On Sunday morning, a week ago, I opened my phone to check the news as I routinely do, and learned that Cory Monteith had passed away. One of my first thoughts was that Glee wouldn't ever be the same again. I know it's shallow to immediately think of the fate of a TV show, but even though losing a real person is of course the most tragic thing, losing a character means a lot, too. The news of an untimely death of a celebrity had never felt more personal to me than they did with Cory, because Glee has played such a special part in my life for years now, and Cory was naturally a huge part of that. Finn was, for four seasons, the leading male character on the show, and although he was never my favorite (and I admit on occasionally experiencing "mild" dislike towards Finchel), he was a core factor in keeping the story together. He was always in the center of Glee. He belonged there. We liked him there. And, as it happens, I liked Finn on season four more than I'd ever liked him before. He was in his element as a leader. He found a direction for his life.
Thinking that Glee wouldn't ever be the same again was a natural thought. It's not only because Finn was a central character, and him not being there will leave an aching gap in the halls of McKinley, the choir room, the auditorium. As I've said a million times before, I love Glee because it's an endless source of joy. How indeed could Glee be the same again? Now, there will never be more Finn Hudson. There will never be no more songs sung by Finn Hudson. There will never be more backstage interviews with Cory. Now, whenever I watch Glee, be it season one or five or eight, I will always know and remember that once a person died when he was only 31, for a stupid, stupid reason, leaving behind friends, family, colleagues, a girlfriend, and lots of fans who looked up to him. How's that for a source of joy... Is Glee now ruined?
I've been watching season one of Glee this past week. On the Sunday when I heard the news I watched the Pilot, and, indeed, it felt weird. The thought that Finn was now gone, that Cory no more existed, that Lea was at that moment living through a horrible nightmare although on screen they were just meeting for the first time, it was all too weird. Now, it's been a week, I'm halfway through the season, and it's beginning to feel more normal. I guess a week's worth of time has worked its magic, and the healing has begun. Sure, I keep tearing up in random places, like in the middle of Papa Don't Preach, just because I happened to think about how there will never be a Finchel wedding, and so eventually they'll have to create a new serious love interest for Rachel. But even if I cried more often than usually, I still found myself enjoying the musical numbers, fangirling when thinking about how next season Blaine will show up and save the sad little puppy that season-one-Kurt is, laughing at Sue's old school insults and fast-forwarding over boring Terri scenes. Like it was just the same as before.
It is sad, so sad and so stupid that Cory died. But we'll still always have Jessie's Girl. We'll have the moment in Quinn's bathroom when Finn is doing silly ninja moves in front of the mirror. We'll have his contribution in all three versions of Don't Stop Believin'. We'll have Finn as Brad in Rocky Horror, and we'll have him as Kurt in Tina's reverse-fantasy in Props. We'll have Finn uniting the Glee club in Don't Dream It's Over. In October, we'll have a tribute episode for Finn, and we'll get to properly say our goodbyes to the character and also to Cory. We'll cry our eyes out, but we'll have closure, and I know it'll feel good. I know letting the character die is the right thing to do, and I trust they'll do it right, in a Glee kind of way.
Perhaps Glee won't ever be exactly the same, but it will still make me feel good. "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened", they say, and although it's an absurdly tall order, I'm choosing to follow the wonderfully cheesy proverb, and try to concentrate on appreciating what Cory gave us via Glee, and also what he got for himself out of Glee. I'll finish this post and I'll watch another episode before going to bed, and I'll probably cry, but I'll also get further confirmation that Glee will always be a source of joy, which is a wonderful thing to have been a part of, and a wonderful legacy.
"C'mon, give me a hug before I go."