Jake Borelli interview: What’s in store for Grey’s Anatomy’s Glasses?

GREY'S ANATOMY - ABC/John Fleenor -- Acquired via Disney ABC Press
GREY'S ANATOMY - ABC/John Fleenor -- Acquired via Disney ABC Press /

Jake Borelli stepped into Grey’s Anatomy in Season 14 as the lovable, geeky “Glasses.” As his storyline moves forward, Borelli took time out of his lunch break to answer a few questions.

Jake Borelli is just as adorable and sweet as “Glasses.” Yes, really. He took time out of his lunch break (which was during the middle of filming a big ER scene that would have been spoilery to discuss) to talk about joining the cast of Grey’s Anatomy and the future for Glasses in Season 15.

The last we saw of Levi “Glasses” Schmidt, he’d finally come out and kissed Dr. Nico Kim. That didn’t go as he’d hoped it would. While the kiss was amazing, Nico rejected him after learning that he was the first man Levi had kissed. We got that throwback to Slexie, as Levi shouted out that he wanted Nico to teach him, before moving onto the badly CGI’d tribute to characters gone but definitely not forgotten.

Here’s what Borelli has to say about Glasses, joining Grey’s Anatomy in its 14th season, and what’s to come for Levi after that rejection.

Hidden Remote: I adore Glasses. He’s so cute and sweet.

Borelli: Aww, thank you! I love him too. He’s got a big special place in my heart.

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HR: What was it that drew you to this character in the first place?

Borelli: Honestly, the show drew me to the character. The show is so iconic and the fact they were offering a part on this show was amazing, so I got very excited right off the bat.

As I got to know him more, what got me excited was that he and his fellow interns were coming into an already established hospital. They were, for the lack of a better term, the bottom of the barrel and were trying to improve and learn and discover themselves as well. That was something that was mirroring what me and my fellow actors were doing.

We were coming into this super established television show that’s been around for 15 years and we were the newbies. So, it was very in line with my own life a year and a half ago. Every episode felt we were new doctors because we were new actors as well.

HR: You’ve jumped into another question that I had. What’s it been like coming into this already established show with such a passionate fan base?

Photo credit: Shanna Fisher — Acquired via Persona PR
Photo credit: Shanna Fisher — Acquired via Persona PR /

Borelli: It’s been amazing! The work ethic of these people is like nothing I’ve seen before. They are icons in television and a lot of the times I’m here, it feels like I’m in a master class for one-hour dramatic television. I see these people and how they work, I’m absorbing everything. I’ve learned so much this past year.

I will say that my first year, I certainly felt like a freshman. now that I’m coming into my second year, I feel like a sophomore, truly. I feel like I’ve got a grasp on things. Like, I know where the bathrooms are and where crafty is and I know who everybody is. This year, I feel like I have my feet beneath me now.

HR: The storylines for you and your interns have mirrored the earlier seasons of Grey’s Anatomy in a way. We’re learning far more about you, which isn’t something we’ve had the chance to do with some of the in-between intern years. Are we going to get to see more of this growth into the roles?

Borelli: Yeah, I think the writers on this show have done a great job of introducing the interns again, which is how the show got it start, and to see people really starting fresh and from the beginning. What’s also great about the show is they’ll take a character from one place and slowly build over the period of a year, two years, slowly grow into strong, powerful, confident human beings.

I think with my intern class, we’re right in the middle of that. We’re seeing each other change right before our eyes. I think this year is going to be a great year for us interns, because we’re finally getting the hang of things and we’re becoming the doctors we set out to be at the beginning of last season.

GREY’S ANATOMY – ABC/Mitch Haaseth — Acquired via Disney ABC Press
GREY’S ANATOMY – ABC/Mitch Haaseth — Acquired via Disney ABC Press /

HR: And there’s a huge story for you. I was so heartbroken for [Glasses] at the end of the last episode. Where’s his mind after that kiss and then rejection in the elevator (and I love that it was an elevator)?

Borelli: Levi has finally taken a chance and had the courage to say how he’s feeling and he was doing it in such an earnest, authentic, and honest way. Then to be met by a rejection of sorts, I think crushed him for a second. He felt abandoned and he didn’t know how to process those feelings. He’s still trying to figure out how to process everything.

If there’s one thing I know about Levi, it’s that if you slap him in the head, he’ll get right back up. I have faith he’ll keep doing that, even with this blow. He’s in the process of trying to figure that out. I think he’s going to come out alright. I hope so, anyway!

HR: Where would you like to see the storyline going?

Photo credit: Shanna Fisher — Acquired via Persona PR
Photo credit: Shanna Fisher — Acquired via Persona PR /

Borelli: I hope that he finally feels empowered. He’s a fumbly, goofy guy and he’s just trying to do his best and I hope people begin to see that and people take him seriously. As he comes into his own sexually, I hope he comes into his own in general, because I think that’s almost more important for him right now.

HR: Are you feeling any of the pressure with this storyline, being someone for the LGBTQ community to look up to and be inspired by?

Borelli: I think Grey’s Anatomy does these characters well. They put their shoulder behind representation. [One of the other interns] Taran is a lesbian, but she doesn’t talk about it much, and we have a trans character. And I think that right now, Levi’s getting a little bit more of a storyline brewing here and that’s amazing.

I think I don’t feel the pressure on my shoulders on my own because this show has a track record of really uplifting communities of all types. It feels very safe to be one cog in this machine that is really trying to push representation forward.

HR: Thank you so much for taking time out of your lunch break to do this. I can’t wait to see where Glasses’ storyline goes from here.

Borelli: You’re welcome! I can’t either.

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Where would you like to see Levi’s storyline go after this point? What do you love about the adorable, fumbly character? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Grey’s Anatomy airs Thursdays at 8/7c on ABC.