Glee: 3.09 “Extraordinary Merry Christmas”

Season 3 Episode 9
Airdate: December 13, 2011

Porpoise of Life name: “Christmas II”
Issue of the Week: Christmas

This episode is pretty much all Christmas music. So instead of providing lots of screencaps, I will use them sparingly and embed every song. It’s a better way to present a review of this particular episode. Until Fox pulls all their stuff from Youtube and renders this article useless. I think it will also slow down the load time considerably.

The first song is “All I Want for Christmas is You” led by Mercedes. Afterward, in the hallway, Rachel gives Finn her Christmas list, which is very long and full of very expensive things. Rachel is not letting the holiday go to waste. She has a boyfriend this time and wants lots and lots of things. She’s Jewish, but Christmas equals free stuff and Rachel will not let the opportunity to acquire more material possessions pass her by. That is how much of a Jew she is.

Finn can’t afford all this crap and tries to temper her Semitic greed by being all like, “All I want is what the song says, you.” But since Rachel didn’t sing lead she wasn’t paying attention to the song and has no idea what Finn is referring to. “Holy crap,” Finn says to himself. “I’m dating Kim Kardashian.”  Finn seems about as smart as Kris Humphries, so I guess they are the perfect couple.

Sue orders the glee club to sing at a homeless shelter this Friday. Yes, Sue has started to care about the less fortunate. She says it is because this is the first Christmas she will spend without her late sister. This has gotten Sue thinking about her own mortality and how she is probably going to go to Hell unless she can ring up some good deeds.

In the glee room, Rory is sad. As I can’t understand his accent, I went to the Wikipedia entry for this episode which states it is because he is homesick. His family is unable to come visit him because Ireland is too poor to afford airplanes.  Rory expresses his sorrow with the Elvis song “Blue Christmas”.

Sam is away from his family as well, so he offers to take the Irishman under his wing and show him a real USA Christmas. I have no idea how it differs from an Irish Christmas. Maybe since there are no presents in Ireland, everyone just passes around potatoes.

Tina starts talking until Will interrupts her. Will is like Rachel in that they both only care to hear Rachel speak.

Will has big news: the local PBS station wants the glee club to produce a holiday special. Will wants Artie to be the director, because he did such a good job directing West Side Story by copying the movie.

The station director meets Artie and compares him to Tiny Tim, which Artie takes offense to. Maybe the PBS guy meant Tiny Tim, the weird musician. Artie wants this special to be a homage to The Star Wars Holiday Special (the embarrassing 1978 TV special that Lucas wants to destroy all evidence of) as well as other less fun things. Chewbacca visited Artie in a dream and threatened to kill him unless he honored Star Wars at Christmas. It really grinds my gears that Chewbacca appeared in the promo for this episode, but his actual scene time was only, like, one little second. Chewie was shown more in the commercial for this episode than he was in the actual episode.

On the subject of the SWHS, I was a Star Wars nerd as a kid. I saw all six movies in theaters and collected and read many of the Expanded Universe novels in the order they take place, starting with The Truce at Bakura (which starts immediately after the end of Return of the Jedi). The next book in the series was the ridiculously bad The Courtship of Princess Leia, in which Han and Leia get married. But first Leia is courted by the prince of a super wealthy cluster of planets that I guess the Empire forgot to conquer or something.  There is also a planet of Jedi witches who ride rancors. Almost every EU book had a Jedi or two who managed to stay hidden from Vader and the Emperor. Turns out those two did a real shit job of wiping out the Jedis.

Looking back, I regret that I spent so much of my pre-teens reading Star Wars books instead of good books. But when I first find out about the SWHS, I went searching for it online. But in the days before Youtube and bittorrent and search engines that could actually find what you wanted, I came up empty. It would be easier to find it today, but I have no interest. I don’t even think I could watch it ironically. I’ve sat through far too much bad Star Wars as it is, including three movies.

There were two Glee-related commercials during this break. The first was for the Blu-ray of the Glee concert, which was a nationwide tour, then a movie (in 3-D for some reason), and now a Blu-ray. The second ad was to get you to send a text to receive the setlist for this episode as well as bunch of other super cool stuff that will cost you $4.95 each. Fox isn’t just milking this cow, they’re taking it to Guatemala to inject it with growth hormones banned by most first world countries.

We come back from commercial to see Rachel singing “River” a Joni Mitchell song, for the Christmas special. But Artie doesn’t like it. The authority is inflating his ego, just as it did during the run up to West Side Story. Artie is going to go all Hollywood on us and start wearing a beret and sunglasses, and decorate his wheelchair like a director’s chair.

Sam has had enough of Artie’s shit and quits the production. He wants Rory, the other poor kid, to come with him in solidarity. But Rory is too scared to leave. They don’t have cripples in Ireland, as the grinding poverty on that island makes it impossible to support anyone who can work on a field. They are forced to throw the disabled off a cliff as babies 300 style. Rory is quite sure what Artie is exactly, but assumes since he gets to sit in a chair all day that he’s some sort of big shot with a lot of power. The way Artie turns into Kim Jong-il every time he gets to direct would certainly convince Rory it’s true.

Rachel and Blaine must really prove themselves to Artie, so they sing an original Glee song “Extraordinary Merry Christmas”. Even if Artie liked it, he would never say so. Praise is not given to the little people. Only fear is can make them toil harder.

Sue is pissed. The PBS special will be taped on Friday night, which is the same time she ordered the kids to sing at the homeless shelter. But the kids would rather be on TV.

Instead of the glee kids debating how they can be at two places on one night, we go straight to the Christmas special. It’s in black and white like those old Christmas TV specials even Ryan Murphy would have been too young to have seen. Kurt and Blaine play the part of a gay couple hosting their friends for day and start things off with the old classic “Let It Snow”.  Rachel and Mercedes “enter” and the four sing “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music . Then Puck and Finn arrive dressed like Star Wars characters. Of course Puck is Han Solo (he’s not quite cool enough to be Lando). Finn is dressed as Luke, which is not right for him. Finn should be Jar-Jar Binks.Iit suits him. Finn and Puck sing “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” which is another old Christmas classic from the 1930s, but the idiots at the Glee Wikia currently think was written by Bruce Springsteen.

The cheer team arrives with Mike and Tina, and Brittany sings “Christmas Wrapping”, a 1981 song I have never heard before. It sounds pretty good despite its decade, I must admit. The song’s Wikipedia entry claims it was an early rap song. I guess rap was still new and no one quite knew it what direction it would take. Imagine if events had gone a little differently in those early days and we wind up with all of NWA’s songs like this.

I don’t have much to say about this holiday special. It’s too long and stupid and black & white. I did like how Kurt spent the special worried he would not get a necklace for Christmas and later apologized for neglecting his duties in the kitchen. Shows you the dynamic that will develop after he and Blaine are married.

Rory ends the program. He is dressed as an elf, but instead of ready from Frosty as planned, he reads from the Bible, which is Ireland’s constitution. As I can’t understand him, I will assume it’s a passage about Jesus, which reminds the Glee kids—and us!—what this time of year is really about.

Sam and Quinn skipped the special to assist Sue at the homeless shelter. But the shelter is almost out of food. Sue notes that a lot of people need their services, but in a recession people have less to give. Glee is acknowledging the recession. Not that Ryan Murphy has any idea there is one. The only effect the recession has had on him is the large number of desperate teens who email him links to Youtube videos of them singing.

The other glee kids arrive at the shelter withmore food. Oh…so I guess that scheduling conflict never was a conflict? Ryan Murphy doesn’t think you need conflict to have a story.

The kids sing “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” which was a celebrity charity song made in the 80s to raise money for famine relief in Ireland.

Back at school, Finn gives Rachel a gift. It’s a piece of paper from a company that will name a star after you if you send them money. You people know that’s a scam right? There is no such thing a company that has the authority to assign names to stars.

Where are Penn & Teller when you need them?bullshitBut the real scam is that Finn named the star after himself and passes it off as gift to Rachel “because there’s already a star named Rachel Berry.” Christ, Finn. The only consolation from this instance of Finn being selfish is that he was stupid enough to waste his money on it.

The episode ends downtown, where Sam and Rory are bell ringers, raising money to bring Rory’s family over the US. Their non-conflict fixed itself too. It’s a Christmas miracle! Because they are such good pals, Rory asks the following of Sam:

“Sam, Eywaz wandurin’ iv mahbee yud lik tubee ma Valentime date-partnor a’ well. Ah men, yadedsoch a good jab beaming me on Christmas pastnite, I fipper you hawrd no prublum helpin’ me rubba’ nob or two by Fuburahry.”

–Rory Flanagan

 

Grade: F

Episodes that have so many songs they don’t leave time for story usually aren’t good. I disliked last year’s Xmas ep, but this one is worse.

By the way, since this is the mid-season break, we should check the results of which show has been better each week, Glee, or the freshman sitcom that follows it, New Girl. I didn’t even see this week’s New Girl, because it was their second Christmas episode in a month. There will probably be a third one in January. Here’s the final score:

Glee vs. New Girl

Glee vs. New Girl

Best Song:

“Christmas Wrapping” – the Waitresses. Performed by the Brittany

Kurt’s Best Outfit:

Kurt’s Best Outfit