Episode 15: Holiday on Ice

Well, last night, Frazier came home to find his brother Niles in a state of panic. It turns out that Niles' wife, Maris, just revealed to him that she is, in fact, a man. Niles soon goes catatonic and starts to mumble passages from "M. Butterfly" when ... ooops, sorry, wrong show -- won't happen again.

A nutty "Christmas Carol" show last night -- and thank goodness Susan is off the show. The Matt Slot (the weekly acknowledgement of the character with the fewest lines) belonged to ... Jake, who basically shows up and says, "Hey, Jo, nice baby!" Changes in Matt's storyline this week (see below) practically guarantee that he'll regain possession of the Matt Slot in future episodes.

Amanda's Christmas Carol:

Ahh, it's Christmas in snowless Los Angeles, where even Santa Claus won't leave his sleigh without using The Club. Amanda walks into D&D to find a Christmas party in full swing (horrors!), and she tells Billy to pull the plug. Billy says, "Gaaaah, c'mon, 'Manda, it's a good morale booster." Bruce's sister comes by and says her two sons are in college and she needs financial help. (What, no Tiny Tim on crutches?) Amanda says "Bah, humbug," claiming the company is financially shaky and that Bruce leeched a lot of funds from corporate accounts. She then goes to "Camp Happy Talk" and tells Alison not to plan on resuming her career. Zing!

That night, Amanda dreams (of course) and up pops Bruce in the Jacob Marley role! (I have to give the writers credit -- they planned this well.) He chastises her for lying to his sister, and tells her that she's responsible for his death and she knows it. She goes to touch the rope burn on his neck, then wakes up. (What rope burns, Bruce?!? You dropped two inches off a desk! You can't get rope burns from that!) Speaking of burns, The Bizarre Dr. Peter Burns shows up the next morning and finds Amanda suffering from a cold, flu, malaria, something. (Heather wore less makeup.) He says his behavior the other night was inexcusable (note that he doesn't apologize, though), and presents her with a combination Xmas gift and "peace offering." And what do we have behind Door #2? A fur coat! [Applause] How politically incorrect! That evening, the dream returns. Bruce checks out the fur coat and does the "Christmas Past" routine, where Amanda sees herself as a child surrounded by presents, yet she's miserable because all she wants is her father, who goes on another "business trip."

The next night, Bruce takes Amanda to her burial. (Hey, Bruce, wait a second! Whatsamatta, you couldn't do Christmas Present? We had to skip right to Christmas Future? What a gyp!) It's in the middle of the night, with no flowers or mourners. She asks Bruce what happened. He says her "husband" Peter claims she died in a "skiing accident." (Yeah, right, and my mother's a cosmonaut.) "What about my friends?" "What friends, Amanda?" Bruce tells her that the future is not immutable (my word for the day -- you like it?) and that it's Peter who's been making her do these evil things lately. (Really? She's been nasty for years! Wow, Bruce, even dead you're clueless!) It's still not too late to turn away from The Dark Side of The Force, Amanda. "You must destroy Peter -- before he destroys you!" (Hey, does this sound like they're setting up the season-ending cliffhanger?)

On Christmas Day, Amanda visits Bruce's sister and gives her a Christmas basket -- and an apology. Sis invites her in, and introduces her to her two college-boy sons, who probably look at her and think, "Huh huh huh! Kewl! Thanks, Santa!" Amanda tells Sis that she's arranged to have their tuition paid every semester. She then visits Alison at the center and apologizes to her, also, telling her that her job is safe. "I envy you ... I wish there was a rehab program for my personal demons." (And now, "Deep Thoughts," with Jack Handey...)

Matt and Jeffrey:

They help out at a center where most of the people are suffering from AIDS-related illnesses. Jeffrey is a little uncomfortable. On Christmas Eve, Matt is unwrapping a ton of gifts that Jeffrey bought for him -- he's quite stunned. The capper, though, is in Matt's stocking. (Make up your own joke here.) What do we have behind Door #3? A cruise for two to the Bahamas! [Applause] Matt is really stunned now. Jeffrey says he spoke with Matt's boss and cleared everything at work. Matt realizes how much money Jeffrey has just spent. "Jeffrey, what did you do? Did Spelling give you a huge bonus check or something? You can't afford this!" Matt says Jeffrey is blowing his financial future. Jeffrey replies, "What future?" He wants to live for the Here and Now. (Oh God, I hear that damn Letters to Clio song warming up...)

The next day at the hospital, they talk. (Matt works on Christmas Day?) Jeffrey says he can't be in a deep relationship with Matt. "The only commitment I can make right now is to myself." Matt is sad, but they'll be the best of pals.

Jane and Sydney:

This one was quick. Jane tells Syd to get on the phone with their father. Syd says, "No way! He signed the papers to put me in the loony bin!" Jane says Dad needs Syd's forgiveness. Syd gets on, and says she can't make to the folks' place for Christmas. (Jane is disgusted.) Then Syd finds out that the family dog had puppies (awwwww), and the emotional walls start crumbling. We can tell Dad is really sad, and Syd starts crying. Jane asks her again to come with her to their folks' place. Syd agrees.

Alison, Billy, and Terry:

Billy visits Alison and gives her an old music box ("A Kiss is Still a Kiss" from "Casablanca"). Alison says that sobriety makes her see things so clearly (as she touches Billy's arm), and she wonders why Billy stayed with her for so long. He says, "Daaah, I loved you." She smiles. "I loved you, too." (Interesting and surprising use of the past tense.) They share a big hug. Terry sees this and appears, um, unhappy. Later, on Christmas, Terry says he needs to talk to her. "Are you going back with Billy?" She doesn't know. Terry thinks she should be with him, not Billy, adding that Billy doesn't understand with Alison has been going through. (Hey, Terry, news flash -- Billy doesn't understand a lot of things. I'm surprised he's still getting to work on time since he doesn't have anyone to set his alarm clock for him anymore.) Terry says, "We belong together!" "It's not the same, Terry." Somehow, he convinces her that because they're standing under the mistletoe, she's wrong, and they have a big kiss. Huh? I need a drink...

Jo and the Doctors Frankenstein:

Kimberly is very happy, taking pictures of Michael and "Michael Jr." in front of the Christmas tree. Michael cautions her not to get too attached to the baby. Kimberly frowns and says Jo won't do anything. Matt introduces Dr. Burns to Jo, who tells him everything about the baby. Burns confronts Michael at the hospital. He doesn't want to hear Michael's side of the story; he just says that if even half of what Jo says is true, Mancini is putting the hospital at great risk. "If this baby isn't yours, give it back -- now." Michael arranges to have Kimberly assigned to a double shift at the hospital on Christmas Eve. He then brings the baby to Jo, and says, "Merry Christmas, Jo. Stay out of our lives." Kimberly returns, learns what Michael did, and totally wigs out! She runs into the ocean, but Michael pulls her back. Jo shows the baby to Jake. (Thanks, Jake, see you next time.)

A vengeful Kimberly calls up Reed's parents, the Carters! (The wife answers; the husband, Jimmy, is handling some dumb peace mission in Bosnia.) Kimberly just says she's a concerned citizen and she tells Mrs. Carter that her grandson is alive and well and living in Jo's apartment! Merry Christmas! (Hey, Kimberly, you didn't really think this through, did you? If the Carters investigate, fingers at going to point at you, kiddo! You forged the hospital records! Hmmm, maybe she'll frame that troublemaker, Matt...)

Next Week: No coming attractions! Instead, we got the closing credits with that damn Letters to Clio! The refrain of the song sounds like, "Hammana hammana bubba bubba hammana! Heeeere and nowwwww......" What's next? A 90210 Christmas special?!? Oh, the humanity! I'm not watching that -- I've got some scruples left!

Merry Christmas, everybody!

--Ken Hart

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