“Glee” tribute tries its hardest and succeeds (for the most part)


This was the promo picture for the episode. The image is from ET online.

Michael Mathis, Staff Writer

The production of “The Quarterback,” the episode dedicated to Cory Monteith’s death, was most likely the hardest thing “Glee” has ever had to do. This episode was a tribute to Monteith; the episode was meant to convey not only how great a person he was, but how hard it is to live without him. The only way the cast and crew could properly do this was through sharing the all-too-real pain and suffering that was occurring in their lives.

Before seeing this episode, knowing it was “Glee,” I was skeptical they would actually tap into those emotions. I was worried they’d just sing to us what we’ve already heard and try to make the cast member’s death about something else.

In recent years, the show has sacrificed its brutal honesty on controversial topics in favor of making itself an edgy afterschool special with singing. For example, it’s constant stressing of homosexual tolerance has gone from an important message to an in-your-face in-school assembly. I’m sure their intentions are still well-meaning, but we get it, and the more it’s shoved down our throats the less it seems like their message comes from a true passion of love rather it’s trying to tell the world, “Look at us, we’re helping people!” It’s examples like this that I, a once-devout fan of the program, have steered clear of.

But, returning to watch this episode, I see the cast and crew, for the most part, convey that honesty out of respect for their friend.

The moments in this episode that work the best are the ones that don’t try to direct itself into the cliches of losing a loved one. The main moral of this episode is that Finn Hudson’s (and especially Cory Monteith’s) death was a tragedy. They convey this in the show’s final image: Mr. Schuester holding Finn’s jacket, finally shedding tears for his former student and friend.

It may say on the script that Mr. Schuester does this. But when the cameras were rolling, that was Matthew Morrison grasping on to all he had left of his fallen familiar.

However, this show was not without its emotional hiccups. In one of the more awkward scenes, Puck (yes, he’s back) lets out his frustrations on to the football coach, saying the following:

“What chance do I have of not being an idiot and hurting people, without him to remind me who I really am?”

I do give sympathy to Mark Salling for having to act like he’s not dealing with it on camera, when inside, the feelings still ache. However, when it came to his breakdown, he still didn’t tap into his real emotions, which would’ve given the scene a small redemption.

It was the moments where “Glee” gave its characters cliche denial arguments that the show lost its touch.

This was an episode meant to serve as a surrogate-memorial for Monteith. He shared so many qualities with his character Finn Hudson, that all the actors really had to do was let out their real feelings and say “Finn” instead of “Corey.” Glee tries to write above this, but does so out of good intentions. While “Glee” doesn’t exactly hit the mark, it’s a near-perfect testament to the show’s unending love for Corey Monteith. If Lea Michele’s heart-wrenching performance of “Make You Feel My Love” doesn’t properly convey how much the cast cares about giving their deceased comrade the tribute he deserves, then I don’t know what will.