Mood: Can’t Stop Crying
11 May 1982 – 13 July 2013
Rest In Peace
I never knew Cory Monteith. I never had the pleasure of meeting him, or talking to him, or rushing him at a red carpet appearance like a lovesick teenage puppy. But the news of his death shook me to the core and made me so incredibly sad.
Cory played a character on one of my favourite TV shows, Glee. I was a Gleek in high school and I found myself relating to the trials and tribulations suffered by the Gleeks in the TV show. As Finn, Cory portrayed a vision of what I wanted my high school boyfriend to be – a dream boat, a jock, a leader who was not afraid to stand up for the little people, an every day man, and a friend to all. I never met such a guy in high school, but oh, how I wished he existed back then.
I’ve been in tears for the past 24 hours, since hearing the awful news. I’ve been looking everywhere for news stories about Cory’s death, and reading all the tributes on Twitter from his co-stars and fellow performers in Hollywood. By all accounts, Cory was very much like Finn – a dream boat, an every day man, and a friend to all. None of the reporters who had ever met him had anything bad to say about him; something that was very rare in Hollywood. And the more lovely and loving tributes I read, the sadder I became.
I don’t want to speculate on the cause of Cory’s death – there are enough people speculating what happened in his Canadian hotel room. I want to always remember Cory as the dream boat, jock, leader of the pack, every day man, friend to all that he encapsulated in Finn.
I read a commentary today that put into words what I couldn’t – about the tragic loss of this lovely young actor from this world. I’ve reproduced the piece in full below. Thank you, Ben Pobjie, for writing this.
We don’t actually know the people on TV. We know this, but the purpose and genius of television is to lull us into feeling that we do.
We gain an impression of TV stars, a personality and image cooked up from their character, their public persona, and the superimposition of our own desires, and we hang on to that.
And so the death of Cory Monteith shocked us to our core, shook our worldview, because we knew him – not as Cory, a young man with all the complexities and demons that a human is subject to, but as Finn from Glee.
And as Finn we loved him, we cared for him, and we never imagined that he would have anything but a happy ending, because Glee was a show in the business of happy endings.
Monteith was neither the best actor nor the most powerful singer on Glee – his amateur’s voice couldn’t match some of his Broadway-pedigree co-stars – but in a way this only enhanced his greatest attribute: loveability.
Finn was easy to love. The leader who never quite knew who he wanted to be a leader. The jock who found himself unexpectedly more at home among the geeks. The handsome football star who found the courage to stand up for difference. The simple everyman who was never as simple as he seemed. In his ordinariness and self-doubt, he may have been the most relatable Gleek of all.
And so we who love Glee in all its bright cheesy glory found it easy to cheer him on in his show-stopping moments. The show made its mark indelibly when Finn joined the New Directions misfits in episode one to power through Don’t Stop Believin’, the song that remains the Glee signature. Monteith was the key to unlocking that magic, just as his character was for the Glee club.
We of the Glee nation loved him for embracing his inner choir nerd then, and loved him even more when he was called on to take control in a crisis, marshalling his motley crew in competition to lead them in a rousing rendition of You Can’t Always Get What You Want. Those who hated the show would cry this was sacrilege against the Rolling Stones; we who loved it lapped it up.
Finn was the heart and soul of the show, the focal point of both the Glee club and the show’s inevitable on-again off-again romance between him and Lea Michele’s Rachel.
And so many of Glee’s most memorable moments centred on their musical partnership, their duets on No Air, and Journey’s Faithfully, providing Monteith with just greatest moments as the classic romantic lead.
But perhaps Finn’s greatest role in Glee was as the representation of change, of the ability to overcome prejudice. His rendition of Bruno Mars’s Just The Way You Are in apology for his bigotry to his gay stepbrother Kurt was a marker of this; though probably an even more powerful moment was a non-musical one, when he appeared in a bizarre Lady Gaga-esque costume to rescue Kurt from the violence of homophobic bullies.
In a show whose very identity revolved around the celebration of difference, it was Finn whose learning and growth shone brightest as an example.
In his doubt, his uncertainty, his yearning for something greater, his restless search for himself, his struggle to iron out his own flaws and find happiness in unlikely places – the quarterback singing show tunes, ditching the cheerleader for the song-and-dance girl – Finn was the Gleek we wanted to be and hoped we were.
Sadly, Finn and Cory were not the same person, and even though we may have known of Cory’s problems, maybe we let our confidence in Finn’s ability to sail through a sea of troubles blind us to the fact that in real life it’s never as easy as on TV – and that as well as we knew Finn, we didn’t ever know Cory.
But if we know nothing else about Cory, we know that in his far-too-brief life, he left us Finn Hudson to remember him by. And we thank him, and bless him, for that.
Thank you, Cory Monteith. Don’t stop believing.