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It's been a few days since we learned of Glee star Cory Monteith's death, but I'm still pretty wrecked about the whole thing. No one knows for sure what the cause was (update: autopsy results have confirmed that Monteith died of a "mixed drug toxicity" of heroin and alcohol), and I certainly didn't know Monteith personally, but he seemed like a good guy who tried to overcome issues with substance abuse. The loss is and will continue to be so much greater for his family and friends, but it's certainly been hard not to go through old clips of Glee and get really, really bummed out as a fan. 

Like many of you, I've had a complicated relationship with Glee in its four years on the air. I fell hard for the show in the beginning, grew frustrated with it in Season 2, and followed it show from more of a distance in Seasons 3 and 4 so that it couldn't repeatedly break my heart and/or piss me off. However, throughout my roller-coaster experience of watching Glee, Monteith's performance as Finn has been a constant. Despite being handed some problematic material from time to time (along with everyone else in the cast, if we're being fair), Monteith helped Finn become one of the more fully realized characters on the show. 

While Rachel and Kurt get to embody what it means to you know that you're a star stuck in a small town, Finn's story has always been more realistic, and oftentimes more interesting. He's the small-town guy with some talent and some dreams, but no plan, or confidence that anything good could happen. Monteith brought him to life, and as a result, Finn defined the show's inner melancholy, something that often stood out amid its typical whiplash-y emotional highs and lows. And from the beginning, we understood who Finn was: He was us in high school, or at least somebody we knew in high school. To bring that kind of relatability to a role that also turns you into a "teen" heartthrob is not easy, but Monteith almost always pulled it off.

Finn's struggle to find himself—as a student, as a son, as a brother-in-law, as a friend, etc.—permeated all of Glee's stories. His relationships with Rachel, Kurt, Mr. Schue, and his mother were some of the show's best, and sheer lunacy aside, Finn's return to McKinley as New Directions coordinator worked because Monteith always knew how to play up Finn's shaky—but effective—leadership. Much like the character he portrayed, Monteith was never the best actor or singer on the show, but he was a damn good stabilizing center. He could do just about anything Glee asked of him—well, except for dance.

Moving forward, it's challenging to even begin to imagine what the heck Glee will do to write Finn out of the show. With situations like this one, we can never totally trust Ryan Murphy and company to do anything sane. He and Ian Brennan could very well come up with an amazing way to pay tribute to Monteith and give Finn the exit he deserves. But it's just as likely that they'll swing for the fences and create something overwrought—or, worst of all, offensive. The show already has a half-baked out with Finn's Season 4 departure for college and as a victim of PTMD (Post Traumatic Murphy Disorder), most of me wishes they'd just let it all go. Yet there's no way that Finn's relationships with the important people in his life will ever come to a satisfying resolution. That's nowhere near the tragedy that Monteith's real-life death is, of course, but for a show that's already on the ropes creatively, losing such a solid rock of humanity is a tragedy, too.


Monteith's Best Glee Performances

But for now, I'd rather not worry about what Murphy may or may not do. Instead, let's just keep remembering all the great performances Cory Monteith brought to Glee in his four years on the show. You'll probably see a lot of lists and slideshows about his best musical performances, and rightfully so; there are some truly wonderful ones (I'm partial to "Jesse's Girl" from "Laryngitis" because duh). But I'd like to focus a little more on Monteith's acting on, which was just as good, if not better, than his vocals. Here are five episodes that he's great in; feel free to share your own in the comments.

"Sectionals" (Season 1, Episode 13): It was clear almost from the jump that keeping Finn in the dark regarding the paternity of Quinn's baby was a stupid choice, but Monteith somehow made it all almost worth it when Finn found out the truth. He also shared a great scene with Matthew Morrison in this episode. 

"Duets" (Season 2, Episode 4): I'm kind of cheating here because this is still the best episode of Glee to date, but it was lovely showcase for Monteith and Lea Michele's more playful, comedic chemistry, which was just as electric as their dramatic work. 

"Goodbye" (Season 3, Episode 22): If you've seen even a few episodes of Glee, I dare you to watch the final scene between Finn and Rachel at the train station and not tear up. The show went in a lot of stupid directions during its first three seasons, but again, Monteith (and Michele) made it seem like this is what all 60+ installments had been building to, and that all those directions were worth it. 

"The Break-Up" (Season 4, Episode 5): The expected, wrenching conclusion to what began in "Goodbye," but expecting Finn and Rachel to split didn't make the event any less moving. Monteith was always great at portraying Finn when he was confused about his future, and never was he more so than here. 

"Dynamic Duets" (Season 4, Episode 8): The best episode of the "new" version of the show, with a really solid story for Finn as New Will. The superhero conceit is pure Finn: a little sloppy, goofy as heck, but warm and effective. Almighty Treble Clef y'all! 


What are your favorite Cory Monteith Glee moments?

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Furt. Finn at his best, and Glee at its best. Grilled Cheesus, for Finn at his dumbest (which is a very, very good thing). And really, who can forget one of the most cringeworthy moments in the series, or quite frankly, all of scripted network TV, Finn singing "Having My Baby" to Quinn's parents?
Actually, one of my favorite Finn moments is in the pilot, where he asks if they have Sour Patch Kids, a shout-out to his previous role in the Sour Patch Kids-bankrolled Kyle XY.
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We all Love you Cory and i am really going to miss you ...RIP
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i loved his cover of Jessie's girl & i loved most of his performances in season 1
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We really loved watching every show and he was the best actor. We sorry to hear what happened to him. Now we know that the show will not be the same without him.
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For all those that don't know, TMZ has "sources" that are saying that Cory hadn't taken drugs since he got help and went to rehab in April and that he may have taken the same dose he did before he got clean and that because his body was clean, it wasn't able to handle the amount he took :(

Now E-online has posted a story where they've interviewed a drug and rehabilitation expert who says that for heroin, he should have been in rehab longer than he was and that Cory may have been an 'expert' at fooling those around him into thinking he was better when he wasn't. Can you imagine how guilty that would make his family, his friends and Lea feel? They would all be wondering if there was more they could have done.

It's so sad. I still can't believe this.

I think I've said this in a previous post but there is a lot of hateful and nasty comments being said about him. We must continually remind ourselves and each other of the good he did and not let it be overshadowed by the illness that took him. How he died doesn't change the fact he was a good person.
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I read about his death yesterday when you put up this article about remembering him and I was so frkn shocked. I have been googling it for an hour last night until I got the Breaking News that his autopsy report is released. Once I've read that he died of drugs/alcohol and I learned (for the first time!!!) that he's been struggling with his addiction ever since he was a teenager I didn't know how to feel about this. And I still don't know...
I can't believe he died and I somehow don't want to believe it but it's true and I (we all) have to deal with it. But the cause of his death makes it harder to deal with it. Now I don't know whether to be like angry at him for doing drugs...


Rest in peace
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I don't know if this situation would become "FINN-ished" or what?
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How can we forget Grilled Cheesus?! Possibly my favorite Finn Hudson moment. With that being said, you really were great Cory.
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I stopped watching glee at season 3 episode 19 so I don't know what modern Finn was like. I really enjoyed the show just better shows captured my attention once Glee started into the post sectionals graduation phase. Season 1 and 2 though are still some of the best TV I've seen in years. Cory was a really talented singer and good actor who played a character several years younger then he actually was. It's a shame the fame pushed him into substance abuse. 31 is very young but shows how fast and easy celebs can get their hands on drugs. I hope the show writes his character Finn off the show nicely hopefully not making him die
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Sadly he's been battling addiction since his teens according to him.
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It has been five days now, but it still hurts so bad. I just can't believe/accept it. He was so young, so much to live for. The good ones always die young. The fact that it was from a heroin/alcohol combination, doesn't change the fact that he was a great person.

This is the first time some sort of hero of mine has died, and even though it's someone I've never met, twenty years from now this will still hurt. Rest in Peace, Cory. May you fly with the angels and one day see Lea again.
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I feel the same way about Aaliyah
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I agree with every word you said. I feel sick when I read some people's comments which are rude and insincere. It is like how can you say that? I know his death came following him taking drugs willingly, but that does not change what I think of him....a poor soul that we could not save. I am not a deeply religious person but still seeing how many people die at such a young age from drugs while we live in a century full of technology and progress....and yet we do not do enough to save these people. My personal thoughts are that the help Cory received both at the rehab centre and from loved ones was not enough..I am not blaming it on them, don;t get me wrong, I just mean to say that I think he did not get enough help or maybe it was too late for him to get it because nobody knew how deeply this addiction was. Because he looked happy, full of life...in love with Lea..and that is what kills me personally...that this tragic death just happened...Like boom, he is gone. Horrible feeling.
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Losing My Religion is my all-time favorite song by Cory, followed closely by Jessie's Girl. I love when he played guitar during his songs.
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I only remember him playing the drums? But I like Jessie's Girl first and Losing my religion, second. It just will never be the same.
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Ahhh I meant to say drums! Grief writing does not lend itself well to proofreading.
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Can I ask a genuine question? I swear, this is a genuine question stemming from genuine interest...

In the initial interview, Canadian authorities said there were 'no signs of illicit drug use', yet supposedly copious amounts of heroin was found in Cory's system. How can there be no signs of drug use if he overdosed? Am I missing something?

I get that he may have consumed drugs outside of his room, but surely there were some signs, like marks on his arms? Unless he didn't use a needle?
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Thanks for elaborating guys. I feel so silly asking such a question, but it makes sense now that you've both explained it :)
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They didn't really elaborate on it because the family had only found out hours before. I think I recall one of the two speakers saying that they didn't want to say too much yet. They probably had a very good guess what is but wanted to let the family breathe a bit. So sad.
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Maybe they just didn't want to tarnish his reputation until they were sure.Having the press around is always complicated, especially when celebrities are involved.
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Given the extremely delicate nature of this situation, I think we can trust Ryan Murphy and Co. I believe (well, I hope!) they'll do the right thing and consult with both Lea, the cast and especially Cory's family about explaining Finn's absence. I think a funeral scene may be too close to home for the cast. I also think that Finn, the character that Cory put so much effort, heart and soul into developing, should have the happy ending Cory didn't get to have. Ideally, most of us would love Finchel to be together in the end - that, however, would likely mean Lea having to play out scenes where she's talking to Finn on the phone or at least maintaining some form of communication with him? That, again, will be hard for her. So, do they do a West Wing post- 9/11 style tribute to Cory and then go on without his character in any storylines? Most people would say that is disrespectful to Cory and his work.

There's no easy way around this. The writers and directors are not only grieving, but they have to take into account everyone's feelings and opinions. The truth is, not matter which way they go, there will always be a group of people that are unhappy.

I love the show - it's had it's share of moments where it would frustrate me, but other times I loved it. The thing that remained constant, as for the writer of this article, was my love for Finn's character. Glee has truly lost its heart...

That aside, I think it's important that true fans remember the type of person that Cory was and not let his memory and the amazing memories he created for us as fans of the show (and the work he did outside of the show, including his passion for the charities he supported) be overshadowed by the darkness of the illness that caused his death.

RIP Cory.
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Its upsetting to find that he wasnt as sober as everyone was hoping. It must be hard for his friends and family, who had seen him struggle with addiction since he was 13, to know that the addiction won out in the end.

I dont know which version of Finn I liked more, the jock deciding to embrace his talent in the choir or the young man, who wanted to do something worthwhile and strive to become a man his family and Rachel could be proud of.

I loved so many songs he sung on:
Jessie's Girl
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
I'll Stand By You
Beth
The Scientist
Faithfully
Losing My Religion
Man in the Mirror
Ben
Paradise by the Dashboard Light
Barely Breathing
Don't Speak
Juke Box Hero
Homeward Bound/Home
(You've Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party)
... But especially We've Got Tonite with Rachel he was on his way to winning her back and the looks they gave each other during that song and his vocals were wonderful. I am tearing up as I write this now.

He will be missed.
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I forgot Somebody to Love which is one of my all time Glee favourites and the whole Journey medley at sectionals.
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Finn was an awful character treated like a hero and role model by the writers, but Cory played the part in the best way. It'll be different knowing that someone so integral is truly gone.
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I think it's important that we remember Cory as the nice, sweet and friendly guy that we saw on interviews and on Glee. He will be missed.
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Thanks Cory for helping us to reflect on Monteith's significant contributions to Glee. No one's going to get over this tragic death any time soon.
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If I wrote the premiere, I would open to a black and white scene at a funeral. The cast sings a beautiful, respectful song. Show the title card with no musical cue. The rest of the episode is the club, all reunited, remembering their friend, who died in an accident between seasons, and singing songs for him. No jokes. No drama. Just kind words. It's what Monteith deserves, more than just some glib write off (he went back into the army, etc.).
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I think they should let him have a hero's death. He spent most of his life believing that his father was a hero and wanted to live up to that legacy. I feel like that would be the best way to honor the character.
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That would be perfect.
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Very nice, Cory.
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You have almost put exactly into words how I've been feeling about it. I didn't cry but I've had a really hard time accepting this and it still seems like we should not be actually discussing it, like it's a weird dream.

I didn't always like Finn, he could definitely grate on my nerves, but he was definitely the heart of Glee. But maybe more of why this death is bothering me so much is because of the person that everyone has said he is. The press all loved him, the cast and crew loved him, and everyone talks about how much of a down-to-earth person he stayed throughout the fame that the show brought. And that's something that you don't see a lot of anymore in Hollywood.

I too, wonder how Glee is going to handle all of this. I actually think I trust Ryan and Co more than I trust FOX to not try and milk it as a ratings ploy. I personally think they should delay the start of production for a couple months for the cast and crew to process everything and give them plenty of time to properly figure out how they want to proceed with everything. I just don't see how they can't have him pass away off screen and explain him not being there when everyone seems to have unlimited travel home budgets.
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I predict a Glee cover of "Dust in the Wind".
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I took a break from Glee after the 9th episode of the 4th season, and now I don't know how I'm going to sit there and watch the rest when I know that one of the shows original characters and more real character will not be returning. I hope his family and friends stay strong during these hard times. Farewell Cory, You will Truly be Missed.
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I'm partial to a tribute episode, because I already feel like nothing is ever going to be the same on the set of Glee. And if the characters are sad to lose (in any way) Finn, the cast is much more devastated by Cory's death.
Otherwise, Finn has never been my favorite character because like Schue, he's always seen as "the good guy" when a lot of this actions are problematic. But I still love Cory's singing voice, particularly on "Losing my religion" and "Barely breathing".
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Goodbye was definitely one of my favourites, so well done and the acting between Cory and Lea was some of their best. Duets was another one of my favourites watched it so many times just for the songs!
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He was a gifted actor and singer but more-so just seemed like a terrific and generous human being. Those were all good choices (although, Duets as the best episode of Glee ever seems a little random) but I'm partial to his performance in "The First Time" it was one of his more memorable.
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