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'Glee' Season 2, Episode 10 Recap

by Joel Keller, posted Dec 8th 2010 12:00AM
The kids sing Christmas songs to an ungrateful class in 'A Very Glee Christmas' on FOX
['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.

(Follow @joelkeller on Twitter.)

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I absolutely hated this episode. Hated the music, hated the way it was sung, hated Rachel, hated Finn, hated Mr Schu. Still love Sue, Artie, and Brittney.

December 10 2010 at 10:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I know this was a Christmas episode, but why did they write the known Jewish character so gung-ho for Christmas? Sure, she was trying to appeal to her ex-boyfriend, but there was hardly any mention of her Channukah traditions or celebrations. C'mon the writers of Glee has made it well known over and over that Rachel, and Puck, are Jewish.

December 09 2010 at 1:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I took this as being just like every other show's Christmas episode: a fun, silly fantasy that is relatively unconnected with the regular story arc. (For example, see the Christmas episodes of Eureka and Warehouse 13 that also aired last night.) I enjoyed it for what it was and don't see much point in getting upset about what it wasn't. I expect the post-Superbowl episode to be similarly irrelevant but fun. After that we'll get back to actual Glee.

December 08 2010 at 12:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

i didn't like the episode either. it felt like a bad Christmas compilation CD. The last song saved it and it would have been cool to hear "Christmastime" from Merry Christmas Charlie Brown, but The Grinch parody?? No, no, no!

December 08 2010 at 10:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This is the first episode I've been truly disappointed with. The songs seemed disjointed and out of place, almost stuffed into the episode. They just didn't flow like they normally do.

When Sue rigged the Secret Santa, it seemed natural. That's Sue. It was funny. Everything after that was downhill. I didn't recognize her anymore. Dressing up as the Grinch? Completely unbelievable, even in the world of Glee.

I like Mercedes. Can we give her a story line that consists of more than a tator tot please???

The Finn and Rachel story line was unneccessary. They "officially" broke up? Wasn't last week's break up "official?" It was nice to see Rachel humble and it was great that Finn didn't cave. But the same thing could have been accomplished with a few meaningful looks. Then again, I guess it was needed in order to get two more Christmas carols out of the episode.

And lastly, Brittany. I love her, but she's like cheesecake. The first few bites are wonderful, but then you start to feel sick. I like her comments peppered in out of the blue. It makes them that much more funny. However, on the flip side, I will say if anyone could have pulled off a ridiculous story line, it's Heather Morris. I found myself laughing even as I was rolling my eyes. The writers may have squeaked by this time, but I wouldn't want to see more Brittany story lines. Otherwise her character will become just an idiot. (By the way, the Artie/Brittany thing is getting kind of creepy. He's a great FRIEND but her childlike behavior makes him become kind of like a fatherly figure and it's just weird to think they're sleeping together.)

Even with the disappointment, still a fan. Can't wait for the Superbowl episode.

December 08 2010 at 10:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Chris Harnick

-- When did Mike O'Malley become an official part of the cast?

I noticed this too, Joel! I thought I just hadn't seen it before.

December 08 2010 at 9:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Chris Harnick's comment

It was announced after season 1 that Mike O'Malley (along with Heather Morris and Naya Rivera) would be regular cast members for season 2

December 08 2010 at 11:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Is it wrong that I didn't like the Artie "miracle"? I feel that it was a bit of a cop-out. Glee was special in that it had a person in a wheelchair be just as part if not more part of everything just like everyone else. It was a positive message that despite your physical abilities you can still play football and all sorts of things. Now they got the actor a way to not be in a wheelchair anymore. Glee lost something I believe special in that. I know there are miracles that happen, but unfortunetly they don't happen all the time and I feel they just got out of having to deal with an actor be "stuck" in a wheelchair. I know they threw in that line about him not being able to wear the gizmo all the time so we will still see him in the wheelchair sometimes, but I still feel that if they had hired an actor that was really in a wheelchair they never would have attempted this kind of storyline.

I know it's a TV show, but it made an impact because you don't see it everyday, so it made a difference and now it's just like any other TV show with a gimmick. I really felt pissed, and sorry if this offends anyone, just my opinion.

December 08 2010 at 2:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Stacie23's comment

i really don't have a problem with where they took Artie's character. I want to believe this is why they didn't get an actor who is actually in a wheelchair.

December 08 2010 at 10:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Stacie, they specifically said that he can't use the legs all the time, so i don't think they are taking him out of his wheelchair full time. And I think people are looking at this all wrong. Where did they say he was going to be out of the wheelchair fulltime, or even some of the time? This wasn't about them, them being the creators, getting rid of a disabled character, I saw this as a message about hope. Brittany still believed, and Coach Beiste was making her wish come true because she had the means to do so. Her hopes as a little girl was dashed, but she could do something about Brittany's. And I hardly think that just because Artie is supposed to be happy with who he is, it doesn't mean that he stops giving up hope that one day he will walk again.

Perhaps it's just the season, or perhaps I'm just in a good mood, but I thought the episode was fun. Was it ridiculous? Of course, Glee often is. But it didn't take itself too seriously, which I rather enjoyed last night.

December 08 2010 at 1:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

While I think this episode was one of the better ones this season, I would agree with your review. But I think your conclusion is really an over-arching theme for this entire second season: "Caricatures"
Ever since the first episode of this second season, most of the characters have became caricatures of themselves. It's ridiculous:
- Rachel is no longer just vain,.. but vain, self-righteous, self-entitled, and bitchy.
- Sue is outrageously mean and evil, but predictably nice by the end of the show.
- Brittany is not just cute with her cute/ignorant one-liners, she's outright dumb/slow/stupid. (Not to mention perpetuating the blond stereotype)

... and what about all of the special guest stars?!
This isn't Saturday Night Live. They don't need to feature a special guest every, single, episode.

Sorry,.. I've just been feeling a growing sense of frustration with Glee. As much as I love it and see how much potential it has, it just seems to have gotten so full of itself for the second season. I'll get off my soapbox now.

December 08 2010 at 2:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Amen, about becoming a cartoon.

The entire show has jumped way into left field this season, so much so that what was appointment television for me last year has become bottom of the DVR, way to kill a Saturday afternoon fodder.

What happened to plot and character development and continuity? It all got trashed in favor of flash in the pan guest stars and jumping on the latest musical bandwagon.

I'm, sadly, over Glee.

December 08 2010 at 1:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Brittany and Artie are horrible! She is being written as a child, and Artie is being written as her parent, which is creepy and gross because they are sleeping together. The whole Artie can walk was cute, but so unrealistic. The only part I enjoyed out of it was that Beiste gave it to him. And Rachel chasing after Finn was ridiculous. Plus, Finn cheated on Quinn twice with Rachel last season, so he needs to get over himself.

December 08 2010 at 12:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Mary's comment

How is that unrealistic? That device actually does exist and while expensive (about 150k) its not outlandish to think that a mysteriously wealthy or well connected person who sees and opportunity to alleviate suffering similar to what they went through, wouldn't make something like this happen

December 08 2010 at 8:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I never doubted the existence of the legs, but how much do they pay high school coaches in Lima or Missouri, where Beiste was before. I wanted him and Tina to find treatments last season, so that he could walk one day, but I feel the legs were just a quick answer to get to our happy ending of the episode. I doubt we will ever see those legs again. It was a cute scene and I was happy for Artie, however, to me, it felt like a cheap band-aid.

December 08 2010 at 12:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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