Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Secret Life: Christmas Eve with Everyone

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

It's not even Thanksgiving and we're already having a Christmas episode? I find this particularly weird because the show hasn't been on since August and will not be on again until March. That said, it's a typical television Christmas episode. They somehow manage to get all of the main characters in, plus just about everyone else you can think of - except for Ashley, Jack and Adrian's parents, and Margaret and Shaker. Some characters have to get only a split-second of screentime, like Nora, Alice, Henry, and Mimzi, but everyone else is weaved in, and Kathy's baby's adoptive parents even turn out to be related to the woman who originally started leaving the toy store unlocked on Christmas Eve for "social services kids." It was all a bit too neat and tidy (Jack wakes up as a "Christmas miracle"), plus unbelievably timed (the power goes out just as Kathy arrives at the hospital ON CHRISTMAS EVE VIA DONKEY), but it was cute. Not worth adding to the yearly rotation or anything, but worth watching once. Actually, the more that I think about it, the biggest problem is that you probably won't fully understand the bulk of the episode if you don't already know the characters and their relationships. So, for a "Christmas special" of a television show that's airing completely outside of that show's season, I'm not sure if this was a great idea... there's certainly not a huge audience for that.  

The Secret Life of the American Teenager "Hedy's Happy Holiday House" (S05E12): It's Christmas Eve and Ricky and Amy talk about their traditions. Ricky talks about how he and others in juvie used to "break-in" to a toy store every Christmas Eve to play with the toys and take something. The owners knew and would leave the doors unlocked. [this seems like the weirdest tradition EVER.] Ricky and Amy decide to drive down there with John, and Ricky convinces Amy to go inside, though she's afraid that they'll be arrested.
Ricky calls Ethan to ask him to come on down in a Santa suit for John, and he brings Kathy, who is now nine months pregnant. Ethan can't get Kathy up onto the loading dock, so he calls Ben to get Dylan's number, as she might be able to help with the security system. But, Chloe (remember, Ben now has a foster sister) overhears and gets on the phone, talking about a hidden door on the side of the building. Leo comes in and hears Chloe talking about Hedy's, so he suggests she and Ben go down there so they can finish decorating the house and set-up some presents. [that seemed REALLY odd. what was Leo's plan to get them out of the house otherwise? I did like the truth about Camille's midnight dinner tradition coming out, though.]

Meanwhile, over at the hospital, Grace is hoping that Jack will wake up for Christmas. She invites his friends to stop by, but only Clementine, Adrian, and Omar come. Clementine is heading over to Hedy's before the younger kids show up, and invites the others to come along. Adrian is interested only because it will get her out of seeing Omar's family on Christmas Eve for a bit longer. [who wants to blow off EVERYONE for Christmas??] They try to take Jack for a trip but are caught by a police officer who is interested in Clementine. When they get to Hedy's, Madison and lauren are also there, as per Amy's invitation. [I think this is awkward... NONE of these people have family obligations at 7pm on Christmas Eve??] But, Kathy announces that she's in labor, throwing everyone for a loop. Because the parking lot has those things that prick your tires if you go the wrong way, none of the cars can get out of the lot, and the ambulance can't find the location, as apparently there's no listing. [no listing AND nobody knows a nearby corner? I don't think so. Lauren and Madison had to get directions from Amy, so she must have paid attention to where they were!] So, they find a donkey in a stockyard and bring Kathy to the hospital on it... but the power is out when they arrive. [again, this is where television coincidences just become too unbelievable.]

When Chloe and Ben get home, Leo and Camille send them on treasure hunts to find their presents: Chloe gets a rescue kitten she names "Patches," and Ben gets a Mercedes that Alice and Henry picked out for him. PLUS, Alice and Henry get surprise cars from Leo and Camille, too. [I totally thought we were about to have a dream sequence or something... I know the man is loaded and that the trio have been friends for ages, but cars as Christmas gifts??] Over at the hospital, as midnight closes in, Jack wakes up. At first, nobody but Tom believes it, but later, when he offers Jack cookies, he comes to life again. [yeah, yeah. bet you could've guessed this!]  

Elsewhere, Anne, Mimzi, and Robbie show up at George's, where he and Kathleen had been romping around. Over at the butcher shop apartment, Ricky gets Amy a blue bicycle. Kathy gives birth and it seems that the baby will be named Hedy, after the adoptive father's aunt who owned the toy store.

Bonus: we see young pictures of the cast at Christmas. AND, we are left to ponder just how much time will pass on the show before we pick it back up again!
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