When I started kindergarten, I had just about the coolest backpack on earth. It was pink and purple and it said “Dreams Do Come True.” It even had a matching coin purse with the same saying. Perfect message for a five year old, right? Dream big and believe that it’ll happen.
So, I think we can all agree that the Glee series finale, entitled “Dreams Come True,” was named for me. And, frankly, made for me. This finale was exactly what I needed. There’s never a good way to bring certain things to an end, but this episode left me with no regrets. Many television shows do their best to use their ending to wrap up the story, but Glee didn’t do that. Glee realized that it was more than a show, that it was a part of peoples’ lives. So it ended its plot early, and it used the last episode to say goodbye. And, like Glee always does, it taught us some lessons along the way.
Mercedes’ Song: How To Say Goodbye
“I want to walk out of here like I’m seeing everybody in Glee Club tomorrow and like it’s not really goodbye.”
Mercedes Jones, the only person in the world who cares about being classy while saying goodbye. She invites her friends to the auditorium but cautions them not to come close to her for fear of crying. She has something to say, and then she’s going to leave with class. She sings one of the most classy, glorious, and- in a way- content songs ever: Diana Ross’s “Someday We’ll Be Together.” Once she sings her song, she’s silent. She doesn’t say a thing because she left it all on the stage, and there is no perfect way to say goodbye. She simply looks at her friends, blows them a kiss, and walks away. The moment is beautiful and it sends the message loud and clear that there’s no perfect thing to say at the end; sometimes at the end all we can do is be human. Share a look, and understand that all of your feelings can’t be put into words, but that that’s okay. And then you move on gracefully, hoping that someday you’ll again be together.
Rachel’s Song: How To Look Back
“I’m not afraid of moving on or letting go. It’s just so hard to say goodbye to what I know…This time no one’s gonna say goodbye. I keep you in this heart of mine. This time that we had I will hold forever…No matter who or what I am I’ll carry where we all began.”
This song is special, but even moreso once you know the story behind it. Rachel, the star of the show, needed to leave with a bang, and Lea Michele and Ryan Murphy could not come up with a song to fit the moment. Darren Criss stepped in to write this song specifically for Lea Michele’s voice, encapsulating perfectly and exactly the feelings of the actors, their characters, and the fans. This song says frankly what we all think of but don’t say enough: we know that we have to let go, but it’s just hard. It’s hard to leave what’s comfortable, and that’s okay. Sometimes it seems like there’s this glorified narrative of leaving everything you know and never looking back, but this song acknowledges the fact that the things that are part of us are part of us for a reason, and they deserve to be remembered. And not only that, but the song pays homage to the fact that this show was a beginning for television, society, these actors, everybody, and that, wherever they go from here, they won’t forget where they came from. Darren couldn’t have put the words more perfectly, and Lea clearly felt it.
Rachel’s Speech: What It Means To Be Special
“I want to dedicate this award to the person who is responsible for getting me on this stage tonight, and that is Mr. Will Schuester. Mr. Schue always taught to my strengths and not my weaknesses, and he cheered the loudest when I soared and he picked me up when I was in a million pieces. He taught me the one great thing that all teachers do…being a part of something special does not make you special. Something is special because you are a part of it….Dreams really do come true.”
Rachel’s often-repeated (by me) line from the series pilot, “Being part of something special makes you special, right?” is a sincere cry for a feeling of belonging and for acknowledgement for being special. Rachel is a young woman who knows that she has something incredible to give, but that’s not enough. She needs what we all need- support and love. But by the time she gives her Tony speech, Rachel has realized that she has something to contribute to a group, too. And not only that, but this speech also sheds light on the things that help us to be successful and to help others most: acknowledging strengths, not weaknesses, and believing in the truth and worthiness of our dreams.
Sue’s Speech: The Importance Of Dreaming
“What I finally realize… it takes a lot of bravery to look around you and see the world not as it is but as it should be. A world where the quarterback becomes best friends with the gay kid. And the girl with the big nose ends up on broadway. Glee is about imagining a world like that, and finding the courage to open up your heart and sing about it. That’s what Glee Club is. And for the longest time I thought that was silly, and now I think it’s just about the bravest thing that anyone can do.”
Obviously, I’ve never liked Sue, but this speech is the moment that absolutely gets me. This moment is my end game. Not often in life does everything get summed up, but for me this is it. This is the tribute that Cory Monteith deserved. This is the message of Glee. Of life, I hope. It’s better and braver to go through life with hope and dreams than to be prepared for disappointment. In fact, I’d like to believe that the kind of person who lives on hope and dreams deals better with disappointments as well. But Sue is right. It takes bravery to see the world and any human in it not as what it is, but what it can be. If we take nothing else from this show, let’s always remember this.
The Last Song: Glee
“I did it all. I owned every second that this world could give. I saw so many places, the things that I did. With every broken bone I swear I lived.”
Say what you will, but Glee went hard. It used every moment, tackled every lesson. It existed richly and without apology. It got a few broken bones along the way- literally and figuratively. But it lived. It lived, and the world changed because of it.
What more can any of us ask for?