Lily joins her dad at his table at Geoffrey's, where he's having a record exec conversation on some kind of rotary phone. After a few preliminaries and a couple gimmes about the time period -- valets cost $2, gas costs like an apple or a good turn or whatever -- Lily brings up how Christmas was weird because he wasn't there. If you don't know what she means, they are going to explain it to you. He talks about how his job is important to keep Tower Records in business -- drink! -- and whatever, Lily, take it away: "I'm not a headshrinker or anything, but I do think the sudden uprooting of my family from New York, coupled with my parents' tumultuous divorce, may have contributed to some recent difficulties that I might be having."
What Lily means by this is that she does not have a psychology degree, has recently been relocated to California from New York, is a child of divorce, and has been having personal difficulties of late, including her recent expulsion.
"You got kicked out of boarding school," Rick says, and how did he know that? CeCe told him. CeCe sits down at the table, having made the drive from Santa Barbara in the time that it took her daughter to get here from Malibu. Luckily, CeCe is as awesome in 1983 as she is now: "If it was up to your father, they'd stop me at the county line. But Santa Barbara's really only a prison in my mind." She tosses off a few more aggressive zingers, pointing out once again that Rick is Boomer-selfish and wants to live his awesome lifestyle without any responsibilities, children, wives or parenting in the way. Then she orders a gin and tonic, no tonic.
This whole episode is like a gin and tonic, no tonic. You think there's more to it but there's not, so saying it that way makes it seem less obvious and wrangled together. Like the absence of tonic, having been remarked upon, actually stands in for something other than the fact that you are an alcoholic. On other shows they've called this hanging a lantern on the obvious issue, so that it becomes part of the story and is no longer a glaring error; this episode is just lanterns supported by nothing at all, plus Prom. Rick says she's a naturally better Bad Cop -- "Punishing loved ones just comes so much more naturally to some people" -- because in the '80s divorce made people act even more like clichés than just being in the '80s naturally did. Take my ex-wife. Please!
Lily once again breathlessly explains exactly how shit is going to go, as though it's all her idea, and Rick gets more and more scared and CeCe gets less and less impressed as Lily slowly winds down. As much of an unholy mouthful as these speeches are -- and all '80s Lily speaks, apparently, is really long clunky ugly speeches nobody would ever say -- I can't imagine a lesser performer than Brittany Snow getting away with as much as she does: "You're letting me live with Dad? No way, that's exactly what I was gonna say, my bags are in the car and can I have the room that overlooks the tennis courts? I love that room! Thank you for coming all the way down here, Mom, but I think this is all worked out, right?" Which was hilarious ... One whole scene ago, when she did the same thing. As a character trait, it's awesome, and fits with our Lily, but it's like what if they threw a backdoor pilot and only remembered the tics of a bunch of people who don't matter?