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Everything 'Glee' Got Right About Their Tribute To Cory Monteith

By Joanna Robinson | TV Reviews | October 11, 2013 | Comments ()


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I don’t really want to talk about the failings of Fox’s Glee. This doesn’t seem like the time or place. And despite the fact that I haven’t regularly watched the show for awhile now, I tuned in last night. Though music is usually one of the best inroads to emotional expression and catharsis, the highly-processed nature of the Glee soundtrack robbed the songs of some of their impact. But the main actors, the older ones who worked closely with Monteith, were given a chance to let their emotions break the surface of their performance and every crack, every tear felt honest.

But none so honest as the opening scene in Finn Hudson’s bedroom where Kurt, Kurt’s dad (the always amazing Mike O’Malley) and Finn’s mom (scene-stealer Romy Rosemont) packed up his stuff. All three actors had their moment of emotional catharsis and none was as heartbreaking as Rosemont’s. Finn’s letterman jacket gets passed around for the rest of the episode, but Kurt’s description (“Seeing him come down the hallway wearing this, it was like Superman had arrived”) was a kick to the gut. The rest of the episode never matched this emotional high. How could it?

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • I already wrote one 'Glee' joke for the '5 Shows After Dark' thread and to repost it here seems a bit tryhard. If I had known this thread was going to be posted, I'd have tried to stave off my premature e-joculation.

  • Artemis

    I also hadn't watched Glee for the past season or two, but tuned in for this. It was devastating and powerful, and I think they did a pretty remarkable job, given the circumstances, of dealing with the very real need to acknowledge Cory/Finn and grieve without being exploitive or getting the tone wrong (something that Glee, historically, has not had a good track record with).

    But while I totally agree with you on Kurt/Kurt's dad/Finn's mom, Joanna, I think Lea's scenes were just as powerful. The show made the very wise decision to have her sit out most of the episode, and the two big scenes she did were absolutely heartbreaking.

  • Welldressed

    This is all true, but not for nothing Santana (Naya Rivera) owned this entire episode and had me weeping.

  • Her interaction with Jane Lynch, and then Mark Salling with Dot Marie Jones, was the "best" (if you can use that word) part of the episode for me. Obviously after the gut-wrenching cleaning of Finn's room.

    And I appreciated that they didn't go into how Finn died. I think that might have made it feel cheaper than it should have. For whatever reason, Finn is gone and now the people left behind have to deal with their grief and find a way to move on.

    And the small bit at the end about how people can have addictions and still behave "normally" was just spot-on. It was a nice way to end the episode, as well as the silence afterward.

  • I tuned in last night, despite giving up on the show years ago. I was a fan of Finn back when I watched, and was saddened to learn of Monteith's passing. But I was surprised to find myself weeping during the show last night. The actors' real emotions came through in their faces, especially in that opening scene, and during Rachel's solo. I'm a softie anyway when it comes to watching characters cry, but seeing the real grief on their faces... it was absolutely heartbreaking.

  • Meggrs

    And that's exactly why I decided not to watch it (knowing, of course, that I can always find the ep later should I change my mind). These weren't characters grieving, these were real people grieving. The pain was real, the heartbreak and the loss and sadness and the overwhelming sense of impotence--it was all real, not "acted." And that's why I couldn't watch.

    I have a hard time watching actors in movies who are no longer actors, but "names" (Tom Cruise, for one). Watching two married actors playing lovers always makes me uncomfortable--it blurs the lines for me, and kicks me out of the story. And watching real people grieving a real loss....my stomach hurts just thinking about it.

    I'm glad they did this, for the sake of everyone involved, and I hope with all my hopes that it was cathartic, but i just can't.

  • Wicked

    I haven't seen this show since after the end of season 2, but I wanted to watch this. I recently lost my grandmother, she was the only grandparent i got to know in my lifetime. She introduced me to musicals and singing so I felt like I wanted to see how they went with this.

    This episode really reached me to the core. I don't care if they didn't explained how Finn died, we all know how the actor perished so they didn't have to come up with something on the show. All I can say its, It was very emotional, it was very cathartic, and it was the best episode to date. I can say that, you can see the actors grieving... really grieving.

    I didn't consider it exploitative in the least, I think it was such a well done episode. I suggest to give it a chance, just opening with the musical Rent gave me all sorts of emotions. Push your Glee opinion aside and just watch. At least I can say, it helped me feel like I could finally grieve my loss too.

  • phase10

    I haven't watched in years, but I was curious about how Cory's character was written off the show. What happened to Finn?

  • PerpetualIntern

    I'm wondering the same thing.

  • KatSings

    According to EW, he died, but they refused to say how/why. Kurt gives a speech about how it doesn't matter in the opening?

  • DeltaJuliet

    I guess I get why they did that but it's kind of.....I don't know. I mean high school kids don't just up and die.

  • llp

    Except that sometimes they do.

  • myca_j

    He was in college, but either way.. unfortunately yes, sometimes they do just "up and die".

  • chanohack

    Maybe Finn died the same way Cory did, but they're not allowed to talk about it on the show?

  • apsutter

    That's the feeling I got from it. Because Kurt mentioned that everyone was talking about how he died but that it doesn't matter because he's dead all the same.

  • Maddy

    Stopped watching Glee quite a while ago now, not sure if I should watch this episode. Obviously they had to address it, but I always feel a bit icky about this kind of thing and I'm not sure why.

  • IngridToday

    I agree. My problem is that this is a fictional world and fictional character. When a main character dies it's like the show has to have an episode about the person death. It feels mandatory. Why couldn't Finn just stay away at college or where he was. In the real world he tragically died... but in this fictional world Finn is out there somewhere. He doesn't need to be mentioned in the future, but, I think it'd be a better closure for the actor/character. There's something intrusive about actors really crying over a real death, but on a fictional show and about a fictional character.

  • Garrett Pletcher

    I watched it and I haven't watched in awhile either. I thought the tribute was fantastic. It didn't feel exploitative at all to me. I was pleased with the episode.

  • Misomaniac

    Because it feels exploitative? I don't know if that's the tone of the episode-but I bet it's the highest rated episode this season.

  • Maddy

    I don't want to denigrate their motives, and I'm sure it was important for the audience. It sounds like they managed to get the right tone for this though which must have been difficult. I didn't watch it, but I think I remember that they got pretty slammed for the school shooting episode that was seen as a desperate ratings grab?

    I think this is a pretty difficult thing to do for any TV show, but I assume it must have been especially hard for Lea Michele.

  • Blake

    So nothing?

    *That Kurt gif has Brokeback Mountain written all over it.

  • Joe Grunenwald

    Not nothing. One thing. It's technically the shortest possible list.

  • Brian Merritt

    Yeah the title suggests a list of things done right, but all we really got was jacket-sniff, sad Guts, mom, and circle hug.

  • TenaciousJP

    "I'm super bummed! Now let's kick it over to Mo to give us the tally!"

    "That's right Moooike, Finn came in dead last."

  • clementinesalmassi321

    My Uncle Jacob got a year 2013 Audi TT RS Coupe by working part time
    online. imp source J­a­m­2­0­.­ℂ­o­m

  • Brian Merritt

    Damn dude. Normally I'd be right there with the dark humor, but seeing as this was a real person who died, an apparently good and likable person, I'm gonna just suggest that you reel it in a little.

  • Joe Grunenwald

    You just listed four things.

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