This past summer, the cast of “Glee” faced an unexpected tragedy that forever changed their lives and the television series. Cory Monteith, one of the lead actors, passed away, leaving his fans, family, co-stars and fiancé in shock and despair.
Immediately following Monteith’s death, the question weighed heavy on everyone’s mind, including the cast, of how the producers of
“Glee” would handle this tragic situation and what would become of Monteith’s character, Finn Hudson. Would they send him off to war? Would another actor take his place? Would he be killed off the show?
Last week, the producers finally made the choice to take Monteith off the cast list by depicting him as dead on the show. However, in the episode they never went into detail about how he died.
No hints were even dropped in the episode, titled “The Quarterback,” as to how the character died. Although, Ryan Murphy, one of the creators of “Glee,” told Rolling Stone Magazine that it was simply done as a tribute to someone’s life and an explanation was not needed for that.
“… We say very early on in the episode, ‘This is about a celebration of that character’s life.’ That might be weird for some people, but it felt really exploitative to do it any other way,” Murphy said.
While this was considered to be respectful to Monteith, a chance for the producers to use this as an educational episode to their viewers on the dangers of drugs and alcohol abuse was lost. After all, Monteith passed away from an accidental drug overdose. However, it is also understandable how that task could have been painful for the cast and crew to undertake.
Time was taken to flash a public service announcement on screen after the showing of the episode. A moment of silence came with Monteith’s name and dates of birth to death, then some of the stars appeared to encourage the audience to seek help if struggling with drug or alcohol addiction. Hopefully viewers stuck around long enough to see this important message. Although, it is probable that many of them were making a run to the grocery store for another box of tissues.
The tribute had the audience thinking just as much about Monteith as they were about Finn.
While Finn’s girlfriend Rachel was grieving on the show, Lea Michele, the actress who plays her role, was taking it hard in real life as well. Michele and Monteith were never officially engaged, but were dating in real life and planning to spend the rest of their lives together.
The tribute episode was clearly hard on Michele, but she recently spoke publicly for the first time about working while dealing with Monteith’s death.
“… The truth is, it’s no harder at work than it is in life — so we might as well all be together as a family supporting each other to get through this together,” Michele said.
The cast took this episode and made it a therapeutic experience. It was a reunion for most since many had been off the show for a while, but coming together made the death of their friend and co-star easier to deal with.
At a time of grief, the best place to be is with family. The cast of “Glee” decided to come together as a family to celebrate the life of their “quarterback”, and he will never be forgotten.