Death of “Glee” Star Cory Monteith Impacts the Show’s Unpromising Fifth Season

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The Glee Cast poses for a Season 5 promotional photo.

Rachel Spang

The Glee Cast poses for a Season 5 promotional photo.
The Glee Cast poses for a Season 5 promotional photo.

The death of a celebrity can be particularly devastating,  as it impacts not only the family and friends of the deceased, but also their thousands (or possibly millions) of dedicated fans. Cory Monteith, star of the FOX television show “Glee,” died on July 13 from a combination of alcohol and heroin overdose at age 31. Monteith’s unexpected death left the cast and crew of the musical television show in shambles, between the grief of losing a good friend and the worry of what direction the show could go in after losing one of its main characters.

The “Glee” writers and producers decided on writing out Monteith’s character, Finn Hudson, by killing him off in the third episode of the upcoming fifth season. Following a two-episode tribute to the Beatles, the third episode, entitled “The Quarterback,” will pay tribute to both Monteith and his character. Though the producers originally had the idea for Finn to die from an accidental drug overdose, that story line was rejected as being too distasteful. Though “Glee” has certainly had its number of unnecessary and tasteless “PSA” episodes, such as the school shooting episode after the Sandy Hook shooting, this tribute will thankfully not be one of them. Executive producer Ryan Murphy said that the tribute will not focus on the tragedy of the character’s death, but rather as a celebration of his life, adding that “it felt really exploitative to do it any other way.” The proceeds from all the iTunes sales of the songs in “The Quarterback” will be given to a fund in Monteith’s name.

Besides Monteith’s tribute episode, the fifth season of “Glee”  does not show much promise at all. The last two seasons have been relatively disappointing, and the upcoming season does not seem much better. Instead of returning to the roots of the show’s first and second seasons, which were the best received by the audience and therefore the most successful, the writers continue to attempt to glamorize the show with various artist tributes and guest stars. As well as having the first two episodes contain solely songs from the Beatles, guest stars Demi Lovato and Adam Levine will be joining the cast later on in the season. The superfluous tributes and guest stars are simply a cheap attempt at attracting more viewers, while all they do is distract from the plot of the series.

The upcoming season will also continue to constantly flip-flop between New York City, the home of a few glee club alumni, and Lima, Ohio, where the glee club is now littered with new characters that the writers scrape the bottom of the barrel to find uninteresting story lines for. If the writers were to solely focus on the glee club alumni and their advancing careers and relationships, the show would be a much more engaging and enjoyable program. Instead, the writers choose to make viewers sit through boring story lines about new, one-dimensional characters while giving the older cast members less screen time. Unless the writers can realize that they should focus more on the core characters and values of “Glee”, which seems doubtful, they will continue to cause its downfall into a boring waste of television air time. Season five premieres September 26,  with new episodes on Thursdays at 9 PM on FOX.