“Glee” Episode 309 Recap: No Box

Rachel continues to be incredibly annoying with her gift-greed. Finn gives her a donation of an African sow pig to help feed a family, the perfect gift for a materialistic vegan. She rejects it, quoting Lucy, “All I’m asking for is what’s coming to me. All I want is my fair share.” I’m not always the biggest Rachel fan in the world, but this is character assassination.

Then she and Blaine sing a duet, an original song called “Extraordinary Merry Christmas.” Or I assume it’s Blaine and Rachel, because I see their lips moving, but the auto-tune on their voices is so extreme it could have been me and Dennis singing. And their whole flirty thing makes my skin crawl, especially in an episode where Brittany and Santana do not exchange one single freaking word. What was it you said, Rachel? “All I want is what’s coming to me? All I want is my fair share”? Me, too.

Brittany and Santana do dance together really cutely here, though.

Then Sue comes in to confirm the Friday concert for the homeless, only to learn they’re all bailing to do the television show instead. I don’t really mind this plot twist (or “plot device,” to be more accurate), although Sue as moral center is a bit jarring. I just wish they’d worked a little harder to make me believe the conflict. Seems with a tiny bit of planning, the kids could easily have done both. As, indeed, they end up doing.

Anyway, when Sue stalks out, the only ones who look concerned are Blaine and Quinn.

After we get back from a commercial break, we’re treated to a faux-holiday special that’s one of my favorite things ever from Glee. I know a lot of people didn’t like it – I told you, I went to Tumblr – but I did. I laughed so much during it I almost hurt myself. I think most of the people who didn’t like it are just too young to really get it – a valid criticism, given the fact that Glee‘s demographic really isn’t people who were kids in the early 60s.

But for anyone with a grounding in the history of the television holiday special, this was pure, unrelenting, laugh-out-loud gold.

It starts with a cheesy intro of the cast, and then we see Blaine and Kurt’s Gstaad house as the fire blazes inside and the snow falls outside, and they sing “Let It Snow” while they dance around in suits and ties in a house apparently decorated by Tom Ford or the guy who did the sets for the “Dick Van Dyke Show.”

When they’re done, they open the front door of the house to the camera, and Kurt addresses the audience directly. “Hello!” he chuckles, sounding a little surprised, as if he wasn’t expecting to see us. “Well, I guess we’re all in the spirit of the season by now. Let me apologize for not introducing myself sooner. I’m Kurt Hummel, one of your hosts this evening.” To the sound of a canned laugh/applause track (genius!),  he turns to Blaine, and they stand with their arms loosely round each other. “And this is my, um…best friend and holiday roommate, Blaine Anderson.” More canned applause.

“How do you do?” Blaine says jovially. “Welcome to our bachelor chalet.”

Chris Colfer and Darren Criss really make this all work. They’re just so other-era in their facial expressions, their hair and wardrobe, the stylized way they speak, sing and move. They’re letter-perfect, while still being themselves and still showing just that hint of humor that tells us they know the whole thing is completely over the top and more than a little geeky. It’s so them.

Rachel and Mercedes show up, and Mercedes should go back in time because she completely rocks the vintage look. They arrived bearing gifts: An Elizabeth Taylor necklace and pendant for Kurt, and a Christmas tree bow tie and candy cane-striped Capri pants for Blaine – who, amazingly, said he didn’t already have a pair.

Then the four of them sing “My Favorite Things” from Sound of Music. I know a lot of people don’t think of that as a holiday song, but it was on a couple of holiday compilation LPs my parents used to play for us when we were little and decorating our family tree, so I’m guessing it’s, again, an age thing. Like knowing what LPs are.

Turns out that Kurt forgot to turn on the oven, so they don’t have any dinner. Whatever will happen next? Blaine smiles at the camera and says, “I guess we’ll find out, after these messages from our sponsors.” And then we go to real commercials – starting with the Nook one featuring Jane Lynch. The meta is starting to distort the gravitational field of the planet.

Also? There are no ads on PBS. Not even for Victoria’s Secret.

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