Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Episode Round-Up: The New Normal, The Middle, The Neighbors, Guys with Kids, Suburgatory, The Big Bang Theory, Last Man Standing, 2 Broke Girls

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

The networks really seemed to spread out their holiday episodes this year... I think it ended up being a three-week window or something (perhaps even longer if you're a Family Guy fan!), which surprised me a bit. Because of the length, I'll jump right into some overviews and then the recaps with remarks.

The New Normal: Bryan gets Jane a job; Bryan and David realize that they're stressing over the baby.

Go On: Ryan, Anne, and Steven try to miss the group's holiday party, but when Lauren panics over getting engaged, they rush back.

The Middle: Brick is in a Christmas play, Sue bakes cookies, Frankie gets a holiday job, Mike fights with Rusty, and Axl enjoys a bachelor pad in the garage.

The Neighbors: Marty and Debbie decide to go to Hawaii for Christmas, but Larry ruins that idea by opening all of their presents and ruining them.

Guys with Kids: Sheila and Chris pass back and forth her engagement ring. Emily plans a romantic evening for Gary and Marny, who decide to just drink instead.

Suburgatory: Tessa doesn't love spending Christmas with her mom, and Ryan finds out that he's adopted.

The Big Bang Theory:The girls try to get Raj a girlfriend while Sheldon, Leonard, Howard, and Stuart play a holiday version of Dungeons & Dragons.

Last Man Standing: Mike tries to get the girls to all take trips for Christmas to give Vanessa simple holiday, but then has to get them all to stay.

2 Broke Girls: Max and Caroline resort to drastic measure to make rent during the holidays.

The New Normal "Baby Proofing" (S01E11): David is over-eating because of stress, and Bryan is drinking. They confront one another but don't get anywhere. Then they hire a baby-proofer to round corners, add a baby-gate, anchor bookshelves, etc.
Neil Jacobs/NBC
Jane is back and Bryan invites her to accompany him to a Christmas party because David doesn't like them and is busy thinking of everything that could happen to the baby around the house. [people can get crazy.] Jane is afraid that she'll never be accepted and succeed in LA, so Bryan gets her a job interview. [odd little DUI checkpoint where Jane's gun is the problem.] The whole experience convinces Bryan to pour wine down the sink. Jane is told that she's old-fashioned but when she makes it clear that she knows things, she's hired. [guess she's back for the long term. boo.]

Go On "The World Ain't Over 'Til It's Over" (S01E11): [did anyone reference anything other than Jimmy V that week?? and why did they script Anne an f-word if they just bleep it out?] Fausta decorates the group room a little for Christmas but Lauren tells her that everything needs to be non-denominational. [boo.] The group holiday party will be at 8pm on December 21st, 2012, which is when Mr. K. thinks the world will end, thanks to the Mayans. [I'm kinda glad that some show decided to point out that craziness!]

Lauren is afraid that Wyatt may be ready to propose, so when Yolanda and Sonia see Wyatt at a jewelry store, they try to sabotage the proposal (tho they're mostly worried that Lauren won't have time for them anymore if she gets married). He sees right through them and mentions that he's going to pop the question at the party. [groups are not the best idea for this, guys!] Meanwhile, Ryan and Steven decide to go to Napa like old times, and Ryan decides to invite Anne along to take her mind off her graveyard issues (she's been going every single day). They'll miss the end-of-the-world party, but oh well. That is, until Sonia spills the beans to Lauren, who calls Ryan for advice. He reminisces about how Janie told him to get it together or she'd leave him. [that was kinda interesting... I should have expected it but I did not.] They then decide to rush back to LA, but by then Wyatt had already proposed in front of a snow machine, and Lauren accepted. ["Asian glow" is an enzyme thing? and how did they go from Napa to LA in just a few hours??] The episode ends with Ryan turning out the lights to when Mr. K. projected the world to end.]
Vivian Zink/NBC
The Middle "Christmas Help" (S04E09): Reverend TimTom asks Brick to be a wiseman in a play for kids, and Sue will bake the cookies for the concession stand. She calculates that she needs to bake 1200 cookies (20 cast members + 2 parents each + siblings + 1.5 grandparents + crew members + church people + 5% accidental crumblage) and gets to work right away. [this made me laugh SO HARD, guys. how did the Heck family have the money for ingredients to bake 100 dozen cookies?] Brick even gets an extra line to help cover for another wiseman and starts practicing his singing all over the place. Sue has tons of cute Santa cookies but none are selling, so she donates the bulk of them to TimTom's next project. Brick is awkward in the play, not paying attention during his lines and directing others. [but was kinda cute.] 

Frankie and Mike worry that they don't have a way to pay for Christmas presents, even with Frankie not signing her tuition check. [remind anyone of Roseanne?] She decides to get a job at a store to get a 30% discount to buy presents, but the discount doesn't count for 20 days, meaning she can't use it until Christmas Eve. [haha, figures!] She tries to get people to stay away from the items she wants to buy, then just starts hiding them around the store. [let me digress for a second... when we were in middle school, our science teacher would take us to the library for research, but you weren't allowed to check-out any books until the end of the day, because each period deserved to have a chance to access all of the same materials. so, if there was a book you really wanted for your project, you'd hide it within the library, then run there after final bell so you could grab it and check it out and make it to the bus. after a few rounds of this, though, the teacher caught on and we got a big lecture about being unfair to others, LoL!] When she tries to hide a basket of goodies on a tall shelf, someone moves the ladder while she's up there, trapping her for hours. She isn't even able to buy anything before the store closes, so they give the kids pictures of what they're getting and they utilize the post-holiday discount to load-up the next day. [which is a nice way to do things, not gonna lie.]
A third storyline going on has Mike storing some furniture for Rusty, only to later find out that it may have stolen it from a police officer with whom Rusty plays poker. [episodes with Rusty are extra weird.] After a couple of days, Axl decides to arrange it as a "pad," and even serves dinner and has a Christmas party in the garage. [reminded me a little bit of Greg Brady decorating the attic.] Mike decides that he's "done" with his brother, but TimTom encourages him to pray about it and he does. When everything gets returned, Axl is upset, but Mike realizes that he and Rusty should make up.

The Neighbors "Merry Crap-Mas" (S01E09): Marty and Debbie move wrapped presents to Larry and Jackie's home to keep them hidden. [Max gets an iPad? If Abby is six, he must only be like eight! and, Amber doesn't strike me as the snowboarding type.] When Amber wants her gifts early so that she can leave on a ski trip on Christmas Eve and Max wants to amend his list, Marty and Debbie decide to return the presents and take a trip. [whoa. I don't mind a trip in lieu of presents, but you have to plan that sort of shenanigan in advance!] The kids are unhappy about having been "nice" all year for nothing, but Debbie and Marty still go to book Hawaii. [haha, I loved the kids reacting like that.]

Meanwhile, Larry decides to open the gifts to see what they are, causing the Weavers to have no presents (they're ruined) and no trip (they can't return them for money). Larry then watches Christmas movies, trying to analyze how Santa travels the world in a single evening. [haha on Larry thinking an Etch-a-Sketch has Siri.] Abby tells Larry that Santa will fix things, so he decides to dress as Santa and make Dick his elf. [haha!] They get some strippers to be luau dancers, get a pig for roasting, and scrounge up a few presents for the kids, including an etch-a-sketch for Max. [I particularly liked the carolers!] The Weavers have no presents or tree on Christmas morning, but the Zabvronians are there! [I laughed at an elf/Tiny Tim mash-up.]
Guys with Kids "Christmas" (S01E10): Chris and Sheila recap that they got divorced because they had a baby to fix their marriage and it didn't work. [omg that sucks.] Sheila decides to return her engagement ring at this point, but Chris doesn't want to take it, so they pass it through various means until Sheila finally admits to being responsible for their divorce because she didn't try to solve their problems. [did they change the baby who plays Ernie?]

Nick, Emily, and their kids arrive at Gary's dressed in Victorian clothes from taking their Christmas card photo.
Vivian Zink/NBC
Gary and Marny bought a new dishwasher for Christmas, which Emily finds offensive because it's not romantic and she doesn't want them to wind up like her parents. Emily decides to stage an intervention to help them spice-up their marriage, even planning an elaborate date for the couple which includes a carriage ride. They don't love it, though, so they skip to drinking. They head to Nick and Emily's, where Marny takes off her bra and puts it on their Christmas Tree, then she and Gary call the couple "Nemily" because they're too cute. [haha on "Nemily" being expanded to include anything annoying!] They go back to their place to be intimate while Nick and Emily are honest about their own relationship, realizing neither actually likes those annual carriage rides. The next morning, Marny and Gary try to put together the events of the previous night, and Emily and Nick show up to return the couple's four children.

Suburgatory "Krampus" (S02E07): Dalia misses her housekeeper and comes up with a plan to get her back. So, she decides to make a music video about how Carmen used to do all of her laundry to win her back. Of course, she's not having the greatest time working for Noah and Jill anyway, offending the mother by saying she doesn't understand her baby because she never spends time with him. [ouch! it must be extremely taxing on Carly Chaikin to hardly ever smile! Also, Wan'Er in the bridge was random. And, Dalia calling George "Daddy Altman" was odd.] Carmen sees the video and George arranges for Carmen to be in a box for Dalia to open on Christmas morning. [super odd.]

Tessa doesn't like how quick Chatswin converts to Christmas, and even George gives her the early gift of being able to spend time with her mother in Manhattan. Tessa and Alex's first hug is awkward, and Alex can't figure out how to appropriately treat her almost-adult daughter. [whoa to "Krampus is like Santa, but evil."] Tessa decides to leave the hotel in the middle of the night to head home to her dad's.

Someone at the photo shop tells Ryan that he was adopted, freaking him out to the point where he strips in the street and growls at his family's car. [Ryan is SO crazy!] Lisa tells Tessa that she spilled it to the photographer so it's her fault.
Later, Malik and his family are driving down the road when he sees Ryan running around without a shirt and acting like a wild animal. [what the??] They put him in the trunk and Ryan tells Malik what happened. [Lisa's pajamas were super cute!] Lisa asks Tessa to talk to Ryan about it all, and she shares that your parents are who raised you, and she winds up kissing him. [ahhh! and, Eugene Goldfarb?]

The Big Bang Theory "The Santa Simulation" (S06E11): Leonard wants to spend Saturday night playing Dungeons & Dragons with the guys, and though Penny finds it amusing, Bernadette and Amy aren't thrilled. The three of them parade around in hot dresses to show what the guys are missing, then go out for drinks, inviting Raj when his character dies early. Raj buys the drinks because he likes to pamper ladies so much that he gives his dog foie gras. [seriously??] The girls decide to find him a woman, but it doesn't work out. Plus, Amy gets offended that he once fell for Bernadette and Penny but not her, though they are able to commiserate over how lonely and sad they are. [uh oh. I hope the writers know what they're doing here!]

At the D&D game, meanwhile... Leonard gets Sheldon a scroll (his third favorite method of after stone tablets and skywriting) that features a quest with a holiday theme. Sheldon sings "Good King Wenceslas" to get them through a room, and they later play "Jingle Bells" on handbells. [Sheldon insisting on doing all of the verses was funny.] We learn that Leonard had to leave a research paper for Santa to grade. ["C- was your gift" was harsh!] Plus, Sheldon admits that, when he was five, he went to the mall and told Santa he wants his grandfather back for Christmas. [awww.] So, he decides to let the game's Santa die, causing him a nightmare where Santa sends a canon after him. [kinda crazy, I know.] 
Eddy Chen/Warner Bros.
Last Man Standing "Putting a Hit on Christmas" (S02E07): [odd shot of living room into kitchen. and Vanessa's necklace is ugly.] Mike asks Ed for a an idea for Vanessa for Christmas, so he suggests to steal the dog, let Vanessa freak out, then bring it back and be a hero. [tale as old as time! plus, Go On kinda just did this.] Vanessa admits to Mike that she misses simple Christmases before the kids and grandchild, so he decides to use that charade with his children. Mike gets Kristin to take Boyd to Winnipeg to see his other grandparents, sends Mandy on that Cancun trip, and allows Eve to go with another family so Aspen. Of course, there are problems along the way that he has to solve, like reuniting one of Mandy's friends with her cheating boyfriend and firing Eve from her holiday job as a gift-wrapper at the store. But, Eve figures out what's going on and cuts a deal - no questions about her next report card, as she's getting a D in art. [I hope we focus on that again at some point!]
Mike gives Boyd a snowglobe that plays "Little Drummer Boy," Vanessa's favorite carol. This gets her sad over missing everyone, so Mike makes everyone cancel their plans, reuniting them and looking to be a hero. [Kristin's tickets were refundable and Mandy's are good for a year??] Vanessa even decides to invite Ryan's parents to Denver.

Elsewhere, Ed accidentally shoots a bald eagle and tells Mike and Kyle. Ed and Kyle go to dispose of it, but the bird ends up still being alive. [this was kinda just filler, I feel.]   

2 Broke Girls "And the High Holidays" (S02E12): The girls don't have the money to pay their shoppe's rent, but Caroline doesn't want Andy to know. [typical.] Max has been doing "cupcake runs" at 2am, selling munchies to druggies. [awesome that her dealer tips her off! his name is Kieffer. Teen Mom 2, much? also, um... I don't think that California passed the marijuana bill, so was this taped pre-election and not changed?] Caroline thinks maybe it'll work out because there aren't drugs in the cupcakes, but after she witnesses a meth bust, she changes her mind, worrying that she'll get in trouble just by knowing about someone using. [haha.] Caroline won't ask Andy for money, so the girls try to evade their landlord by going out the bathroom window. Well, it turns out that Max got a big bag of pot from her dealer as a Christmas present, and when it accidentally pours into a pot, she makes drug cupcakes after all. [holy cow!] Caroline continues to be paranoid as Sophie come over and devours some, but then they feed them to their other friends as well, for thanks when they give them the money to make rent. [Oleg ($100), Earl ($50), and Han ($350)]
Darren Michaels/Warner Bros.
Max makes some calls and the girls go to a party to unload the goodies at $15 apiece. But, surprise! Andy shows up at the party to smoke weed, and Caroline goes out the window. [crazy antics!]

Also, we see the girls hosting a children's party where the kids threw frosting everywhere.

Cupcakery Total: $100.00. [finally! back to being poor!]
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