December 14, 2012

Episode Review: GLEE, "Glee, Actually"

It's that time of the year when we get slammed with non-stop holiday episodes, and much like the rest of its track record, Glee's proven that it can be hit or miss when it comes to pulling off these attempts. While I didn't hate "A Very Glee Christmas" or "Extraordinary Merry Christmas," they were mostly unforgettable hours with the exception of a few highlights, and I was expecting the same from "Glee, Actually." I'll give the show some credit for showing improvement, but it also felt like another missed opportunity.

Like the previous two, "Glee, Actually" was an homage to a Christmas classic. Go ahead and guess which one? The set-up was spoon fed to the audience via Sue's journal (just in case people haven't seen Rick Grimes profess his love to Elizabeth Bennett before the zombie apocalypse.) It was going to be five separate stories that tied together in the end. Admirable enough, but could Glee pull it off?

Since so much happened, there's no way I'm going to try to recap everything, so here's a quick and dirty synopsis. During the episode Artie realized that being in his wheelchair made him the person who would end up being the glue that kept New Directions together, Kurt got a surprise visit from Burt and Blaine, Jake and Puck got their families to bond over the fact that they were all abandoned by their deadbeat dad, Sam and Brittany got married because of the Mayan apocalypse, and Sue once again was reminded of the spirit of Christmas and ended up donating a ton of stuff (including lots of loose cash) to Marley and her mother.

Now, I'll admit that I was instantaneously on alert when the episode switched over to black and white because I was sure it was going to be a trainwreck. Thankfully, the Wonderful Life vignette played better than it had any right to because it was the source of some fun callbacks, and who doesn't love an alternate timelime story? Admittedly, it may have been a tad too treacly and heavy-handed, but that's Glee for you.

Jake and Puck's story was oddly sweet since it revolved around the fact that they were screwed over by the same person, but it also felt like an excuse for them to sing "Oh Chanukah" on the Paramount lot and to make up to all of the Jewish viewers for forgetting about Puck's background during the last two Christmas episodes. Plus, it gave Puck a reason to come back to Ohio which mean he'll be trolling the halls of McKinley to do "research" for his screenplay. All's well that end's well I suppose.

The Sam/Brittany and Sue/Marley vignettes were almost too silly to take seriously. Of course the two dimmest characters are going to believe in the Mayan apocalypse because why wouldn't they. By the way, I'm already over the end of the world jokes. As for the latter, how many times are we going to watch Sue's heart grow two sizes? I'm all for Christmas teaching people how to be better and more generous, but it starts losing meaning when the reset button's hit every year. I guess to be fair, Sue was the one who was giving last year since she volunteered at the soup kitchen, but then that makes things even more muddled. But once again, that's Glee for you.

Sloppy writing aside, the worst part of the episode took place in New York (shocker, right). Don't get me wrong, Burt and Blaine dropping in to surprise Kurt was sweet, but the Big Apple went ahead and ruined another character by giving Burt cancer. What?!?! Look, people feel for a kicked puppy but the writers are just piling on the Hummel clan at this point and for no good reason. Seriously, what does the show gain by giving Burt cancer at this point? A dead spouse/mother, being bullied, surviving a heart attack, and having to deal with a friend's attempted suicide is not enough? It's not even the cancer that I object to (Glee has been running out of hot button issues), but I was irked the fact that it was inflicted on one of the show's most beloved characters, and it gives Kurt another challenge to overcome on his road to sainthood. It doesn't help that I no longer care about Kurt anymore but now I have to. It's all so manipulative.

Other Odds and Ends:
  • I actually liked how Finn and Rachel were only bit players this time around.
  • So, if Blaine never met does that me he never left Dalton and probably ended up winning at least two national championships? Does that mean that the real timeline is truly the darkest?
  • I miss Terri. I never thought I'd say that before.
  • Not gonna lie. Rachel as a librarian's kind of hot.
  • Please don't tell me that Blaine's going to follow Kurt... again!
  • Brittany must be loaded!
  • Beiste is awesome.
  • Musical Highlight: "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"
  • "Quinn texts and drives in every timeline, Artie."
  • "It was inevitable. Here in Hollywood and you're a Jew or a gay, you basically got it made."
  • "We should probably still call the police."
  • Ms. Rose: "I wanted to say thank you for what you did for Marley and me."
    Sue: "I have no idea what you're talking about. I had nothing to do with the making of that film."
Honestly, "Glee, Actually" probably was not as big of a disappointment as I initially made out. It had some nice, heartwarming moments along with some fun and silly ones, and it did work within a general framework of continuity. But I cannot shake the feeling that this episode could have been so much more.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Updates Via E-Mail