When Cory Monteith died suddenly in July in Calgary, his fans and co-stars were devastated — and the suspicion that the star, recently in recovery, had overdosed was a second kick in the teeth to all who loved him.
In August, Cory Monteith was tearfully memorialized by co-star and girlfriend Lea Michele during a Nick awards show, and both the actress and the audience were teary at her moving speech.
Today we learned that Monteith would be honored alongside James Gandolfini at the Emmy Awards, which seemed a lovely tribute for a young man who was, in the end, overcome by his demons.
Addiction is brutal, and few humans live very long without a brush with the beastly presence in their lives or the life of someone they love — and Cory Monteith’s friends, family, and fans are no different.
But as news of Cory’s posthumous nod was reported, many criticized the TV awards show for honoring the late star, saying that Monteith “didn’t deserve” the recognition, apparently writing their opinions from Perfecttown in Better Than You, Dakota, where no one ever messes up and makes a bad choice.
Variety‘s digital editor-in-chief Andrew Wallenstein doesn’t think Cory Monteith deserves it, and said so in a po-faced editorial that props a point up on the integrity of the Emmys — a ceremony that recognizes television achievements.
He explains that simply recognizing Monteith’s work and early death somehow cheapens an Emmy, and sniffs:
“Does a distinctive role on a TV show does automatically merit the kind of memorial Monteith is getting here? You could argue that Gandolfini is in essentially the same category, but that only brings the difference between Monteith and someone of Gandolfini’s caliber into sharper relief. What Gandolfini did on The Sopranos inarguably transformed the medium of television; can we really say the same about Monteith on Glee?
“By putting Monteith in this elite group, the Academy is risking having its honorable intentions misconstrued as using the actor’s memory to cater to the younger audiences that are in decreasingly short supply for award shows these days.”
The editor also complains that shouting out Monteith somehow takes away from others, citing Larry Hagman as an example and saying:
“Monteith could have gone on to a tremendous career, but Larry Hagman, for instance, already had a tremendous career, and putting Monteith on a pedestal casts a shadow over the memory of this iconic Dallas star.”
While Cory Monteith’s manner of death is only mentioned somewhat in passing but still in a slightly stigmatizing way, the piece sort of casts a bit of doubt on the value of the contribution of all young stars. Sure, Cory Monteith died young, and Glee is hardly The Sopranos — but the idea that giving to someone who had less life in which to contribute and shine because someone who was given that gift was able to seems so stingy at best.
Do you think Cory Monteith deserves to be honored at the Emmys?