'The Grinch Musical' Reactions: 'Disturbing' and 'Uncomfortably Sexual'

The Grinch got the live (or live-ish) musical treatment this December on NBC, but many critics and social media commentators slightly disturbed by the Dr. Seuss adaptation starring Matthew Morrison alongside a cast of west end veterans, Denis O'Hare and Booboo Stewart. The Glee actor spent three and a half hours putting on the green make-up to turn him into the famous Christmas hater, but many viewers found themselves wishing he had not bothered.

Reactions to Morrison's appearance as the Grinch ran the gamut from those who found him disturbing, like one Twitter user who wrote, "I cannot WAIT to tell my therapist about my Morrison Grinch nightmares," to...well, those who got a different feeling from his role.

The jury is out, however, about whether Morrison was any less disturbing than Jim Carrey and the nightmarish prosthetics he wore in How the Grinch Stole Christmas, which might be one of the highest-grossing Christmas movies of all time but still provided nightmare fuel to a whole generation. Viewers can watch that 2000 version on Netflix now if they want to compare the two.

One viewer, for example, tweeted: "Tbh after watching 6 seasons of Glee I should not be this surprised at how uncomfortably sexual Matthew Morrison's Grinch is."

matthew morrison in the grinch live
Matthew Morrison in 'The Grinch Musical Live'. NBC

Particularly, viewers disliked a moment where the character broke the fourth wall and addressed the audience directly. One viewer of The Grinch Musical summed up a lot of the sentiment when they wrote: "This is deeply, deeply disturbing. Bone-chilling. Matthew Morrison must be detained."

Another moment was not popular with viewers, as summed up by one Twitter user: "I could've lived without seeing a Matt Morrison Grinch grotesquely fart in Booboo Stewart Max's face."

The critics, however, had wider problems with the musical. Particularly, they thought that the story was an unnecessary padding-out of a story that was at its best in the 30-minute '60s TV special and the 70-page Dr. Seuss book.

Ben Travers of IndieWire, for example, noted that "The Grinch Musical! just feels like it's trying to expand a short story."

CNN's Brian Lowry, meanwhile, dug deeper into the musical's problems. He wrote: "Even with a whole lot of commercials padding out the two hours, the show felt bloated and flat, with scant sense of the magic in all the fluff employed to flesh out the Grinch's journey from Christmas-stealing curmudgeon to his the spirit-of-the-holiday epiphany."

Viewers did have some praise for The Grinch Musical, with O'Hare and Stewart particularly praised. TVLine's Andy Swift said of the Tony-winning former actor, "Watching Denis O'Hare ... attempt to tone down his inherent intensity as an older version of The Grinch's beloved hench-dog was a trip," while a viewer tweeted, "Denis O'Hare being the one to sing 'You're a Mean One Mr. Grinch' just saved this entire thing for me."

However, the general feeling was that the musical failed to make most viewers' hearts expand anything close to three sizes.

The Grinch Musical will repeat on Monday, December 21 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.