Mallory has convinced her entire family that they need to have an old-fashioned Christmas. They'll be cooking, crafting, singing, the works. Vanessa is so taken with the idea that she enters a contest with a local tv station to have their entire Christmas taped for some family values show. The Pikes, of course, win. Not only will they get to be on tv, but they get a check for $10,000 for their trouble. The whole family is pretty excited...they're going to be famous!
At first, everything goes pretty well. Mallory is a little disappointed that the crew shows up with only a minivan full of equipment instead of trucks and trucks of stuff, but she forgets that pretty quickly in the excitement of having and actual television crew in her house. All the family really does during the first shoot is make cookies, but you know the Pikes; there are plenty of antics to go along with the baking. Things start to go a little south not long after that. First, Margo gets hurt sliding down the banister after the crew asks the kids to come down the stairs mulitple times, so they can get the shot they want. Then, the kids go to see Santa at the mall, and the whole trip turns into kind of a disaster. They have to go up and down the escalator a bunch of times so they can be filmed from all sorts of angles, which irritates the kids. Then, when they finally make it to North Pole Village and Santa, they find that the line is huge. The film crew tries to get the store employees to let the Pikes to the front of the line, but it doesn't work.
What happens next is one of the low points in the whole experience for Mallory. The crew gets wind of the Christmas Boutique that Stoneybrook Manor is holding as a fundraiser, and of Mallory's involvement in making it happen. The crew gets permission to film there, which ends up being a big mistake. They move things around, irritate the residents, and bascially disrupt everything. The woman in charge of making the boutique happen is understandably frustrated, and tells Mallory that they can't come back (the crew, not Mal and her friends). Poor Mallory feels awful, and the family trip to a Christmas tree farm doesn't make her feel any better. Being filmed all the time just isn't fun anymore, and Mal can't wait for it all to be over.
For ALL the Pikes, the last straw comes on Christmas Eve. That's when the family usually exchanges their Secret Santa presents. It's not fun this year, though; they're constantly having to stop, redo things, and wait for the camera people to get their shots. Finally, everyone decides they've had enough. The Pike parents ask the camera crew to leave for awhile, and while they're gone, the family has a little meeting. ALL of them want to stop filming, even though it means giving up the $10,000. When the crew comes back later, the Pikes give them the bad/good news, and the family gets their Christmas back.
Thoughts and Things
- I like the Pikes' Secret Santa gift exchange. For anyone who hasn't read this one, here's how it works: each family member writes down a "wish" on a piece of paper, and it's each family member's responsibility to grant the wish they draw. For instance, Mallory wished for the greatest Christmas book ever, and Vanessa gives her a blank journal with a note that reads "It hasn't been written yet. Get to work!" It's a cute idea!
- From what I've heard about "behind the scenes" stuff on some reality shows, it sounds like all the irritating stuff the Pikes had to do is pretty accurate.
- Could Hodges have picked uglier colors for Mallory to wear on the cover? Pink is not usually attractive on redheads. I guess he was too busy drawing himself into the cover to think about things like that....
- The BSC comes to the Pikes on Christmas Day and hangs out for awhile. Mrs. Pike calls this a welcome interruption. Really? After all the talk about Christmas being a holiday for family, and not wanting outsiders to be a part of it?
- Even though I agree with the Pikes' decision to kick the film crew out, I can't believe they waited until Christmas Eve to do it. Seriously...they couldn't stick it out for one more day?