Joy to the world, the TV world! Tonight’s Brothers & Sisters, “Cold Turkey,” was as highly entertaining as Justin was high in the dream sequence snorting powered sugar. Seriously—this was a fantastic Christmas episode with some of the best freak-out reactions and sibling rivalry moments in the show’s history—and that really is impressive given this show’s excessive history of such occurrences.
The holiday shenanigans began right around the moment when Nora realized she accidentally incinerated Justin’s gingerbread men during her quest to make each of her children’s favorite Christmas treats. Carl wanted to help her de-stress, and suggested they get away from it all. And with that, Nora decided that for once in her life she would run off with her man for a quiet holiday in the snow and let her adult children be adults without her. When Nora calls an emergency Christmas meeting to inform her brood of this very un-Nora decision, the looks on their faces were priceless. I especially loved Kevin’s face turning from ‘this is a joke’ to ‘WTF’ and Justin’s eyes popping out of his head when Nora snapped up the handle to her luggage. The Walker siblings may complain about their mother and her over-the-top traditions, but when faced with this cold, hard “Christmas is cancelled” Grinch-like atmosphere, my how they (and we) miss it!
The Battle of the Christmas Host began immediately, with both Kitty and Kevin calling dibs. Kitty and Kevin were each keenly aware that this was their chance to take the torch of Christmas future and establish the new family tradition. Justin just really needed one of them—whoever won—to supply old-fashioned good tidings and cheer (and some figgy pudding) for that nurse he dated one time more than a month ago…I guess when you are married in real life that means your characters are pitted together again all of a sudden. Finally, Sarah didn’t really care who ended up hosting because she was too busy being a radio station Scrooge. I kind of wanted to put coal in Sarah’s stocking because she was so whiney: let us all commiserate that the poor dear has a hot model fiancé and millions of dollars to play with.
Kitty began decorating her modern house with the world’s sparsest Charlie Brown tree with her new, grad student boyfriend. The real Christmas miracle occurred when we saw visual evidence that her son Evan is indeed alive and growing! Meanwhile, Kevin went overboard and his and Scotty’s place looked like Christmas threw up every form of decoration. The episode kicked it up yet another notch when both Kevin and Kitty arrived at Nora’s to search for (ahem, grab before the other could) the prized Santa’s Village to lock-down the competition. The showdown that ensued was one of the most hilarious confrontations this show has done: Kevin pulled the gay card, Kitty pulled the widow card, and they each flung some amazing zingers. My favorite (difficult to choose) was probably Kitty exclaiming: “Oh my god, did you just play the gay card?! You come from the most loving, liberal family known to man. Mom couldn’t be more gay friendly if she twirled a baton up Santa Monica Boulevard in a Cher costume!”
Just when I thought that this episode was already awesome, the “Christmas Carol” dream sequence happened. Nora was freaking out that she abandoned her family at Christmas and had one of the funniest “Christmas Carol” visions ever: what her children’s lives may have been had she run off to a condo in Boca years ago. I absolutely loved how the show completely embraced the garish, over-the-top, campy humor. You could tell all the actors had a blast playing bad versions of themselves: Kitty as a depressed over-eater living at home; Sarah as a royal bi-otch; Kevin as a total tool trapped in a loveless straight marriage (although having a fling with the man-servant Scotty); and Justin as a booze-hound sleeping with girls whose names are “Angel” and “Bunny” based on the holiday. As a special bonus, we got to see Holly as the lady of the house, bossing everyone around. Oh, and let’s not forget Tommy—as dream-version Sarah mentions, “We all know how he turned out” (haha…nod, wink to the audience). Nora was appalled to see these horrid versions of how her children would have turned out had they not had her love and guidance. And then the dream got worse when Nora discovered that her children and Holly were plotting to kill her for being such a bad mother. It was at that moment that Nora woke up with blood-curdling scream. Yes, it was time for Nora to get back where she belonged at Christmas—with her family.
Nora arrived back in Pasadena with Carl, just in time to see that Kitty and Kevin had restored Christmas cheer the way it was done in Whoville. They combined their holiday spirit to hold Walkerville…a lovely Christmas at Nora’s. Sarah even put being a total Grinch on hold, and Justin was able to treat his nurse girlfriend to some real figgy pudding—and it turned out she had never even seen it before (I had no idea it looked like that either!). And, Kitty had a little surprise from her new boy toy—he is actually the dean’s son!
I realize that I left out the entire subplot about Saul confronting his old love, the one who happened to give him HIV. That is mainly because this whole storyline felt so out of place in the episode tonight. I am all for giving Saul more to do and he has had some nice scenes struggling with his sexuality and his disease. I just wish this subplot had been given its own time to breathe in a different episode. He did provide us with the token Hanukkah reference of the night, however!
Our favorite ‘brothers & sisters’ gave us plenty of spirited moments to keep us laughing til the New Year:
- “My mother’s Christmases are like the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics” (Kitty upon getting the Christmas Emergency phone call).
- “What kind of mother would do this?” (Kevin after Nora dropped her bombshell news).
- Kevin and Scotty breaking into the “Hallelujah” chorus when they see Saul reconnect with an old acquaintance—and seemingly flirt.
- Hello product placement advertising! Apparently Macy’s has a wish letter-writing campaign.
- Kitty yelling at Justin for inviting some holiday-starved girl over to gawk at them “like we’re some holiday diorama!”
- Nora comparing herself to a junkie for her children.
- “Go have your two-treed, LGBT politically correct ‘don we now our gay apparel’ holiday extravaganza!” (Kitty to Kevin while arguing over Santa’s Village).
- Nora seeing her overly-white decorated house in the dream sequence: “Who decorated this place, the tooth fairy?!”
Did you love how Walkerville turned out as much as I did? I may not be crazy about how this new nurse girlfriend is playing out with Justin, but I certainly don’t blame the girl for wanting to attend Walker festivities—I would invite myself over if I could!