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Glee Review: Ho, No, No

by at . Comments

I don't mean to be a Scrooge, but wow. That was bad. Like, really, really bad. Like so bad that I wonder if Ryan Murphy and company watched last week's Community and then figured they'd create an episode that mocked their own show even more.

Because, seriously people, "Extraordinary Merry Christmas" was a stocking stuffed with everything that can sometimes be wrong with this show.

Gift Giving

Here, Rachel, I know you're Jewish and that's been referenced numerous times in the past, but it's Christmas! We're allowed to ignore continuity as long as we sing songs and end on a Hallmark-inspired message!

There was no attempt at a plot whatsoever. There was no building on any storylines. This could have basically been plopped down anywhere in any season. One song started the show, another picked up the moment we returned from a commercial break, a bunch more were crammed into a black-and-white local TV station special that dragged on... and on... and on... and, is it even over yet?

Look, if characters pretending to appear in a Judy Garland/Star Wars-themed holiday show, speaking to a fake studio audience, randomly breaking into song after song after song and telling very bad jokes is your thing, hey, no judgment here. It's the holiday season. I wish nothing but good spirits and good will to all.

But I was just staring at the screen, slack-jawed, amazed this was actually happening. It just kept going and going and going... only for the crew to show up at Sue's homeless shelter (did anyone doubt that would happen?) after the program ended. Why couldn't that have been the plan all along? Who cares about logic??!? It's Christmas! Go buy the Glee Christmas CD, available now, as Fox told us the moment the credits rolled.

I hate to be a cynic, but this was not an episode of a television show. It was a concert. It was an hour-long commercial for that album. It's great all its proceeds go to charity, but just tell me ahead of time where to donate and I'll be glad to do so. There are plenty of ways to give back without randomly dedicating an entire episode of a season to a cause.

It just piled on the holiday covers, one after another, stopping only for Rachel to be the world's most selfish girlfriend, until she finally realized - here's an original concept! - that Christmas is a time for giving and thinking about others. Farewell, earrings and iPod. Hello, predictable Hallmark ending.

I just fail to understand why the show makes ZERO attempt to build a season-long arc. There were even elements in place here. Wasn't Santana's struggle with her sexuality a big deal just a couple episodes ago? Why not continue with that idea, give us a look at her accepting family, or even better, how she's dealing with her intolerant grandmother? Want to send a Christmas message? There you go: Grandma comes around to her gay granddaughter because she realizes what's important. I'm down with holiday sappiness, I just can't comprehend why the writers don't come up with examples of it that focus on characters and plot, as opposed to singing merrily about everything.

I mean, we spent 20 minutes on a PBS special that was intentionally unfunny and which took place because the kids cared more about fame than about assisting the needy. It wasn't enough that they actually made this decision; but the show made us sit through every minute of it, scarcely showing the consequences of their actions. Guilt? A battle between how to best help one's self versus how to help others? Nah, we'll just have them show up at the shelter with a turkey and everything will be fine!

It's Christmas, right? Might as well use this as excuse for Glee to be even more erratic than ever because viewers will just be glad to hear a bunch of songs that remind them of Santa.

Best Christmas ever, Sam? Come on. Don't insult us, writers. This was an example of the worst Glee can be. Saccharine, disjointed, full of itself, music-based. Needless to say, it was not one of my favorite things.

P.S. Aren't Rachel and Puck Jewish?

What did you think of the black-and-white TV special?

 

Review

Editor Rating: 1.2 / 5.0
  • 1.2 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 2.7 / 5.0 (443 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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Thank goodness it wasn't just me that cringing the entire way through this episode! That's an hour of my life I'll never get back, worst episode ever.

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Not in any way a glee fanatic, it's a bit of fun, occasionally with something interesting to say, and a few nice acting moments (Chris Colfer, I look to you for these in particular).
Christmas specials are always a bit dodgy, usually cheesy and often cliché, and I had little doubt that Glee would fall into all these traps with spectacular aplomb. The music was Christmas tacky, but that was to be expected. I thought the pastiche of the Judy Garland Christmas show was mildly entertaining, sufficiently tongue in cheek, with just enough of a fixed smile to keep it from falling into danger - it did drag though, and Kurt and Blaine's 'bachelor roommates' routine grated somewhat.
It's all very well putting the plots on hold for a one off episode, but I do wish the characterisation wasn't put on hold at the same time - Rachel's revolting behaviour made an already difficult character completely repellent (and could have done with more than an elbowed in 'Happy Hanukah' at the end in reference to her Jewishness). Sue is so up and down its absurd, there is no longer a shred of honesty or sincerity to her character. I'm glad that Kurt has found love, but does having a boyfriend mean he no longer exists independently? Would have been nice if he'd got a bit of a song, or a line or something without it having to be 'dueted' by Blaine, who is an impressive singer and dancer but not overly interesting otherwise, (also Kurt's atheism - to which there was most of an episode dedicated seems to be laid behind as we're all supposed to be moved by bible passages).
Finally the piece de resistance has to be the outrageously tasteless and patronising 'do they know it's Christmas' sung at a homeless shelter of all places. I cannot think of any song LESS appropriate... offensive to say the least - made previous cringer 'Imagine' with the deaf kids seems like a brilliant idea.
Here's to hoping the characters remember who they are over the Christmas break.

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Ariel Harris You made me "LMAO". I did too miss the charm and satire because I turned to another channel for the first time ever since Glee started because it sucked so bad. At first I felt like a heel for being a scrooge with my total disgust for the episode but soon got over it when I started watching a really good episode of NCIS. As an older person who has always been an avid follower of Glee and enjoyed most of the shows I remembered times watching Judy Garland, Dean Martin, Perry Como, Andy Williams, Glen Campbell and many more that I can't think of right now. I never had a feeling of dread how schmucky schmaltzy those were at the time and remember fondly. But Glee's version was absolutely awful.
Someone mentioned on another forum and it was a wonderful idea which I don't want to take away from them was since the ND are back together but still somewhat fragmented with issues and feelings unresolved that having a xmas party given by Wemma was a a great idea. Wemma having their first xmas together, Sue alone for the first time, Sam and Rory many miles apart from their families and lonely, Quinn becoming more like herself after having a rough year and along with Puck coming to terms about Beth and all the rest of the ND would be a wonderful way to mend fences as a family gathering and resolve issues personally and as a group begin a journey back together more as a complete and solid unit. This would be a better xmas message to me helping others before oneself then go to the shelter as a family unit and extend help and cheer with meaning and purpose. This was a jumbled mess and had no heart to the message to me at all. One thing that Glee has failed to do since season 1 have a message to an episode.

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By the way, I grew up watching those old b&w sit coms and christmas specials, and I have a post graduate degree, so I'm not stupid. I totally missed out on the charm and the satire some reviewers saw though - but possibly that's because I fell asleep out of sheer boredom before the charm and satire came through ...
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The b&w special put me to sleep. Didn't see the end of the special or the end of the episode. That about sums it up for me.

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So sorry my computer went nuts and sent all by itself. Where did it go I'm not done yet. As I was saying Oh, I really missed the Santana and Finn shopping together spoiler(Oops) but it wasn't there. Santana had only one line. I guess kind of good because she has had several episodes about her and still will. Rachel was great last week's episode a better person to share the singing then she is all wanting presents as a Jew. Didn't get that either. She was like Sally in Charlie Brown so ok but I never liked Charlie Brown. Maybe why I couldn't get into this. But the old TV show stuff was slow and just not for me. I miss enjoying this episode so much wanting eagerly to be entertained but it didn't. I guess what I should say I liked would take less time. Sue's helicopter ride with Sara Palin to shoot reindeer. Blaine liked being called Burt Reynolds. Sam being the bigger and better person to mentor Rory and remember his last year's troubles being homeless. Quinn was really sweet to feel uncomfortable not helping the needy. The Finchel moments of happiness were special but the episode was not. I looked at what I've commented on I ramble sorry.

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I was actually really excited for this episode but then they go ruin it! They even ruined the scene between Kurt and Blaine!! :(

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I appreciate reviewers who are ready to tell the truth instead of smoothing over a review to make the episode sound better than it was. Because some do. And some really like to keep it close and personal to the biggies of shows so they can keep a foot in the door for first hand scoops. Thanx for your honesty. It was on the money. I was very excited about this episode at the start you know getting all ready for xmas in the spirit of it all. I enjoyed Mercedes song then the special came on and I wondered WTF is this? I really tried to laugh but it was painful as someone said. I have loved this show since the pilot and never turned to another channel but I did on this episode. It just never took off with anything of interest to me. Lackluster. I'm one to defend whatever the show does story wise what ever they choose to write about but I couldn't get into it. It was just too boring and nothingness. Wow, I was shocked but I got to see NCIS first time in a while. It was good. Well, I DVR'd this episode and got through it or you can say muddled through it til it was over. Only thing I liked was Sam and Quinn going to the shelter they were smart not to attend the TV show. That was wierd too wierd for me. The music was ok but didn't strike me as great. I love Finchel they were kind of cute but I just didn't have enough interest to watch them either. It's so bad to feel this way about Glee but I do. Well, all i know is next episode looks like it will be a tear jerker in every way. So glad for Wemma. Oh, I thought their was a Wemma song I guess on CD only like Santa Baby. Oh,

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I really liked this episode to. It was meant to be a stand alone episode, so even though they didn't continue any plotlines, I thoroughly enjoyed it - I was smiling and laughing the whole time. As for Rachel and Puck being Jewish, well the episode never mentioned or impied Puck celebrating Christmas, he was just there. And Rachel asking for presents, well she was just being Rachel, if a little more selfish than normal. And the black and white special? I thought it was hilarious and well done as a spoof. I also really loved all the songs.

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I realise I am definitely in the minority here, but I absolutely loved it! I had a smile on my face through most of the episode and it made me excited for Christmas. Although smiling when singing about people dying in Africa was in bad taste, but that is honestly my only complaint.