Glee: "Their Christmas gift was rabies."

It's inevitable, really: the Christmas episode. It's a tradition stretching back to Amos 'n Andy (still one of the best Xmas eps of all time), and one observed by classic series from Adam-12 to Who's the Boss? For all the talk of "war" on this particular holiday, TV shows still go out of their way to trot out their annual celebration of consumerism and overindulgence goodwill towards men, usually as the show's midseason finale. The phenomenon is so universal, spanning all networks and nearly all genres, that it's almost as if the holiday...wasn't under assault at all.

Hell, some TV shows -- like a certain series about a certain high school show choir -- go one step further by managing to assimilate individuals of other, non-Jesus faiths into their Christmas specials. That's what I call "winning hearts and minds."

I'll admit, it was rough going there for a while. After the first 20 minutes I was seriously considering switching over to my DVR'd Christmas episode of Cheaters (the one where the old guy catches his wife doing a guy in the basement while wearing a Santa hat...talk about your Yule logs). "The Most Wonderful Day of the Year?" "Baby, It's Cold Outside?" I was waiting for a computer animated Bing Crosby to join them all in an updated mash-up of "Little Drummer Boy" and "Sheer Heart Attack" by Queen. After which he'd jokingly chase them around the choir room with a nine iron.

Because Der Bingle would never harm a child.

Rachel even betrays her own religion to try and get Finn back. I don't know which was more humiliating, putting together a pseudo winter wonderland to win over her would-be goy-friend, or feeling compelled to sing "Merry Christmas, Darling" by the Carpenters. At least Puck, New Directions' other member of the Tribe, got off a wisecrack before joining the Christmas Borg collective.

The show vaulted into the mid-20th century when Sue put on green makeup and swiped (back) the gifts she'd received after rigging the faculty's secret Santa drawing, all to an slightly altered version of "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch." She even shared a moment with Brittany, doing her take on Cindy Lou Who, before leaving a crumb that wasn't fit for a mouse.

Meanwhile, the improbable Artie-Brittany romance continues as our sweet, mentally addled Cheerio asks Santa to return her boyfriend's ability to walk (while Rachel veers further into genteelism and asks him to restore Finn to her). Nothing good ever comes of elevating pagan idols above that of the one true God, and sure enough the entire city of Lima, Ohio is soon beset with plagues that made the Death of the Firstborn look like chicken pox.

Ha ha, just kidding. Artie, inexplicably encouraging his girlfriend's infantilism, encourages Coach Beiste to pay Brittany a visit and explain why Santa sometimes has to welsh on his promises. She takes it poorly -- big surprise -- but everything works out in the end when Coach says 'what the hell' and buys Artie a ReWalk. And the lesson here is: Santa always comes through, provided he has a shit-ton of cash lying around.

New Directions is still kind of screwed, however. Their attempts to raise money by caroling to their fellow students meets with disastrous results. Frankly, the behavior of the student body perplexes me, does McKinley High not have a chess club? Or a junior engineering society? At least the glee club has girls.

Mr. Schue eventually convinces them to sing for the faculty (because if anyone has an excess of disposable income, it's a high school teacher). Problem solved. Their performance also convinces "Grinch" Sue to return the gifts so they can be given to homeless kids. Artie can (sort of) walk, ND has their money, and Sue and Will enjoy a brief reconciliation in the spirit of the holiday. Everybody got what they wanted.

Well, not everybody.

Worst Jew ever.

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