Nora is arm-deep in Christmas goose and hasn't had a chance to swag the banister in holiday bunting or hang the mistletoe and holly, so her psychologist boyfriend decides the most emotionally healthy choice she can make is to cancel Christmas three days beforehand. Yes, his advice IS free. So Nora packs a bag and leaves her children to fend for themselves. Is erratic behavior a Boniva side effect?
Kitty and Kevin are squabbling over who gets the honor and privilege of being passed the Walker Christmas mantle. Sarah is feeling Grinch-y because her children are in Mexico with Joe and Luc is in China painting his mural. Justin has given up on being a doctor, settled on paramedic and really wants to still date that hot nurse (who is really his wife). So he invites her to his mom's house for Christmas not knowing Nora was going to go all Dave Chappelle and hide out in South Africa smoking her weight in weed. Wasn't that a thing?
Kitty bases her campaign for Christmas by buying a tree and proving that she hasn't entrusted Evan's upbringing to elves. Yes: Evan is alive! Evan is alive! Justin took him to a Macy's product placement. Kitty's grad student comes to help set up the tree and ends up finding out Kitty has a child. Meanwhile, Kevin has set up a Christmas wonderland, but Kitty won't abandon her dream of hosting. So they stage a Battle Royale in Nora's living room, but it was a draw.
Meanwhile, Carl gave Nora an off-brand Ambien that causes her to hallucinate a family EVEN WORSE than her actual family. Obvs, it was a nightmare for her; I found it highly plausible, except for how Sarah's lipstick and nail polish completely clashed. Interestingly, Tommy wasn't in her fake family, either.
Also, Scotty and Kevin think they have finally successfully pimped Saul out. Unfortunately it was to the guy who gave him the HIV, and Saul isn't feeling the reason for the season. Somebody get that guy a wassail. Maybe two.
Sarah, whose heart is two sizes too small, makes poor Frank fire radio staffers three days before Christmas. But he won't do it and insists Sarah do it herself. But Sarah can't once she realizes that the act she wants to axe is a ventriloquist and her dummy. Those things are creepy and you can't fire creepy without a lawsuit and a bodyguard. Then she does it anyway.
Nora awakes from her nightmare and insists on returning home to her children. Naturally they have all come to their senses and have come together to celebrate Christmas in the traditional manner with the standard trimmings at Nora's house. Justin brought the nurse, Kitty brought the grad student, Sarah invited the dummy. No, really. Then lest we forgot the Walkers are half Jewish (or all Jewish depending on how matrilineal you are feeling), Saul says a Hebrew prayer. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.
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Lulu Bates a.k.a. Melissa Locker wishes she had some off-brand Ambien, too. You can follow her on Twitter @woolyknickers.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, fruit bats and gerbils, Batman, Aquaman, Marlboro Man, whoever it is who watches this show: It is time. Yes, it is time for the Walker Christmas Special. You've been seeing the product placed ads for Macy's for
eternity weeks where little Kitty, Sarah, Kevin, Justin, and even fake Tommy, all live out their holiday dreams. Now the time has come for you to live yours. Vicariously. Through the television set. It's better this way. So sit back, relax, spike some nog, and smoke some nutmeg, whatever it takes to enjoy the show. I'm guessing it will take a lot.
SCENE: It's two days before Christmas and Santa has come early to Walker Manor. He has dropped off scrumptious silver fox Professional Radio Personality Carl in Nora's bed. Santa's getting spicy saucy in his old age. Carl walks around like he owns the damn place and plants one on Nora's head while she makes her Most Frantic Nora face and tries to place a last minute order for a free-range organic turkey. Two days before Christmas! Nora! Is Carl... er, distracting you? Is that what the "kids" at the old folks home are calling it these days? There is something extremely not right about Nora Walker not having placed her free-range organic turkey order weeks in advance. Like the writers have been smoking a little too much er... nutmeg and decided to shake things up not with another time jump (because that wasn't weird at all) but with the introduction of Bizarro Nora and the REAL Nora is hooked up to life support in Kitty's craft room, but we won't know that until the end of episode cliffhanger.
Anyway: Bizarro Nora is begging the butcher for any old turkey or, heck, a goose! She'll take a goose! Can't he just stroll over to the local park and take one of those honkers down for her? What? It's free-range. Carl is roaming the kitchen in his boxer shorts while Nora mutters about pfefferneuse and powdered sugar and mulling spices and how her kids need all their special little Christmas touches or they will just DIE. Speaking of dead, The Senator's dead and Kitty might be sad. Nora adds extra wine to the shopping list. As Nora serves Carl his coffee and he sits in quiet judgment of her over-the-topness. When Nora realizes she has burned Justin's extra special gingerbread men, she throws down her oven mitts in despair. Carl nods, because he knows what is coming next: Nora huffs and puffs and moans that she shouldn't be going to all this trouble when she knows her children don't appreciate the effort and are all whining to each other about how she crams Christmas down their collective throat. Carl nods sagely and asks her to visualize what she would rather be doing. That is exactly why I could never date a therapist. All you want to do is vent and get on with your baking and they want you to pause and VISUALIZE. Visualize this, motherfucker.
Over at Scotty and Saul's restaurant, Santa is getting sauced at the bar. And can you blame him? If you had to deliver presents to 8 million ungrateful children around the world in ten minutes or less you'd be a little stressed out too. Plus before you get to perform that magical feat you have to stomach letting germy jam-sticky kids crawl all over you begging for the latest in Despicable Me merchandise. Like, ew. Trust me, you'd be hitting the hooch too.So Santa tries to drink in peace while Scotty, Saul, and Kevin gawk from the kitchen. Kevin stops gawking long enough to admire a lesbian friend's child. I know that he is friends with lesbians because they say their names and show their Christmas card so that we all know that Kevin is both gay, gay friendly, and willing to make friends on the lesbian side of the rainbow. An old friend of Saul's interrupts the gawking. That can mean only one thing: Saul is getting heartache for Christmas. (That's what you get for being Jewish, Saul!) I'm not sure why the writers on this show hate Saul so much, but I guarantee that this guy, Jonathan, is not the cure for Saul's lonely heart. The question is will he date him before breaking his heart? Or just shout "I Love You, Saul!" and then slap him across the face and storm out right this very second? Let's see: A well-dressed man in a scarf (not a winter scarf, but a fun, satiny number that straight men would shy away from) starts and stares and gasps, "Saul?" Saul then starts and stares and gasps, "Jonathan?" Scotty and Kevin get all wide-eyed and Yenta-ish as Jonathan tells Saul he is off to sing in Handel's "Messiah", but would love to talk. He gives him his card and exits as Scotty and Kevin start singing the "Hallelujah Chorus" really loudly, which is undoubtedly not at all annoying for the restaurant patrons. Saul stares blankly at the duo, but there is no stopping their gushing.
Sarah, who swore up and down that she was managing a large media corporation and would never ever be loitering around her mom's radio station, is at her mom's radio station. Specifically, she is glowering at all the holiday merry-making and Santa paraphernalia littering the halls and meeting with Frank about the absolutely necessary three-days-before-Christmas staff reductions. Read: lay offs. Frank is not too happy. Why is Sarah such a Scrooge? No, it's not because her heart is two sizes too small, but because she still has bangs and Luc is in China and her children are in Mexico with Joe and she only has her work and her family, nephew, mother, and recently-widowed sister to keep her occupied during the holiday season. Much like Kim Jong Il, she is so ronery! Take a moment to cry for her, Argentina. She tells Frank to fire everyone on the list because she has to go string cranberries and weep for her lonely life.
Remember that nurse that Justin was wooing? The one who is his real life wife that he convinced the production company to hire because bills don't pay themselves even if you sell your wedding photos to US Weekly? Anyway, she's back. Justin stalks her in the hospital and asks if she has anything for a guilty conscience. She rolls her eyes and walks off because it's been over a month and she has read "The Rules" AND "He's Just Not That Into You" and both those heady tomes clearly state that if you wait a month to call a girl, you'd better show up with a ring or better yet, an invitation to family Christmas. When Justin suggests she call him sometime (CLEARLY violating "The Rules") she invites herself to the Walker family Christmas, which is not at all weird and definitely not a sign of sociopathic tendencies and/or stalkerism. Justin is delighted to share his figgy pudding with her. I'm not sure if that's a euphemism or not. I know the Walkers are decidedly not normal, but can you imagine bringing a girl you went out maybe once with to your family Christmas? Not strange at all except entirely strange.
Hey, have you guys been wondering what Kitty's been doing this entire time? Me neither, because it is completely obvious that she has given up the responsibilities of motherhood and a career in order to have dirty afternoon sex with a barista. Duh. So when the scene cuts and we see Kitty naked and lying on top of naked Seth, it is not a surprise. It is unpleasant, but not a surprise. Can't all characters on TV (except Jax Teller and Timothy Olyphant, natch) be Never Nudes like David Cross? That's what I'm asking from Santa for Christmas: No mo' naked Walkers. Anyway, Kitty's all naked and moaning and lying on top of her barista when her phone beeps. She grouses about how her mother has discovered texting, and Seth is about to tell her something about his mother, but Kitty stops him: Keep the mystery alive, yo! She read it in "The Rules".
Caesar Augustus Nora Walker issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Walker world. And everyone went to Walker Manor to register. So Joseph Justin also went up from the town of