Well, that was interesting. That’s pretty much the only thought that went through my head after last night’s Christmas episode of Glee. Technically, the episode had nothing to do with this year’s Christmas (since the series’ timeline is still stuck in the never-ending spring of 2013). Instead, it was an unaired Christmas special from last year, an episode of Glee, as Jane Lynch explained during the beginning of the episode, while shoving coal into the stockings of her Emmy competitors (and Meryl Streep), that was supposedly censored by Fox last year and had been recut in order to air this December.
The idea of Glee producing an over-the-top, too outrageous for TV Christmas episode is funny in theory; however, aside from Kurt hooking up with the guy playing Santa (who then ties Kurt up and robs his and Rachel’s apartment while she and Santana are asleep) and Santana’s very non-PC talks with the kids while being Mrs. Claus, there was nothing particular crazy or really funny about “Previously Unaired Christmas.” Due to the fact that the episode transports us back to last year (not long after “The Break-Up,” a time where Marley and Jake are still together, Kitty is still a prickly character, and Santana has not yet moved to New York), I immediately felt disconnected to last night’s Glee. Ultimately, because the episode is not really canon in the show’s universe and has no real impact on Glee itself or its characters, most of the hour feels like a waste, an excuse to dress Santana and Rachel up in promiscuous elf costumes (not that I’m complaining about that part) and sell Christmas songs on iTunes.
Some moments do enlighten us about certain character changes from last season, such as Kitty’s transformation from Quinn 2.0 into an enjoyable character that I can root for. However, the answer to this question isn’t really compelling. Kitty secretly wants to be more like the Virgin Mary and thus, by playing her in the Living Nativity, embodies more Mary-esque qualities? I’d almost rather Glee not give us an explanation for Kitty’s character development if that’s the best that the writers could come up with.
However, one thing I did like about this storyline was witnessing more of Marley and Kitty’s relationship and seeing how the two of them came to connect with one another. While the entire Living Nativity storyline felt pretty contradictory to the McKinley high school we’ve seen in the past (I can’t see the glee kids, or the school itself, embracing such a religious activity. Remember “Grilled Cheesus,” writers?), I did like how it provided us with these scenes of Marley coming to understand Kitty more as a person.
Overall, “Previously Unaired Christmas” was another inconsistent episode of Glee in what I consider to be the series’ most inconsistent season to date. I really hope that the new year can bring some form of consistency back to Glee and have the series nail those epic emotional moments that it used to do so well (and did do well this season in “The Quarterback”), even if the rest of the show keeps stumbling over itself.
I thought most of the music in this episode was pretty “meh” but I did enjoy Rachel, Kurt, and Santana’s performance of “Here Comes Santa Claus” (followed by the kids’ unenthusiastic reaction to it). Also, “Away In a Manger” sounded nice.
I really hate how Glee has tarted up Becky. It is fine to make her be Sue’s assistant and to allow her to be crass every once in a while, but consistently making her a lusty special needs student is, in my opinion, offensive, and it also makes her character extremely one-note.
Even though I thought the whole Santa storyline was unnecessary and did not provide anything funny or interesting for the characters, I did love watching Rachel, Kurt, and Santana do something together besides sitting in their loft. Also, Santana as Mrs. Claus was probably my favorite part of the episode.
That’s it for Glee until February. Hopefully, when Glee returns, the New Directions can finally compete at Nationals so that the Glee writers can find some newer, fresher, and more enjoyable storyline avenues to explore.
What did you think of “Previously Unaired Christmas?” How would your rank compared to Glee’s other Christmas episodes?
[Photo via Adam Rose/FOX]