Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Public Mourning (RIP Cory Monteith)

So this is a really lousy post to have to write, but apparently I'm not going to stop thinking about it until I do, so here goes.

I am devastated that "Glee's" Cory Monteith died of a drug overdose this past weekend. That really, really sucks.

I have been a fan of "Glee" since its promotional campaign began--even before the pilot aired, I knew I would love it and its cast of relative unknowns and underdogs. And while maybe I was never quite as much of a misfit as the characters on the show, they sang Streisand songs to express their feelings, and I did that in high school, too. While I never would have declared Finn Hudson to be my favorite character, his romance with Rachel Berry was the core of the show, and what I would come back to regardless of whatever crazy plot line the writers tried to pull off each week.

Interestingly enough, and correct me if I'm wrong here, but drug abuse has actually never been the "big" story on "Glee." Instead, they've tackled things like school shootings, sexual abuse, teen suicide, texting while driving - but never hardcore drug use. There were some references to marijuana, mostly in the first season, and actually involving the Finn character having it planted on him, but it was never given the full "Glee" treatment that some of the other topics have gotten. Drug use was more of a punchline. Cory Monteith had already been in and out of rehab by that point, and I can't help but wonder about those scenes and what he must have been thinking. (I wonder, too, if those around him feel any guilt about that.) He'd recently been in and out of rehab again, and from all appearances seemed to be doing better. (This video is from the last episode Cory was featured in this season, featuring a callback to the pilot.)

So my heart broke a little on Sunday morning, and I turned to Twitter and Facebook to state how I felt about his death, and to look for consolation in other fans. This is a relatively new phenomenon for all of us, this public expression of mourning. It's not an entirely new feeling, mourning someone we've never met. I remember when Jim Henson, the creator of The Muppets, died when I was in middle school, and how sad I felt thinking that a part of my childhood had died then too. With the passing of both Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston, I was shocked and sad. But the difference this time is that "Glee" is still happening. I hear Cory Monteith's voice pretty much daily on my iTunes playlist. They just took the promotional photos for the coming season. With the others I've mentioned, they occuppied a place in my mind, but a place in the past. "Glee" represents now.

I pulled up the version of Journey's "Faithfully" from Season 2 and listened to it a lot on Sunday. It's always been my favorite song from the show, and I thought it was a fitting tribute. Then on the way home today, "We've Got Tonight" came on, and I teared up all over again. I'm sad that the show needs to find a way to move on without his character, and I'm sad that I will never get to see the resolution where Finn and Rachel get to ride off into the sunset together (and where Lea Michele and Cory, a couple outside the show as well, get to do the same). I don't like this ending. It's not the kind of Streisand song I want to hear.

While I know there's so much worse that happens in the world, stresses of my own that I should probably focus on instead, I needed to take a moment to mourn the loss of this source of joy and fun in my life. I'm glad I got to watch, and I'll keep singing along.


  1. There is no question this has hit me harder than any recent celebrity death. It's just so sad on so many levels. I've watched Faithfully and also his performance of Just the Way You Are a few times this week and come away crushed, yet keep going back to them, too.

  2. I'm still devastated by it. I cry every time I think about it. You hit it on the head with "I don't like this ending. It's not the kind of Streisand song I want to hear." I couldn't put my finger on it, but I think that's it. It isn't how things should have - or ever should - end.