Since season 2 began, I have struggled to find a more grounded realism in “Glee“ and I have come up empty-handed— why? Well, like believing in Santa Claus or thinking that the New Year really does give you a fresh start, “Glee” is simply not realistic. And you know what? Thank GOD. “Glee” shamelessly shills the ridiculous, celebrates the theatrical, and endorses, of all things, optimism. It isn’t supposed to be gritty and realistic; it is a musical, after all. In that respect, “Glee” is like the Santa Claus of television; in order to get in on the fun, you have to embrace the crazy. Only then can you start to identify the moments that ring true and recognize the values that exist in every episode.
“A Very Glee Christmas” finds Sue acting out against the seasonal cheeriness, serving as McKinley’s very own Grinch, while New Directions remains determined to spread Christmas cheer…
- Directed by: Brad Falchuk
- Written by: Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and Ian Brennan
- Cast: Jane Lynch, Matthew Morrison, Lea Michele, Cory Monteith, Jayma Mays, Chris Colfer, Dianna Agron, Kevin McHale, Heather Morris, Amber Riley, Naya Rivera, Mark Salling, Jenna Ushkowitz
It is Christmastime at McKinley High! Artie goes to great lengths to keep Brittany’s faith in Santa alive, Mr. Schue encourages the glee kids to go caroling around school to raise money for charity, and Sue channels her inner Grinch.
- Brittany and Artie: Brittany still believes in Santa Claus. Artie wants to preserve her charming innocence (or idiocy- either way its charming) so he pleads with the other glee kids not to break the news to his girlfriend. This unlikely couple provides some of the episode’s funniest and most touching moments; here’s hoping they make it in 2011!
- Sue the Grinch: Sue, who “hates Christmas, but loves presents,” goes to great lengths to wreak havoc on McKinley’s Christmas spirit. Her antics include a hilarious reenactment of the great heist scene from “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas,” which made the episode. Also worth noting is the fabulous dynamic between Sue and Becky, the Max to Sue’s Grinch.
- Season of Giving: Despite Sue’s best efforts, selflessness was a prominent theme throughout the episode, between the glee club’s (somewhat disastrous) caroling for charity, Brittany’s Christmas wish, and Beiste’s surprise gift.
- Blue Christmas: It just isn’t Christmas if someone isn’t single and heartbroken. The hits keep coming for recently dumped Rachel, whose zealous attempts at reconstructing her relationship with Finn fall short. Hopefully these two can work it out; both seemed equally distraught over the break-up. With Emma newly married and Mr. Schue’s divorce pending, he is similarly feeling lonely this holiday. Happily, though, he does not ultimately wind up alone on Christmas.
- No Chrismakkuh?: It was a tad disappointing that other seasonal religious holidays were completely shut out of this episode. Considering the strong Jewish presence in glee club and the proclamation of religious inclusion that was “Grilled Cheesus,” they seemed to forget to mention Hannukah.
- “The Most Wonderful Day of the Year” – The episode opens on a choir room full of glee clubbers singing and trimming a Christmas tree. The from “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” song is an appropriate choice for the misfits of McKinley, and it sets the mood perfectly for the Christmas cheer to come.
- “Deck the Halls” – Mercedes leads the glee club in their classroom caroling efforts, which backfire; they are mercilessly mocked by their annoyed schoolmates and teachers.
“Merry Christmas, Darling” – Rachel sets up a winter wonderland in the auditorium. Lea Michele sounds great, but the whole performance feels like something out of a Mariah Carey ABC special.
- “Baby, Its Cold Outside” – Kurt helps Blaine rehearse this holiday duet as a fire crackles nearby in an inviting library. Chris Colfer and Darren Criss’ fantastic voices complement each other as much as the set compliments the song, and the two men have great, easy chemistry for this romantic song. Its a must-download; in fact, I’m putting it on my Chrismukkah playlist. Right now.
- “Last Christmas,” Wham- Rachel’s favorite Christmas song is, ironically, also mine. The song is actually more interesting as a duet, and Cory Monteith and Lea Michele belt it out as earnestly as I do in my car around this time of year.
- “Welcome, Christmas” – New Directions gives a spot-on rendition of the moving finale song from “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.”
Though this episode did feel slightly hypocritical for excluding Hannukah in its holiday cheer, and regrettably did not feature my other favorite Christmas song “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” it was a fun, funny episode that exuded irreverent holiday spirit.
Glee is on hiatus until February, though re-runs will air Tuesdays at 8 p.m on FOX.