FOX's Chairman of Entertainment, Kevin Reilly, has revealed more information about how "Glee" will handle Cory Monteith's passing, and how the show will write out Cory's character, Finn Hudson.
Two weeks ago, "Glee" creator Ryan Murphy talked about the upcoming fifth season. The first two episodes (which had already been written before Monteith's death) will air, followed by a third episode dealing with Finn's death. After that, the show will go on a long hiatus.
Yesterday, Reilly revealed that the Finn tribute episode will address the dangers of addiction. "Ryan himself is going to shoot some PSAs with the cast in which, as cast members, as friends of his, they're going to speak directly to the audience."
The FOX exec believes that these PSAs will be "impactful." He also wanted to drive home the point that drug abusers may not fit a specific stereotype.
As he explained, "I think they're gonna be very, very impactful. And my hope is that the good... that we talked about at Cory's service last week, which was both a celebration and incredibly sad of this really vibrant young kid, what we all said, what everybody knows is... you see some people struggling with addiction [and]... they're very easily put into a category, 'Oh, he was dark, oh, she was always a partier.' Cory was a big open wonderful life force. He was not a problem. Everybody loved him. He didn't look like that. He looked straight as an arrow."
The entertainment chairman also mentioned that the episode "will deal with the direct incidents involved in Cory's passing, and the drug abuse in particular." However, when directly asked if Finn's character would die of a drug overdose, he replied, "No, I can't confirm that at all."
Should Finn's character die of a drug overdose?
On the one hand, the late actor was always very open about personal struggles, including his past struggles with drug addiction. And he was always trying to help others. Even in his last video message, he was telling fans to "stay out of trouble and to stay in school."
So for the show to use his real-life addiction as a teaching point would be very much in line with Cory's character.
Still, I'm not sure that a drug overdose would be in line with Finn's character specifically. Although real-life Cory spent many years trying to overcome his addiction, Finn was not an addict. In the pilot episode, when Will (Matthew Morrison) planted weed in his locker, Finn swore that he had never touched drugs, and that he never intended to.
Sure, Finn spent most of season 4 feeling depressed, and he passed out one morning after getting drunk at a college party. But there's a big difference between a college freshman getting trashed once at a frat party vs. a long-term addiction to hard drugs. It would seem a little out of the blue to suddenly have Finn develop a drug problem.
Besides, "Glee" has a mixed track record when it comes to PSAs. The show has gracefully handled topics like losing virginity (in "The First Time") and death (in "Funeral"). But they really dropped the ball when it came to the school shooting (in "Shooting Star").
I get that they want to use Cory's passing to encourage viewers to stay away from drugs, or to offer resources to those who are already struggling. But ultimately, we fans also want to celebrate his life and to remember all the reasons why we loved him.
I'm hoping that the PSAs won't overshadow his other talents and accomplishments. As a fan, I'd rather remember the way he lived, rather than the way he died.
How should "Glee" handle Cory's passing? Are they going in the right direction with the PSAs? Should Finn die of a drug overdose? Or would that be too inconsistent with his character?
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