Glee "Previously Unaired Christmas" Review: A Timey Wimey Christmas
The thing about "finally" airing an episode that was supposedly filmed last season, took place in the timeline of last season, and was banned by the network until now is that Glee's continuity, character development, and self-awareness are so muddled and cray-cray that honestly, without the Jane Lynch public service announcement, I probably wouldn't have noticed. Scratch that—I'd have noticed, but I would have chalked it up to Glee being Glee rather than some conscious effort on the show's part to... what exactly? The desperation to be seen as edgy was thicker than eggnog, which in turn distracted from the supposed sweetness of Tina pity-awarding Becky the angel decoration or Unique and Marley going out of their way to convince Kitty to be Mary in the school's living nativity for reasons that were never entirely explained. The whole episode reeked of attention-seeking (you know, more than the usual Glee episode) and seemed to be screaming, "LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME!" at every jingle-bell-laden turn.
There were some high points—Santana as Slutty-Sassy Mrs. Claus was amazing. She was the internal monologue come to life of seasonal holiday help everywhere. Bless her.
Okay, there was one high point.
Perhaps the flashback-but-not aspect of the episode did more harm than good? We already knew that Marley and Jake would break up. We already knew that Santana would move to New York full-time. We already knew that Klaine would get back together. These weren't particularly compelling storylines the first time around, and revisiting them and tossing in some dance numbers of questionable taste doesn't make them any more interesting.
Glee has been very open about the rebuilding that's had to take place in the wake of Cory Monteith's death. Ryan Murphy has said that he already had Glee's big series finale planned, and that finale can no longer happen. There's been talk of shifting the show to New York full-time, but that's still, as far as we know, just talk. I was surprised by how soon the show returned following its perfect "The Quarterback," but now, with a new return date of Tuesday, February 25, it seems that Glee may've simply rescheduled its alone time for a later date. It also tentatively explains the decision to air an episode that randomly takes place in the middle of last season, even though last season had a Christmas episode of its very own.
The holidays are stupid amounts of fun and awesome, but they can also be sad. It would have been almost impossible to do a zany, weird, sometimes-tasteless Christmas episode in Season 5 without acknowledging the loss New Directions endured just a few months prior to it, but you can't have Rachel and gang struggling through their first holiday season without Finn in one scene and then have Unique birth a baby Jesus in the next without it being terrible. Also, I imagine that forcing the cast and crew to display what are probably very real, personal feelings during this time to display them on camera for our entertainment would've been a particularly awful kind of cruel.
Placing an episode firmly in last season's timeline was also a handy way of pumping the brakes on Season 5 to buy some time to figure out where it now needs to go.
So, I get it. "Previously Unaired Christmas" happened because of reasons, and as far as the saccharine Becky and Kitty storylines go, well, that's what Christmas TV is for—gross over-caring tales—and as a fan of The Christmas Cottage, I'm really not sure that I have the right to complain about it except that having Sue acknowledge the special treatment Becky gets, and that said special treatment is wrong, and THEN having Becky receive it and presenting it as a positive kind of didn't make any sense. Whatever.
Oh, and the nativity stuff, too—in what American public high school is an administration-sponsored living nativity making it to fruition?
– Glee Christmas playlist time: meh.
– LOL @ Jane Lynch's stockings.
– That was the actual Chipmunks song recording, wasn't it? HOW DARE YOU, GLEE. HOW DARE YOU.
– I think Kitty and I had the same facial expression during "Love Child."
– Sexy Claus and Kurt were kind of amazing until the whole robbing-the-loft-blind part.
– FEBRUARY?!? February.
What did you think of "Previously Unaired Christmas"?
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