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Scott D. Pierce
Scott D. Pierce writes about television for the Salt Lake Tribune. Vice president of the Television Critics Associationn, he's covered TV in Utah since 1990.

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This photo released by Fox shows the McKinley family of the past and present joining together to remember and celebrate the life of Finn Hudson in "The Quarterback" episode of "Glee." The high school musical drama said goodbye to Finn, its beloved singer-quarterback, while paying tribute to Cory Monteith, the late actor who had portrayed him, in a much-anticipated episode that aired Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013. (AP Photo/Fox, Adam Rose)
Review: 'Glee's' farewell to Finn was sad -- and uncomfortably bad

Here's what we learned from Thursday's episode of "Glee" - the farewell to Finn and the actor who played him, Cory Monteith:

The show's writers aren't good enough to pull this off. And some of the performances by some of the actors were embarrassingly bad.

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This is not a reflection Monteith, who died at the age of 31 from an overdose of heroin and alcohol. There's no way to look at that and not see tragedy.

But, as is the case with just about every episode of "Glee," this one was wildly uneven. It was unbearably bad one minute, unbearably sad the next.

You could almost see the writers patting each other on the back for refusing to tell viewers how Finn died. For putting defiant words in Kurt's (Chris Colfer) mouth: "Everyone wants to talk about how he died, but who cares?"

But that's a cheat. That's bad writing. That's writers who couldn't figure out what to do and ended up doing nothing.

And that's bad faith with the audience invested in the show and its characters.

All the actors had worked with Monteith. All of them felt pain at his passing.

But while you could see real tears from the likes of Lea Michele (Rachel) Amber Reilly (Mercedes), and Romy Rosemon (Finn's mother, Carol), others struggled.

I'm a big fan of Mike O'Malley (Finn's stepfather, Burt), but he wasn't up to it. Mark Salling (Puck) was clearly out of his league. So were Naya Rivera (Santana), Jenna Ushkowitz (Tina) and even Matthew Morrison (Will Schuester).

I was, quite frankly, embarrassed for Salling and Dot-Marie Jones (Coach Bieste) for having to soldier through an incredibly badly written sub-plot in which Puck stole the tree planted in Finn's honor; learned a lesson; and joined the Army.

To one degree or another, I was embarrassed for all the actors reaching beyond their talents to try to save bad writing and, far too often, delivering crying jags that rang completely false and hollow.

Jane Lynch (Sue Sylvester) can act, but much of what she was given to say was ludicrous. (The show has never been big on reality, but Santana assaults Sue in the principal's office and isn't immediately banned from the building? Really?)

I don't envy either the writers or the actors doing an episode that pretty much had to be done, unless they wanted to send Finn to South America or something.

At least that would have been an answer to what happened to him. As bad as it would have been, it would have been better than the arrogant slap of no answer at all.



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