Confessions of an Overly Opinionated Marketing Student

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Don’t Stop Believing

on October 9, 2013

finn-hudson-football-glee“No publicity is bad publicity.”

Unless of course, the publicity is over the fact that your lead male character in your hit television show has been found dead. In his hotel room. How could it get any worse? Oh yeah, he has died of a drug and alcohol overdose just a month after coming out of re-hab. Oh crap.

If you haven’t already figured it out, I’m talking about the late Canadian actor, Cory Monteith.

Monteith played the somewhat dim but loveable singing quarterback with the heart of gold, Finn Hudson. His singing voice wasn’t the best in the land, but when he performed you took notice. His character was relatable and believable. Finn took a journey through four seasons that a lot of us go through as teenagers. He dealt with the death of his father, re-marriage of his mother, teen pregnancy and in the third and fourth season, struggled to find himself in this world after graduating. Which I know first hand, is not an easy thing.

In reality, Cory Monteith was a man struggling with addiction. He was not one to shy away about his problems. He spoke publically about his struggle to stay clean.  He credited his girlfriend, fellow Glee star Lea Michele for helping him get clean. She was not present with Cory when he passed away in Vancouver in July of this year. He was thirty-one.

Many felt no sympathy. Saying a druggie is a druggie no matter how rich and he had what was coming to him. On his death, many were calling for the end of Glee. The fourth season, which had just wrapped a few months previously to the lowest ratings since its inception in 2009. Only 5.9 million tuned in to the season four finale versus 10. 92 million in season one.

So what’s a production team to do? Market their product. And that product was the sinking ship of Glee. Glee creator Ryan Murphy jumped into action and consulted with Monteith’s family and girlfriend to see whether Glee should even continue. They decided it should continue. Then, Murphy decided to give Glee fans everywhere just what they wanted – a Cory Monteith/Finn Hudson tribute episode.

In creating the tribute episode, he did a brilliant thing. He made people forget the unfortunate circumstances surrounding Cory’s death. They began to think of Cory more as Finn. To most fans, Cory and Finn were one and the same. As tragic as it was, Glee used Cory’s death as a new leg to stand on. But they did it in a way that didn’t make it seem offensive or upsetting to fans. The general opinion seemed to be that if Cory’s girlfriend Lea could film the tribute episode, fans should be able to embrace it.

I’ve noticed it myself. I tuned in when Glee premiered season five two weeks ago, just to see if they would make any hints as to the nature of how they would have Finn pass on. As did millions according to FOX. This coming Thursday will be our day to say good-bye to Cory\Finn. Because in our mind, you can’t have one without the other.

I personally will never again hear “Don’t Stop Believing” without thinking of Finn Hudson.

Cory Monteith, 1982-2013


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