By JESSICA LYNN DEPAULA
On Oct. 10, 2013, I said goodbye to a very old friend.
With the death of actor Cory Monteith this past July, the writers of the Fox television ode to the modern show choir, Glee, were forced to do the unthinkable: crafting the death of one of their most popular original characters. Known by many names - Gleek, Frankenteen, one half of the dynamic duo known as Finchel, or, the title of his memorial episode, The Quarterback - Finn Hudson was the very core of Glee.
What is so tragically unique about Finn's death is that the fans know this is not what creator Ryan Murphy intended for his beloved series. Just weeks prior to his death, Monteith was enthusing about his fellow cast members and voicing his impatience to get back to filming. When the fans say their farewells to Finn, they are also saying their farewells to Monteith.
From the series premiere in May 2009 to the very last episode Monteith appeared in, Finn Hudson was a pivotal character on the show. From reluctant bystander of his bullying teammates to defier of high school social norms to undirected glee club assistant, Finn was the glue that held the ragtag New Directions show choir together. He was the one who could not only successfully navigate the haves and the have-nots of grotesquely judgemental William McKinley High School, but manage to create lasting friendships between them, all while performing unforgettable song covers.
He represented the very heart of the show, going against the grain and expressing yourself the way you want to, not the way your friends or family or school or society tells you to.
Not only was Finn the first football player in the glee club, he inspired a few of his teammates to join as well, setting a positive example at WMHS. In the pilot, when Finn stands up to the football team and rescues a fellow glee club member from their constant abuse, he makes the life-changing decision to rejoin a failing glee club.
"I'm not afraid of being called a loser," he tells them proudly, "because that's what I am."
In that moment, Finn set "Glee" apart from its competitors in the television world; he gave us someone any disenfranchised kid could root for, to identify with and to point to and say, "That's who I want to be like." He was, in the very essence of the word, The Quarterback.
Some fans have pledged to boycott a Glee without Finn, but would Monteith have wanted that? Would Finn have wanted that? Reading through such comments on the blogosphere is upsetting to me, as a diehard fan since the show's inception, but they also bring back a memory from season four.
The glee club's just suffered a crushing defeat, resulting in the loss of their rehearsal space and any ounce of respect they may have gained amongst the student body. Finn, recently graduated and trying his hand at directing the club as opposed to singing in it, gathers them in the parking lot.
"I'll be here, ready to rehearse, and I hope you will, too," he tells the downtrodden group. "Because if you don't, I think you're going to regret missing that opportunity for the rest of your lives."I would advise any and all Glee fans to take his advice. I know I will.