'Glee': 'Extraordinary Merry Christmas' recap
Published Dec 14 2011, 11:39 GMT | By Catriona Wightman
This week's Christmas episode of Glee
was one of the oddest I've ever seen. I'm not saying that it was necessarily bad, as such, but it was a little bizarre.
To be honest, I was a bit concerned about how the episode would play out. My lowest ever Glee
moment was the scene in which Will took Sue to the kids' cancer clinic and they all sang 'This Little Light of Mine' (shudder), so hearing that Sue would be volunteering at a homeless shelter made me a little nervous.
Actually, although of course everyone ended up learning 'the true meaning of Christmas' and all that jazz, it could have been a lot worse. But, like I say, it was very strange in parts.
We're straight into the festivities, as Mercedes sings 'All I Want For Christmas' and the rest of the glee club decorates the choir room. Rachel thinks it's the best Christmas ever, and then tries to make it even better by handing Finn a list of presents she wants for Christmas ("pick out five!")
Rachel's meant to be selfish and annoying - and we love her for it (even when she sends people to crack houses) - but in this episode it was almost too much. She just seemed mean, as Finn stutters that he doesn't have much money and she keeps heaping unrelenting pressure on him to buy what she wants. ("As the song says, 'All I want for Christmas is you'." "Aww, all I want for Christmas is you too. And five things off that list.") And she keeps it up throughout the episode, making Finn do a lot of gulping.
Elsewhere, Sue calls Kurt, Artie and Blaine in to her office and announces that she is volunteering at a homeless shelter on Friday and wants them to perform - basically it's the first Christmas she'll be spending without her sister, and she's trying to take her mind off it. Aww. Naturally, they all agree.
At glee club, Rory admits that he's sad he won't be spending Christmas with his family and performs 'Blue Christmas'. But Santana complains it's too depressing, and Rachel agrees that she wants a merry Christmas this year. Well, Will might be able to help with that - the local PBS affiliate wants New Directions to make a holiday special!
What's more, Will has proposed that Artie direct the special following his success with West Side Story
. Artie has a bizarre list of demands for the special - basically, he wants it to be inspired by Star Wars
and the Judy Garland Christmas show and shot in black and white. To be honest, the channel's chair isn't bothered as long as the cost is under $800.
Meanwhile, Sam checks on Rory - he knows what it's like to miss your family. In fact, he even invites Rory to spend Christmas with his family (because they've got so much money and can afford it, naturally) and offers to be his "Christmas sponsor" and show him how the holidays are done in the USA. How lovely.
In glee club, though, Rachel sings 'River' and Artie complains that it's too depressing. He reveals his vision for the Christmas special and explains that he wants it to be happy - he's even going to change the story of Frosty the Snowman
so he doesn't melt at the end.
Sam's not happy about this - he says Christmas should be a little sad to remind us all about what's important. He ends up storming off to ring some Salvation Army bells (right?) and offers Rory a ride... but Rory wants to stay and memorise his part for the Christmas special.
Later, Finn approaches Rachel to give her a Christmas present - he's bought her a charity gift, giving a family some kind of African pig. But Rachel doesn't accept that as a gift - all she wants is her fair share! She gave him a list so he wouldn't embarrass himself like this! Ugh.
Back at glee club, we get a brand new original song from New Directions - 'Extraordinary Merry Christmas'. Artie is thrilled, but Sue spoils the mood when she arrives and they all realise that their television special is going to clash with the concert at the homeless shelter. They try to make themselves feel better by reminding Sue how awful she is to them, but Sue's basically just sad and annoyed. Quinn clearly feels guilty, too.
But it's time for the holiday special, and this is when things get really weird
. It's basically a parody of old holiday specials - black and white, canned laughter and cheers and claps, fixed grins and 'gentle comedy'. And to be honest, despite myself, I kind of enjoyed it. Darren Criss, Lea Michele
, Amber Riley and Chris Colfer really got into the swing of things with their purposely-wooden acting and over-the-top expressions.
And I also quite admire Glee
for devoting such a huge chunk of its episode to such a risk - we got to see the holiday special in its entirety, basically, and seriously, putting a lengthy parody on a primetime show is something you'd expect more from Community
. I can't quite decide if it worked, but it was brave.
Anyway, in amongst all the 'jokes' and chuckles, we get some songs, too - 'Let It Snow' from Blaine and Kurt, 'My Favourite Things' from Blaine, Kurt, Mercedes and Rachel, 'Santa Claus Is Coming To Town' from Finn and Puck, and 'Christmas Wrapping' from Brittany, Santana, Tina, the Cheerios and everyone else.
At the end of the special, poor Rory arrives dressed up as 'Itchy the Holiday Elf' (hmm), but he's not going to read Frosty The Snowman like he's supposed to. Instead, he decides to read from the Bible to remind them all of the true spirit of Christmas. Hmm.
Meanwhile, Quinn and Sam are helping out at the homeless shelter together - Quinn's definitely getting better, by the way. Anyway, as they serve, obviously all the other glee clubbers arrive with Will, Emma and more food - they've realised the true meaning of Christmas thanks to Rory. What's more, they're going to sing!
Yes, it's 'Do They Know It's Christmas' - as in Band Aid. And all profits from the sales of the track go to the Band Aid Trust, which is all very nice and kind of means that we can't be horrible about it too much (sneaky, Glee
.) But did they have to sing it with such fixed grins? It's not a happy song! Seeing someone saccharine-smile their way through the lyrics: "The only water flowing is a bitter sting of tears" is really disconcerting. But, you know, it's a happy ending to the episode, so yay, I guess.
We've got a few more storylines to resolve, though. Rachel's decided that she likes Finn's pig after all, but Finn's too good for her and announces he's named a star after himself for her - so he'll always be watching over her, and there's already a star named Rachel Berry. How cute. What's more, he's got her some beautiful earrings. Finn, take a look at yourself.
Finally Rachel gets her conscience back, though, and realises that she's the girl that's got everything. So it's time to give back! She sells the beautiful earrings (thanks a lot for those, Finn) and the iPod she bought him as a present and they donate the cash to the Salvation Army, via Rory and Sam, who are bell-ringing. Then they pick up the bells and do some ringing themselves. "Best Christmas ever!" Sam announces. But what did you think of the episode?Gleek Out!
What did you think of the episode? Leave your comments below!
- Kurt's little twirly jump during 'All I Want For Christmas' was a sight to behold.
- Speaking of 'All I Want For Christmas', it was nice for the wonderful Amber Riley to get a solo she can sink her teeth into. Next: Jenna Ushkowitz.
- Did I hear incorrectly, or did Rory suggest Finn get Rachel "soil" for Christmas? Really?!
- "I thought we agreed the things-I-did-wrong lists were hurting more than helping."
- "Holy crap. I'm dating Kim Kardashian."
- "You said you consider homeless people urban campers."
- I think Sue should have gone reindeer shooting with Sarah Palin, to be honest.
- "I'm going to dedicate this song to them, and to the King." "Jesus?"
- "That song was so depressing I may actually be dead right now."
- Tina reveals that Artie's magical legs that he got last Christmas broke the next day. THANK YOU. (Mind you, you'd think there'd be some kind of warranty.)
- Lima's PBS affiliate drops their annual broadcast of the yule log burning. Puck: "WHAT?"
- "You're a modern day Tiny Tim. Oh, I am sorry, Tiny Tim could walk."
- The Damian McGinty-bell was ringing all over the place this episode. For once he actually got to say more than one line at a time!
- "Where's my bling?"
- "They'll be homeless for a while. That's sort of the problem."
- "The homeless don't have televisions." PREACH, Sue.
- In a way, I kind of admire that the show let the majority of the kids choose the television special over the homeless shelter. Of course they had to end up there, though.
- Matthew Morrison directed this episode, and clearly he had an absolute riot with the bizarre holiday special.
- Mercedes pushing Rachel's clapping hands away during the holiday special - brilliant.
- "Mike Chang and Tina Cohen-Chang NO RELATION."
- I like that they took the mickey out of Blaine's bow ties in the holiday special. But bless, he looked so pleased with the gift.
- "Are you dressed like Luke Skywalker and Han Solo?" "No, that's copyright infringement! Any resemblance to Star Wars characters is purely incidental!"
- Rory asks Sam to be his Valentine's Day sponsor. Please, please no.
- Also: Sam agrees if Rory will teach him how to do a Sean Connery accent. Except Sean Connery is Scottish, not Irish. Um. All the same, right?