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Glee's Amber Riley Possibly Leaving The Show Next Season

by Sergio
July 24, 2011 5:56 AM
14 Comments
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Let me start off by saying I have NEVER seen Glee. I will NEVER see Glee. And I have absolutely ZERO interest in ever seeing Glee. However I must assume that we have some S&A readers out there for whom this news will be of great importance and that's our mission here is to inform. (Well sometimes...)

Anyway it was revealed on the Huffington Post that Glee castmate Amber Riley, who from what I understand is the only token, "sassy", black person on the show with no backstory or personal life and who barely has anything to do on the show, will possibly be leaving the show's fourth season.

According to her: "I may not be coming back for a fourth season. "Who knows? Whatever happens this third season is what happens, and I think everybody's OK with it. I love my job to pieces, but when it's time to go, it's time to go and, hopefully, there are greater things on the horizon."

She also added that it would make sense for her to leave since her character has to graduate sometime, especially since she's getting too old to portray a high schooler:."I mean, I don't want to be a 30-year-old high school student either."

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14 Comments

  • YesImAGleek! | August 23, 2011 12:18 PMReply

    I love the Glee actors to pieces and it tears me up inside to see three of them leave. I think it's ironic that Chris, Cory and Lea are leaving because they probably have the biggest paychecks. I'm not sure if this plays a part in their departure or not.

    I think it's an opportunity for the other talented but underrated actors to shine, Amber and Kevin especially, now that the others have "graduated". I would like for Glee to get more 3 diminsional with the characters (home life, parents, etc.) and just because the only gay kid in school graduates doesn't mean that the bullying stops for the rest. Glee still has raw potential despite the soon to be absence of 3, actually 4; Chord is leaving too.

    And as for what JMac says about the acting and singing being horrible, that's the opinion of someone who's only seen 10 minutes of Glee and made a quick judgement from that. I've seen the episodes, own the music, and have recently seen the Glee Project and the 3D movie. The talent is clearly there. There's a valid reason why millions of people love Glee. Youtube it people!

  • J | July 26, 2011 4:29 AMReply

    I agree with Ladybug that Glee generally appeals to musical theater folks, and I enjoy it for that reason. It has a very specific style - a satirical, snarky tone that pokes fun of high school stereotypes - and it targets a certain audience.

    A few things that haven't been mentioned:

    - The staging, lighting and choreography, in concert with the cinematography, have earned Glee a lot of praise. This is a show that has moving camera angles shooting elaborate dance numbers every episode, and they always bring something new and visually interesting. It's impressive.

    - I wouldn't call the acting bad; again, it's a specific type of humor which admittedly, isn't for everybody. (sort of reminds me of Election w/Reese Witherspoon, ca.'99). But it's all very intentional.

    - Riley's character does have a back story. If you watch the show (which it sounds like most folks haven't), you'll notice that ALL of the characters are based on stereotypes - the jock, the goth/emo chick, the mean girl, the gay guy, and yes - the sassy black chick. It's intentionally sarcastic. Still, Riley's character got a bit more shine in the first season, we got to learn more of her backstory, and yes, Mercedes is as well developed as would be expected of a supporting cast member.

    While I'd love to see Riley move into more of a lead role (which happened for Chris Colfer and Dianna Agron's characters), I still wouldn't define this as a typically racist scenario. The other black girl on the show (or multiracial if you will) has had an easier time becoming a central character, presumably b/c she's a tiny cheerleader and she's been worked into the central story line as a love interest.

    I'm not a die-hard Glee fan but I can appreciate a well-made production, and Glee is, for the most part, well done. Amber Riley has had plenty of opportunities to showcase her glorious pipes. I'm hoping she can parlay her stint on Glee into a singing feature film role or (*fingers crossed*) Broadway.

  • Jug | July 25, 2011 5:22 AMReply

    Come on Sergio, this is such a "baited" article. A group of the main star characters are graduating but may or may not be leaving the show. An actually courageous move since tv is not known for good writing & storytelling when it comes to favorite characters. If they'd kept Stringer beyond season 3 it would've been some bull LOL

    Has nothing to do with "dropping the token black"...

    http://content.usatoday.com/communities/livefrom/post/2011/07/actors-arent-leaving-glee-after-season/1

  • JMac | July 25, 2011 4:24 AMReply

    Alright stop hating on the fat black chicks and their limited successes. You never know... although she probably will just disappear or be banished to straight-to-video land.

  • BluTopaz | July 25, 2011 4:02 AMReply

    lmao @ MiddleMyatt, that is wrong on so many levels but still funny

  • MiddleMyatt | July 25, 2011 3:49 AMReply

    Whether it was her in “Precious” or not, I think she’s still very talented. She can’t help it: it runs in the family -- her mom was the late Shirley Hemphill of TV’s “What’s Happening” -- right?!

  • Mecca | July 25, 2011 1:12 AMReply

    @ middlemyatt I don't know if you were really serious or just trying to be really sarcastic when you said, "She has already demonstrated her acting potential with her leading role in the film Precious—that was her, wasn’t it?!"

    Uh LOL *laughs* No that was NOT her in fact, that was no other than Ms. Gaborey Sidibe (The Big C) who starred in "Yelling to the Sky" a film directed by Victoria Mahoney that was covered on this site extensively.

  • MiddleMyatt | July 24, 2011 12:11 PMReply

    I agree with JMac's comments. And, I'd like to add: I believe Amber Riley will succeed and thrive wonderfully in her entertainment career if she decides to leave Glee. She has already demonstrated her acting potential with her leading role in the film Precious -- that was her, wasn't it?!

  • Ladybug | July 24, 2011 12:08 PMReply

    I watch Glee religiously . . . but I am an obsessive musical theater geek . . . and the show is written for people like me . . . and apparently there are enough of us to make this show a hit. The singing is not awful . . . some are better than others . . . but this is a show about a high school glee club which usually means varying levels of vocal ability . . . . but the style of singing is rather specific to the genre . . . the musical. It's not for ever one I realize.

    That being said . . . its high school and you can't stay in high school forever . . . and rather than have that show where no one graduates or they all graduate and go to the same college . . . Ryan Murphy (the creator) is keeping it real. He announced that three major characters would graduate at the end of this season . . . though the character of Mercedes was not one of them. This announcement apparently came as news to the actors playing the roles . . . and kind of started a frenzy. I think Amber is just responding to what happened.

    And Miss Riley has amazing pipes . . . you should check out her renditions of Hate on Me and Try a Little Tenderness on Itunes.

  • yolanda6 | July 24, 2011 12:05 PMReply

    Yeah it's sad that Mercedes is the "big Black girl with no personal life to speak of" but Amber does have one of the best voices on the show so I see her leaving and cutting an album possibly or doing Broadway at some point.

  • Stacie | July 24, 2011 8:49 AMReply

    She may not have a say in whether or not she returns. Maybe she is hinting that they will be writing off her character. If so, she needs to start using her Glee status to do other work now, while she's still on the show.

  • misha | July 24, 2011 7:23 AMReply

    "Sassy black woman with no backstory or personal life" is the perfect description for Amber's character. But not to worry, Mecerdes is getting a boyfriend next year. And according to one of the writers/producers, said boyfriend is a "big bubba kind of guy." Sounds encouraging, doesn't it? :D

  • JMac | July 24, 2011 7:14 AMReply

    I tried watching Glee. Ten minutes in I had to change channels. Acting was awful. Singing was dead awful. Humor was corny. I don't get the praise for this show - unless we're supposed to love the cameos or the karaoke singing of popular music. If I wanted to watch overacting, stereotypical, barely musically competent teens, I'd go to a local high school production of Jesus Christ Superstar.

    If Amber is talented, anything she does after Glee would be an improvement. Except Dancing with the Stars.

  • darkan | July 24, 2011 7:03 AMReply

    Wow. She kept it real. I guess making money ain't everything. She probably is tremendously talented but can never show her stuff on the show because they don't give her anything to work with.

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