Glee Episode 410: Glee Actually Is A Mediocre Show About Puppies

Ladies and gentlehooved creatures of the internet, let me tell you this one thing: if there’s anything I hate more than a bad episode of Glee, it’s the popular romantic comedy film Love Actually. In 2004, Love Actually dethroned Patch Adams as my personal “number one movie I hate and everybody else likes despite the fact that it’s the most unbearable cinematic event of all time.”

If you’d like to take this opportunity to dash into the comments and proclaim your love for Love Actually, that’s fine, this isn’t the first time we’ve been through this. I’ll just be here, staring at this photograph of Bangers and Mash in pajamas:


Hello again! This week’s episode, Glee Actually, promised to remind me of Love Actually and I realized, when pondering this situation, that in general Glee and Love Actually already have a lot in common. For example, this quote describing Love Actually from the Videogum article “The Hunt For The Worst Movie Ever: Love Actually” could easily be used to describe Glee: “…almost none of the relationships are particularly well explained other than the fact that they all seem to bring everyone to the same locations on a regular basis (airports, weddings, school plays).”

Well, luckily for me, this week’s episode of Glee didn’t attempt to re-create Love Actually shot-by-shot, at least not on purpose, much to our collective relief.  However, it managed to capture the “why anything” spirit of Love Actually, in which relationships and continuity are blissfully discarded in favor of cloying hollow bullshit!

There were a lot of adult parts and I don’t recap the adult parts. Remember when I only recapped the gay parts? I miss those days. They were very low-maintenance days. Let’s begin!

We open in Sue Sylvester’s office, where Sue Sylvester is journaling about the Christmas season.


this year i will impail the glee club with my laserbeam fingers

We then transition quickly to the hallowed hallways of dear dear McKinley High, where Artie, dressed in a very festive Christmas sweater, is struggling to get shit into his locker after a spill on the ice outside.

god every time i wear this amazing scarf somebody tries to steal it right off my neckhole

Finn, ’cause he just hangs out at McKinley now, rushes to Artie’s rescue and then insists Artie let Finn take him to the hospital, which Artie doesn’t enjoy:

Artie: “I’m tired of being so helpless, and I’m tired of everybody pitying me, and I’m tired of being in this chair.”

It’s true, he’d much rather be a reindeer!

dolly parton is actually the best part of this sitch

Alas, Annabelle’s wish is not granted, but Artie’s is — we transition spookily to a Grayscale Glee World wherein Arie’s traditionally-functional legs have somehow wrought near-apocalyptic disaster upon all of Laviscous Lima, Ohio. But hark! Which eighth-rate insufferable hack from a 17th-rate insufferable reality television show is here to guide Artie through Grayscale Glee?

Irish Breakfast: “I’m your Christmas guardian angel, and I’ve granted your wish. Your car accident never happened.”

heh-heh this show is even worse than when i was arbitrarily part of the main cast

In Grayscale Glee, that dark dizzy merry-go-round, everything’s a mess: Tina still stutters, and because Artie never took Becky on a date in Glee Greyscale, Becky lacks self-respect and is the pregnant “school slut.” You know how ladies get without their trusty man-savers around!

i have razorblades in my pigtails. all up in there.

In a remarkable conflation of time/space, we spot the douchey jock crew of Ryder Bieber-Strong, Mike Chang, Finn Hudson, Sam Evans, Old Man Puck and New Puck slamming Kurt into lockers while making gayfaces at each other. Artie stands up for Kurt, because Artie is a Hero in All Dimensions. Also, Mr. Schuster’s an alcoholic, Rachel is a secretly hella-sexy librarian with a bit part in the Lima Community Players production of something something and Terri’s an evil money-moocher with a fake doll instead of a baby and Mr. Schuster doesn’t notice, which’s actually kinda funny.

no you don’t understand, this is just the outfit i wear when i first arrive at the bachelor party, i’ve got a criss-cross teddy and thigh-highs underneath. do we have a deal?

Irish Breakfast materializes from the darkness to drop enchanting shitstacks of wisdom upon Artie, who apparently has usurped Finn for this episode as The Man Who Keeps Glee together.

Irish Breakfast: “You weren’t in a wheelchair, so you were too busy playing football to join Glee. Turns out you were the glue of Glee, Artie, the quiet steady beating heart of the group.”

We then hit up “Sue’s Craft Room,” formerly the Glee Club Room, where, sans Artie’s magical wood-glue, the wageslaves are doing “crafts” on their Singer Quantum Stylist Sewing Machines.

brittany attempts to occupy her antsy hands without Santana’s vadge around to stick them in

In an attempt to enchant the Wageslaves of Grayscale Glee to witness and embrace the power of music, Artie launches into a really unfortunate culturally appropriated version of “Feliz Navidad,” replete with Authentic Mexican Costumes and Authentic Mexican Maracas.

and this is how douchey i am while singing this song

Finn reviews the performance:

unfortunately this is a valid point

Just before returning to Technicolor Glee-World, Artie notes an abandoned wheelchair in the hallway. Irish Breakfast explains that Quinn, a chronic texter-while-driving, kicked the bucket because “much like her body, her spirit never recovered” after the car accident. Well, that’s women for ‘ya — without a good man around to improve their self-esteem and save puppies from burning buildings, everybody dies!

Artie: “For better or for worse, this chair is a part of me. It’s made me who I am.”


la la la let’s play backgammon

So say we all: whatever.

We then slip swiftly through the snowdrifts lining the plains of our fair country to The Barbie Dreamhouse Bushwick Loft in New York, New York, where Rachel’s preparing to ship off on “Rosie O’Donnell’s Holiday Cruise.” (I hope Rachel got a time machine for Christmas because Rosie’s not really involved with R Family Vacations anymore, her ex Kelli runs the ship, literally.)

hot damn emmet honeycutt looks huge in this video

Anyhoo, Kurt’s sticking around to give himself eggnog facials and stare at his hair in the mirror — BUT NOT SO FAST — Burt shows up! Hey Burt! It’s Burt and a tree! IT’S BURT OUR FAVORITE CHARACTER AND TREES OUR FAVORITE TREE!


Kurt is so excited, his mouth opens all the way up like a nutcracker!

just try it, just throw one pea into my mouth, you'll see, i can catch it, i promise

just try it, just throw one pea into my mouth, you’ll see, i can catch it, i promise

Burt & Kurt share fond memories of Mom and Christmas ornaments and then promptly ship into midtown to catch the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall, followed by an evening meal, at which this happens:

Burt: “I have prostate cancer.”
Kurt: “I feel like I’m gonna be sick.”
Burt: “Hey hey hey, do I look like a guy who’s dying? We caught it early at the local stage, no spreading, the cure rate’s nearly 100 percent.”

The cure rate’s nearly 100 percent! That’s excellent news! Alas, not for dear Kurt, who remains devastated for the episode’s entirety. But really Glee needs to slow its roll, re: Burt Hummel’s health and re: Discarding Old Big Issues In Favor Of New Big Issues Every Episode.

mmmm tastes like fluffernutter

mmmm tastes like fluffernutter

Anyhow, Burt & Kurt then return to Bushwick for about ten minutes before Burt sends Kurt right back into Midtown (including walking-to-the-subway time, this’d be a 45 minute – 1 hour journey each way, sidenote) to pick up his gift! I hope it’s a Samantha doll!

this is the only present anybody ever wants, ever

this is the only present anybody ever wants, ever

Womp womp. It’s just that cutie-pie from A Very Harry Potter Musical, Blaine Warbler!


Yup, Burt’s ringing in the holiday cheer by shipping the boy who cheated on his son all the way to New York City so they can wear nice scarves and sing carols together! Also, Blaine’s got everything on lockdown:

Blaine: “He told me everything and I promise, I’ll keep an eye on him for you…. he didn’t want us to miss out on another holiday tradition!”

look what i got at uniqlo!

look at this coat i got at uniqlo! There’s no uniqlos in ohio!

Thus Kurt and Blaine break into an icey homoerotic rendition of “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas,” while gleefully skating amongst a polite and skilled group of ice-skating extras including, at some point, Intern Grace’s sister.

look it's intern grace's sister!

look it’s intern grace’s sister!

Blaine: “No matter what, no matter where, even if we’re not together, we’re always gonna be there for each other.”

That’s nice. See, Exhibit A:


and then blaine fell in love with linus and nothing was ever the same

We return to the Hallowed Hallways of McKinley High, where New Puck’s getting his ass kicked for being Jewish, or something, because this show is stupid.

dude, you know everybody wanted a new queer lady on the show this year and instead we got your boring ass

dude, you know everybody wanted a new queer lady on the show this year and instead we got your boring ass

Old Man Puck, also aimlessly wandering the McKinley halls despite being 34 and having graduated, swoops in to save his young charge and then transports his young charge to California via motorcycle. Seriously.

as if

Old Man Puck strides onto the Paramount Backlot as if he owns the place, reassuring his brah of his Hollywood Success story.

Old Man Puck: “If you’re in Hollywood and you’re a Jew or a gay, you pretty much got it made.”

I think Julie Goldman would disagree, but alas, it’s not for us silly ladies to decide, it’s time for Old Man Puck and New Puck to save the failing Vermont Inn of their former commanding general!

there were never such devoted sisters

Wait, sorry, no, I got Glee confused with the 1954 Christmas classic White Christmas. Anyhoo, Old Man Puck and New Puck hit up a Hollywood Backlot Set Situation, littered with actresses in cheap angel outfits (turtlenecks are involved), Las Vegas showgirls, gaggles of Nuns and mobsters, in order to desecrate the Talmud with an unfortunate rendition of “Oh Chanukah.”

and then puck realized he’d had too much red bull and really needed to urinate

When I was eight and in the throws of depression over the fact that I wasn’t allowed to have a Christmas tree, because Judaism, I would’ve appreciated this song. Unfortunately, I’m a misanthropic grown-up now and honestly they should’ve just done the Mourner’s Kaddish.

yodelay yodelay yodelayheehoo!

yodelay yodelay yodelayheehoo!

The number ends with the badass brothers getting Star of David tattoos on their shoulders, which reminds me of when my ex-girlfriend had a manic episode and tattooed the Star of David on her wrist because of Jesus. Old Man Puck then takes New Puck to a luscious Hollywood beach-house for cocktails and tanning, claiming it’s his mansion but obviously it isn’t, as we learned in Episode 14 of Season three of Sex and the City.

New Puck: “Dude, why did you lie to me?
Old Man Puck: “I didn’t think you’d be impressed by my apartment in the Valley filled with Ikea furniture I never figured out how to put together.”
New Puck: “So all that screenwriting stuff is that just garbage, too?”
Old Puck: “I figured it was my only chance to get you to come move out here with me.”
New Puck: “I’m a sophomore, man. I mean I had to lie to my Mom and say I was going on vacation Fort Lauderdale with Ryder’s family just to get out here for this.”
Old Man Puck: “I’m a mess out here, man. It’s lonely. Ive got no friends. It’s impossible to meet people because you spend your whole day in a car.”
New Puck: “Why didn’t you just tell me that?”

New Puck suggests they take their biceps and craniums back to Ohio to bask in the biting unbearably cold midwestern winter air at Breadsticks with their Moms.


hook us up with some gelt and we’ll get this party started

The Moms are very bitter towards each other until the Old Man Puck and New Puck point out that Oldest Man Puckerman ditched all of them, which means they’re all equally damaged and broken, like a shattered sheet of glass or a car on the side of the road or a piece of wood you have broken into two pieces.

New Puck: “This week with Puck was ridiculous, but it felt different than being with a friend. We’re a family, okay? A pretty messed up one, but still a family.”

mmmmm tastes like anthrax

Ms. Puck #1: “Your father really was an ass.”
Ms. Puck #2: “An epic ass.”

Finally, a little man-hating! This show is mercilessly short on misandry, for real.

Cut to the hallowed horrifying hallways of McKinley High, where a perky Brittany S. Pierce is distributing gifts purchased from cashing out her alleged ‘savings’ due to the impending Mayan Apocalypse. Then she’s approached by her new serious long-term activity partner steady boyfriend lover, Sam!

and don’t take this hat off, because then my entire brain will fall out, i saw it in a documentary

Sam: “Can I ask you a question?”
Brittany: “Not if you’re gonna tell me that the Mayan apocalypse isn’t real. Because the documentary that I watched was on the History Channel involving real actors portraying real events.”
Sam: “No listen. I believe it, too.”

He thus shuffles Brittany into an abandoned classroom to reveal his hilarious shoddy math involving lots of numbers regarding things like Korea and Mexico as a tourist destination. The math adds up, he says, the Mayan Apocalypse is real, and Brittany is delighted.


hahaha i got your nose

Sam: “We need to purify ourselves for the last day of b’ak’tun, the 144,000 day cycle of the Mayan Calendar.”
Brittany: “Totally. We need to tell everyone we know how we really feel about them.”

Smear to the library, where they’ve gathered the Gleeks to unleash a stream of real talk, but unfortunately Finn is absent so they won’t be able to tell him what a douchebag he is.

who wants to play scattergories?!!!

Brittany: “Tina, acting is a pipe dream for you, and your decision to pursue it as a career is both irresponsible and shocking. Joe, you haven’t really made much of an impression on me, and I don’t really know what your deal is.”
Tina: “Wait a second!”
Ryder Bieber-Strong: “This is the worst club ever!”
Melancholy Marley-Kate: “We’re not gonna just sit here and let you insult us!”
Brittany [to Marley-Kate]: “I wasn’t gonna insult you, I was gonna tell you that I think you’re delightful.”

The kids ditch the club and Sam then launches into an enthusiastic performance of “Jingle Bell Rock,” accompanied by Cheerios in garish makeup with tinsel on their heads.


Oh wait, sorry, I got Glee confused with the classic teen film Mean Girls, which also featured a delightful musical rendition of “Jingle Bell Rock” starring nubile young ladies all dressed up in red and white!

tip me over and pour me out

Oh right, then this:

Sam: “Before the world ends, will you marry me?”

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3153 articles for us.


  1. The screen caps were pure gold. I was sad about the lack of hover text, but then they kept getting better so I got over it.

    Recap was amazing also. The “Brittany has tons of money” interjection was awkward and forced, like if she has that much money saved up why haven’t her parents paid a million tutors to help her in school? If she’s that good with money, why did she fail math?

    This show, man.

  2. Oh my god, what the fuck is this show? I can’t. I just. Fucking. Can’t.

    But these photoshopped situations were amazing. I’m going to pretend that this shitshow exists solely in Riese’s mind so that we can get fabulous photos to mock and laugh at because the reality of it is too painful to consider.

    • I bequeathed my Samantha doll to a neighbour girl when I was a “grown up” fifteen year told. I regret this decision every day of my life and the Samantha-shaped hole in my heart continues to ache.

  3. Time, and everything else, made so little sense in this episode I had to keep reminding myself that I wasn’t actually just really high.

  4. I watched ‘Love Actually’ for the first time earlier this week. I hate it with a fiery passion. Three dudes falling in love with subordinate women and a generous serve of fucked up discourse about women’s bodies and weight. I don’t care how adorbs people think Colin Firth is in a dorky sweater diving into a pond. That shit ain’t cool.

  5. I watch this show religiously with my all-out-cheese-lovin, queen of questionable taste best friend- predictably, she was all “Aww, that’s lovely, look at how lovely it all is. Isn’t it? Aww, I love Love Actually, this is the best Christmas Glee ever!”, whilst I was all like “You can’t put a hole in a stocking and call it a filler”. Yawn, cringe and frustrated sighs + my beloved Brit marries a man because Apocalypse.

    Let’s just forget this ever happened.

  6. When I first heard that Glee was going to do a Love, Actually-style Christmas episode, I said to myself “Riese is not going to be happy about this!”.

  7. Like most multicellular organisms, I have come to hate Glee, but OH MY GOD LEA MICHELLE IN THOSE GLASSES, AND THEN IN THAT DRESS AND THOSE BOOTS. Now that I have seen these things, they cannot be unseen, and I may have to watch the episode to see them some more, and afterwards I will feel ashamed.

    Also, since the post on coats, I covet all toggle coats. Including Blaine’s.

  8. Oh boy do I ever hate Love Actually. My brother loves it though, so I’ve been subjected to it more than a few times. Those things that you hate but everyone else seems to like are so annoying. A big one for me is How I Met Your Mother. Ugh x 100.

    Fist Michelle Tea?! I actually did a little spit take at that! lol That came out of nowhere. :)

  9. I’m still trying to figure out how Artie as a jock instead of disabled student would cause many of those outcomes. The character hasn’t had that much impact on the direction of other students. And lets be honest – Artie wouldn’t have been a jock to begin with, even had Artie never had a car accident. He would have still been a sweater-vest wearing nerd-festival. Which would have been just fine and in-character.

    But this shouldn’t surprise me that they would get their “what would happen if” scenario wrong, given that Glee writers can’t even get their canon timeline straight in their heads let alone alternate timelines.

    • I don’t think a nerd but I do think chances are of wasn’t concussion incuded dream and being angry at chair Artie would be dancer. He also has good voice so chances in realistic alternative universe something like vocal adradline would’ve snatched him upm it’s an anger and concussion induced dream let go of all realistic expectations.

  10. On account of I’ve stopped watching it after that stupid lesbian blogger community ep (that wasn’t even the main reason – I just had enough of Glee), my nights are now filled with much better activities – like marathoning Buffy (hahaha!). :) So I’d like to thank you Riese for doing the watching for us, so we don’t have to. Great recap! ;) This show is CRAP.

  11. Love, Actually is indeed the worst movie of all time.

    I wish there was a disability narrative that wasn’t just I DON’T WANT YOUR PITY over and over again.

  12. Hahahaha! Apparently you haven’t seen “Valentine’s Day” – which I think is the WORST MOVIE OF ALL TIME! hahaha! ;)

  13. intern grace really went above and beyond for this recap. I was very impressed.

    also i feel like they really dumbed sam down. I know he wasn’t that sharp to begin with, but. like they were trying to make him and brittany together more believable or cute or something, but it was unnecessary and annoying.

    • i totally agree, i don’t remember sam being stupid at all, until maybe near the end of last season when they were prepping for this. also there’s been no mention of the fact that he used to date santana or mercedes, it’s like they’ve just retconned him 100%, which of course, is not really at all surprising from them.

    • She goes to AMDA, aka real-ish NYADA. I feel like her training really shined through in this particular moment.

  14. Kirsten. It was all about Kirsten for me. Because she was like Laura Ingalls Wilder but Swedish. I still have her and her original clothes somewhere.

  15. I agree this was far from Glee’s best episode this season. I like the premise, as I like “Love, Actually” overall as well, but it felt sloppy in its execution. My coworker at DISH and I both thought the individual stories did little to endear audiences, except Klaine’s story and duet which was fantastic. I have been recording the season on my DISH Hopper thanks to PrimeTime Anytime so I can watch Glee when I have time. PrimeTime Anytime allows me to record up to six channels, including the four major networks, during primetime. My family doesn’t fight over the TV anymore, since everything we want can be recorded at once. I loved seeing Klaine’s ice skating duet, but I don’t think it will lead to anything for them in the long run.

  16. I haven’t seen Love Actually. From the trailer I could tell it wasn’t something I would be able to endure without grievous injury and am fortunate enough to be friends only with people with equally ice-cold hearts, thus would never subject me to it.

    These photoshops are just amazing and I think display more coherent characterisations than have ever been seen in the programme itself.

  17. Just caught the end of ‘Love, Actually’ as my sister was watching it.

    How unfortunate is it that it actually is better than this latest episodes of Glee?

  18. That time when you’ve been without the internet for the past week, so while scrolling through th autosraddle archive you immediately think the “I’m Sorry, But I Can’t Fucking Do This. Can You? Can Anyone?” article is actually the glee recap.

  19. I think you have a great page here today was my first time coming here.. I just happened to find it doing a google search. anyway, good post.. Ill be bookmarking this page for sure.

  20. Marely called Artie and had him bring it all together. Who was at some point in episode during a day of school Artie was sent home with a concussion. You can see when they preform you can see under his eye is still kind of messed up. Why did Marely ask Artie 0 clue espically sense he wasn’t at acpcolpyse meeting. Yeah you all missed her saying she had Artie set it up it’s cool. And Artie’s dream was a dream that was sparked by a concussion. And Artie’s chair is kind of why Rachel sparked Schue to look for someone cool as Rachel didn’t feel the gay boy and kid in wheelchair suited leading male part. Rachel and Mike are the weird things in Artie’s dream. I personally think Artie would’ve been more into dance then football but maybe he felt safer on football team. It’s a dream. Puck and Finn’s grades would have been bad they brought them up thanks to Glee.

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