Ryan Home. Jen comes home from school to find Grams unpacking a box of wrapped gifts from Jen's mom and dad. Jen comments, somewhat sadly, that she knows what they contain: a sweater from Barneys from her mother, "hand-picked by the maid," and jewelry from her father, which one of his trampy secretaries probably threw back in his face. Grams folds her lips in a line and suggests that Jen take them upstairs and open them in her room, but Jen opens the fridge and snaps that Grams should take them to Goodwill: "Donate 'em to somebody who cares." "That is not an appropriate attitude for the holidays, child," Grams says, and Jen leans on the fridge door and snarks, "Yeah, well, Merry Effin' Christmas." Grams airs her out, calling her a "spoiled, self-involved" brat, and Jen sighs sarcastically that Grams is "absolutely right," so she'll just go to her room after all. Grams suggests curtly that, while she's up there, she get started on her applications. Jen, eyes full of tears, grits out, "Right, of course. Anything to get me out of the house quicker, huh?" "That is not what I meant!" Grams protests, but Jen snarls that Grams hasn't spoken a word to her in nearly a month, so she doesn't get to "instill [Jen] with motivation" anymore: "You lost that right when you wrote me off." Jen snatches the gifts, hurls them into the refrigerator on top of a product-placed six-pack of Canada Dry (shout-out?), and stomps out of the kitchen. Grams watches her go, taken aback, and it looks like she's wondering to herself if Jen might not have a point there.
Reconciliation Ranch. Gretchen tries to buck up the little camper, saying she doesn't see why Dawson's having "such a problem with this" and he should just tell USC "the truth" -- that he wants a three-picture deal with Columbia (we get it), and a spot on the Premiere power list (we GET it) high enough to bag himself "one of the girls of the WB." We get it. Also, like, ha ha. Not. Gretchen then suggests he take a break and help her hang the mistletoe; she fiddles with the mistletoe for a moment, then wonders why he doesn't ask Mr. Brooks for help on his essay. Dawson snorts that he doesn't think so; he told Mr. Brooks he liked his movies, and Mr. Brooks nearly took his head off. Oh, Dawson. Shut up. Gretchen preaches on about Mr. Brooks "a resource" blah blah "real-life filmmaker" blah blah blah talking to Mr. Brooks will "get rid of the cobwebs" blah blah blah and a partridge in a pear blah. Then there's banter about tradition, and Gretchen says that "you don't monkey with tradition," and Dawson chuckles condescendingly that he didn't have her "pegged as a traditionalist," but he likes it. Uch.