Powered by Blogger.


RIP Corey Monteith: A Tribute

I'm not usually one to be much affected by celebrity deaths.  Generally, my sadness is more of it marking the end of an era, like when it's a singer/actor you grew up with e.g., Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston).  Or a total shock and sadness because of a talent cut short, a la Amy Winehouse.  As terrible as Heath Ledger's death was, I didn't think much about it until I saw "The Dark Knight", where his performance just completely blew me away.

But the truth is, most of the young deaths of celebrities are not total surprises.  Amy Winehouse was a mess, Michael Jackson had spent his entire life trying not to be a freak.  Most of the time, my reaction was a combination of "holy crap" mixed in with some head shaking on how fame can ruin a person, and how it's so sad that they didn't get their life together beforehand.

That's not the case with Corey Monteith.

Now, of course I didn't know him personally, and public image can be carefully crafted by a good publicist.  But it seemed to me like his life had the opposite trajectory of the younger Hollywood stereotypes.  He didn't get famous and then get addicted; he readily admitted struggling with addiction, and seemed to be trying to clean up his act.  He wasn't a tabloid fixture.  Maybe because I only knew him as Finn Hudson, I associated him with that All-American boy, but certainly nothing that I've seen or read showed him as anything maliciously the opposite.

But here's why Corey's death is really affecting me:  I love Glee.  When Glee came out in 2009, I felt it was a huge breakthrough in the way that music and the arts are represented in media.  I've always admittedly been a theatre geek - I love musicals, and was in show choir back in the day - but spontaneous singing and dancing on a TV show especially were looked down upon.  Between the success of Glee and So You Think You Can Dance, I felt like my love for musicals and dance were finally vindicated in the mainstream.

Plus hey - as much as Glee fluctuates between being awesome and WTF-were-you-thinking-Ryan-Murphy - it was wildly unique, changed the face of TV, and had some amazing, memorable moments.  It doesn't always recycle the same old formula - it tests boundaries, tries different things, for better or for worse.  It is literally the only show I watch now that Fringe has signed off gracefully.

Glee is also my window in to pop culture.  I haven't listened to the radio in about 10 years.  Between the bad techno remakes of my favorite 80's songs, deluge of cookie-cutter hip hop, and I'm-depressed-angsty-emo, I just have no patience.

Truly, almost all I know about current songs are from Glee covers.  And all I download are Glee tracks.  I listen to them every day.  I have them as my ringtone and my alarm.  Needless to say, Glee is a big presence in my life.

Corey is featured in most of the songs I have and love.  A lot of times when I'm listening, I'm struck with how talented he is, how his singing and performance skills have really grown over the last 4 years.  Now I can't listen to 99% of the songs on my playlist without thinking of him and his death.  I woke up this morning to my alarm ("We Are Young"), and was suddenly reminded that he's gone.  I'm not going to be able to watch the show come September without thinking of him.  After all, Finn is such a huge part of the show.

So, in memory of him, below are my favorite Corey Monteith performances.

My heart goes out to Lea Michele and his family.  If it'll be hard for me to not watch Glee without being reminded of him, I can't imagine what it will be like to walk in to work every day, and remember that this is where she met her boyfriend of so many years, someone that was such a huge part of her success and her life.

1. Don't Stop Believin'

2. Paradise by the Dashboard Light
(Part of the entire Nationals performance)

3. Man in the Mirror

4. Hit Me with Your Best Shot

5. We Are Young

6. Somebody to Love

7. Like a Virgin

8. Just the Way You Are

9. You're the One That I Want

10. I Love New York / New York, New York

Runner Up: Run Joey Run


Billie Doux said...

That was lovely, Serena. It made me remember how many times I played "Don't Stop Believing" when the pilot originally aired.