"Glee" star Cory Monteith will be honored at Emmys during a special segment that pays tribute to four other late TV legends: Gary David Goldberg, Jonathan Winters, James Gandolfini, and Jean Stapleton. On the surface this seems like a nice gesture, but according to a Sept. 21 report by the Los Angeles Times, the tribute has caused some controversy.
Many older TV fans will be shocked to learn that "The Odd Couple" star Jack Klugman and beloved "Dallas" actor Larry Hagman have been excluded from this special tribute. Instead they will be included among the lesser stars of the yearly In Memoriam reel. Klugman's son Adam is especially upset about his father's omission from the shortlist of stars being honored. "They're celebrating this self-inflicted tragedy instead of celebrating the life of my father, who won three Emmys.... Cory Monteith never won an Emmy," he pointed out.
Klugman went on to say, "Let's call this what it is. They're doing this because they think they're gonna get a younger generation of viewers to watch." Sadly, he's probably right, and the ploy will probably work. Monteith's tribute has been getting a lot of press, so "Glee" fans are going to tune in to see what Jane Lynch has to say about her late costar.
You also have to wonder what kind of message this special tribute is sending to young viewers. Monteith is getting honored after dying of an overdose, so it could be argued that the tribute is actually glamorizing drug use. With so many young people today seeing suicide as an answer to their problems, it's probably not a good idea to continue to glorify those who die young.
And what message does this send older generations? Jack Klugman and Larry Hagman worked hard during their very long careers on TV, and now they're being disrespected by the industry. It's disgusting that the producers of the Emmy Awards decided that certain lives that were lost during the last year were more important than others, and it would have been wiser just to treat everyone equally by sticking to the usual In Memoriam segment.
So are you looking forward to the special tributes, or are you upset that some stars were singled out?
The Emmy Awards air tonight at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.