FOX's Glee fall finale is also their Christmas special, "Extraordinary Merry Christmas." Artie (Kevin McHale) is asked to direct a televised holiday program featuring the New Directions. He decides to make it a cross between Star Wars' own special, and The Judy Garland Show Christmas episode. Unfortunately, the filming evening is the same as the one the kids promised to help now non-Grinchy Sue (Jane Lynch) feed the homeless. Rory the Elf (Damian McGinty) reminds everyone what is really important during the taping, and afterwards the glee club heads over to be with Sue.
"Extraordinary Merry Christmas" is a mostly stand alone episode, which is disappointing and unexpected. Last year's Glee Christmas outing keeps the main plot points going, while sparkling them with holiday cheer. This year, there are really two separate episodes forced into one: couples (romantic and platonic) celebrating Christmas together, and the kids' black and white holiday special, which takes up two entire acts. Considering how good the latter part is, and how bad the former one comes across, it would have been better to ditch any framework events, and just fully commit to the bold experiment.
From start to finish, the Glee Artie-directed (in the show; the actual episode is directed by Matthew Morrison, a.k.a. Will) piece is great. There is a certain cheesiness to it, but that fits the spirit of what is being accomplished. From dancing Santas, to a long camera shot through the window, to Kurt's (Chris Colfer) affectation, there are some very obvious throwbacks to The Judy Garland Show, which is really an early '60s classic. Even the tongue in cheek joke about Kurt and Blaine's (Darren Criss) relationship and addressing the camera are period appropriate. Thus, this comes off very well.
The Star Wars influences are fewer but make the whole thing more than a straight Garland knockoff. Seeing Finn (Cory Monteith) and Puck (Mark Salling) dressed as Luke and Han Solo, and then denying it for copyright reasons, is funny. Also, the real Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) does a cameo! The only complaint here is that the opening credits are arranged completely out of sync with what the Christmas special actually is. Furthermore, Rory's speech at the end is stiff, possibly exposing McGinty's limits as an actor. Or it's just bad writing.