February 23, 2014
BH90210 7.13, Gift Wrapped: Secret Sister is the New Secret Santa
Summary: Yay, it’s Christmas! Steve, David, Donna, Clare, Brandon, and Tracy discuss gifts at the Peach Pit. As Kelly arrives, Donna comes up with the idea of the gang drawing names and only giving one gift. They have a $50 cap, and donate the money they would have spent on their other friends. Steve and Nat have each other, Clare and Donna have each other, Brandon and Tracy have each other, and David and Joan have each other. This means Kelly and Valerie are stuck with each other.
Valerie and Tracy go to the mall together to buy gifts for the exchange. (Tracy has Brandon.) Valerie thinks she should just get kitty litter for Kelly. (Huh?) They give money to the Holiday Help Fund and chat with a volunteer playing the xylophone. David asks Mel to meet him at the After Dark so he can ask for advice on dealing with Donna’s mother. Mel suggests that the Martins come to dinner the next night, since David and Donna are already coming over. The Holiday Help Fund woman advises Valerie to sideline her grudge for the holidays.
David and Donna are pleased with their plans to get Felice to warm up to David. Donna tells him not to take it personally, and that her mother’s feelings toward David don’t affect how Donna feels about him. Brandon and Steve are also at the mall, and Steve thinks the gift exchange is a good way for Brandon to “make a move” on Tracy. In other words, he should get her lingerie and then sleep with her.
Kelly’s had no luck finding a present for Valerie, so her Christmas isn’t going so well. Donna has more bad news: Her father called and said he’s coming to L.A. for Christmas. Kelly’s actually happy about that because it’ll give her a chance to yell at him. Steve tells Clare that he got Nat a Wolfgang Puck cookbook, which she thinks might offend him. Chancellor Arnold invites Steve and his mother to a Christmas party, and he’s definitely interested in meeting the famous Samantha Sanders.
Kelly goes to a restaurant to meet her father, but instead is seated with a woman named Joy. Kelly thinks Joy is Bill’s girlfriend, but she’s way off: Joy is also Bill’s daughter. That’s right, Kelly has a half-sister she didn’t know about. The next morning, Kelly shares this news with Donna, lamenting that her father has a whole new family she never knew about. She didn’t stick around to talk to Joy. Donna points out that Kelly and Joy could find common ground, and Joy could give some insight into Bill. Kelly realizes that she’ll have to tell Jackie about Bill’s secret life.
At the Peach Pit, Valerie tells Clare that she got Kelly a really nice present. Clare tries to avoid telling her that Kelly probably isn’t going to do the same for her. Brandon thinks it would be easier to bring peace to the Middle East than to Kelly and Valerie. Val tries to return the sweater; when the store won’t take it back, she donates it to the Holiday Help Fund. Chancellor Arnold is anxious to meet Samantha, but when she shows up at the party, he doesn’t know what to say to her.
Kelly goes to see Jackie, telling her first that Bill’s coming to L.A., then that she has a sister close to her age. Jackie admits that she knew. Apparently she never wanted Kelly to know. Kelly thinks it’s because Jackie wanted her to hate Bill for leaving them; she didn’t want Kelly to know that he had a reason to leave. Jackie tells her that she doesn’t have to have anything to do with Joy. Now, though, Kelly doesn’t want anyone telling her she can’t hang out with her sister.
Clare tries to get her father to warm up to Steve’s mother by inviting Samantha to lead the party in singing carols. Kelly meets with Joy again, learning that Bill told Joy all about Kelly. He was around when Joy was a kid, but now his presence in her life is more like his presence in Kelly’s. The last time Bill ditched Kelly, he was going to be with Joy’s mother while she recovered from surgery, but that was the last time Joy saw him. The sisters don’t expect him to actually join them for Christmas.
Clare’s carol scheme is a success, though Steve and Clare think it might have been too successful. Now there seems to be a physical attraction between Chancellor Arnold and Samantha. As the party winds down, the parents head off to get dinner together. Steve and Clare are grossed out. This is why you don’t Parent Trap people, kids.
The Martins and Silvers get together for dinner, but it starts off badly when Felice makes a remark about Mel serving the kids champagne before prom. Further snide comments involve Jackie’s “quaint” decorating taste and the fact that Mel is Jewish. When Felice mentions how glad she is that Jackie and Mel worked out their marriage problems, they tell her that they’re divorced but living together. Donna and David realize that this wasn’t a good idea after all.
Kelly and Joy go shopping, but Kelly still hasn’t found anything for Valerie. The sisters learn that their father has been giving them the same presents for years. Joy admits that she was always jealous of Kelly; she thought Bill was never around because he was always with her. Kelly says that she was jealous of Joy when they first met, for the same reason. They wonder if he has a bunch of other families he visits whenever he disappears.
At the Walshes’ house, Brandon tells Valerie that Kelly called and was talking really fast about sisters and sisterhood. He thinks this means that she found something really nice for Valerie. Valerie realizes that she’s going to look bad if she doesn’t get something nice for Kelly, too. She returns to the mall to buy another sweater, but they’re all sold out. The Holiday Help Fund woman still has the one Val donated; she was going to take it in to the real donation spot tonight, even though it’s Christmas Eve. (Her husband always works that night.) Val decides not to take the sweater back, and the woman gives her an already-wrapped gift in exchange.
Brandon drives Tracy to her dorm, and the two of them admit that they had trouble buying presents for each other. Felice goes to the beach apartment to see Donna, who skipped Christmas Eve dinner with her parents. Felice apologizes for what happened at the other dinner, and Donna tells her to apologize to Jackie and Mel instead. She suggests that Felice try to win David over with money, like she did with Ray. Felice says that David’s mental-health problems mean he’s not good for Donna. Donna thinks Felice has a bigger problem with David’s religion.
On Christmas morning, the gang gathers at the Walshes’ house to open presents (though Donna gets more than the others since it’s also her birthday). Steve gives Nat the Puck cookbook, and Nat gives Steve a thesaurus. (Ha!) David gives Joan handkerchiefs, and she gives him Monkees reunion tickets. Brandon gives Tracy earrings, then gets the most cop-out gift you can give someone: a pen. Clare gets tickets to an art exhibit from Donna, and gives her a fashion book.
That leaves Kelly and Valerie. Valerie gets a journal, and Kelly says that if she’d found a second one, she would have gotten it for herself. She’s in luck, because Valerie’s gift is the same journal. The gang is amazed that the two of them are getting along for once. They all go to the After Dark, where Valerie’s hosting a Christmas brunch with a performance by Clarence Fountain and the Blind Boys of Alabama. Chancellor Arnold and Samantha show up, which means she’s delayed her trip home to hang out with her new buddy. Clare and Steve realize that they could end up step-siblings.
Felice apologizes to David, asking him to help her smooth things over with Donna. He agrees to talk to Donna about sitting with her parents during brunch. Donna reminds him that it’s her birthday, so she can do whatever she wants. David plays the “do it for me” card. Bill is a no-show, as expected, but Kelly and Joy have each other to hang out with. Joy might also move to L.A. for school in the fall. Jackie goes over to meet her daughter’s sister, and though Kelly’s cold at first, Joy is polite. Kelly decides to let go of her hostility.
Thoughts: Of course her name is Joy. It’s Christmas.
The gang spends $50 on each other? I’m friends with the wrong people.
The way the show reminds us that Chancellor Arnold hangs out with dignitaries is to have his party be full of extras in various cultural outfits.
Clare’s tinsel-draping technique makes me cringe. Don’t clump it all together like that! It’s not a garland!
I hope Erin enjoyed Christmas without her family. I don’t know where she is, but she doesn’t show up in this episode at all.