Flaming Bag of Poo has a dark, but GLEE-ful, confession to make: In recent years, I only know which music is actually good and popular only once Finn Hudson, Rachel Berry, and the New Directions perform the song on GLEE.
It’s hard enough staying knowledgeable on music–especially when I have to stay knowledgeable about sports. For instance, Flaming Bag of Poo can name every NFL starting quarterback at any point during the season. I can spit out every MLB team by division. I can recite the starting line-ups of every NBA team. I can name the mascots of 90% of the Division I schools.
And yet, this is the very same Flaming Bag of Poo who has never missed a single episode of the hit Fox TV show “GLEE” since the pilot first aired in 2009. If a recent Top 40 song wasn’t covered on GLEE, then I probably wasn’t even aware of the hit original song. I have more downloaded GLEE songs in my iPhone than any single straight man should ever admit.
But there it is. I admitted it!!!
So, like millions of teenagers and teenagers-at-heart around the world, I admit, I was quite shocked when Cory Monteith was found dead last week. I was even more shocked to only now learn about his unfortunate history with substance abuse.
I won’t make light of Cory Monteith’s death. But I also won’t pretend that the world lost an important role model for teens. Let’s not glorify Cory Monteith’s struggles with substance abuse.
GLEE has almost become synonymous with the phrase “Public Service Announcement”. GLEE isn’t a success just because of teen karaoke. The comedy-drama-musical show and its viral PSAs have tackled everything and anything on the tweener demographic’s radar: Homosexuality. Teen pregnancy. Adoption. Bullying. Suicide. Cancer. Physical disabilities. Eating disorders. White men who can’t dance…
The greatest cliffhanger of the Fall 2013 television season may very well be: Can GLEE focus on an issue so close to home? Alcohol and substance abuse.
Indeed, Cory Monteith’s death was tragic and premature. But let’s not get carried away that his death was both sudden and premature. Cory did heroin. That’s like carrying a gun in your pocket, and then being surprised when it prematurely shoots you in the thigh. Even Cory was man enough to face the harsh reality by publicly addressing his teen years of substance abuse well before Rachel and Finn ever shared google-eyes at each other across the music room.
It would be too easy to dismiss Cory Monteith’s substance abuse problems as just another example of Hollywood’s darker underbelly of fame and fortune. After all, this actor’s substance abuse began up in Canada—and ended in a Vancouver’s Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel.
The producers of GLEE have the opportunity to make a serious impact on the millions of young adults and teens who use drugs–and put up the façade that they are invincible.
Finn Hudson (Cory Monteith’s character on GLEE) was so beloved because audiences found him relateable, fallible, and sympathetic; those same words could be used to describe Cory Monteith in his death. And that’s why there’s an important opportunity–if not obligation–here for GLEE.
Does Ryan Murphy and Fox have the courage to look at themselves, and use Cory’s actual death as an important teaching experience for some many young teens and adults who use recreational drugs as though they were just enjoying a beer? Does Finn Hudson pass away in a similar manner as Cory Monteith? Alone, scared, and making bad decisions with heroin?
Art shouldn’t just imitate life. Art should protect life, too, when it has the power to do so! Because that would be a GLEE-ful tribute to Cory Monteith, the former heart of the show.
And will help put Finn Hudson to rest.