Once and Again

Episode Report Card
Niki: A | Grade It Now!

Big, big thanks to Ragdoll, who did a fabulous job covering the show last week! And to Cancun for having amazing weather, and to the bartenders at the Royal Mayan, who blend a mean mango daiquiri (even though they gave me a healthy head start on that dreaded holiday five). And now, back to the grind.

We open in the living room of Manning Manor, where everyone but Lily is buzzing around a naked Christmas tree, pulling out lights and bantering about their respective family traditions. Eli disparages the Sammler tradition of the family sing-along, which he claims only Karen enjoys. Rick pipes up, "for the record," to say that he happens to like the sing-along, too. Zoe is thrown by the Sammler habit of opening presents on Christmas Eve, wondering what there is to look forward to on Christmas. "Imagine being able to sleep in on Christmas morning without having Zoe wake you up at 5:30," Grace teases. My stepbrother tried to wake me up at 3:30 one year. That's right: one year. Zoe points out that it was Grace who woke her up last year.

Lily comes barreling through the front door, loaded down with shopping bags, and exclaims, "What a great tree!" She asks how things are going, and Rick informs her, "We're just having a doctrinal dispute over when to open Christmas presents -- Christmas Eve or Christmas morning." Lily calmly suggests that they can do both -- Eli and Jessie can open gifts with Karen and then again with them on Christmas morning. "But what are you going to do when you have a kid?" Zoe asks. "Huh?" Rick manages. Zoe clarifies, "About family traditions." Lily and Rick stare blankly, and Lily murmurs something to the effect that they've never considered it. "You guys totally should," Jessie grins. "Absolutely," Grace beams. I'd smell their breath, because they've clearly been nipping into the Christmas cheer. The kids start teasing Rick by tossing out the qualities the kid would inherit from him, like a propensity for singing along with the Three Tenors in the car, "when he thinks none of [them] can hear." The four of them gather in front of the fireplace for an impromptu imitation of the tenors. Lily and Rick laugh adoringly, full of the warm fuzzies. The first time I watched this, I had the warm fuzzies, too, but I think mine were from the margaritas.

Later, Lily and Rick are wrapping presents in their bedroom. "So what do you think?" Lily asks, curling a ribbon. Rick says he thinks he should sing more quietly in the car. Lily explains she meant what does he think "about Zoe's question." She can't even say the word "baby," and she wants to consider having one?

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Once and Again




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