Music used for support and remembrance
Published: Sunday, October 13, 2013
Updated: Sunday, October 13, 2013 22:10
How do we grieve when a young person loses his or her life? On Oct. 10 the Fox hit show “Glee” tried to answer these questions in “The Quarterback.”
The Fox series aired a tribute episode to the recent death of Cory Monteith, who passed away in July from a drug overdose in his Vancouver hotel room. After attempting rehab, Monteith’s death came as a shock to millions of fans and those close to him. At just thirty-one years old, this talented young man was an example of kindness, persistence and talent.
However, it will not only be Monteith who will be missed, but his “Glee” character Finn Hudson as well.
“We had a beautiful memorial for Cory in the auditorium, and some of the cast members sang and people spoke about him. It only felt right that we would do the same thing for Finn, so I felt it was very therapeutic,” Monteith’s former “Glee” co-start and girlfriend Lea Michele told Australia’s TV Week.
Starting in May 2009, Finn appeared in 83 episodes. His character transformed from airheaded jock to kindhearted adult. Amongst his glee club “New Directions,” Finn was always a prominent member, holding them accountable and keeping his friends together. Besides his position as male vocal lead, Finn was the quarterback on the McKinley High School football team, demonstrating his character’s well-rounded nature.
During “The Quarterback” the glee club sang in order to overcome their grief. The group sordidly opened the episode with the “Seasons of Love” from the musical “Rent.” This was followed with “I’ll Stand by You” sung by Mercedes Jones (played by Amber Riley), her powerful voice resonated with the audience, emphasizing Finn’s death. Renditions of “Fire and Rain,” “If I Die Young” and “No Surrender” were also performed. However, the most moving piece was Lea Michele’s “Make You Feel My Love,” her emotional dealings with the loss of her boyfriend and co-star became evident through this song. Following Monteith’s death, Michele has been hailed as one of the strongest twenty-seven year olds in the entertainment world.
“Everyone is asking: ‘Is it hard to do this? Is it hard to be back at work?’ But the truth is it’s no harder at work than it is in life, so we might as well as be all together as a family supporting each other to get through this together,” said Michele.
Critics have complained that the episode should have highlighted the reasons behind Monteith’s death, namely addiction. Many felt it was another opportunity to emphasize the negative effects of drugs and alcohol. However, Montieth’s early death was a tragedy that—for once—“Glee” did not commercialize to stress another of society’s problems. The producers, writers and actors allowed the episode to be a pure memorial of his 31 years. “The Quarterback” was an emotional episode that prompted tears for the late Finn Hudson.
The episode reveals how grief is a personal and difficult emotion. Monteith’s counterparts did him justice through “The Quarterback” and will continue to do so as the season progresses. Although his death came too soon, Monteith’s life will continue to be celebrated.