The ‘Glee’ Tribute Episode To Cory Monteith Will NOT Deal With Drug Abuse, After All

Creator Ryan Murphy Has Had A Change Of Heart

A couple of weeks back we learned some interesting details about the upcoming season of Fox‘s Glee. Obviously, much has happened since new episodes of the show last aired and Cory Monteith‘s tragic passing has been on everyone’s minds, especially with the new season approaching. Now at the beginning of the month Glee creator Ryan Murphy came out and said that they were working on a tribute episode, and that Cory‘s Glee character would be written out of the show using an actual drug abuse storyline. He is now coming out and saying that he’s had a change of heart, and feels like such an episode would be ultimately be ‘really exploitative.’ Click inside to read about the new plans for Cory‘s tribute. It’s very different from what we were expecting.

Deadline has the exclusive statement from Ryan Murphy:

It’s been a difficult circumstance because we basically went straight from the memorial into [reworking] the two Beatles episodes, Ryan Murphy which I think are fun and optimistic, that we had always had planned. The hard part for all of us is that the past week we’ve been holed up writing the memorial episode. There were a lot of things that we had to decide — how are we going to deal with his death? At one point, we were going to have his character die after an accidental drug overdose — that was something we had considered. But we have decided that we’re not going to have him pass from that. Basically, what we’re doing in the episode is we are not telling you yet, or maybe not at all, how that character died. Cory Monteith. The idea being, how somebody died is interesting and maybe morbid, but we say very early on in the episode, “This episode is about a celebration of that character’s life.” That might be weird for some people, but it felt really exploitative to do it any other way. The cast and crew have had solace in being together. They’ve been holed up doing those Beatles numbers. There’s been tears on set. It’s been hard for a lot of people. But the really difficult thing is coming. We start shooting the memorial episode this week. We’re just now finishing it, and at the end of the week we’ll send it to [the studio 20th Century Fox Television] to get their approvals. But I think it turned out to be a lovely tribute, and it’s a very heartfelt look at how young people grieve. After that, we’re going to take two weeks or three weeks down to get our heads together because it’s been a really hard thing to write. We loved Cory and we loved Finn and it feels like a huge loss and a huge heartache not to have either of them around. We’re trying to craft an episode that’s not just about us grieving but about a lot of the young fans grieving.

Many of you thought the original idea was a good one, and that it might inspire conversations about drug use that need to happen. Clearly, they’ve decided to avoid that altogether. I mean, for Murphy to say that they might not even make the cause of Finn‘s death clear to viewers is a little strange to me.

Does this sound like a total cop-out to you? Obviously, it would have been really hard, and really trying to film the tribute episode they’d originally had planned. And to focus on celebrating someone’s life is never a bad thing. But I guess– even as someone who doesn’t watch the show– it saddens me a bit to see them backing away from an opportunity to speak to an important issue.

However, I’m sure they know their audience well, and maybe this is the best decision they could make for the show. What do you guys think?

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  1. Tyra

    I like your blog and loved it on blogionaire.com

  2. Honestly, I’m glad they changed their minds about how to write Cory’s character out of the show. The purpose of this episode is to be a tribute to Cory and a celebration of his life. He deserves some dignity and to be remembered for how kind and sweet he was.

  3. I agree that it needs to be a celebration of Finn’s/Cory’s life, but Glee has dealt with so many issues that has helped people get through personal problems, seeing them tackle the consequences of drug abuse head on would have been a great thing IMO. It would show that no one in indestructible when it comes to drug abuse and some times, it unfortunately does end badly.

  4. E.Lee

    At the risk of sounding trite, with a death as tragic as this, it’s easy to let Cory’s legacy be his last moment on earth. Clearly, the producers of Glee want the focus to be more on how he lived his life every day-with compassion and love and passion. I personally think that’s appropriate. And I imagine that Glee will deal with the drug issue when the time is right, and with a Finn-like character.

    • E.Lee

      By Finn-like, I mean sympathetic and “boy next door,” to get the message across that anyone can be struggling with drug addiction. I lost a friend to drug-overdose in December, and I didn’t know that he’d struggled with addiction, nor that he had pre-existing heart problems at the ripe ole age of 20. When he died, it was important for us to love him for how he lived, and forgive him for how he died. Yes, his death (my friend and Cory’s) makes him one of those “cautionary tales,” but he’s also much more than that.

  5. helen

    I agree that they could’ve taken the opportunity to talk about drug abuse, but I don’t judge them at all, at the end of the day, these people are grieving… I wouldn’t dare to ask a grieving person to “take the opportunity” of their friends death, no matter how much help it could be to the world, I understand they have a big voice and therefore a responsibility, but still, just imagine how hard all of this must be for all of them… Idk, that’s just my opinion, I still feel bad about the entire situation… :/

  6. Paul

    Considering Glee’s not-so-stellar track record of writing on the “big issue” storylines, it’s probably just as well they didn’t try to tackle it. It would be difficult to celebrate the young actor’s life and contribution to the show, if you were also getting irritated with the writing.

  7. Yeah, I’m not sure how I feel about this. I don’t watch the show anymore (couldn’t stand the writing and inconsistency), but this does upset me.
    I get that they’re mourning and I hate to sound like a jerk, but seriously? They beat every issue into your head like an after school special, yet they can’t do this? I think the original idea was great. Addiction doesn’t care who you are- the hot, popular guy or the loner no one knows exists. I really felt like this was the time to actually address things.

  8. Whit

    I’m happy they got rid of that idea. I get using Cory’s death as a lesson but it wouldn’t have worked with the character of Finn and to me if would have been capitalizing on the death of its star.

  9. Karen

    At first it did seem like a cop-out to me, and also something that would be incredibly frustrating to me as a viewer. He was a major character and to have him suddenly be dead but with no explanation? That would be so distracting and bad.

    But I also think having Finn die of a drug overdose would be problematic because it doesn’t fit with his character. To develop that so it were sufficiently plausible would take time from focusing on the character’s life and relationships.

    I still wish they would give a cause of death. Personally, I think having him die because he got in a car with a friend who was driving drunk, would be a plausible option that would add some complexity to the grief of the other characters.

    But maybe avoiding a cause of death is the only way the cast can deal with the story without having to traumatize themselves on camera. That I can understand and totally accept.

  10. a part of me likes that they changed their mind, but then a part of me wishes they didnt. i loved how they handled school shootings (probably one of their best episodes)..and i think they had a chance to do something like that again.

    i know a drug overdose would be out of character for Finn…but if you follow the show, they didnt hide that Finn was struggling to find his spot in life after high school. they could have played off that.

    but i also understand that it would be very hard on the cast and with everyone still grieving i totally get why they changed their mind.

  11. Ashleigh

    I’m glad they changed it. It was Cory, not Finn. We also need to remember Cory for the amazing artist he is… Not the addict he was. I’m a new widow and I talk about my husband every chance I get. But I don’t get hung up on the stupid stuff from our past. I rather remember him for the loving father and husband he was…

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