In 2009, FOX brought an anomaly to the evening television lineup. Not since Must See TV had such a show been aired during primetime viewing hours. With a cast of triple hitters capable of acting, dancing, and singing reaching out to address the topics facing teens and families in modern America, many expected Glee to become the laughing stock of modern programing. Instead a generation of GLEEKS emerged, showing solidarity in thier differences; thanks to the strength to speak out they found following their favorite choir members through trials similar to their own.
Say what you want about television, it has always been a master at opening channels for communication.
Riding a wave of Journey to the hearts of viewers was Finn Hudson, played by Cory Monteith. The naive jock turned choir frontman was an approachable hero that could be admired by boys and desired by girls without panicking parents on the sideline. Thanks to Cory’s portrayal of Finn; teen pregnancy, blended families, and homosexuality lost the discussion taboo.
Today, we are all absorbing the news that despite the empowerment he was able to invoke in so many others, Cory Monteith has apparently succumbed to his own demons. Saturday July 13, 2013, at the age of 31, Cory was found dead in a Vancouver, Canada, hotel room. An autopsy is pending, but he had been open with the press about his ongoing struggles with substance abuse.
To say that because we did not personally know Monteith we should not be affected is a fallacy. It is always sad when a person we admire is taken from us, and he and the character he portrayed were heroes to many. And although we may not be able to attend his services, we can honor his memory by continuing the momentum he and the rest of the Glee cast began. We can speak out about things that are affecting us, making us feel different and possibly depressed, and driving us to a potentially dangerous experience of our own. We can watch for signs in those we care for that they may be struggling and need a helping hand. We can work to prevent future deaths from arriving too soon.
I will not begin to predict how, or if, Glee will address the loss of Finn. I can say that as much of a loss as it is to fans, our hearts have to truly go out to his friends, family, and coworkers. He was loved, admired, and he will be missed.