The shocking and tragic news of the death of 'Glee' star Cory Monteith has filled headlines since the story broke over the weekend. Stars have chimed in with their condolences and stories of Monteith's kindness; our own Rachel Anne took a look at Monteith's life and all-too-short career this morning. Although the initial shock has barely set in, there is one practical question that is already on the minds of 'Glee' fans and certainly must be on the minds of the producers of the show, as well: how should 'Glee' handle Monteith's untimely death?
With production on the new season initially scheduled to begin next week, the writers of 'Glee' have quite a difficult task on their hands. Monteith's character Finn Hudson had been written out of the end of last season, due to Monteith checking himself into a rehabilitation facility. The first two episodes of this new season were supposed to be focused on Finn's triumphant return--the scripts were written weeks ago. Now not only is Monteith unavailable, but the episodes must now find a way to grapple with Monteith's passing in a manner that is respectful and also true to the character he was famous for.
Monteith departed rehab back in April and had recently visited 'Glee' creator Ryan Murphy on the set of Murphy's upcoming HBO film 'The Normal Heart.' It will be interesting to see how Murphy opts to handle Monteith's death within the framework of 'Glee,' as Murphy has proven a willingness to fold reality into his fictional stories in the past. Not only did Kathy Griffin appear on 'Glee' in a Sarah Palin-esque role back when Palin was in the news, but 'Glee' has also tackled real life issues including school shootings and similar ripped-from-the-headlines themes. This time, Monteith himself is the headline--will that cause Murphy to respond to this any differently?
It's always difficult when a fictional show is forced to address a real life passing. One famous death was that of Nicolas Colasanto, who played Coach Ernie Pantuso during the first three seasons of 'Cheers.' The creators of 'Cheers' opted to write Coach's passing into the narrative and later used his memory as the theme for a number of episodes. Even the series finale of 'Cheers' subtley paid homage to Colasanto, as Sam Malone (played by Ted Danson) is seen straightening a framed photograph of Geronimo, which Colasanto used to hang in his dressing room.
How would you like to see 'Glee' address Monteith's passing?