Yesterday we expressed concern over the comment Lea Michele made about the Cory Monteith tribute episode that’s airing tonight. And thanks to Mike O’Malley’s interview on The Ellen Show, we’re expressing even more concern today. Mike O’Malley, the actor who played Finn’s stepfather on the show, spoke to Ellen DeGeneres about the episode in such a blase way that I’m starting to think that these actors really are blurring the line between a scripted show and their real lives. Finn died in the show, but Cory Monteith died in real life. To continue acting like this is just another “very special episode” comes off as condescending and insensitive.
Mike O’Malley kicks off the interview by combining his conversation about the episode with a mention of his new show, Welcome to the Family. And by a mention, I mean that he says something along the lines of, “they’re playing on TV at the same time, so try to watch both at once.” While I know part of his job as an actor is to promote his show, it still comes off as incredibly crass to compare a comedy to an episode that’s dedicated to his dead co-worker. Yeah, I said co-worker. Cory played his stepson on the show, but he played a real live human during his every day life. A human being who interacted with fellow human being, Mike O’Malley.
To add insult to injury, Mike appears disinterested in discussing Cory throughout the entire interview — making it all too clear that he’s required to talk about him as well as the tribute episode. Maybe they weren’t friends in real life, maybe they didn’t even like each other, maybe they liked each other a lot and Mike finds it hard to talk about him. But the fact that he talks about him the way that he does here only furthers my feelings that the show’s exploiting his death. Everyone should be allowed to mourn in their own way and I don’t think that’s what’s happening here. If anything, this tribute and this cast talking about in the way that they are cheapens his death. While I have no idea how I would handle the situation if I was in Ryan Murphy’s place, this way just doesn’t seem right.