for Kurt (Chris Colfer) and Blaine (Darren Criss) when Patty Duke and Meredith Baxter guest star as a lesbian couple who mentor the young fan favorites.
In "All or Nothing," Oscar-winner Duke plays a jewelry store owner named Jan who meets Blaine while the latter is shopping for a ring for his on-again, off-again boyfriend, Kurt. Jan sees a bit of herself in Blaine and invites the high school senior fired up about the advancements in marriage equality and his beloved to dinner at Breadstix for a double date with her partner, Liz (Family Ties' Baxter).
"Her mother instincts come out with Blaine and she and Liz want to give these boys some of the first-hand history of what it was like to be gay in the '60s and '70s," Duke tells The Hollywood Reporter. "No matter what they've been called, they've stayed together through it all.
For longtime friends Duke and Baxter, the story line hit close to home as it touches on the prejudices that exist in both the gay and straight senior communities.
"It's an ignored part of the part of the population, particularly since they have more disposable income and outnumber everyone else two-to-one," Baxter says of the elderly gay couples. "We're playing a couple who talk about how our relationship has evolved over the years. When they first got together, no one talked about being gay. They went to the prom with guys because you had to. There's so many people today who don't know the fights that were fought."
Baxter, who publicly came out in 2009, is referring not only to the current fight for marriage equality across the country but also the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York that kicked off the gay-rights movement.
"This is the civil rights issue of the day and it's moving at breakneck speed even though it might not feel like it, it's been phenomenal," she says, noting her partner of 35 years, Nancy, has been out for 35 and has weathered fights and name calling.
Both actresses see their Glee part -- though for now only guest stars in the finale as deals for season five have yet to be secured -- as a way to educate and entertain.
"These women don't want to impose themselves on Blaine and Kurt, they just want to give them a hint of what has been and how far we've come -- and how far we still have to go," Duke says.
Adds Baxter: "We just present a good example of a loving, long-term relationship. We aren't telling them to go for it [in terms of marriage]. "We get to talk about how history touched us."
As for whether they'll be back, both would love nothing more -- except to sing on the Fox musical.
Glee's season four finale airs Thursday at 9 p.m. on Fox. Do you think Kurt and Blaine will tie the knot? Hit the comments with your thoughts.