Ryan Murphy says Glee should not have continued after Cory Monteith’s death: ‘It was way too raw and way too soon’

Ryan Murphy says Glee should not have continued after Cory Monteith’s death: ‘It was way too raw and way too soon’

Ryan Murphy has admitted that Glee should have ended following the death of Cory Monteith.

The Canadian actor, who played the lead role of Finn Hudson on the musical comedy series, died in 2013 aged 31. An autopsy ruled that Monteith’s death had been caused by a mixture of heroin and alcohol and appeared to be accidental.

At the time, Glee was in its fifth season, with the third episode titled “The Quarterback” serving as a tribute to Monteith and his character Finn, who also died in the show.

After a three-month hiatus, Glee returned and completed season five, with a sixth and final season wrapping up in 2015.

Appearing on Monday (7 November) on Glee recap podcast And That’s What You Really Missed, which is hosted by regular cast members Kevin McHale and Jenna Ushkowitz, showrunner Murphy said that on reflection, the series should not have continued beyond Monteith’s death.

“I’ve thought a lot about that recently and I would not have done that show now,” Murphy said. “I just would not have done it. I felt like it was way too raw and way too soon.

“It’s an episode I was able to watch once and never looked at it again. I probably think that it was not right.”

He continued: “If I could do it all over again, knowing now what I do know, I probably would’ve said, ‘We’re going to take a year off and we’re going to check in and see’... If I had to do it again, we would’ve stopped for a long time and probably not come back. I don’t think we would come back.

“Now, if this had happened, I would be like, ‘That’s the end,’ because you can’t really recover from something like that. It wasn’t a normal death where someone is sick, and you can see them. It happened so quickly with no warning.”

The cast of ‘Glee’ in 2011 (Getty Images)
The cast of ‘Glee’ in 2011 (Getty Images)

Murphy said that there had been a grief counsellor on set, but that none of the cast had used them.

McHale and Ushkowitz said that cast members were given the choice as to whether they wanted to appear in the tribute episode or not, but both had felt pressured not to say no.

“We were contracted and we were going to make it whether we wanted to or not,” Ushkowitz said, while McHale added: “I remember Ryan or someone saying, ‘You don’t have to do this,’ but it felt like, ‘I feel like everyone’s going to do it, I don’t want to be the person who’s not a part of this.”

“It just felt like an impossible corner we were all put in,” Ushkowitz explained. “There’s no right or wrong… It was all too soon, too raw.”

McHale added: “We’re in a scene talking about a character, obviously we’re talking about our real friend. Then there’s a camera on you. When those things happen, you don’t know when you’re going to lose it and not lose it and break down.”

Murphy also explained that he had not originally known about Monteith’s problems with drug addiction and had been the one to lead his intervention in the months before his death, despite having “no training in that”.

If you or someone you know is suffering from drug addiction, you can seek confidential help and support 24-7 from Frank, by calling 0300 123 6600, texting 82111, sending an email or visiting their website here.

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If you or someone you know is suffering from alcohol addiction, you can confidentially call the national alcohol helpline Drinkline on 0300 123 1110 or visit the NHS website here for information about the programmes available to you.