I want to be very careful how I discuss this, because I would never presume to judge how one person mourns for another, but something about the way that Lea Michele is discussing the death of Cory Monteith is making me very uncomfortable. I can’t imagine how impossibly difficult it must be to cope with the death of a significant other — especially when it comes from as far out of left field as Cory’s overdose did — but I don’t think that putting the loss of Cory on the same level as the loss of his Glee character Finn Hudson is clarifying anything for anybody. But here’s what Lea had to say to TV Week Australia:
“For me personally, I’ve lost two people: Cory and Finn. We had a beautiful memorial for Cory in the auditorium and some of the cast members sang and people spoke about him. It only felt right that we would do the same thing for Finn, so I felt it was very therapeutic.”
See, I don’t know. That doesn’t feel right to me. Finn Hudson wasn’t real, he was a character that Cory played. One of the people you lost was your boyfriend and rumored soon-to-be-fiance, and the other was a make-believe character he played. Those aren’t the same, for me, and to suggest that they are feels disrespectful to Cory’s memory. But blurring the lines between him and his character is exactly what I was worried about when I watched the promo last week for tomorrow night’s tribute episode.
“Everyone is asking: ‘Is it hard to do this? Is it hard to be back at work?’ But the truth is it’s no harder at work than it is in life, so we might as well all be together as a family supporting each other to get through this together.”
I’m really glad that the cast has each other and everything, but I think the danger is when work starts to feel like life and life starts to feel like work. How can you tell when you’re in character grieving for a McKinley High graduate versus being yourself, grieving for a cast mate and friend? I just feel like it adds complicating layers onto the tragedy to ask these kids to mourn for their friend on camera and pretend like it’s for the character and then let people watch. It feels exploitative.
I guess if it helps with the healing process, then what do I know? But it definitely gives me the heebie-jeebies.