Glee "Previously Unaired Christmas" Review: A Timey Wimey Christmas

By MaryAnn Sleasman

Dec 06, 2013

Glee S05E08: "Previously Unaired 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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  • chartah Dec 22, 2013

    So. Many. Time. Errors. In this episode. Ruined it for me...

  • sliphawk Dec 14, 2013

    All of them were great - except for Previously Unaired Christmas - but I picked Extraordinary Merry Christmas. It had that amazing scene between Finn and Rachel with the star, which is really sad now, and Kurt and Blaine had the cutest duet. Also all of the songs were good!

  • grkeve Dec 14, 2013

    If this was supposedly aired last season... then WHERE'S FINN?????

  • Adokensan Dec 08, 2013

    Wow, I feel like I'm the only one who think that the episode was one big mess. I didn't find the Kitty-Marley-Unique stuff funny at all, because I didn't see the point of the storyline... Maybe because this was a filler episode that had nothing to do with the season 4-5 story we know. The only part of the episode I found funny was some of the Sue-Becky scenes (but oh my god I just HATED the scene where Becky basically wanted to mouth-rape Tina and Sam. The writers must really hate her character.) and I also thought the scenes with Kurt and the santa was funny. It was relaxing to see Kurt take a brake from all the Klaine stuff. I feel like this was a terrible midseason finale. (this WAS the midseason finale, right?!)

  • jajsmiles Dec 14, 2013

    I didn't like it either. I didn't care for Kurt and Santa because it felt like Kurt was cheating even though I know it was supposed to be a year ago and so Kurt was single it just had an odd vibe to it. The only part I liked was Santana as Mrs. Clause, it was awkward in a funny sort of way. The rest of the episode was just awkward without the funny. :/

  • ark1317 Dec 09, 2013

    I mostly agree with you, not for the part about Kurt, I thought they had zero chemistry... Santa was just too hot for Kurt!

  • JayChaplin Dec 08, 2013

    Thye could have shown the yule log for an hour and it would have been better that season 4's glee actually. This one was fun yet total filler in this never ending school year.

  • KateSullivan Dec 08, 2013

    Maybe they needed to pinpoint when Becky stopped being horrible all the time? It was just so random.

  • ark1317 Dec 07, 2013

    I've always wondered at what point did Marley stopped wearing that hat.

    Anyway I don't remember anything about the actual christmas episode... and if this was considered to be an alternative version, then all my fears of retconning and inconsistencies are unfounded. Even if it wasn't, it took place on a different day than the previous one, so the only plotholes are Brittany and Finn, which are the reason they shouldn't have done it in the first place...

    I felt this episode to be completely useless by the way. Boring, lazily written.

  • ben45tpy Dec 07, 2013

    Seems like everyone loves Extraordinary Merry Christmas. WHY????? It was utter garbage, one of the strongest candidates for worst Glee episode ever. It says a lot that this one wasn't much better. Glee doesn't have a good record with Christmas episodes, only A Very Glee Christmas was any good, and it wasn't a classic.

  • nexpose Dec 07, 2013

    The "Extraordinary Glee Xmas" was hands down the best. We all know Glee is pretty whacked out silly a lot and this ep. was in the "too much for me" category. I forget how the timeline went in 2012 but had Finn already visited or not? I take it's no since of course he wasn't in it but I almost thought he had surprised them up there before Xmas. Santana was definitely a highlight although on an external note I'd like more meat on her bones. :P

  • smoffs Dec 07, 2013

    Honestly thought this episode was offensive in a variety of ways.

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