Glee star Cory Monteith.
Glee star Cory Monteith.

One bad decision doesn’t have to destroy your entire life

OPINION: These days there is a lot of pressure on television shows to be edgy or quirky.

This often involves swearing, promiscuity and shock tactics that are meant to keep audiences on the edge of their seats.

Or producers try to combine all these things in some outlandish reality television show that often doesn't come close to approaching anything that could be deemed real.

Perhaps that is why Glee is such a relief - it's not just about singing and dancing.

It's about acceptance, tolerance, friendship - all those things that have seemingly become unmarketable in this day and age.

Yes it's cheesy, it's sometimes silly.

It's also one of the most diverse and challenging television shows on air right now.

Each character has had their boundaries pushed, whether in terms of sexuality, education, disability or family breakdown to more typical explorations of teenage sex and pregnancy.

I love Glee. I'm an unabashed Gleek.

It's for that reason, and so many more, the news of Glee star Cory Monteith's death hurt so much last week.

Of course I don't know him as Cory.

I knew him as Finn Hudson, an all-American quarterback with a bright future.

In the first episode of the show, Finn's abilities were discovered by teacher Will Schuester as he sang in the shower after football training.

The reality of Cory is obviously a little bit different, but no less inspiring.

Cory became involved in drugs at 13, dropped out of school at 16 and first checked into rehab at 19.

He admits he was lost and had no idea what he was going to do for a number of years but acting changed that, giving him a passion and something to strive for.

He had never sung and couldn't dance when he auditioned for the part of Finn.

Despite this, the producers saw something in him.

His first few songs were heavily auto-tuned but this wasn't the case in later seasons of Glee.

He worked on his craft and became good at his job.

His tragic death, caused by an overdose of heroin and alcohol, has now seemingly made meaningless the progress and achievements he made during his short life.

There is so much negativity directed at those whose lives are tragically affected by drugs that I think we forget that if we can somehow help them overcome their demons, they too can achieve great things.

Not to draw too strong a parallel, but that is where Glee really shines - in showing that one bad decision doesn't have to destroy your entire life.

More young people need to hear that message - they need to have that message of hope so that they know even if they make a mistake, they can still turn things around, they can still have a good life.

Cory was a shining example of that message.

Just a few months ago, he was in rehab again because he recognised his addictions were spiralling out of control.

In the end, he wasn't able to beat them.

But I don't think that should overshadow how far he had come, how hard he tried to make his life into something special.

I'll be watching the next season of Glee with a heavy heart.



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