December 7, 2010

Episode Review: GLEE, "A Very Glee Christmas"

Thanks to the Halloween episode, I went into "A Very Glee Christmas" with very low expectations. I was fully prepared for an episode that was all flash and little substance, and that was what we got, but fortunately it was still able to hit all of the right notes.

Right off the bat I was unsure about "Christmas" because we got four songs in less than twenty minutes, which had to be some kind of Glee record. Sure, some were only snippets of songs but still. There were a few tidbits of story sprinkled in amongst all of the Gleek-mas carols, none of which were realistic, but boy were they entertaining.

Brittany shocked her teammates by still believing in Santa Claus, and while some where ready to harsh her buzz, Artie convinced New Directions to help her hold on to her innocent belief. They visited a mall Santa where she asked him to give Artie the ability to walk for Christmas. Rather than tell her the truth, the boys convinced Coach Beiste to pose as St. Nick, break into Brittany's house, and tell her that her Christmas wish would not becoming true. Our favorite Cheerio was about to give up altogether until she and Artie found mechanical legs that could help him get around under her tree thanks to Coach.

Usually, Brittany's role is to generate cheap laughs due to her dimness and one-liners, but she was able to use her strengths to give us some of the sweetest moments of the episode. While it's hard to buy that a high school student could still believe in Santa, Brittany's innocence and Heather Morris' amazing performance made her storyline so much fun to watch, and it was hard not to love.

The McKinley staff were participating in a Secret Santa, and of course Sue rigged it so everyone picked her name. Will led the charge to get all of their gifts back and were planning on donating them to those in need, but Sue pulled off her best Grinch impersonation and stole everything back. Too bad for her, she could not break New Directions' spirit, and her heart grew three sizes after hearing their version of "Welcome Christmas".

Glee gets a lot of crap for recreating iconic music videos or movie scenes, so I was expecting to cringe during the whole Sue the Grinch subplot, but it was hard to not like it much like the Brittany story. Watching Sue slither around on the floor was over the top, but in all reality "Grinch" was a natural story for the show to riff on, and Glee had the right mix of craziness and heart to pull it off.

Finn's quest to bring the Christmas Spirit to New Directions was admirable, but it was sidetracked by Rachel's need to win him back by singing him Christmas songs. After two unsuccessful attempts at winning Finn back, Rachel was reminded that they're officially broken up and it's unlikely that he'll be forgiving her anytime soon.

Out of the three stories, the Finn/Rachel stuff was by far the most tedious to sit through. First, Rachel doesn't deserve Finn back after what she did to him, so she needs to do all of us a favor and give it up. The sooner we can put Finchel behind us, the quicker we can get to Fintana...or Fittany...or Britanafinn. Either way, I want Finn to be with someone besides Rachel because he deserves to be happy damn it.

Anyone who bought the Glee Christmas album already had the soundtrack for the episode since every song except for "Welcome Christmas" was on it. The performances ranged from good ("Baby, It's Cold Outside") to mediocre ("Last Christmas") to just odd ("The Most Wonderful Day of the Year"). It's not that they sounded bad, but they just didn't work within the context of the episode, and they stuck out. I do have to admit that "Welcome Christmas" was a nice surprise.

Other Odds and Ends
  • Will's lectures on the Spirit of Christmas felt insincere mostly because I had no idea what his point was.
  • For a second I thought the "The Most Wonderful Day of the Year" scene was some dream like "Make 'Em Laugh". Boy was I wrong. It was cute, but it felt fake. It did give us more Brittany and Mike dancing though.
  • "Go Mercedes, Go Mercedes, Go"
  • "I want Channing Tatum to stop being in stuff."
  • "When does Asian Santa arrive."
  • One of the band members actually said something! That's a true Christmas miracle.
  • People cannot say this season's all about Kurt since he had one scene which was just an excuse for him and Blaine to sing "Baby, It's Cold Outside". Seeing him reconnect with Will was a nice touch even though it was for a superficial reason.
  • The only thing cuter than Brittany was Brittany as Cindy Lou Who.
  • Watching Rachel and Finn sing Wham! while looking for a tree was just awkward, and it took me out of the episode for a moment.
  • Poor Finn, he can't catch a break. People are still not happy with what he does or doesn't do. All he needs for Christmas is a visit from Santana Claus.
  • Speaking of Fintana, Naya singing "Santa Baby" would have KILLED. Maybe next year.
  • The closing moments may have been a little too saccharine, but they were a nice way to celebrate the holidays.
In many ways, "A Very Glee Christmas" was the kind of episode people love to hate. It was too reliant on music, most of the plot points we got were just ways to connect the songs, and nothing was really resolved/pushed forward by the end of it all. That being said, we did get some good character moments, and it was cute and fun enough to make me forget about all of the shortcomings. I'm excited for Glee to get back on track in 2011, but tonight's episode was a nice little gift to end the year.


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