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Other TV series have woven a cast member's death into an episode honoring them and their character. But "Glee" has an especially sensitive task.The Fox series will pay tribute Thursday to Cory Monteith, who was found dead in a Canadian hotel room in July of an accidental alcohol and drug overdose that ended his long, self-described fight against addiction at age 31.
Even in the best of ensemble TV shows, there's almost always a clear star – an actor whose name comes first in the credits for playing (in most cases) a relatively stable character at the center of the action. Think Judd Hirsch in "Taxi," Alan Alda in "MASH" and Bea Arthur in "The Golden Girls," to name a scant few. Steve Carell filled the role on "The Office," save for the last two Michael Scott-free seasons.
"Glee," which marches – and dances and sings – to the beat of its own conveniently ever-present in-house drummer, is a pure ensemble show. It’s produced breakout characters, to be sure, but there’s no one headliner at McKinley High.
The tribute to Monteith and the death of Finn come in the third show of the season for “Glee,” which opened with a two-part salute to the Beatles, who famously sang, “life goes on” in “Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da.” As “Glee” prepares to push ahead while saying goodbye to an actor and a character who helped hold the show together, check out a promo for “The Quarterback” above:
Hester is founding director of the award-winning, multi-media NYCity News Service at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is also the author of "Raising a Beatle Baby: How John, Paul, George and Ringo Helped us Come Together as a Family." Follow him on Twitter.