Welcome to the eighth episode of the fifth season of Glee, a show about a covert spy operation led by a team of taller-than-average Joe’s Crab Shack waitresses who enjoy eating corn on the cob, using corn cobs as sex toys, cleaning out their ears with organic q-tips, Magic: The Gathering, watching hot dog commercials, wearing fingerless gloves and developing intergenerational communes for hamsters. Also: TIME TRAVEL!!!
Every year, the writers of Glee gather in a spacious Malibu loft on the beach, do a shit-ton of illegal drugs, and write a Christmas episode. What did they have in store for us this year? LET’S FIND OUT
We open in a seasonal Hollywood backlot set, where America’s Jane Lynch is introducing this week’s premise: Glee recorded a Christmas episode last year that never made it to air and now we’re gonna see it. This’d be SO much cooler if Glee hadn’t recorded a Christmas episode last year that unfortunately did make it to air!
Seriously though, the whole point of doing a flashback episode is to bring back old characters or to provide much-needed backstory required to understand present storylines better. But there’s not much that happens in this episode that couldn’t have been just as easily situated on the present timeline. I blame SYLVESTER.
We re-open in what we’re told is Glee Club December 2012, despite the fact that characters present the last time we witnessed Glee Club December 2012, such as Brittany, Joe, Sugar and Finn, are missing; and characters missing last Christmas, like William Schuster, are present; and characters who had reasonable haircuts, like Sam, now sport greasy mops on their melons; and characters who were visiting New York, like Blaine and Burt, are not visiting New York; and characters who were visiting California, like New Puck, are not visiting California.
Sir William announces that the 50th Annual Tree-Decorating Contest theme this year is “Green is Good,” which I believe will be a tribute to limeade and/or Laneia’s former internet pseudonym. Then Sam eats a gallon of frozen peas and throws up all over everything and says, “that was good.” Just kidding. Nobody throws up in this scene except me.
This year’s winners will receive a magical glass angel, not to be confused with magical glass dildos. Tina is determined to get her hands on this bird and therefore must yell at everybody about it because that’s what her character does now!
Cut to the Nondenominational Christmas Club, hosted by Coach Beastie adorned in an unfortunate Christmas sweater, board shorts, and antlers from the Dollar Tree.
Apparently McKinley’s Nativity Scene has been defaced by Nazis or Banksy or whatever and therefore the flesh-and-blood children of Glee Club must serve as replacements for those undoubtedly pricy figurines. It’ll be called the “Living Manger” and there will be auditions. Apparently the division of church and state is not an issue at this time.
Obviously all the nubile teenagers chomp at the bit for their chance to wear a ridiculous outfit and stand in the cold for three hours singing boring songs about Jesus.
Unique wants to be Virgin Mary, but so does Marley-Kate, because she’s a virgin. Fake Quinn makes fun of Virgin Marley, but then Virgin Marley is like, “well my boobs are bigger than yours” which I think tells us all we need to know about who has been naughty or nice this year.
We then break into the backyard barn where all the reindeers are eating mashed potatoes and being lazy, herd them into the front yard, latch their brawny limbs and elegant feet onto a sleek new Christmas sleigh, run over Grandma, feel kinda bad about it, and then finally arrive in the Barbie Dreamhouse Bushwick Loft in New York, New York, where Santana is visiting her strange friends for the holiday season. She’s brought Kurt a present:
Santana’s been coping with her traumatic break-up with Brittany by blowing all her college money on bikini waxes, training bras, ferrets, chapstick and JetBlue vouchers for Rachel. She’s also purchased Kurt a trip to Dildo Island, which must be what they’re calling Fire Island these days.
Rachel shows up and is delighted to see Santana’s lady-limbs lounging on her sofa, surrounded by commercialized holiday cheer!
Rachel squeals that she’s swung her besties a sweet Christmas gig playing elves at The Midtown Mall, which I assume is the Glee edition of the Manhattan Mall. For those of you unaware, the actual Manhattan Mall was the inspiration for Dante’s Inferno as well as the film Apocalypse Now. I think it’s been remodeled since my time living in New York City (2004-2010), but trust me, that shit was not pretty.
We then stop, drop, and roll ourselves all the way back to Lima, Ohio, home of Pat’s Donuts & Creme, where Sam’s telling Tina that the Greenest way to go Green is to chop down an actual tree right outta the green lush forest.
Their undoubtedly gripping conversation is interrupted by Becky, wearing a plant on her head and demanding a lick of Tina’s tonsils and a ride on Sam’s pony, which upsets Tina and Sam. Sue pops in, informs Becky she’s got poison sumac on her noggin and promises Tina & Sam that she’s gonna start cracking down on Becky in general and stop giving her special treatment.
Then Sue performs her requisite lampshading, announcing that she’ll be judge of the 50th Annual Christmas Tree Decorating Contest, a “longstanding tradition here at McKinley High even though we didn’t do it last year, or the year before, or the year before that.”
We then smash our giant duck feet into tiny toe slippers and squeeze our generous guts into leotards and pink tights, tightly wind our hair into little hot cross buns and pirouette all the way back to New York, New York, where Kurt and Rachel face an angry mob of infants at the Fake Manhattan Mall.
Santana is rocking a delightful Slutty Elf Chic ensemble.
At last, drunk Santa finally rolls up, much to the delight of the tiny sweater-vested humans crowding the scene. Santa snarls at the elves that he resents their “equity card attitude” and invites them to perform a RENT medley while he busies himself sitting on the toilet, chugging spiced rum from the flask he’s been storing in his beard, and probably eventually going drunk-shopping at Aeropostale.
The Glee children, of course, combat this sour turn of events by performing “Here Comes Santa Claus” to the children, which I’d argue qualifies as “leading them on,” but whatever.
Witness the entire situation from start to finish right here:
We then hollow out a large log gifted to the class of ’99 by Paul Bunyon himself, put on our overalls, hop into the hollowed-out log, and paddle our way back to Lima, Ohio, home of Burgandy’s Italian Grille, where Virgin Marley’s asking Fake Quinn if she wants to tag-team the group audition she’s prepared with fellow Virgin Mary wannabes, Unique and Tina.
Fake Quinn assures Virgin Marley that if she wanted to be the Virgin Mary, she’d easily snag the spot, but unfortunately she’s got no desire to be Virgin Mary SO THERE.
We then inflate the family raft, adorn ourselves in full-body snorkeling suits, and float on back to New York, New York, where Santana’s naked in a bathtub.
Kurt and Rachel interrupt her soothing vagina rub with a jarring phone call — Santa’s passed out in his own piss, shit and vomit and they’re in desperate need of a stand-in Mrs. Claus.
Just when we’d finally got done fixing our hair after its recent white-water cross-country rafting experience, we’re shoved into a fleet of kayaks and sent back to Lima, Ohio, home of the Dehaven Home & Garden Showplace, where the children are performing “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree” while rocking around the Christmas tree.
Throughout this musical travesty, we’re gifted with sugar-plum fairy visions of the other competitors in the Tree Decoration Contest Of Life and Love. These kids are the worst tree-decorators ever.
Seriously you can’t just put dirty underpants and socks on a tree. People could get hurt.
Then, Katniss’s arrow breaches the arena’s walls and we’re suddenly airlifted into a mysterious space orb which transports us back to the Fake Manhattan Mall, where everybody who knows what’s good for them has ditched this Keebler nonsense in favor of Auntie Annie’s pretzels but unfortunately nobody knows what’s good for them besides me.
Santana invites young children to sit on her lap so she can tell them that they’re too fat, need new teeth, pooped their pants, want molesty toys and appear too Jewish for Santa.
Innocent Child: I want a Kinder College Learning Laptop!
Santana: Why don’t we just get you an iPad? You can’t even get porn on whatever you just asked me for?
One special child in a purple snow hat gets the best complement of all:
Santana: You look exactly like a young Brittany S. Pierce, doesn’t she? Brittany is my ex-girlfriend and she just dumped me which is why I’m even here, and why I have this job, and we’re lesbians, you know—
Before you go! It takes funding to keep this publication by and for queer women and trans people of all genders running every day. And A+ members keep the majority of our site free for everyone. Still, 99.9% of our readers are not members. A+ membership starts at just $4/month. If you’re able to, will you join A+ and keep Autostraddle here and working for everyone?