Tina Cohen-Chang is a fictional character from the Fox musical comedy-drama series Glee. The character is portrayed by actress Jenna Ushkowitz, and has appeared in Glee from its pilot episode, first broadcast on May 19, 2009. Tina was developed by Glee creators Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan. Initially, she is a shy and insecure performer with a fake stutter, and member of the glee club at the fictional William McKinley High School in Lima, Ohio, where the show is set.
Tina auditions for the glee club with the song "I Kissed A Girl" by Katy Perry. Her first solo performance as part of the club is "Tonight" from West Side Story. Fellow club member Rachel Berry (Lea Michele) had wanted the solo for herself, and quits New Directions in protest. Tina later goes on a date with Artie Abrams (Kevin McHale), and confesses to him that she has been faking her speech impediment since the sixth grade, explaining that she wanted to drive people away, but as part of the glee club, she no longer wants that. Artie, a wheelchair user, is hurt that she lied to him and faked a disability, telling her that the connection he thought they shared was a lie. Tina is later awarded lead vocals on "True Colors". Artie forgives Tina, but makes misogynistic comments about her appearance, suggesting that she should begin wearing more revealing clothes if she wants to be with him. Tina shouts at him, prompting Artie to apologize, and the two reunite. When a spate of pseudo-vampirism affects the school, Principal Figgins (Iqbal Theba) tells Tina she can no longer dress as a goth. She briefly changes her style, before dressing as a vampire and convincing Figgins that if he does not allow her to wear her preferred clothes, her vicious Asian vampire father will bite him.
In casting Glee, series creator Ryan Murphy sought out actors who could identify with the rush of starring in theatrical roles. Instead of using traditional network casting calls, he spent three months on Broadway, where he found Ushkowitz, who had previously starred in the Broadway revival of The King and I. The Glee casting associate in New York had previously cast Ushkowitz in Spring Awakening. Ushkowitz was initially given little information about Tina's back story, and believed that her stutter was real. She was pleased when the truth was revealed, however, explaining: "It would have been fun to keep it because that just gives her one more quirk, but this opens up a whole new set of doors for Tina." Ushkowitz has created her own back story for Tina, and believes that she is rebelling against her mother rather than genuinely being a Goth, explaining: "I don't think her room is filled with dark posters and heavy metal stuff—I just think this is a phase she's going through. There's definitely a lot of options for all the characters to evolve and change next year. I'm totally rooting for Tina to join The Cheerios or something crazy like that." Ushkowitz is close to her co–star Kevin McHale, and the two of them are in support of the relationship between their characters, referred to by the portmanteau "Artina", for Artie and Tina. McHale described Artie and Tina's relationship as being similar to the one between Cory (Ben Savage) and Topanga (Danielle Fishel) in the ABC comedy–drama Boy Meets World, and believes they will always be together.
"True Colors", featuring Ushkowitz as Tina on lead vocals, was released as a single, available for digital download, and was included on the soundtrack album Glee: The Music, Volume 2. The song charted at number 47 in Australia, 38 in Canada, 15 in Ireland, 35 in the United Kingdom, and 66 in the United States. Following the broadcast of "Theatricality", "Asian Vampires" became the fifth most discussed topic on the social networking website Twitter, in reference to Tina's storyline.