Before you take to Tumblr in anger, let us clarify why we’re bringing up this issue. On most major scripted television shows, characters struggle with the loss of their friends. These episodes are often the most moving and compelling moments on television, because they show us a critical facet of (these fictional) people’s characters: how they deal with grief.
When Sue (Jane Lynch)’s sister died, she had a major change of character. Although the Glee kids rallied to help her by singing at Jean’s funeral, none of them were close to the deceased — or had ever met her. So, the grief they felt was sympathetic, but not empathetic. The only people who have died that are close to the characters are storied others.
On Grey’s Anatomy several central characters have died. George O’Malley died in a dramatic fashion in Season 5. Recently Mark Sloan — one of the characters who has been a major player (in more ways than one) since the first episode — passed away. Although he didn’t appear on the show until late in the second season, his existence was a major reason the two main characters hook up (Derek andMeredith), and that the show exists at all. Even Mer’s sister dies. There’s a lot of dying at Seattle Grace, is our point.
It’s arguable that Grey’s is for an older audience and that the impact of death on viewers may be different. But on other super popular teen shows, death has had a major role. In fact, the premise of Pretty Little Liars is that a character named Alison has died and the rest are trying to figure out who killed her. Other prominent characters like Ian and Garrett also bit the dust recently. The impact of these events on their friends may be fictionalized accounts, but they deal with real feelings.
Granted, those other shows are more comfortably categorized as “Dramas” and Glee falls more on the comedic side of things. However, considering the fact that showrunners have gone the extra mile to try and make things realistic, it seems strange that they would avoid death so obviously. They were happy to show Karofsky’s suicide attempt and Quinn’s paralyzing car accident.
So, what gives? Why hasn’t anyone died yet? While we hate the idea of any of our favorite characters leaving us and the effect their death would have on the living, it feels incomplete that death has never really affected the kids of McKinley.
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