As well-intentioned as the people behind the 2013 Emmys might be — or any award show any time that has an in memoriam segment — it seems like picking out the people who are going to be honored always becomes controversial. And the inclusion this year of the tribute to Cory Monteith has been no exception.
As much as everyone is in agreement about the tragedy of his death, there are a lot of people out there who think he shouldn’t have been selected for his own individual segment alongside performers with a lifetime of career achievements under their belts. Glee was the first thing he ever worked on, and it admittedly pales in comparison to the career of someone like James Gandolfini, honored in a similar segment.
In the words of Primetime Emmys Executive Producer Ken Ehrlich, asked to defend his selection:
“It was a rather personal choice. Cory’s appeal was to maybe a little different generation from some of the others we were honoring, and we felt maybe he needed to be represented. The fact that at 31, he passed away under tragic circumstances, the fact that we felt it was important to be responsive to younger viewers for whom Cory meant as much as these four others meant to their own generations.”
So basically, no comment on whether he’s a good actor or not — but the kids like him, y’know? No matter how you feel about his inclusion, however, I think you can appreciate his co-star Jane Lynch‘s touching speech in his honor.
At least, I hope so.
“It is remarkable and perhaps a little curious how quickly television shows become like families. This summer, on our show Glee, we suffered a painful death in our family. Cory Monteith, played Finn Hudson, a star quarterback, turned wide-eyed, heartfelt, Glee singer… And from the first time you saw Cory he had a star quality and a genuine sweetness that made it impossible not to fall in love with him. And millions did fall in love with Cory, and I’m here to say that all that warmth and that charm, that open-hearted quality that we loved in Cory, it was no act. Cory was a beautiful soul. He was not perfect, which many of us here tonight can relate to. His death is a tragic reminder of the rapacious, senseless destruction that is brought on by addiction. Tonight we remember Cory for all he was, and mourn the loss of all he could have been. To a generation that loved Cory so, please know, this gifted and wonderful young man was worthy of your love. And if you were lucky enough to know Cory as we did, and witness firsthand Cory’s goofy, breezy sense of humor, his natural instinct for inclusiveness, and his unbridled sense of generosity day in and day out, I promise, you have loved him even more.”