OK, first up, I HATE Christmas episodes. This is not because I’m a cold-hearted bastard who just doesn’t get the Christmas spirit. At least, I don’t THINK I’m a cold-hearted bastard. And if I am I at least TRY to be friendly once in a while. No, the reason I hate Christmas episodes so much is because there is a certain brand of TV-maker (or TV-station-executive) who feels that it is his Sacred Duty To Inspire Us All or something. Now, don’t get me wrong, I LIKE happiness and cuteness and overall mushiness. What I don’t like is FAKE and FORCED happiness and cuteness and overall mushiness.
I don’t think I’m explaining myself well here, so I’ll just repeat saying that I HATE Christmas episodes. On the bright side, however, there is practically NO Harrison in this episode. It would also be funny to point out that it is next season’s Christmas episode that really kicked off my Harrison-hatred.
On a final note, the chronological order in this episode is really fucked up. For example, somewhere in the episode wakes up. At that point it’s morning. Then she goes to the Palace and arrives there at night. The night of the previous day, to be exact. I’m just pointing it out here so I won’t complain about it later.


OK, we start in the Novak. Nicole is counting money. The total is approximately $450. Brooke is overjoyed by this. Apparently the Kennedy High cheerleading squad has a long-standing tradition of raising money for UNICEF whenever Christmas draws nigh. Nicole makes the remark that with all that cash they can buy a whole lot of goods. Brooke is shocked, but has quickly forgotten her shock when Nicole tells her she was just joking. Brooke then says that she misses Marley Jacob. This Marley Jacob person was a cheerleader who died approximately one year ago. Upon mentioning her name, Nicole freezes. Brooke doesn’t notice it, but she does wonder if Nicole misses Marley as well since the two of them were such great friends.

Flashback time! We see Nicole, in the Novak. Her haircut is unfashionable, she wears glasses and a sweater that looks comfortable, but that the Nicole we know would never, ever wear. Think “harmless little grey mouse” and you’ve got a pretty good picture. From one of the stalls, Marley appears. She’s rehearsing Nicole on what she has to say on Marley’s funeral. Nicole points out that they don’t have to if Marley would, you know, eat something. Marley then tells Nicole it would be better if she stopped eating as well, considering her body weight. For those of you who haven’t noticed yet, Marley is a bigger bitch than Nicole could ever be. Quickly changing the subject, Nicole is happy with all the money they have raised for the good cause. Marley, however, is planning to take the money and spend it all on a shopping spree. Threatening Nicole with unpopularity, she makes sure that the harmless blonde won’t inform Brooke about this.
After the shopping spree, Marley bitches to Nicole some more. Then she gets woozy and falls down: Death by Anorexia.

Back to the present, Brooke and Nicole are about to leave the Novak when Carmen enters. The brunette has decided to give away all her lunch money to the good cause. Brooke is over the moon by this and Nicole pretends to be happy as well. Brooke leaves, but Nicole comes back. The blonde tells the brunette that if this money-giving is an attempt to get in the cheerleading squad after the upcoming second round of try-outs, it’s not going to happen. Carmen claims that she has no ulterior motives. It’s Christmas, after all.
As if Marley Jacob wasn’t obvious enough already, the writers now inform us which Christmas story they’re ripping off by making Nicole respond with: “Bah, humbug.”

We’re in the Palace. Mike and Jane are being all lovey-dovey together while they decorate the tree. Sam, however, isn’t very happy with the tree. According to her trees should be green and alive and smell. Brooke however, is much happier with their metallic artificial tree, since it fits so much better in the interior of the house. Sam at that point decides that she’s going to do a little decorating of her own and goes out to get some actual greenery. Brooke then announces that she’s going to have a Christmas party for all her friends here. Sam enters again, with the greenery (wonder how she got that so fast) and, overhearing this, says that she too always gives a Christmas party for her friends. Jane and Mike decide that this shouldn’t be a problem. They’ll just merge the two parties.

In Kennedy High, Little Carmeny walks through the corridor with a pair of crutches. Nicole sees this and, with a smirk, punches whatever Carmen is carrying out of her hands.

In Biology Class, Sam is preparing a Christmas list. Reading this list, it becomes clear that this is a “What-I-should-NOT-get-my-friends-for-Christmas” kind of list. This may be useful if she doesn’t know what she should buy for her friends. Just one quick glance at the list and she knows that she can buy pretty much anything except that. Now, let’s just take a quick peek at what Sam has written so far:
Harrison: Girlfriend / Playstation
Lily: Leather boots
Mary Cherry: Shock therapy
Brooke: Arsenic
There is still a blank spot after Carmen’s name. Carmen shows up with her crutches. Wanting to know what happened, Sam asks her what happened. Carmen informs us all that in about two weeks the cheerleaders will again hold try-outs. In an attempt to do better than last time, Carmen says that she’s been following some dancing lessons, but that her ankle snapped during one of these lessons. Must be some pretty hefty lessons by the sound of it. Anyway, Nicole tells Carmen that her snapped ankle is a blessing. After all, now she won’t be hurt by her otherwise inevitable refusal.
Roberta Glass enters and announces that she has been captivated by the Christmas spirit. She is therefore giving the entire class a piece of home-made fruitcake, a small toy, a raise of their GPA by half a point and no final test. The class is delighted. Except for Nicole. She thinks that this is a hollow attempt by Glass to win back her students after tormenting them with an insane amount of homework and sadistically difficult tests.
After class, in the hallway, Nicole informs Brooke, Mary Cherry and Popita about how she’s on a strict schedule so if they would please hurry up for their annual Christmas celebration. She leaves and the three remaining cheerleaders say that they all feel bad for the fact that Carmen’s second change has circled down the drain.

At the shopping centre, Emory Dick, Freddy Gong and the Tuna twins are singing Christmas carols in ridiculously high voices. Carmen walks past, still with her crutches of course, and stops in front of a shop. The shop is named “Skinny Girl” and has a nice display of cheerleader dolls. Mary Cherry and Popita then walk past, having someone move a sled loaded with various articles for them. They walk past an open-air Santa’s chair or something. Harrison John is here, but now he’s Harrison Claus. Or Joe Claus, according to Mary Cherry.

In some small cafe, Carmen, Lily, Sam and Harrison are sitting around a table. Harrison may have been Santa Claus, but he was helped out by elves Lily and Sam. Anyway, Carmen bemoans the fact that her cheerleading aspirations have been shot to Hell, but at least there are still people that are even worse off than her. Take our four Christmas carol singers, for example. They’re even bigger social outcasts than they are. Sam has an idea and gets up to invite the four freaks to their dinner.
Brooke, Mary Cherry, Popita and Nicole are here as well. Brooke says that she’s really feeling sorry for Carmen. She says it’ll be a nice gesture if they let Carmen on the squad. Carmen really is a good dancer after all, so it wouldn’t even be that big a gesture. Mary Cherry and Popita agree wholeheartedly, but Nicole nixes the plan. She then gets up, saying that she’s going to deliver the UNICEF money to its rightful owner.

At some street somewhere, Principal Hall is ringing a bell and collecting money for the poor. With her heightened sense of smell, she notices that Nicole is here. Nicole tells her that she’s dropping off the money, but, in fact, steals quite a big wad. She then flings a few coins into the money container and leaves, taking some more money with her for good measure.

We’re in some shop for skincare products. Nicole is pleasantly surprised when she sees Miss Glass behind the counter. Glass tells Nicole that she’s working here because her sister really wants a (and I quote) “hairless pussy”. Before your minds happily descend into the gutter, Glass is talking about the feline variety of pussies. Nicole orders a no. 4 clarifying lotion, whatever that may be. Glass gives it to her. Nicole then yells for the management. The management arrives in the form of Lily’s boss at Mr Cluck’s (remember that?). His name turns out to be Godfrey and he informs the viewers that a no. 4 clarifying lotion is only used for the most horrendous skins imaginable. Clearly, Nicole needs a no 1 clarifying lotion. Having no other choice, Godfrey fires Glass because of her ignorance.

We’re in Nicole’s big mansion. She’s sitting in a big chair, quietly sipping some diet drink. She’s all alone. But not for long. A red music box springs open and starts playing. Bells chime, the clock strikes twelve and then there appears the ghastly image of Marley Jacob. The deceased cheerleader informs Nicole that she is rapidly approaching the same horrendous fate. She back this up by moaning loudly, but since she’s only been a tormented soul for a year, her moans aren’t very impressive. They are nicely backed up by a few poltergeist effects, though. Anyway, Marley kindly informs Nicole that she’s going to be haunting her for all eternity until she amends her ways. Oh, and she also tells about the three spirits that are going to show up later tonight. After Marley leaves, Nicole flees into bed, pulling up the covers so that the bad things may go away.

The bell tolls and the Spirit of Christmas Past enters the Julian mansion. The Spirit arrives in the form of Roberta Glass and tells Nicole to get her ass out of bed, since it’s going to be a really long night.
We start almost at the very beginning. Nicole is still a cute little baby. Her mother is a smoking, martini-drinking, uncaring woman. According to Glass:
“She wanted to be something, anything other than a mother.”
There is, however, someone who does loves Nicole. Her name is Nana and, like all Nana’s, she’s the grandmother.
Moving forward to Elementary school, where the cheerleaders are girl scouts. Brooke, by the way, isn’t one of them. Nicole most certainly isn’t one of them. Slightly overweight and disliked by all, Nicole is seeking for somewhere to sit in the cafeteria. Then, with that special kind of cruelty only little kids can come up with, the girl scouts trip Nicole, causing the blonde to fall in her food. Then they start calling her names.
Nicole flees towards Nana. The kind old lady tells her that it’s all going to be all right. She then gives Nicole her Christmas present early. It’s the red music box seen earlier. Nana then promises Nicole that she won’t ever leave.
In a graveyard somewhere, we’re standing at Nana’s grave. Nicole is holding the music box, bitter about the fact that she didn’t get to say goodbye.
We fast forward a little to one month after Marley’s death. Nicole has taken Marley’s place and has started her reign of terror. Now, remember that sometimes on a few rare occasions you may see something resembling a small dislike between Sam and Brooke if you sort of squint and turn your head a little? Well, as it becomes clear in this scene, this is because Nicole is playing them off against each other.
Finally, we understand the source of Nicole’s vicious and uncompromising hatred towards Carmen. It’s simply because Carmen reminds her way too much of the girl she herself once was.

Back in the Julian mansion, Nicole is visited by the second Spirit. It’s Mary Cherry, Spirit of Christmas Presents. Sorry, Spirit of Christmas Present. So, with her new designer magic wand, Mary Cherry takes Nicole to…
The Palace. There are two Christmas trees her. The fake one, belonging to Brooke and the green one belonging to Sam. Mike and Jane are here, dancing and gazing lovingly into each other’s eyes. Sam and Brooke are watching them. Despite any possible incest issues, they’re still pretty happy for their parents. Then there is the traditional exchanging of Christmas gifts. Sam has a small, square box for Brooke that looks an awful lot like it could contain a necklace with a little heart attached to it (Hey, there’s not much Sam/Brooke in the entire ep, so I’m taking all I can get). The box, however, contains tickets for a Radiohead concert. Brooke is overjoyed. The blonde’s present for the brunette is far simpler. It’s a picture, taken in a moment when they all were a happy little family. Brooke says it’s one of her favourite pictures since Sam looks so very pretty on it. Smiling and happy and, well, in love, Sam and Brooke hug. The hug is a little awkward, however, because, let’s not forget, they broke up not all that long ago.
The guests arrive at the Palace. Besides Josh, Sugar Daddy, Mary Cherry, Popita, Harrison, Lily and Carmen there are also Freddy Gong, Emory Dick, April Tuna and May Tuna. Emory Dick has come prepared with an entire suitcase filled with mistletoe. We never see this mistletoe in action, however, since you have to have at least five very successful seasons before you’re allowed to show two teenage girls kissing each other.
Meanwhile, Freddy, April and May have cornered the parental units. They try to thank them, but only Freddy manages to pull it off without sounding like a bumbling idiot.
During dinner, Sugar Daddy raises his glass for a toast to Brooke and Sam. That they may live happily ever after. OK, he doesn’t _say_ that last part, but that’s what he meant. Then Mike raises his glass for a toast to family. Then Brooke raises her glass. She wants to propose a toast to Nicole. Sam isn’t very happy with the idea. She’d much rather give the hag a piece of her mind than toast to her. Carmen and Harrison and a few others try to persuade Sam to change her point of view. Then Emory Dick points out that, yes, Nicole is an “odious wretch” (there were more negative adjectives there, but I was too lazy to write them all down), but, since it Christmas, they can even toast to her. Sam folds and the whole group toasts to Nicole.
Mary Cherry (in her Spirit persona, not the one sitting at the table) panics, for her time on this mortal coil is almost gone. She warps to an abandoned street where Principal Hall is still collecting money. There, in a dramatic tone of voice and backed up by the other teenagers, she warns Nicole what will happen if she does not change:
Doom. Doom! DOOM!

Enter the Spirit of Christmas Future. And, like every other Spirit of Christmas Future, he is an anonymous, intimidating figure, dressed in black and bearing a strong resemblance to Death. You know, just once I’d like to see the Spirit of Christmas Future differently. The other two Spirits have been interpreted in a hundred different ways, but he hasn’t. Just once, I’d like to hear the Spirit of Christmas Future say something like: “You know, I hate my job. The other ones usually get to show types like you love and happiness. And what do I get? Death and misery. Do you have any idea how depressing that gets after a few hundred times?”

OK, back at the Palace. Sugar Daddy, Josh and Brooke try to get a little homework done, but fail. They all feel miserable because of (you guessed it) a tragic death. Nicole assumes that they’re talking about her. That she died in a freak liposuction accident or something. Sam shows up and Brooke quickly tells everyone not to talk about it, since the brunette gets upset very quickly. SD then tactfully asks if Sam’s been thinking about their deceased friend recently. Sam says she has. That she does so every day and that she even goes to her grave on an almost daily basis. Brooke then tells us that she’s dealing with it by talking to her sometimes.
By now, Nicole is confused. She can understand SD, Josh and Brooke being upset, but doesn’t see why Sam would be so in mourning.
Then it is revealed to us that they weren’t talking about Nicole, but about Carmen. Death by Gangrene.
In the graveyard, Nicole is, by now, totally in tears. Well she should be. It’s the whole point of the story. And in this graveyard there lies, covered in snow, a stone slab, saying simply “Nicole Julian”. The makers didn’t even bother to add a date or a line like “Good Riddance”.

Nicole wakes up in the gentle glow of the morning. She’s happy to still have her coat, her shoes and, of course, her red music box. And so Nicole decides to amend her ways. At least for the remainder of this episode.

Walking across the street, Nicole runs into Principal Hall. She doesn’t say anything, but quietly slips the envelope of money into the container with the rest of the donations. Principal Hall didn’t see her, but she did smell her, so, in that good old Christmas tradition, she whisperingly wishes Nicole a Merry Christmas.

At the Palace, Nicole interrupts Carmen’s singing ambitions by showing up with lots and lots of presents. Popita gets a pearl necklace. Emory Dick and Freddy Gong get a chess board. Harrison gets a membership to some posh golf club. Lily receives a ladyshave. Sam gets a camera of the photographic kind. And Carmen receives an ice pack for her to put on her leg. Oh, and she gives her a position in the cheerleading squad.

At the Glass house, Bobbi and Jessie are sitting on a balcony, watching the star of Bethlehem. Or possibly a NASA experiment gone awry. Bobbi apologises for the fact that she couldn’t afford that “hairless pussy… cat”. Then, suddenly, the (I assume it is) sisterly bliss gets interrupted by people singing songs. It’s the entire teenage crowd, of course. Nicole gives Glass a hairless pussy, they all sign sappy Christmas songs, wish the viewers a Merry Christmas and then, at long last, the screen fades to black.


Tune in next week for another episode about which I can safely say that it’s NOT a Christmas episode. See ya all then.

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