“The one with the dead eyes is Diane!”

From time to time, reality intrudes on our valuable TV watching time, and we realize we can’t cover everything we love. So, we’ve asked some of our friends to step in and help us out when Real Life gets in the way. And today is one of those days. Please enjoy this Trophy Wife post from Mary.

We open with a tracking shot of ornaments floating in a pool, Breaking Bad style.

Remnants of a lovely tree – perhaps balsam, perhaps fir, but we’ll never know because it is a wee bit on fire – float atop the aqua water . . . an overturned cooler beside the pool . . . Kate passed out on a patio chaise, rocking red leather leggings and wrapped around a giant nutcracker figure with a beer can affixed to one of its hands . . . in through the open french doors of Chez Harrison past a piecemeal snowman with a packing peanut body, pasta server hands, and a vaguely horrifying face made of a white plastic bowl with unidentifiable gunk for the nose . . . Pete falling off his perch on the back of the couch and half dressed in a Santa costume complete with a beard of white ringlets, his fall disturbing a blue toy car to roll along the floor which leads us to the kitchen island . . . where Jackie (who else do they know who could pull off that awesome dress and boots for a Christmas party?) is stretched out like a murder victim on her stomach with her head hanging into the sink . . . around to the living room where – THERE’S A WOLF ALERT A WOLF IS EATING OFF THE COUNTER INCHES FROM JACKIE’S HEAD, but it abandons its snack to trot over and lick Diane, bedded up on some couch cushions on the floor with a wrapping paper blanket like a merry rich lady hobo.

Diane’s squawks at being awoken BY A WOLF wake Pete and Kate who wonder aloud, “Why am I in a Santa suit?!” and “Why is there a DOG in here?!” respectively. A barista would know the difference between a dog and wolf, probably, don’t you think? Diane doesn’t know why the “dog” is there, neither Kate nor Diane know why Diane is there, and nobody knows why Jackie is missing her eyebrows.

Enter the kids to this horrow show, and cue credits!

The kids quickly abandon the wolf-and-hungover-adult-infested house to go mourn their Christmas tree during its viking’s funeral in the pool outside, and the adults gather ’round to discuss what they remember. Jackie had eyebrows, Kate was making drinks (Diane: “Isn’t that what you do every day?”) and, cue flashback!

12 hours ago:

Kate displays her mixology skills to Bert (“Van Nuys Institute of Mixology, best two weeks of my life.” Bert: “That’s where I want to go!”) as Pete comes in from a trip to the mall which is reason enough for anyone to decide drugs are the answer. He’s also non-plussed by their neighbor Helene’s kajillion watt Christmas light display and three nativity scenes. Kate’s education included “glog,” a Swedish mulled wine, of which she has made a large Crockpot full to share with Jackie and Diane. Pete’s not thrilled she’s upset the very strict holiday rotation, but Kate insists family should be together on Christmas.

Back in the present, Jackie and Diane both accuse Kate of getting them liquored up so she could stay up and try on their shoes – Louboutins and moccasins, respectively, and I’ll let you guys puzzle out which are whose).

Flachback: Jackie loves glog (who wouldn’t?) and informs us that “pronto” is Italian for “arriba arriba,” with a wink, snap, and finger guns. This might have been glog-induced, or it could just be Jackie, there’s no telling.

Kate is thrilled, since she grew up without nice Christmases, and Pete seems to have a moment with that information. Malin plays these little moments so nicely, with the same guilessness Kate has in her bubblier moments too. Diane is building a “Frank Lloyd Wright, gluten free, and structurally sound” gingerbread house, and Warren and Hillary drop an unsubtle hint that they want a dog for Christmas. What about Horndog? I guess Bert hoards him. I would too if I had a dog as horny as that (watch the pilot guys!)

Jackie and Bert are celebrating all the winter holidays, which means “this week is about Jesus’ birthday, eight days of oil, the attainment of Nirvana, and black people being awesome!” Albert Tsai in this Christmas sweater, you guys.

After they put the kids to bed though, things get fuzzy and stories start to diverge:



But Diane DID fall, Jackie thought it was hilarious, and nobody could pronounce “glog.” Back in the present, Diane again accuses Kate of essentially roofieing them, so Kate gets out the empty wine bottle to prove her innocence. Conveniently, Diane produces an empty Absinthe bottle that literally has Kate’s name on it. Before they can puzzle that one out the kids come in complaining that the dog chewed through Bert’s desk and asking for their presents.

Come on, do you guys really think there’s a neat pretty pile of presents sitting untouched in the corner where the tree that is now ON FIRE IN THE POOL once stood? Pfft.

Upon returning from a commercial break, presents still haven’t been found, but that’s okay, Hillary’s going to snottily dismiss the kids from the scene. Kate finds a box of shredded paper and Jackie remembers that Kate said she needed it for her “winter wonderland.” They follow a trail of paper shreddings outside to Pete’s office where it turns out that Kate’s winter wonderland is made of Pete’s case against a botanical garden.

Off Pete’s righteous indignation over who would do such a thing, we flashback to Pete in his office with Jackie, shredding said paperwork. He’s raging against the machine of consumerism and the denial of climate change and basically being everything Britta Perry could want in a father figure. Just imagine if Pete had met Jackie first and Britta Perry was their daughter, guys. Just . . . imagine.

We’re interrupted from that crossover daydream by Helene, world’s best neighbor, inquiring about her Marys . . . who are having a “friggin’ adorable” (Jackie) tea party in the Harrison’s breakfast nook. Big surprise, Jackie was the culprit here, and she explains that she took them because they’re clearly “Kate, me, and the one with the dead eyes is Diane!” Helene is just horrified that the Mothers of Our Lord were eating jalapeno poppers (um, because they’re delicious? DUH), whch tips Kate off that where there was barfood, there was certainly Meg.

Meg, on the phone, turns out to have given the Absinthe to Kate, as is their tradition, but says she didn’t open it. She did however come over the night before to find Kate, Jackie, Pete and Diane doing a profoundly drunk rendition of Ace of Base’s “I Saw The Sign.”


Meg: “Not here.”

But as it turns out, Meg did see Diane outside:

“I’ll pick you the finest chestnuts, Papa!”


If this is not the origin story of a Disney villain, I don’t know what is.

Also it turns out Meg got a wee bit attacked by the wolf currently licking Diane’s neck and is now spending her Christmas in the ER. Poor Meg!

Having suddenly realized that the “dog” is proooooobably a wild animal, Diane sends it outside, and Hillary and the kids appear for more complaining. Kate tries to redirect them that there’s more to Christmas that presents (finally), but Jackie interrupts that THERE IS A DEAD LADY IN THE BATHTUB.

Of course there is.

It’s Phyllis, AKA Mrs. Steinberg, Warren’s teacher, and she’s just asleep.

Jackie: “I knew she wasn’t dead either, but I really wanted attention.”

And Jackie’s back to being my spirit animal again.

Post-commercial break, Mrs. Steinberg is totally comfortable wrapped in a bedsheet, no robe needed, Kate. She came by the house dressed as Santa, caroling with her women’s church group, and dumped them ASAP when Kate invited her in for a drink. Naturally Kate decided she needed an elf, which meant Kate and Diane had to pluck Jackie’s eyebrows (Jackie: “Make sure you get it right because the eyebrows are the curtains to the windows of the soul.”)


Kate decides they’ve made the perfect Christmas moment and they have to take a picture together. She knocks over the Menorah with the tripod, and while Meg and an already sheet-wrapped Phyllis are on the couch being frightened of the wolf, the tree goes up in flames. Everything’s coming together, guys!

The wolf bites Meg, Pete enters in the Santa suit and takes charge, dragging the flaming tree to the pool. Then we find out that the whole reason Pete had the Santa suit to begin with was to preserve Bert’s childlike wonder at the magic of Christmas for just a little bit longer. Aw! Such a wholesome sentiment from such an Absinthe-addled mind!

Back in the present they kick Phyllis out, and the kids reappear to harp about their presents some more. But Pete reminds them that while they can’t technically remember the night before, they have many wonderful memories of the current day they’ve managed to survive without being attacked by wolves or getting any paper cuts from Kate’s winter wonderland.

Later in front of the fire, all snuggled and hungover like family is supposed to be, there wafts across them the smell of burning plastic. Turns out Pete-as-Santa tossed all the presents down the chimney. Bert’s still happy he got the bike he wanted even if it’s partially mangled, since he was a good boy all year for doing things like helping Kate make her drink last night by adding the bottle of green stuff with a flourish that will make a name for him at the Van Nuys Institute of Mixology for sure.

Merry Happy everybody!

Mary is a military wife, mother, and certifiably pathological fangirl. Though she’s written before, this is her first foray into blogging. Her interests include livetweeting, cooking, baking, buying, and – most importantly – eating food, puns, and deciphering her toddler’s attempts to speak English. Follow her #mamatweets, #wifepeopleproblems, and #islandproblems (it’s not all complaining, honest) on Twitter at @maryarrr.


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