Glee's 'bold' decision to graduate its stars

The musical comedy's most popular characters will soon don caps and gowns, marching into the real world and off the show. Can Glee survive without them?

"Glee" creators have decided to graduate some of the hit show's most popular characters, most of whom finished off the last season at their junior year prom.
(Image credit: Adam Rose/FOX)

Should Lea Michele start rehearsing the graduation march? Glee creator Ryan Murphy has confirmed that he will write some of the comedy's most popular characters off the show once they graduate from high school. That means the end of next season is the end of the line for Michele's Rachel Berry and Cory Monteith's Finn Hudson, whose junior year was chronicled in the just-finished season. "We didn't want to have a show where they were in high school for eight years," Murphy said. "We thought it would be really cool if we were true to the timeline." Other series, such as Friday Night Lights, have taken this approach to its teenage characters, while shows like Dawson's Creek and 90210 infamously had its characters stay in high school while the actors were pushing 30. Is Glee's decision the right one?

This could be just what Glee needs: "It's a bold move," says Amos Barshad at New York. The Fox series took some hits from critics and viewers this past season, and after two years, already seems to be grasping for believable plot lines. Bringing in fresh blood could "goose up the show, British Skins-style." That hit U.K. show cycles in a new cast every two years. Plus, "these damn kids gotta grow up sometime."

"The Glee kids will graduate next year"

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This will kill Glee: This news spells "impending doom" for the popular show, says Keysha Couzens at End of Show. Murphy's decision to cast off the popular teenagers and keep teachers Sue and Will on the show as "indispensable tent-pole" characters is "unfortunate," especially considering the story "limitations" of those two characters. The search for new young cast members, currently being conducted on a reality show airing on Oxygen, is also dubious. Casting through a reality singing competition is certainly a "method you wouldn't see being used for any other show." And for good reason.

"Glee: A graduation dilemma"

Don't stop believing: There are plenty of TV shows "past and present" that have found ways to keep characters around after graduation, says The Huffington Post. "There's the Saved by the Bell approach," which created a whole new series, The College Years, so fans wouldn't have to say goodbye to Zack Morris or A.C. Slater. There's also the "Gossip Girl model," which enrolled its characters in a local university to keep them on the teen soap after high school. So don't cry over this yet, Gleeks.

"Glee original cast graduating, Ryan Murphy says"

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