Finn's farewell fast-tracked to Aus
Watch a short teaser for Friday's tribute episode to Glee character Finn, after actor Cory Monteith passed away in July this year.PT0M19S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2va0d 620 349 October 10, 2013
With admissions of crying and images of used tissues, American fans - and new watchers - of Glee have come together on social media as the tribute episode to cast member Cory Monteith went to air.
The initial response from viewers would suggest critics have been too hasty to condemn the show's swiftly produced memorial.
Tear-filled farewell ... Tapping in to the emotion that Cory Monteith brought to his character of Finn on Glee.
The episode, entitled The Quarterback, aired in America from midday Australian Eastern Standard Time and instantly flooded social media networks.
The hashtags #TheQuarterback, #FarewellFinn, #goodbyefinn, #Glee and #RIPCoryMonteith as well as the phrases "Santana", "Go Santana", "Sue", "Rachel", "Omg Rachel", "Sue Sylvester" and "This Glee" all staked out spots in the top 10 trending topics on Twitter for the United States over the course of the hour. They also populated the chart for worldwide trends, as the outpouring of emotion got channeled through 140 character bursts of shared experience.
At one point the episode contributed six of the nine non-promoted trending topics for North America. Similar tags were popular on Instagram.
The Quarterback ... Monteith's girlfriend Michele Lea, as Rachel Berry, gets comforted by teacher Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison).
While media commentators have been critical of the episode, noting the refusal to identify the cause of death for either Monteith or his character Finn, the overwhelming theme of the comments from viewers have been tearful ones.
Over the course of the hour, in a rare moment of universal positivity, there was nary a comment to be found that was critical of the episode or Monteith.
Tweet after tweet was sent out by viewers brought to tears while watching the episode, many claiming to have been watching the show for the first time or to be disenfranchised fans returning to the show for the opportunity to say farewell.
Many commented on the raw emotion that poured off the screen, with nearly every cast member from Glee past and present appearing, and crying, on screen.
It is an incredibly intense and powerful episode that focuses on the loss of the character and actor, and while far from flawless, it appears to have tapped into the emotion of viewers, rather than attempting to address the issues surrounding Monteith's death.
In its final moments, the episode quotes Finn as saying, "The show must go... all over the place... or something", and while "all over the place" might seem to aptly summarise the critics' response, it is also a good summary of the width and breadth of the appreciative audience for a unique episode of Glee.
While the many tweets about the show came from adoring fans, members of the cast also took to social media to connect with their audience.
Harry Shum Jr who plays Mike Chang shared an image of Monteith on Instagram with the simple message "Forever in our hearts. #finnhudson":
Kevin McHale who plays wheelchair-bound Artie Abrams tweeted:
Tonights Glee was made out of a lot of love & a lot of tears by our incredible crew, cast & creators for our friend Cory. We miss you Cory— Kevin McHale (@druidDUDE) October 11, 2013
And Lea Michele took the opportunity to promote a charity in a tweet retweeted by castmates Naya Rivera, Darren Criss and Chord Overstreet.
♦The episode The Quarterback screens on Network Ten's Eleven channel at 7.30pm Friday.