Glee Episode Retrospectives: A Very Glee Christmas and Extraordinary Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone!

(And this will haunt your nightmares tonight. Seriously something about this terrifies me.)

Or well Merry Christmas a couple weeks early! Or happy Hanukkah for those of you of the Jewish faith. Happy Kwanzaa to those who celebrate it. Um there are more holidays around this time..at least I think.

Let’s just say, for the sake of argument, Happy Holidays people.

But whatever I am totally in the holiday spirit here. My finals are over (for the most part), the third glee Christmas album came out and tonight we get a new glee Christmas special! Tomorrow I’ll be putting up a Christmas tree and dancing around when I should be studying for my Saturday final (which I won’t be because I have just given up).

It is just time to get into the spirit!

Oh heeeey Chewie!!! Why are you here? Um…Happy Life Day?

So I’ll be decking the metaphorical halls of the Internet with Glee Christmas stuff!

We’ll be starting off with a retrospective look at A Very Glee Christmas and Extraordinary Merry Christmas. Then we will be looking at the top 10 to 15 (I haven’t decided yet) glee Christmas songs. We will then give a look at Glee, Actually. Then we will perhaps a list of the top five Christmas related movies that glee should pay tribute too.

So be prepared to be sick of Christmas by the time I am done here!

Now let’s begin with our retrospective look at the Ghosts of Christmas Special Past!

A Very Glee Christmas and Extraordinary Merry Christmas!

Let’s start this thing off with the very first Christmas episode “A Very Glee Christmas” written by Ian Brennan and directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon and is the tenth episode of season two.

Oh an Ian Brennan written episode, he always writes my favorites (or most hated) episodes. However, I can always say this for the man’s style. He has impeccable comedic timing with his writing. The weird stuff is vaguely reminiscent of The Adventures of Pete and Pete.  And he definitely loves going there even though you’re sure if its the best decision in the world. It’s no wonder why this first Christmas special “A Very Glee Christmas” is definitely on my most favorite Christmas episode list period.

Now looking at this whole glee doing Christmas specials thing…it makes sense. Glee is a musical show and Christmas time has a lot of music floating around in it. So glee doing a episode dedicated to Christmas music is kind of a no brainer here. Not only does glee pay tribute to the music but they also pay tribute to the holiday specials that surround Christmastime.

(Side note: Is Love, Actually really a Christmas movie? I’m confused by that for the fourth season’s Christmas episode. But I’ll get into that later.)

This may sound a little weird but “A Very Glee Christmas” is in my top ten favorite episodes from season two. It just has good pacing. It doesn’t knock morals over your head. The characters are in the holiday spirit. Plus it pays tribute to one of the best Christmas specials of all time “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”.

The Grinch!

Brought to you by our very own Grinch: Sue Sylvester.

God I can’t see the whites of her eyes here. She looks possessed. Quick! Someone call the Winchesters!

Now this as a premise makes total sense. It takes what we known of the character of Sue, that she is a villain, and adapts her to one of the greatest Christmas villains of all time.

There are even legitimate stakes here as all the presents Sue takes/destroys are meant for children in need during the holiday season. Which you know is pretty damn Grinch-like Sue.

So with her helper Becky (playing the role of Max) Sue sneaks in and destroys the choir room’s festive cheer and takes all the present. There’s even a scene with Brittany Lou Who coming in to deliver a dollhouse so that way the “homeless kids dolls won’t be homeless” (oh Brittany never change).

Becky portraying Max

Of course why she never questions Santa being green is the bigger question here…but whatever. Although she did believe African American’s Santa explanation of global warming at the North Pole.

Huh. Maybe she thought Santa was going green literally.

Brittany Lou Who as Cindy Lou Who

This is also a nice segue into the other major plot of the episode: Brittany still believes in Santa Claus. Now I will freely admit that I myself believed in Santa right up until I was thirteen (due to an encounter I had at four years old where I believed I saw Santa setting up a toy kitchen that was my big present that year was it dream? I still can’t tell you but it felt real at the time). However, time makes fools of us all and despite your best efforts you eventually have to grow up a little bit.

So for the purposes of this episode we’re going to suspend our disbelief that a seventeen year old girl still believes in Santa Claus. Because I think this part of the episode is about that classic line: “Yes Virginia. There is a Santa Claus.” At least that’s how I remember it going.

Brittany believing in Santa is this affirmation and nod toward a childlike innocence that we all wished we still possessed at times. Maybe the world would be a better place if we just believed in Santa Claus at Christmas and remember that magic at childhood.

Of course Brittany’s story about her wanting Artie to walk at Christmas (seriously Artie and walking at Christmas what is up with that trend?) is more about how do we still keep those childhood beliefs from our youth and make them interact with the modern world? Artie is very realistic about his situation in “A Very Glee Christmas”.  He knows what Brittany wants it impossible and even goes as far as to have Coach Bieste impersonate Santa in order for Brittany to have her belief held.

Bieste Santa!

But…

Maybe it’s not a belief in Santa rather a belief if the spirit of Christmas as a whole. It’s a season of miracles. It’s the time of good will. It’s the time where anything is possible even if it’s supposed to be impossible. Maybe Brittany’s innocent belief in Santa Claus is more of a belief of just…wanting to see the good in people and wanting to  see something good happen to someone which something bad happened too.

Or maybe it’s just Brittany being Brittany and I should stop over thinking it.

Also any excuse to get a glee kid in Santa’s lap for one truly hilarious scene (which I can’t find on YouTube).

“When does Asian Santa get here?”  (This will always be one of my most favorite lines ever.)

Also there’s some Finchel drama going on that I don’t really care about writing. It’s like break-up number three hundred and fifty nine. Rachel sings “Merry Christmas Darling” and there is a Finchel duet of “Last Christmas” even though they weren’t together last Christmas but whatever. Look I try to be objective of couples but really four seasons in…I’m just a little exhausted at this point of the Finchel drama. So as a Christmas present to me I’m not talking about their small part in the episode.

Although Rachel has Finn take the blame for not getting the new glee club tree because you know they were supposed to get it not Finn. But whatever.

Now “A Very Glee Christmas” has something truly astounding. In all my years of watching glee, I have yet to see this happen before or since and I will put this on my list of favorite songs from the show.

“Welcome Christmas” a.k.a. the only song that glee has done without a soloist or featured vocalist or anything of the sort.

Like seriously I’ve scoured Wikipedia AND the Glee Wiki AND my own iTunes library which has like every glee song ever released on there.  I could not find another instance of this happening.

It’s a Christmas miracle!

It’s not about solos or about being famous or anything like that! It’s about being together. This one song is all of their voices together as one!

Wow. If the first Christmas special was this good then I can’t wait to see episode ten of season three’s “Extraordinary Merry Christmas” written by Marti Noxon and directed by Matthew Morrison in his directorial debut!

Feel the good cheer?

Wait.

Sorry I got swept up in Christmas cheer.

“Extraordinary Merry Christmas” sucks.

(Okay except for the sheer hilarity of the black and white Christmas special stuff which was just…glorious to me in its cheesy over the top bounty.)

And…I have a theory that “Extraordinary Merry Christmas” is supposed to suck.

Okay let’s look at the writer just to be fair. Marti Noxon! She wrote on Buffy! She must be good! To be fair she wrote some decent episode of Buffy but for glee? It was “Extraordinary Merry Christmas” and season three episode eighteen’s “Choke”.  Both which are not remembered very fondly. From what I remember of the episode reactions with critics and recappers…they pretty much agree with me here. Let’s just say working with Joss Whedon or not I can see why Marti Noxon is not writing for season four now.

But yes let us look at my theory at why “Extraordinary Merry Christmas” is  supposed to be God awful.

Well let’s look at what the show is paying tribute to.

The Star Wars Holiday Special and The Judy Garland Christmas Special.

Uhhhh…it was spectacular. Just not in the way they hoped.

Um…

Really guys? You really want to pay tribute to these two?

Now I admit that I am not very well versed on holiday television lore but since it’s paired up with The Star Wars Holiday Special, then I’m going to assume that Judy Garland’s special was a disaster of unmitigated horribleness.

Look.

Really? Lucas allowed you to pay tribute to that? I thought the holiday special was the project he was personally ashamed of.

To steal a bit from the Nostalgia Critic, who has reviewed The Star Wars Holiday Special and I recommend you check it out, this is the man that said HOWARD THE DUCK MOVIE AND JAR JAR BINKS WAS OKAY!

THIS!

THIS SPECIAL WAS THE ONE HE WAS PERSONALLY ASHAMED OF AND HE GAVE YOU THE OKAY TO GO THROUGH WITH IT?!

Wow! Lucas! First the new Indiana Jones movie and now this…

And they expected “Extraordinary Merry Christmas” to be a good Christmas episode with paying tribute to those two specials?

Yeah. No. No! You can’t expect anything to be good after that! You just can’t!

You knew what you were doing! I’m onto you glee!

You WANTED this special to suck!!!!

Nothing can convince me otherwise.

Why? Is it because Matthew Morrison was directing? Look Ryan Murphy I know you have an issue with him but really? Don’t take it out on the show because of it!

And there’s no…communal effort. We just went through the whole Troubletones story arc. You could have had a good Christmas episode about the two groups learning how to be friends again.

But no. They all had to selfish assholes.

And uh what happened to last year guys?  You were all “let’s help the homeless kids” and now you’re like “screw them I’m going to be famous”.

It makes my head hurt when you do this.

Do you guys want to know how I watch this episode? Like watch it normally without having to do a retrospective on it? Fine. I’ll tell you.

I skip to the black and white parts and watch those. Immediately after Rory is done with reading a Bible passage, I’m out.

Besides those parts are what everyone is going to remember.

Maybe they’re god awful but to me? The black and white parts of the episode are what saves it.

Those parts are absolutely hilarious from the acting choices, to the direction, to the costumes, to the sheer randomness…It is just gloriously bad.

Besides when else are we going to see Mark Salling and Cory Moteith dressed up as Han Solo and Luke Skywalker (except not for copyright infringement according to the Finn)?

NEVER! That’s when! It was glorious! I love stuff like this!

I didn’t know I wanted this to happen until I saw it happen.

Overall? The episode is just…yeah. It’s not a good episode. Sue and New Directions seemed to have swap holiday atittudes?

And they sing Do They Know Its Christmas? (Feed the World) and the proceeds did go to a good cause but…um…yeah that has been parodied way too many times to be taken as sincere in any form.

They should have kept in Santana’s smoking Santa Baby.

It would been so epic too.

Do I really have to talk about the rest of the episode? Because I don’t want to. It’s just bad. There are fifteen to twenty minutes of sheer epicness of an Ian Brennan level of WTF is happening and then the rest of the episode is just horrible.

(Also I know I’m skipping their original Christmas songs. Trust me. I will go back to them later.)

You guys get why “A Very Glee Christmas” is my favorite of the two right?

It’s just a better quality. It’s a better story. It’s just better.

So with that I complete my retrospective.

Now I’m going to find some eggnog to drown my sorrows in. Or until I forget the details of “Extraordinary Merry Christmas”.

NEXT ON THE GLEE REWATCH PROJECT: Either my thoughts on “Glee, Actually” or something else from my Christmas list.

NOTES: So what do you guys think? Am I totally delusional? Which Christmas episode was better? Season two or season three?

Credits: Glee Wiki (glee.wikia.com)
Google Images
Niampatani10 on YouTube
Alaude20 on YouTube
Danial Syah Reza on YouTube
frankenteenglee on YouTube

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One comment on “Glee Episode Retrospectives: A Very Glee Christmas and Extraordinary Merry Christmas

  1. […] as I’ve mentioned in talking about episodes past, Glee Christmas specials don’t really fit with continuity of anything. They’re […]

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