11:45 am EDT, July 15, 2013

What is the most appropriate way for ‘Glee’ to handle Cory Monteith’s death?

As the Glee writers begin working out how to deal with the tragic loss of lead actor Cory Monteith, we share our hope that they will find a respectful way to say goodbye to the beloved star.

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Cory Monteith’s sudden death this weekend shocked his friends, family, and fans. The autopsy to determine the cause of death is scheduled for today, as Fox and the writers of the hit series Glee meet to decide how to deal with his passing on the show.

Glee season 5 was scheduled to begin filming later this month, and Deadline writes that Monteith’s character Finn was to have played a major role in the first two episodes.

Fox was planning to air the premiere episode early, on September 19, and the scripts for season 5, episodes 1 and 2 had already been written before the summer hiatus.

Glee and Cory Monteith fans are now waiting to see how the show will handle this unexpected tragedy, and hoping that however it’s done, it feels tasteful and appropriate, and respectful to the actor.

Of course you could argue that there is no “good” or “right” way to handle this situation. Right now, in the face of such a devastating tragedy, the future of a TV show seems like the most unimportant thing in the world.

But at the same time, we want Cory Monteith to be remembered. We want his life celebrated. We want Glee to honour both Monteith and his character, because that’s what he deserved.

A lot of fans have already chimed in about how they would prefer that Glee does this, and there seems to be no right answer emerging.

Here we present a few different options, and would love to hear what you all think would be the best way to celebrate Cory Monteith’s life on the show.

Jump 5 years into the future

One way for Glee to help the cast, crew and audience heal might be to put some distance between the loss of Monteith and the show canon.

Considering that the show is already pulling in new high school characters and shifting out old regular characters, if we opened season 5 some years down the line, Glee season 5 could feel like a clean break.

Finn might have moved on, left town, and settled down somewhere else, and the actors would be spared having to explain away his absence. Then the story could move on, taking the characters into a new chapter of their lives.

Never mention Finn again

Some fans love this idea, stating that Monteith’s death should not in any way be connected to Glee, and that the most tasteful thing the show could do is to completely avoid dramatising this tragedy.

Finn was written out of the final few episodes of season 4 due to Monteith checking into rehab; maybe the best cause of action would be to simply move on from there?

However, other fans hate the idea of ignoring the actor’s death, because it might seem like Glee just wants us to forget him and move on.

With nothing but an “In memoriam” title card, Cory Monteith’s importance for Glee would be brushed over, and his life and contribution to the show would not be celebrated at all.

Let Finn pass away

This is another option which has left the fan base torn. On one hand, it could be in very poor taste to take a real person’s tragic death and turn it into a television event (and let’s not forget that the actors would have to react to Finn’s death on screen, too).

On the other hand, this would be the way to celebrate both Finn and Cory Monteith’s lives. There would be musical tributes, pictures, maybe even a “best of Finn” montage of some sort. A bittersweet, cathartic goodbye from the cast and crew, to be shared with the fans around the world.

Give Finn an off-screen happy ending

This would be a less harsh brush-off than simply ignoring Finn’s existence. Making a few mentions about the character’s success and happiness and then letting the characters move on might be the most subtle and pain-free option possible.

Finn Hudson was a great character. Flawed, unsure, and lost in life, but with a big heart and a lot of drive and initiative. Let’s send him off in style – give him the sort of ending which will leave fans smiling.

Maybe he went to Europe to tour as a big name drummer. Maybe he won the lottery. Maybe we just want to know that Finn is out there, happy and safe, before we can allow the other Glee characters to move on.

Break the fourth wall and address the audience directly

Perhaps the most controversial option, this is also this writer’s preferred course of action.

The fact of the matter is, a real human being died. While we know Cory Monteith because of Glee, the sadness for his passing has nothing to do with the TV show.

At the same time, for Glee to ignore this tragedy would be a disservice to the work he put into the show, and the story he helped shape.

There needs to be grief. There needs to be celebration. At the same time, making the actors put on their character voices and pretend to be sad about a character when they’ve all lost a real-life friend seems wrong.

Allowing Monteith’s death to be about him, not Finn Hudson, seems appropriate. Have a few of the actors, or even Ryan Murphy, stand in the choir room and explain to the audience what happened and why Finn will no longer be a part of the show. Follow it with a montage of pictures and video clips.

Celebrate the man, and separate him from the Glee machine. And then move on, as we all must when tragedy strikes.

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