A farting Grinch, a Trump impression, and more wacky moments from the NBC musical starring Matthew Morrison.

By Maureen Lee Lenker and Lauren Huff
December 09, 2020 at 10:45 PM EST
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Credit: David Cotter/NBC

The Grinch once again tried to steal Christmas Wednesday night, and the internet (and EW staff) have feelings about it.

The big green holiday hater graced our screens this time as part of NBC's live performance of Dr. Seuss' The Grinch Musical, with Matthew Morrison playing the iconic Dr. Seuss character. Morrison was joined by Denis O’Hare, Booboo Stewart, and newcomer Amelia Minto in the special, which fully embraced the Seuss oddness, for better or worse.

Ahead, EW rounds up all the wackiest moments from tonight's show.

Max’s Jowls

We really loved Denis O’Hare’s performance overall. It was charming and pitched perfectly for this family holiday musical. But there was one distracting, unnecessary feature – the large jowls hanging off his face to transform him into an old dog. Sure, it’s nowhere near as extreme to the get-ups he typically sports on American Horror Storybut it was still a bit horrifying. Particularly as the show went on and they started to lift off his face from the sweat and wear-and-tear of his performance. Woof to this.

The Grinch’s sexual energy

We don’t normally think of the the Grinch as a thirst object, so it was perturbing and head-scratching to see Morrison (perhaps unintentionally) imbue the green meanie with a potent sexual energy. It was partly the moan-y quality he often brought to his voice, partly the gyrations of his body, partly all the hissing and sighing, partly the way he repeatedly and suggestively ran his fingers through his green mane, and partly the way he suggestively held a Christmas tree. The Grinch has always been mean, but in this iteration he was naughty too – and well, we wouldn’t touch that with a 39-and-a-half-foot pole.

Breaking the Fourth Wall

Our first meeting of the Grinch involved a bizarre break of the fourth wall where he portended to look into our living rooms and tell us our couch was ugly. We get he’s supposed to be mean, but honestly, we’d have preferred to maintain the illusion here. Have we lived through enough this year without having our living room criticized, even hypothetically?

A social distancing joke

Everywhere you turn it seems there’s a reminder that the holidays are different this year. But when it comes to Christmas specials and entertainment, we just want to escape into the magic of the season. The Grinch saying “I kept my social distance before it was cool" was an unwelcome jolt of reality from Mount Crumpit. We just want to welcome Christmas without the reminder that this is a year full of reasons to be grinchy.

The Fart

There’s nothing worse in family entertainment than pandering fart/poop jokes people seem to think will be a surefire laugh from the kiddos. Dr. Seuss didn’t include such scatological humor in his original story, but somehow it was deemed necessary in this extended version. In a moment that must be seen to be believed, the Grinch releases a large fart (complete with sound effect), waves his hand in front of his nose, and blames Max. This moment stink stank stunk in more ways than one.

The Grinch, but make it Trump

We never expected to see the president pop up in a family-friendly Christmas special, but it is 2020 after all, and anything can happen! Morrison briefly did his best Donald Trump impression when the Grinch snuck into Whoville. "I don't do friends, I do me. That's enough in the end," he says. Never has the Grinch been more chilling.

The Emmys shoutout

In one of the show's more hilarious moments, Morrison's green meanie introduces himself by gesticulating wildly and thanking the audience like he's at an awards show. As he gets ushered off the stage so Max (O'Hare) can continue his bit, Morrison can be heard shouting "Hey! This is my Emmys nomination!" This dose of self-deprecating pop culture humor is exactly what EW needed tonight.

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