HBO's 'I Love You, Now Die' examines Michelle Carter's obsession with 'Glee' star Lea Michele


Earlier this week, HBO presented I Love You, Now Die: The Commonwealth v. Michelle Carter, a two-part documentary by Erin Lee Carr that recounts the 2014 texting suicide case which ended in then-17 year old Carter being found guilty of the involuntary manslaughter of her boyfriend, 18 year old Conrad Roy.

The documentary "raises difficult questions about technology, mental health, and whether or not one teenager can be held responsible for the suicide of another," but it's perhaps most notable for its examination of Carter's tendency to "[inject] romanticized bits of fiction into very real parts of her life." Journalist Jesse Barron, who covered the case for Esquire in October 2017, highlighted in particular the now-22 year old's fixation on FOX's musical television series Glee and its stars, real-life couple Lea Michele (Rachel Berry) and the late Cory Monteith (Finn Hudson).

• In examining the record of Carter and Roy's text conversations, it becomes clear that the relationship carried greater significance for the former. "[Roy was] alternately kind of mean to her, kind of sweet to her, kind of negging her, for most of [their] relationship," says Barron. "[It] was much more Michelle's fantasy and Michelle's idea."

Carter's penchant for fantasy is made evident by her injection of references from films and television series into her messages to Roy; she would most often borrow text from Glee, which starred her self-proclaimed "favorite person in the whole world" and "bae forever," Lea Michele.

• According to Barron, Carter's connection to Michele was "on a kind of profound level that went beyond what a normal teen identifying with a star... may feel like." Following Roy's death, Carter would often use quotes from interviews that Michele gave after the untimely passing of her own boyfriend and co-star, Cory Monteith, to express herself. Barron also notes that Monteith died exactly one year to the day before Roy took his own life.

I Love You, Now Die director Carr points to the Glee connection in the Carter case as "the clearest example that [she] was living in a different reality," noting the distinct difference between quoting a beloved television show and "grabbing dialogue from [it] and using it as [one's] own."

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Rachel: I had it all planned out. I was gonna make it big on Broadway and maybe make a Woody Allen movie. And then when we were ready, I would just come back and [Finn would] be teaching here and I'd walk through those doors and I would just say 'I'm home,' and then we would live happily ever after.
Will: That's a good plan. Did you tell him?
Rachel: I didn't have to. He knew.
Will: And now what?
Rachel: I don't know, something different.
Will: Maybe something better.
Rachel: I just—I don't think that's possible. He was my person.
Glee 5x03, "The Quarterback," October 10, 2013

"I had it all planned out. [Conrad] was gonna graduate Fitchburg and then when I graduated the college I'm going to, we would live happily ever after on the ocean somewhere, with our son Conrad [IV]. He knew too[,] I didn't have to tell him. Now it's gonna be something different, maybe something better, but I just don't think that that's possible. He was my person."
Michelle Carter in a text message to friend Samantha Boardman, July 18, 2014