Glee Recap/Review Season 5 Episode 8 ‘Previously Unaired Christmas’: Rah, funbug

glee xmas ep

And you thought last week’s puppet-powered hallucinations were wacky to a fault? Try Glee Episode 8, Previously Unaired Christmas.

Not that we weren’t warned by the alphabet soup of ratings letters at the top of the hour, targeting D (drugs), L (language), S (sex) and even V (violence). But no — I never expected a Glee as tawdry, tacky and deliriously crazy. I mean, even great anti-sentiment holiday movies like Bad Santa and The Ref have nothing on this.

You want a Christmas show that stands the season on its ear, then pummels it with tawdry, trippy, off-the-wall weirdness? You’ve got Previously Unaired Christmas, an episode so gleefully given to warped comic outrageousness that it made me laugh more than any of Glee’s 96 TV hours to date.

Where do I begin? How about Love Child, the utterly ridiculous Motown-bent given to the Virgin Mary’s story, with Marley, Tina and a baby-bellied Unique twisting it into the kind of supreme offensiveness of which Jane Lynch complained in the clever intro (setting this up as a flashback to last Christmas, since Glee-proper is currently near the end of the school year, not the calendar year).

I can hear Ryan Murphy and company now: We haven’t gone far enough. Let’s have Unique stumble in pain, lie down with legs spread and then pop out the baby right there on stage, with Blake brandishing it on high in Lion King triumph.

That made Kitty’s jaw drop — as well as mine, before I began convulsing with laughter.

Yet you must admit: Sue has a point sometimes.

Or take Santana’s turn as “bad Santa wife” for kids at a mall, whom elves-for-hire Kurt and Rachel tried to shield from her terse tirades and adult-level confessionals. Again, rolling I am. Laughing so hard.

And the music, including the wildly inappropriate — thus perfect — Love Child, was weirdly effective if not sentimentally affecting.

Oldies such as Gene Autry’s Here Comes Santa Claus and Brenda Lee’s Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree gained spry new life, and The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late), a helium-fueled tribute to a 1958 novelty hit by David Seville’s Alvin and the Chipmunks, was shrewdly in tune with the drug-drenched spectacle of it all, what with Stoner Brett’s pot brownies and Rachel and Santana’s morning-after alcoholic haze.

This is a Christmas show? Are we sufficiently offended yet?

Then try the lovely lunacy of finale Away in a Manger. (I’m skipping past the odd, ABBA-esque reggae number Mary’s Little Boy. Didn’t do it for me.)

For anyone who complains that Lima scenes just aren’t edgy enough compared to Goham, this one showed that Ohio’s little glee clubbers can be as perverse as any New Yorkers. Most of all I loved Becky’s face atop the near-naked doll depicting the baby Jesus. Genius!

Wait — did I just say that? Oh no. I must have whiffed too much helium, or wafts of natural gas through a grate. I take it back. I take it all back.

Like Sue, I can’t condone this travesty of trashy fun at the expense of Yule spirit. Like the Fox executives she mentions, I’m appalled by how far Glee has taken its giddy, anything-goes liberation within a holy context.

And like a responsible person who respects traditions, I can’t endorse this horrible Glee episode which spins Christmas rituals into a twisted, perverse romp. (Did I even mention Kurt’s being hog-tied by a hunk he didn’t know but made out with — or the show’s working title of Rough Trade Santa?)

No, Glee took things too far — ‘way too far. And this Glee was horrible — just horrible.

Now let me see it again. I still can’t believe it.

— Bruce Westbrook

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