Thursday, January 2, 2014

Trophy Wife 1.11: "Twas the Night Before Christmas . . . Or Twas It?"

“I remember telling them not to come out of their rooms till morning, or Santa wouldn’t bring them anything over $40. And then I remember Diane falling.”

“Twas the Night Before Christmas . . . Or Twas It?” was an admirable first effort at a Christmas episode by the “Trophy Wife” creative team. Most importantly, it was a whole lot of fun. Somehow Kate’s Christmas glogg (Swedish mulled wine) gets spiked with Absinthe, and craziness in the Harrison family ensues. This episode kind of reminded me of the first season HIMYM episode “The Pineapple Incident,” as everybody was trying to figure out what happened the night previously and why everything is a wreck. Although unlike “The Pineapple Incident,” we do pretty much get all the “what the heck happened” mysteries solved by the end of the episode. At the end of “The Pineapple Incident,” we still didn’t know why the heck Ted had a pineapple. Anyway, overall this was a great way to bring the whole Harrison gang together for some truly funny holiday mayhem. A future classic!

The episode opens with the Harrison house in shambles, the Christmas tree in flames by the pool outside and current and former Harrison adults sprawled out on various furniture. Gradually, they all start to wake up, and they naturally all wonder how the heck this happened. The kids all rush downstairs, eager to start tearing into the Christmas presents, and they’re seriously (and understandably) disappointed t see the state of things. Especially because there are no presents in sight. If you think about it too much, the whole thing is pretty horrible. I mean, Hillary and Warren are teens, they can deal (although they’re seeing a horrible example), but I feel bad for Bert. Christmas is the pinnacle of the kid calendar, and to have it ruined like that would be tough on the little guy. He didn’t have a complete meltdown, which I found surprising.

Anyway, as the episode progresses, we gradually piece together what happened. Pete is a total Grinch, so he’s not thrilled when he comes home to see Kate making glogg and announcing that she’s invited Diane and Jackie over for Christmas Eve festivities. Pete rants about the Harrison family strict holiday rotation schedule (one person gets all three kids per holiday), but Kate is determined to have a full family Christmas. It’s something she feels she missed out on as a kid, and she wants it now. Before Pete can protest much more, Diane and Jackie have arrived, and they all dive into the glogg. The glogg is a lot stronger than any of them anticipated though, and they soon figure out why. There’s an empty bottle of absinthe nearby. Even though the bottle is Kate’s, she swears she didn’t put any in the glogg. Diane doesn’t quite believe her, though.

There are all sorts of random oddities about the night that are gradually explained throughout the episode. For instance, three Virgin Mary statues are arranged around a table, looking like they’re eating jalapeño poppers. Pete and Kate have a neighbor who goes uber-crazy decorating for Christmas, and this year, the decoration included three nativity scenes. At one point during the drunken debauchery, Jackie went across the street and stole the three Marys. And there was also a “winter wonderland” of shredded paper. Unfortunately for Pete, the paper came from some of his most important case files. In flashbacks, we see that not only did Pete shred his case files, he also called his boss several times in the night and left very drunken voicemails. The family is very worried that this means Pete might have quit his job. I don’t see why this would necessarily be a bad thing. Pete has probably built up enough of a reputation to start his own law firm if he really wants to. It turns out by the end of the episode, by the way, that Pete didn’t quit his job. His boss calls him and asks him to come into work, actually.

Seeing the jalapeno poppers makes the Harrisons realize that Meg must have been at the house at some point during the evening. Since, you now, poppers are bar food and Meg’s only defining characteristic is that she’s kind of a lush. More character development for Meg, please! There’s got to be some serious conflict between Meg and Kate’s lifestyles. Meg must resent Kate’s strong desire to be domestic. Anyway, Meg says she gave Kate the absinthe for a Christmas present, but she didn’t put any in the glogg. She also describes the rather hilarious scene she encountered when she first arrived at the Harrison house. Everybody was singing karaoke (and trying to dance) to the Ace of Base 90’s classic, “The Sign.” There’s a tag on the end of the episode with more of the performance, and I find it pretty awesome that Bradley Whitford is the most enthusiastic dancer of the bunch.

There are a few final Christmas mysteries to sort out before the episode concludes. First, there’s the matter of Warren’s super straight-laced teacher who is also sleeping at the house, not wearing much in the way of clothes. She says Pete took her clothes, which just begs even more questions. Turns out the “clothes” had been a Santa suit she was wearing while caroling (not very well) with a group of church ladies. The Harrisons had invited her in when she was singing at her door, and Pete decided he wanted to wear the Santa suit. Go figure. Another mystery is what happened to all the kids’ presents (they’re understandably upset about no presents). Turns out Pete when on an anti-materialism bender and burned all of them. Even the coyote/wolf/really mean dog that found its way into the house (that the kids want to keep) runs away eventually. And finally, of course, there’s the mystery of how exactly the absinthe got into the glog. The answer to that mystery would be Bert, of course. He thought he was “helping.”

No comments:

Post a Comment