‘Glee’ exists beyond ‘2009’

Kurt Hummel almost didn’t exist. He wasn’t in “Glee’s” original scripts.

After actor Chris Colfer auditioned for the role of Artie, “Glee” creator Ryan Murphy was inspired to create Hummel.

I was reminded of this when I watched “2009,” the first half of “Glee’s” two-part finale. The story airs like an alternate pilot. This time, Hummel (rather than Lea Michele’s Rachel Berry) is the helm of Murphy’s band of high school misfits.

“I feel like I could die tomorrow and I don’t think anyone would really care. I’m not sure if anyone would really notice,” Hummel says as he picks up an informational pamphlet from the guidance counselor’s office (this one’s called “Ending it All: Pros and Cons”).

It would be a shame if Kurt Hummel didn’t existed because his story’s consistently been one of the most powerful and easily identifiable ones of “Glee.”

More than one out of 20 Americans older than 12 are depressed. And according to the World Health Organization, between 10 to 20 million people attempt suicide every year. It’s also the leading cause of death for people between ages 15 and 34.

Dr. Seth Stephens-Davidowitz estimates that about 5 percent of Americans are gay and that many are still in the closet. “Glee” brought some of these social issues to the primetime screens of American households every week, and might have even inspired some teenagers to come out to their parents — or at least realize that they’re not alone.

“2009” reminds us of why we fell in love with “Glee” when it first aired six years ago. It’s stars are invisible and angry and jealous and vulnerable teenagers filled with dreams and ambitions. While we may not have been a Kurt Hummel, we may have been a Mercedes Jones (Amber Riley), a Tina Cohen-Chang (Jenna Ushkowitz), an Artie Abrams (Kevin McHale), a Quinn Fabray (Dianna Agron), a Finn Hudson (Cory Monteith), or an entirely different type of Gleek.

Week after week, they’ve inspired us to keep dreaming — from the walls of McKinley High School to the streets of Broadway.

Sure after six seasons, the plot’s been “watered-down melodramatic slush” recently, but at times, it dealt with real-life issues (from coming out of the closet and peer pressure to teen pregnancies, eating disorders and school shootings). Meanwhile, it’s reminded us that even if we’re different, we’re not alone.

“Glee” was created in 2009 by Ian Brennan, Brad Falchuk and Ryan Murphy; and produced by Ryan Murphy Television. “2009” aired on March 20, 2015. 

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