'Glee' Season 2, Episode 10 Recap
by Joel Keller, posted Dec 8th 2010 12:00AM
['Glee' - 'A Very Glee Christmas']
Well, they did it. Ryan Murphy, Ian Brennan, and Brad Falchuk have been leaning in this direction all season, but in the Christmas episode, they threw caution to the wind and went all the way in.
They made Sue Sylvester into a cartoon character.
Not just any cartoon character, mind you. They made her into one of the most diabolical cartoon characters of all time: The Grinch. And while a green-painted Sue trash the choir room with the help of her rain-dog assistant Becky was a fun little parody to watch, in the grand scheme of what was a pretty damn good episode, it was too much of a distraction.
And it left me worried that what was such a great role for Jane Lynch last year, a role that won her an easy Emmy, is becoming a big fat joke.
Yes, I know that Sue redeemed herself at the end of the episode, seeing the error of her ways as the Gleesters recovered from her treachery by singing for the teachers in order to raise money. She brought the tree back, the presents back, and even asked the kids to join Will on Christmas Eve. But, up until that point, Sue was just so ridiculously selfish and evil, rigging the Secret Santa so everyone would give her a gift then threatening people with theft charges if they took back the gifts, that she stopped being anything close to being a human character.
Then she donned the green makeup, put Becky in the horns and nose, and it was over. Sue Sylvester officially stopped being a believable character and became a caricature. We got a quick line of dialogue from her about never getting presents as a kid, but then that line of thought was never explored, until Will said at the end, "I thought you hated Christmas." "I don't hate Christmas. I just hate you," she said as the kids trimmed the tree. So this was all just to terrorize the glee club? Even Sue wouldn't steal presents earmarked for charity in order to exact revenge... at least the Sue from the first season wouldn't.
As I said, though, this was a small black mark in an otherwise good episode. The linchpin of the hour was Brittany's belief in Santa Claus. As childlike as Brittany is, it's still a bit of a surprise that she still believes in St. Nick. But instead of making fun of it, the writers decided to embrace it. Artie, bless his peapicking little heart, really wanted to keep the magic alive, figuring that it's pretty much been forced out of everyone else. It seems like the Artie-Brittany coupling has been pretty good for both of these kids, hasn't it? It's way more fun to watch than Rachel and Finn and all their angst.
Anyway, it was very cute that Brittany can just believe by seeing the suit. It doesn't matter if the person in the suit is black, green, or the female football coach. Santa is Santa to her. And her request to Santa that Artie gets the ability to walk was a bit misplaced, but sweeter than anything she's done to this point. If anything, her naive belief allowed Coach Beiste to do something nice for both of them, giving Artie that walking apparatus that he can wear when he needs to. Who knew journeymen football coaches had that kind of money?
Do we still care about Rachel and Finn at this point? Not sure how Rachel is trying to weasel her way back into Finn's heart. Does she think singing the Andrew Ridgeley part in 'Last Christmas' is going to win him over? Or crooning among some fake snow and trees on stage? Finn's right; both of his girlfriends cheated on him (with Puck, no less, which he didn't even mention) and that's pretty messed up. Good to see Rachel look like she really cares that she hurt Finn. But it does feel like the two of them should go their own way for awhile before we see them together again. So, as nice as 'Last Christmas' was, I'm glad Finn didn't fall for it.
More fun stuff:
-- A relatively Kurt-less episode for a change. Yes, he did the female part on 'Baby It's Cold Outside' with Blaine, who we now find out he's in love with. But that was about the extent of the Kurt story this week. As much as I enjoy watching Chris Colfer, we could all use the break.
-- Did Lynch sing 'You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch'?
-- Because the show stayed away from newer pop songs and stuck with mostly schmaltzy traditional Christmas songs this week, the Auto-Tune seemed to fit the songs. It felt almost festive.
-- Good for Will for turning down Emma's Christmas Eve offer. Believe me, spending time with the woman you love (for some reason) and her new husband is much worse than spending it alone.
-- Knowing the state of public education these days, I can't imagine that any of the Gleesters really know the story of 'The Gift of the Magi' enough to even donate their watches and hair. Will seemed like he was about to tell them but I don't think he got very far.
-- Even the other teachers hate the Gleesters, as evidenced by the shoe-throwing at the beginning of the episode.
-- Finn reminded me of Linus, keeping a positive Christmas attitude amongst the cynicism.
-- When did Mike O'Malley become an official part of the cast?
-- Sam's request from Santa? Lip balm and lots of it. He knows those things are high maintenance.
-- Oh, and... Mike Chang! He really didn't have much to do this week, but I figured I'd mention him anyway.
'Glee' airs Tuesdays at 8PM ET on FOX.