There’s probably no “right” way to interrupt a comedy panel at the Television Critics Association press tour to discuss a recent tragedy, but in the case of NBC’s “Welcome to the Family,” it was probably inevitable.
The “Welcome to the Family” cast and creator met with reporters on Saturday (July 27) morning and it took at least a few questions before star Mike O’Malley was asked about the death of Cory Monteith. While several of my colleagues expressed disgust about the question on Twitter, it wasn’t like Monteith was being brought up with an actor who had minimal ties with “Glee” or minimal ties with the late star. No, O’Malley was an Emmy nominee for Glee and his character was step-father to Finn Hudson, sharing several powerful scenes with Monteith.
“I think that I had what was probably the toughest scene I’ve ever acted in my career as an actor opposite him when I had to throw his character Finn out of the house because of a slur that he used,” O’Malley said, recalling a key Season 2 episode.
O’Malley recalled, “It was remarkable to me when we were shooting that scene over and over the depth of emotion he was able to portray — The sorrow, the shame.”
Ever since I met him, he was the fictional quarterback on that show and he was the very real quarterback on that set,” O’Malley said. “He was an incredibly warm guy, a guy who was welcoming to everyone who came on that show from the beginning through the new folks who came on this past year. He was a very, very hard-working actor and I just loved working with him. He was a great guy and I miss him very much.”
Monteith died on July 13 at 31. FOX announced two weeks ago that the “Glee” Season 5 premiere would be postponed until September 26 and that the series is planning on doing a tribute to Monteith for the season’s third episode.
While O’Malley is heavily involved with “Welcome to the Family,” he told reporters on Saturday that he would like to be there for the tribute.
“I hope to,” O’Malley said. “I’m here doing ‘Welcome to the Family,’ and we shoot one episode five days a week. But Burt is a very important role to me, it’s been a great part and I’ve said to all those guys that I’ll work early in the morning, late at night, Saturday, Sunday, whatever I need to do to participate and continue to be on that show honoring Cory and his passing and that character. He is my step-son on that show. I certainly plan on being there.”
O’Malley noted that accommodations should be easy because “Welcome to the Family” is likely to be on production hiatus when “Glee” is in production on the tribute episode.
“Welcome to the Family” airs Thursday nights at 8:30 on NBC this fall.