How NBC's The Grinch Musical Actually Made Me Relate To The Grinch

the grinch musical nbc matthew morrrison
(Image credit: NBC)

Spoilers ahead for Dr. Seuss' The Grinch Musical on NBC.

Another adaptation of Dr. Seuss' The Grinch made its television debut on NBC with none other than Glee veteran Matthew Morrison in the lead role. As somebody who has seen the original 1966 version of The Grinch with Boris Karloff more times than I can count, I went into NBC's live-action The Grinch Musical with some hopes that were probably much too high, but I didn't expect to come out of it relating to Christmas' grouchiest icon.

That's not to say that watching The Grinch Musical has left me planning how to stop Christmas from coming by dumping my neighbors' holiday decorations off of the nearest mountain, but this was the first time I ever really watched an adaptation and could commiserate with the Grinch. Throughout the first half of the musical, I was more or less on Team Grinch. He wasn't actively trying to stop Christmas from coming at first, but the Whos down in Whoville were practically going out of their way to annoy him about the holiday.

Even as somebody who loves Broadway, I also wouldn't have been thrilled by a bunch of children kicking off a loud and crazy musical number around me, and I can't be the only one who has been ready to beat a hasty retreat if I walk into a store during the holiday season and see far too many people far too determined to spread Christmas cheer when the heat is turned up way too high.

The original 1966 adaptation of The Grinch ran for a grand total of 25 minutes and didn't spend much time establishing why the Grinch would be so incredibly annoyed by the Whos. Multiple musical numbers and the better part of an hour establishing that the Grinch doesn't like Christmas, largely because of those musical numbers? I felt bad for the guy.

Was the Grinch still a pretty big jerk, and not the nicest guy in the world to Max? Sure, but I'm not very pleasant early in the morning before I've had some caffeine, and I have been known to yell at a rooster. We all have our flaws! In all seriousness, I did abandon Team Grinch once he started trying to steal Christmas in earnest.

It's not like any adaptation of The Grinch is going to feature the Grinch just dealing with his holiday blues by watching Die Hard and avoiding the Whos until the new year, and he was always going to steal Christmas to learn a valuable lesson. It didn't break my heart to see him break bad on the holiday front, but I did stop seeing things from his point of view at all up until his heart grew three sizes and it was okay to be on Team Grinch again.

On the whole, I don't think NBC's The Grinch Musical will go down as the most beloved adaptation of The Grinch ever produced. Between the classic version that debuted in the '60s, the 2000 live-action feature film starring Jim Carrey, and the 2018 3D version featuring Benedict Cumberbatch, Matthew Morrison's turn as the Grinch isn't the most memorable. That said, I can't say that it was without its perks, and that's... something.

For some less Grinch-y ways to celebrate Christmas, be sure to check out our 2020 schedule of holiday movies and TV specials to watch this month, and don't forget to take a look at our 2021 winter and spring premiere schedule for what to watch in the new year.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).