Follow by Email

Friday, October 11, 2013

Reflections on "The Quarterback" and Mourning Celebrities

Last night, Glee aired the episode "The Quarterback" which paid tribute to Cory Monteith and his character Finn Hudson.  If you saw the episode, you probably had a hard time of maintaining your composure because it was so incredibly emotional.  I just wanted to give a few thoughts about the episode and then make some comments about some posts I have seen online.

First off, the music was perfect.  It may have been partly the subject of the episode, but every song seemed perfect.  "Seasons of Love" from Rent made for a perfect opening number because the epsiode was not about how Finn died, but how he (and Cory) lived.  Bringing together the old and new student cast (except for Dianna, Heather, and Lea) for this song was especially poignant.  Amber's rendition of "I'll Stand By You" was incredibly powerful.  I have never heard the songs that Naya or Mark sang before, but their renditions were absolutely haunting.  When Chord and Kevin started up "Fire and Rain" and then the cast joined in, it was a thing of beauty.  Then Lea came into the memorial and all of a sudden everything felt so much more real.  She was radiating grief and that really lent a sense of gravitas when she was on screen.  I am glad that she was only in the last part of the episode because if she had been in the whole thing, it would have been too hard to watch.  Her rendition of "Make You Feel My Love" went beyond haunting and beyond words to a place that was pure grief and pure love.  It was incredible.

I have to say that I do feel very sorry of Jane and Jenna, both of whom had to portray reactions that I am sure they were not feeling.  Jane was being Sue continuing to be a bitch which led to an epic shouting match with an intense Santana and to Santana shoving Sue.  It was nice to see Santana totally stand up to Sue, even if it was mostly because of how Sue was treating Finn's memorial.  It also gave us a chance to see Sue in an extremely vulnerable state, which is not something we get to see a lot of.  Jenna played Tina as tired of mourning and wearing black.  While I do sort of get it, she was being sort of divaish.  Since no one else was really wearing black, she could have done something else.  My issue with her is the fact that she was trying to make this more about her than Finn, which was not cool.

I was sort of surprised that Will took Finn's jacket, particularly since he had asked Puck to return the jacket not long before.  Honestly, I had assumed that maybe Beiste had taken it because Puck wanted to put it up as a memorial for Finn.  I realized that Will had taken it just a few seconds before he took it out of his valise.  I so hope he gets it back to Santana.  It was good that he could cry.  I remember that after my mom's funeral I was so overloaded that I could not cry.  There was just too much grief.  Had I actually cried then, I would have been paralyzed.  As it was, my mind virtually shut down for a while after I heard she died before I could do anything else.

I was quite happy that they didn't discuss how he died.  While I do understand that it may have been a great moment to teach about the dangers of abusing drugs and alcohol, it would have been something that would not have made sense given that the episode was about his life and his impact.

This leads me to the comments about internet posts I have seen.  There are a lot of people who think that Cory should not be celebrated because he was an addict and that by celebrating him, we are somehow saying that what he did was ok or all right.  The problem here is that they are not seeing that what is being celebrated and honored is not his addiction, but the fact that he made a large impact on many, many people.  Even people who didn't know him personally were impacted by his death.  Is it fair that we celebrate him and not an ordinary addict?  No, but the ordinary addict is not someone who has impacted all of our lives the way Cory has.  Yes, everyone's life is equally valuable, but that doesn't mean that they will all be celebrated or missed in the same way.  Is it sad and unfortunate?  Yes.  But it is also true that the more people you touch, the more people will miss and mourn you.  Also, to those people who say that Cory should not be celebrated *BECAUSE* he was an addict, go grow a heart.  Addiction is a disease; and an all to common one at that; that damages people as surely as any other disease.  So pull out that massive stick you have jammed up your ass and be human and not just a giant prick.

There is another branch of postings which say that Glee should have used this moment to teach about the dangers of abusing drugs and alcohol.  As I mentioned above, I think this was the wrong time to do that.  First off, Finn wasn't a drug addict, Cory was.  To have introduced that storyline at this point would have been in horrendously bad taste and would have been incredibly jarring.  How Cory died has been discussed since he died in July and that pretty much covers the teachable moment.  Besides, they had the PSA afterwards which also covered this.  By allowing the hour to celebrate his life, they gave both the actors and the fans the chance to express their grief about Cory's death.