Tonight was something I had been dreading for quite some time.
I am a crier. At seven years old, I cried when John Candy passed away. I have cried when basically any person-I-don’t-know-but-I-feel-like-I-know has died in my life. Aaliyah, Left Eye, Ted Kennedy, Bob Hope, John Ritter, Phil Hartman, Michael Jackson, obviously…I mean, I even got a little misty when Ronald Reagan died, and I’m no Republican.
But Cory Monteith’s death was announced in the midst of a week where I could not entirely address it. He died on the day that George Zimmerman was acquitted, and I had worked nine hours, and everything in my day to day life was relevant. He died, unexpectedly yes, on a day when I could not justify sitting down and contemplating what it meant to me.
My dear friends knew, though. Mandi sent me a text message, informing me of the tragedy. She even sent me a long distance “good for a free cocktail” drink coupon, because that’s what friends are for. Like the rest of the Glee fans in the world, I have long avoided facing last night’s episode.
But it was inevitable. It hit close to home, which made it worse. Glee fans, and even people who hate Glee alike know that Lea Michele and Monteith were real life in love, as well as on-and-off again in the show. They were the nerdier, more musical version of Ross and Rachel. They were, who all fans of the show, related to on a very serious level.
Rachel and Finn reminded me a lot of myself and one of the loves of my life. My Finn was a combo between the first boy who ever made me feel love and my barbershop quartet singing dreamboat. Finn represented a lot to me, and I am 26 years old. I have no shame in expressing the relatability of a television character. Because that’s good television. And Monteith was that. And Finn was that. And everyone who did or did not care about this show, and his character, should know that.
So, I thank you, Glee, and all of your cast and crew, for making this episode as perfectly representative as it could have been.
The most heart wrenching lines from the episode.
1. “You have to keep on being a parent, even though you don’t have a child anymore.”
2. “If there’s one thing I’ve learned from Finn dying, it’s that shame is a wasted emotion.”
3. “If I stop crying, I don’t think I’ll ever stop.”
4. ”I’m going to spend my entire life missing him.”
5. “I don’t think that’s possible. He was my person.”
The lines were as powerful as the music. The characters stayed true to themselves, even down to Sue’s harsh, but always genuinely loving accusations. We say it is just television, but this time, it truly wasn’t. This time, we really said goodbye to a man that meant as much to his fans in person as he did on the show. Watching these characters bid him farewell was a gift, for we knew they were saying goodbye to their friend, their boyfriend, their son, as well.
Television is never just television. You spend so much time with these people, and though they are fictional characters, you spend as much time loving the actors, as well. It is a weird boundary crossing–something that I know we all relate to, whether or not some of us say it aloud. Finn reminded me of my ex-boyfriend, Cory of my stepfather who passed in a similarly tragic fashion. Television is never quite just fiction. It allows us to reflect on our own lives, and I shall never apologize for relating so strongly.
Cory Monteith, Finn Hudson, rest in peace.
All images via fyeahgleelove.tumblr.com.