Cory is somewhere between the two, in the sense that it is a lot easier to avoid addiction than cancer, plus he was never really a favorite actor, but it's also more of an impact because I only thought about her for a couple of months out of the year, whereas Glee is my world. Its very nature as a media-driven show has made the fan base intensely more involved in the behind-the-scenes aspect than most shows. We can see how much of a family they are, so it feels like we're part of an extended family. Given that I can't go a day without being informed about the whereabouts/goings-on of any cast member who happens to be doing something in public that day, that makes them part of our day-to-day lives just as much as a person you might work or go to school with but not necessarily have conversations with (did I use every possible subject in that sentence? I was shooting for all of them).
And it's awful not just that he's gone but that there is a whole world that now has to be rebuilt without him. A whole world in front of and behind the camera where it's obvious he should be. I was there for John Ritter - in the sense of "I was consciously aware" - but I didn't watch the show, so it wasn't like this. I watched the show later, in syndication, and the episodes without him hurt a little more, but even though he was a more central character than Cory is to Glee, it wasn't my show. The Ritter-less episodes are a mere shadow of what it feels like this blow comes to your show. In turn, I hope your fandom lives retain the same sympathetic distance from tragedy forever.
For once, I actually did not find out from the internet - I was still hardcore focusing on getting my damn work done and hadn't been in fandom for a couple of days, when Mom called me Sunday morning:
"Did you know that Glee star died?"
Me: “Define star," because the news literally always uses “star" and it is usually someone who was on two episodes and/or in a background role. (even if Glee is the only show where I probably care about all the background people, I realize now)
Me: SHIT WHAT NO WHAT THE FUCK WHAT THE FUCK NO REAL STARS DON’T JUST DIE.
Proceeded to spend 36 hours feeling totally numb and hollow. I left the house a lot and distracted myself by staying busy, because then I'd forget about it, but every time I remembered it would punch me with disbelief all over again. I was jealous of all the people crying, because I could not make myself feel that way, find catharsis. I just felt very small and and sick and miserable until I FINALLY used sad stories to trigger some tears out. The past few days, I've gone back to not thinking about it whenever possible, unless it is to think how much more awful Lea must feel, because even though I have been waiting impatiently for them to break up since Day 1, now the media won't stop telling me that apparently he was way nicer than I was aware of, and their relationship was way stronger than I assumed.
(I always pictured them as more of the "hooking up and shacking up" type than the "future marrieds" type, and maybe the latter never would have been accurate, but now that fairytale seed is firmly implanted in everyone's mind. Which I kind of like, that they'll be immortalized as as the tragic never-got-to-be instead of a breakup or divorce footnote on a Wikipedia page. That's the only positive I'm taking out of this, the myth of the tragic hero.)
Now, what it means for Glee, because: live in the fringe society of the machine, worry about the machine. The showrunners had to start thinking about this stuff regardless of whether it was "too soon." So I did, too.
[Thoughts on how Glee might or could handle this, cut in case you still think it is tacky.]
My first thought is that they won't kill him off. I know Glee's gotten real dark before, but this just seems...too dark? He's not "8 Simple Rules For Dating My Teenage Daughter" levels of centric; he wasn't in every episode this year, and he'd already been written out of the season. To me, there is no reason not to send him to another college on a random magical scholarship (they're good at those), out of Lima to explain why he's not there, because if Quinn can be essentially MIA, Finn isn't that much harder. He's already broken up with Rachel and, despite recently stirred-up shit, they are not on a clear trajectory to reunite and she has firmly oriented her current life in a not-waiting-around-for-boys direction.
Finn needs to get his own headspace together if he's going to be an effective teacher. It might mean stepping away from the comfort and safety of everything he knows - for real this time, when he's not just running blindly away. While he's out, Rachel is free to continue her relationship with Broadway, or continue meeting other people. Finchel can still be endgame, either with a mention of them getting married if the series finale shows us the future, or simply by leaving Rachel single and successful at the end so that we can choose our own ending, and the shippers will know in their hearts they found their way back to each other one day. It wouldn't be anywhere near as satisfying as a real reunion would have been, but I think it would be a more fitting tribute if Finn got to live the long and happy life Cory didn't.
I just don't like the idea that they'll kill him off. I would accept it, because me + tears & consolation hugging in my fiction = all the grabbiest of hands, but the fact that I still don't want that canon should tell you something. (and I'm the person who would have dealt with it if Burt had died) Everyone knows what really happened, and any moron who doesn't and gets upset thinking he's been fired can find the answer in two seconds online. I don't think they would ever put Lea through that unless she agreed, but even if they kept her grief offscreen, and/or did a small time jump (which: NO THANK YOU, unless Kurt & Blaine have made up in the meantime), it would just feel awful to have that security ripped away. Proponents of that idea think that a) Cory deserves proper tribute paid to him and b) we need closure on the fact that we're never going to see him again, but I just...don't.
I would really like it if, in delaying the season, they could somehow do like a 1-hour retrospective before the season airs. That would be my favorite. A few months for the acute grief to fade to a duller ache, and then happy memories. FOX does random specials all the time. This would fit, if the cast were up for it.
That said, the more I think about it, the more worried I am that The Problem of Finchel is what's going to to tip them toward a lethal option, because, per luckyjak on Tumblr, "they were endgame and now they just can't be." Even I know how hollow those resolutions above sound. It seems more possible by the day that they will just want to move on from his loss.
That's actually kind of the worst - the realization that "You were my first love, and I want more than anything for you to be my last" will never have the resolution subtly implied by those words. That after all the upheaval, the turmoil those fans have put up with, the knowledge if they could just hang on they'd have that dazzling reunion kiss one day -- shattered in an instant. That dream is cut down with the worst kind of cancellation axe. We have seen all the Finchel scenes there are to see, and there can never be any more, no matter how hard you beg.
(a small and bitter part of me wants to be like "THIS IS WHY YOU DON'T JERK YOUR COUPLES AROUND, TELEVISION, THIS IS WHY. You can't KNOW you can fix it later." Everyone in an endgame soulmate couple should have one hurdle and then that's it, sign off on their happy ending and show them in love all the time because hell, even when it isn't taken away, there are infinite number of ways to show them being in love and no television show has ever had time to get to all of them. I say this on behalf of the shippers, as I am feeling extremely guilty about how not-saddened I am by the theoretical idea of Rachel never marrying Finn - that would be my one positive to take away from this option).
(an even more bitter part of me is like "THIS IS WHY YOU DON'T END ON STUPID-ASS CLIFFHANGERS AND CREATE WEIRD TIMELINES," because this would have been a hard problem to handle anyway, but now they have to decide what to do when no time at all is supposed to have passed and they're supposed to be resolving cliffhangers. Hint, if you are set in present times and air September-May, a/k/a "two-thirds of the year that feels more like three-quarters of it when you fudge a couple of weeks," always play your show in real time. ALWAYS.)
I am also worried about how far they'll look, if they realize it's not just about how it affects Rachel, but about how it affects Kurt, and Kurt's fears about death being accidentally misguided, and how this influences his relationship with Rachel. To say nothing of how Finn has, from the very pilot, been held up as the hero, the reason the club stayed together, the fearless leader, the (somewhat inept but eager) leader of a whole new generation. Ugh fine, there are many ways to go that would develop storylines out the wazoo if they focused on how much his loss would impact EVERYONE but I don't like them, I want the "Finn is off being a responsible college student" idea.
In conclusion, I just...can't believe this is happening at the time when we're supposed to be thinking about new seasons and spoilers and how much to hate Ryan Murphy on a day-by-day basis.
But before I wrote all that, it was Monday night, and I was exhausted and had finally reached a plateau point in work where I was ready to just lie down and watch TV. A lot of TV.[mostly irrelevant backstory that I nevertheless wanted to write down:]I was going to go with the old standby SVU, but then I got to my usual streaming site and there weren't any for that episode. Oh, all right, I'll just skip to the next one...none there either. The hell? What about the last episode I watched?? (also gone) Well, maybe someone just got ultra zealous on that show. Fine, I'll watch Wipeout, then. I have been turning to that one a lot lately; the finest in mind-numbing entertainment!
And then the horror became clear: my site is no more. It has turned into a soulless corporate drone that is only interested in telling you where you can buy episodes, unless they are currently on Hulu. The internet confirms this.
NOOOOOOOOOOOO! I HAVE SO MANY SHOWS ON WHICH I AM BEHIND. Just another mark of the devil's times. I proceed to spend half a panicked hour running around trying to find a replacement. Succeeded, thank goodness.
But in the meantime, now I have to decide what show I want to watch. I hate all my options. SVU - not really one of my goals. Castle - too amazingly relationshippy; can't focus when I'm this tired. The Office - nope, last "regular" episode I haven't seen and possibly emotional; not ready. Grey's Anatomy/Private Practice - too much going on in each episode/have to watch as a package deal because random crossovers. Community - no, C. and I are working on season 1 together; season 4 will throw me off. Smash - too wonderful; limited episodes; not ready to use them up. CSI: NY - crossover pt. 2 so I gotta watch the CSI episode first, and if I'm doing that I should really go watch all the CSI episodes so I can write about them first, but I'm not ready to rewatch all those great ones yet since they're the last ones I'll ever watch. ALL THESE CHOICES ARE THE WORST!!
Finally I just went, "Whatever," and picked one that was least important to me.
Long story short, I decided to marathon Private Practice. Because what better response to having sick feelings about someone's death than to go throw yourself into a show that is currently ALL ABOUT INTENSE GRIEF?? And goes on in mourning for several episodes? Awesome life choices, self.
(the good news is, though, by about the third episode I was sad enough for all the people in those stories that I started crying, and eventually I got to full blown sobbing until I fell asleep, so now it's all out)
This is not my first time mini-marathoning the show, but it feels like it. It's the strangest feeling. Each individual episodes seems 4x longer when I'm watching with no commercials and without being able to see the time counter, and yet it feels like not very much is happening - which is good, because that was what I was most worried about, the thousand storylines an episode and yet when you watch a string of them in a row, you realize it's just the same few storylines stretched out. They're definitely easier to follow. All in all, here's what I've been feeling in a general sense:
-Violet's mourning, while I mostly used it as a vehicle for my own sad feelings, has been surprisingly satisfying. I've almost forgotten what it was like to have Pete on the show
-I do not love James, who has the sort of technically-handsome face that looks like it was sculpted in a laboratory and belongs on an android, not a real person, which makes him look less attractive. Also the smirking doesn't help, although his willingness to play the long game while Amelia snubs and side-eyes him and takes her sweet time rejecting offers has gradually made him tolerable. He doesn't strike me as a super-good-guy or anything, more like he's just really big on getting the last word, but whatever. It amuses me that they are literally acting like animals engaged in mating rituals, where the male is locked on and the female is not quite in heat so she spurns all advances, but she's obviously close and so he keeps trying.
-I just get angry every time Charlotte is on screen, between the injustice of Cristina not doing this and how much neither Charlotte nor Cooper deserve a picture-perfect family after being kinky sex weirdos. Sometimes it helps if I just focus extra-hard on Mason and try to see everything from his innocent point of view.
-I love the ongoing abducted-child storyline. I couldn't believe they didn't resolve it right away, but when I realized they were settling in...now I am as fascinated by this as any real missing-child story. One of the good things about this show's unpopularity is that while I know basically how the series finale turns out for Addison, I haven't heard a peep about anything else. At this point I am desperate to know what happened to her while trying to remind myself that the point of this story may very well be about how to deal with a lack of closure.
If she just ran away and was still alive, surely she would have been found by now? But did she run away and get nabbed later, or did someone take her? I have no idea even whether I think she's dead or alive, but I'm looking forward to seeing what happens without spoilers. Also I hope that if she isn't found, this becomes a real example of tragedy bringing spouses closer instead of breaking them up, permanently instead of the temporary situation they're in now.
-JAKE FOR ALL THE AWARDS. JAKE/ADDISON FOR ALL THE AWARDS. Still can't stand Henry, even as a symbol, but oh my god their relationship just makes me happy and tingly all over.
Individual episode thoughts:
6x02, Mourning Sickness: Worse 100th episode ever. Who thought it would be a really great idea to throw a "life celebration" "party" where people mostly sit around staring grimly to keep from crying, and then cut away only to hear in detail about how a pedophile fantasizes? Then maybe we'll have some people getting high in the middle. NO THANK YOU, SIR.
6x03, Good Grief: Vivian from Without a Trace is part of the group; that's most of what I care about. Don't give two figs about Addison's reaction to Mark (honestly, that just prompted me to sing another five rounds of "No One Mourns the Sleazy"), but I liked her telling Jake.
6x04, You Don't Know What You've Got Till It's Gone: Fave so far; loved the focus on the little girl long before shock-twist of her disappearance. I also liked the husband & wife with identical symptoms (which sitcom was she on? it's driving me nuts, she's so familiar), and Jake and Addison clashing over Our Lady Of Perpetual Miscarriage*. Also, Stephanie's reactions to the thousand pounds of Sam's Baggage were priceless. Let's just put that one in the "why you should fall in love with someone, or at least get to know them pretty well, before you sleep with them" column. No matter how insanely hot and smart they are.
*It worries me that I did not see anything wrong with her increasing demands in later episodes beyond "paranoia" until literally the moment she kissed him. It worries me more that I really want to defend her reasonable doubt because that is exactly how a love story would start in fiction. I'm writing all this here because I can't remember the actual episode where it goes down (#6?), but it was really awesome when Addision was having none of her bald-faced lying shit and told her to GTFO.
6x05, The Next Episode (NO THAT IS LITERALLY ITS NAME, as opposed to "Sam's Reality Show Pilot"): Would have been better if it weren't for a) the horrific secondhand embarrassment, and b) the love triangle of adultery in which everyone is awful. (like, I have so many feelings. 1) hey guys, I think it stopped being scandalous to get divorced about 25 years ago. (2) I am always advocating for women who are willing to put up with shit so they don't have to be alone, so I can't really judge the wife... (3) But once a dude has two children with another woman and they are still in love, I think it might be time to sacrifice that marriage unless you want to make it official polygamy instead).
6x06, Apron Strings: I dislike everything about Henry's biological mom (even though, paradoxically, I also want her to take him and run), but I loved the story of Addison's mentor. I don't care how manipulative that was, I bawled like a baby at episode's end. Also, I cannot picture a courtroom anywhere in the world that would ever take a lawsuit for "wrongful birth" seriously*, and if there is, I don't want to live on this planet.
*POSSIBLY if the baby was born in intense pain and/or suffered every minute of its short life before dying. That is the only scenario that makes sense; everything else just screams "I'M SELFISH AND HATE DISABLED PEOPLE."
6x07: The World According to Jake: THIS IS THE BEST OF ALL THE EPISODES. Not just because it's all Jake all the time, but because oh man, I am so fond of this universe's willingness to bust out spirits, and not the alcoholic kind. I mean, you can argue that he's consciously acknowledging he's just talking to himself, but NOPE. I'M GONNA GO WITH ACTUAL GHOST, because that's the style of soulmate-fic I love and it is so great getting it in canon somewhere. I watched this the next day, but it made me cry like ten times harder than the previous episode.
I mean, when I wasn't gritting my teeth through Angie's gross storyline because yas, that is gross. And this is me, defender of the student/teacher relationship, saying this. They just went out of their way to make this The Grossest and to make me intensely dislike Angie, didn't they?
But overall, yeah, super-duper enjoyed this one. Addison hiding in the bathroom was a perfect example of why I love both her and their dynamic.