GLEE As Cinema Verite

I first started watching GLEE to have something in common with my kids. I
had an ongoing love/hate relationship with the show. I loved the way it
introduced transgender themes, I hated how it butchered ROCKY HORROR as an
obvious Halloween ratings ploy.

Tonight I cried violently for an hour straight as this popular TV program
said goodbye to one of its main characters and, sadly, the actor who
played him. I intended not to watch the episode as I am vehement in my
stance against artists who commit suicide or die of substance-related
circumstances. (That actor's name will not be mentioned in this article)

Morbid fascination was victorious as I watched a handful of likeable and
talented performers grieve in word and song. While a bit mawkish at times,
it was impossible not to be moved as what I was witnessing, while scripted
indeed, was raw, human emotion. And it was quite powerful.
These kids and their older co-stars have been through a devastating loss
and instead of retreating into solitude, they made a public statement of
agony to satisfy the curiosity of their fans, pay tribute to a fallen
comrade, and maybe open a few eyes to the futility of drugs, suicide and,
ultimately, all death itself.

If this had been merely an episode about the demise of a character it
would have been manipulative but moving at best. Because we the audience
know that behind these characters are real people shedding real tears,
this was revolutionary television destined to be remembered long after the
series itself fades away.

Death is cruel and untimely. Death has no right to intrude on life and the
plans it contains. Drugs should be removed from existence altogether.
Young people should not have their hopes shattered. And television should
never be required to act as a memorial service.

Yet this is the life we’re given and these are the crosses we bear.  I
applaud everyone who participated in this tribute and in some weird way
I’m not glad I suffered these many seasons of GLEE because tonight I feel
like I was privy to some extremely private emotions and expressions that
will haunt me forever more.  And I am honored.

I witnessed a tribe decimated by the unexpected departure of a key member
band together in solidarity and song.  I watched as redemption,
repentance, and forgiveness crept in to sooth the unsoothable.  And in all
that time I wept for their loss. Their loss, my loss and your loss as
well. Because as long as we are alive we lose. And we keep losing until we
are that loss to others.

Say something nice. Remember a special date-a birthday or anniversary.
Bring flowers. Smile.  Be known and remembered for more than your
problems, politics and opinions.  One day you will leave a huge gaping
hole in the lives of your friends and family. Fill that hole now with
Goodness, Mercy, Hope, Faith and Love.

God bless us, everyone.

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