Saturday, January 15, 2011

Glee 2.10: "A Very Glee Christmas"

“I’m pretty sure they just added food coloring to real slush from the parking lot.”

“A Very Glee Christmas” was a cute episode overall, although I thought it was a bit disjointed and trying to do too much. I think it would have been better had the “Glee” producers saved one of the two major plots in this episode for a future Christmas special. I would have liked to have seen an episode that was either just a “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” parody or just dealing with Artie trying to preserve Brittany’s belief in Santa Claus. The silly Rachel/Finn drama could have worked in either setting, I guess, although it works better with the latter. The result was some good, if a bit saccharine, ideas that just didn’t really have enough time to breathe and develop into something truly great.

The episode opens in the faculty lunch room. Emma invites Will to a Christmas party she and Carl are hosting, and Will (rightfully) declines. Things are still rather awkward between them. The rather easy friendship they had before Emma started seeing Carl just isn’t there anymore. Coach Bieste interrupts the awkwardness with an announcement that it’s time to choose names for the annual faculty Secret Santa. Will is disappointed to see that he chose Sue, and given the sour look on Emma’s face, she’s not happy with her choice either. It will soon become blatantly obvious why.

Meanwhile, Artie is very surprised to discover that Brittany still believes in Santa Claus. He really shouldn’t be all that surprised. Brittany can dance like nobody’s business, but she’s also kind of dumb as rocks. And that might be putting it nicely. We cut to the glee club kids all happily singing Christmas songs as they decorate the choir room. Thankfully, the saccharine is soon cut by some dark humor- the kind of humor that made me like “Glee” in the first place. Will makes a surprised entrance into the choir room and asks the kids where they got all the decorations. All were either found or stolen. For instance, Finn picked up the Christmas tree after it fell off a truck. I thought the misfit-ness of their decorations was finally getting back to the core of the show. In fact, the kids kind of agree. They’re upset that they’re still treated as losers by their classmates, even though they’ve now won Sectionals (sort of) twice.

Will wants to get the kids’ minds off of Christmas colored Slushies in their faces and on to the true meaning of the holiday season. He announces that they’re going to go caroling around the school to raise money for the McKinney-Vento Homeless Children’s Shelter. And I started laughing like a fiend, because clearly one of the “Glee” writers is a lawyer. You see, the McKinney-Vento Act is a law that addresses where homeless children have the right to go to school (and here comes the obligatory disclaimer about how nothing in this blog should be construed as legal advice…and moving on). Suffice it to say, I had a bit of an education law geek out.

To say New Directions’ first attempt at caroling doesn’t go well would be an understatement for sure. The kids in the class they’re singing for are horribly rude. The kids yell at and mock the glee club as they sing. To make matters worse, the teacher doesn’t do a thing about it. In fact, she throws her shoe at the glee club. Back in the choir room, the kids finish decorating a new, not stolen, tree Will bought for them. Brittany mentions that she asked Santa to make it so the glee club isn’t picked on anymore. The rest of the club is shocked that Brittany still believes in Santa, and they gather around Artie for an explanation. Artie begs the kids not to let on that Santa isn’t real. He’s got an idea to make Brittany’s Christmas special, and he doesn’t want them to ruin it. Before the kids go back to work, Rachel asks Finn to meet her in the auditorium the next day.

Artie drags the whole glee club out to see Santa. He thinks that if Brittany sees all of her friends happy and believing in Santa, it will build up her strength enough to withstand any naysayers. There’s a montage of everyone’s time with Santa that is actually pretty funny. The fun stops when Brittany actually gets her time with Santa, though. Brittany asks Santa to make Artie able to walk again. Artie frantically motions to Santa that he should say “no,” but he says “sure.” This causes Artie to go into quite the panic. He and the other boys ask Coach Beiste to dress up as Santa (Brittany only pays attention to the suit- she doesn’t notice who is actually wearing it) and tell Brittany that Artie can’t be “fixed.” Coach Beiste is a little offended and reluctant at first, but the boys are eventually able to convince her. In other relationship news, Rachel has created an elaborate holiday set-up in the auditorium for Finn. She wants to sing him an apology song. Finn refuses, saying he’s not ready to forgive Rachel for fooling around with Puck. After Finn storms off, Rachel sings “Merry Christmas, Darling.”

In what I think is going to become a trend for as long as Kurt is away from McKinley, we next visit Dalton Academy for one rather short scene that seems to exist just for the purpose of making sure Kurt is in the episode. Kurt and Blaine are in a student lounge, and Blaine asks Kurt to help him rehearse for his performance at the upcoming King’s Island holiday show. They sing a rather adorable duet of “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” and just as they wrap up the song, Will shows up. Since Will can’t do anything, even visit a former student, for altruistic reasons, he tells Kurt he needs his help. He wants Kurt to go shopping with him to get something for Sue. As the Secret Santa is about to start, Will and Emma both realize that they’ve shopped for Sue. Sue walks by and says that she’s everyone’s Secret Santa. Will and Emma are, obviously, not happy about that.

Will enacts a plan to try and take all the presents back from Sue. Lauren distracts Sue by wearing a Santa hat (Sue doesn’t approve of such things) while Will organizes the rest of the glee kids to take the presents out of Sue’s office. Sue discovers the plot, though, and she’s not happy. She says she’s going to make a phone call to Gloria Alred. Hate to tell Sue, but I don’t think Gloria Alred would want to get involved in this case. There would be no press conferences in this situation, for starters. I don’t think Sue would be sympathetic enough. Will puts a stop to Sue’s rant by telling her she’s a Grinch.

Sue is outraged that people would take away the presents she scammed from them, which really makes her even a more disgusting human being than she was before. There really isn’t anything redeeming about Sue, and her act got old a long time ago. She dresses up as the Grinch and dresses up Becky as the Grinch’s dog, complete with single antler. They break into the choir room, and not only do they steal all the presents (which the kids were going to give to McKinney-Vento), but they completely trash the place, too. Ruining all those Christmases is really inexcusable. Brittany plays the role of Cindy Lou Who, walking in on this mess while Sue and Becky are about to leave. Sue gives her the classic line about how she’s taking some things back to the North Pole for repairs, and of course Brittany buys it hook, line, and sinker.

Meanwhile, Rachel still hasn’t given up on winning Finn back. After the glee club sees the destruction, she asks Finn to go with her to get (yet another) new Christmas tree. There’s tons of awkwardness and angst as Finn and Rachel sing “Last Christmas” while breezing through the Christmas trees. They come close to kissing, and that’s when Finn has had enough. He’s fed up with Rachel trying to manipulate him, and he’s still deeply hurt that she would even consider hooking up with Puck after what happened with Quinn last year. He breaks up with Rachel officially.

Later, Artie’s plan to maintain Brittany’s belief in Santa goes into effect. Brittany is shocked to see “Santa” in her living room, and she’s devastated when she’s told that she isn’t going to get what she asked for Christmas. The conversation between Brittany and Coach Beiste is very sweet, but it leaves Brittany broken. She takes all of the Christmas decorations down from her locker at school, saying she lost her Christmas spirit. The rest of New Directions are in a similar state. Will walks into the choir room and sees they’re ready to go all “Gift of the Magi,” with the boys putting their watches into a hat and the girls getting ready to cut their hair. Will puts a stop to the silliness and says they should sing their Christmas carols to people who really need Christmas spirit.

That group of people who really need the Christmas spirit turns out to be the McKinley High faculty. The kids (minus Artie, who is busy consoling Brittany) set up a concert in the faculty lounge, and Sue is nearby giving an “Evil Speech of Evil” to Becky when the music starts. The kids sing the song that the Who sing in “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” of course, and of course, Sue’s expression softens as she hears it. When the kids get back to the choir room, they see Artie walking around using this robotic-type device. Apparently it was invented in Israel. Nobody knows where the device came from, but Brittany is convinced that Santa actually came through. Coach Beiste looks on happily, and we’re left to assume that the gift was from her.

Will gets home from a long day at work and hears noises around his apartment (which has been suspiciously decorated for Christmas). It turns out Sue is responsible for all of it. She apologizes (sort of) to Will for Grinching everything up. Not only has Sue tried to make amends, she brought the rest of New Directions with her to help. They’re all determined to try to have a happy holiday season, losers or not. Despite the candy coating, however, all is still not right with New Directions. Finn and Rachel are still broken up, and Kurt is still at another school.

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