Instead, it's about last night's episode of Glee. Under the cut in case you missed it.
I apologize up front to those who loved it, okay? And from that, you can surmise that I was immensely disappointed by the episode, which was intended to be a memorial for both Finn Hudson and the actor who played him; Cory Monteith, who died this last summer.
I knew when it came on I'd be seeing the current crop of Glee club members on an empty stage (dressed in black, natch) and singing that song from Rent. No, seriously, I knew it and expected it. I knew they'd be standing and singing while, gradually, our original group would be highlighted and then join in groups. But - I also expected to see - wanted to see - a loving tribute in the form of a montage of great 'Finn Hudson' moments behind the kids - as opposed to that single photo of him in his quarterback uniform (which I'm sure seem appropriate to the producers since the episode was called, "The Quarterback") at the end of the song.
Major disappointment made all the worse because we never got that montage. Not one singe scene in the entire episode.
I just kept asking, "Where's Finn?"
Sure, it's only natural that in such a show it's important to 'show' us how the death of "one of their own" (and one of ours too) affected each character (and actor), and while doing so, we'd be able to 'see' Finn's influence. But was that supposed to be enough?
I didn't think so and, after much reflection, still don't.
Needless to say, since this show is "Glee", the grief was expressed, for the most part, in music and, again, one could argue Finn was in each of them as we listened to their chosen songs and/or went through their 'trauma vignettes' (some badly stuck between songs), but that made it more unreal and unnatural for me; and very conscious of the behind-the-scenes action, the bad lip synching, the...manipulation of what I think was, mostly, a badly written script. The whole show seemed far below par.
Now, don't hate me, okay? I'm a cynic at heart, and Cory has had a hard drug problem since he was 13 so how much anyone could really 'know' him becomes a real question. And while Lea Michele and Cory were supposedly a couple (here's that pessimistic attitude of mine again), well, it's not unusual for a show to promote such a coupling (when it doesn't really exist) because it's part of the onscreen storyline. I don't know how much Cory's habit affected his personality, who he really was, or how much of his life Lea could really know if they were an actual couple; but yeah, if they were a couple, it couldn't have been easy for her. And if they weren't and it was all publicity, well, hopefully there was at least a friendship there (as much of one you can have with an addict fighting his habit). And maybe that's why I think Lea's appearance half-way through the episode struck me more cynically than most and thus appeared more manipulative than say, any concern for Lea and making it easier for her?
She'd of course already recorded the song she was to sing, but here again was an example of poor behind-the-scenes work because, like with a couple of others, the lip synching was far too evident and badly 'synched'. The camera angles were even worse in many cases. Like Lea's hair. Not all that many viewers really know the tricks used, even on such simple things as an actress's hair. In this case, Rachel's was supposed to fall beautifully in front of her, on each side of her face. But the camera angles were so bad, they revealed the trick; the strict and absolute split, with no hair also falling down her back. It also showed, rather clearly, that she was wearing a wig. That's hardly a crime, but allowing it to be so obvious? That's a behind-the-scenes issue that went toward the overall quality of a show that should have been one of, if not the best show of the new season.
For me, the only two vignettes that came close to "Real" moments of grief occurred in two non-singing scenes: 1) Finn's parents while cleaning out their son's room. Lord, Mike O'Malley turned in a performance that made me forget entirely that A) he's a terrific comedian and B) "Yes, Dear" (where he was the only source of comedy because he's a terrific comedian). When he started talking about wishing he'd given his son more hugs, I nearly fell apart. And then Finn's mom, on the floor in front of boxes labeled, "Give away" - "Throw out" - and "Keep" - and she's sitting there wondering how parents go on living - or even taking a breath - after losing a child. In that scene, I forgot I was watching a television show - and it was the only time Finn was real - and there - and...lost forever, not to mention Cory. Yep, I cried.
I thought, for a brief moment, the second 'real' scene would be when our bitchy ex-cheerleader, Santana, went back to apologize to Sue Sylvester, ie; the new "Principal" (one reason I won't be watching this season). I hoped we'd see a real bitch-fest that would end only because Santana would remember that Finn would have ended it. Instead, we received a totally OOC Susan Sylvester moment as she started talking about looking forward to, "thirty years of working with Finn as a teacher". Okay, at least she also said she'd been looking forward to the fights, but still, that wasn't the Sylvester we needed, and, imho, well, you can't just flip a character like Sylvester, not even in a memorial episode, so I found myself shaking my head and wishing for the Sylvester who'd mouth off at Santana, Principal now or not.
So that brings me to "Real Moment" #2: And this one surprised the heck out of me, but not in the way one might think. I knew Matthew Morrison's grief would come last, right? But I expected it to be in song because...well, I thought his voice was desperately needed by then - so when, instead, he broke down (as I did know he'd do - as we all knew he would), some of what I needed was lost, but the 'realness' of the moment was still totally believable. And yes, even though I also knew he'd been the one to steal Finn's letterman's jacket, it was still incredibly sad when he took it out and sobbed, alone in his living room - until Mays walked in to take him in her arms. Yes, it was heartfelt and felt 'real', but somehow, of all the Glee episodes, this one really needed Morrison to add his voice in song - one hell of a song, at the end - for Finn and Cory.
And while I realize 'montages' are old hat, so to speak, Cory deserved it - and so Glee's "Quarterback" - Finn Hudson.