Blue Christmas
Air date: December 20, 1999
Summary/Review by Dana Bonistalli

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It's the Christmas season on the streets of Boston and Ally and Elaine walk together down a sidewalk. Elaine is attempting to encourage Ally to sing at the Christmas party, but before she can convince her, her attention is drawn toward a nativity scene. She thinks the baby Jesus moved. "Did he dance?" asks Ally. Elaine walks over to the manger and picks up the baby. Ally looks at Elaine pensively, then walks over to her and sort of pokes the baby. "Ooga chucka," she says. "Ooga chucka," she says again, before adding, with a bit of amazement, "It's real."

Ally has decided she's going to sing at the party, and, at the office the next day, she tells Richard, who isn't very thrilled with the idea. "I. Can. Sing," she tells him, almost as if she is trying to convince them both. She walks away and even though she can't hear him, Richard says, "Why not? All the world's your stage."

When Ally comes in to her office, she is surprised to find Elaine there, feeding the baby a bottle. "He's such a good little eater," Elaine says. Ally tells Elaine she needs to turn the baby in to the authorities. But Elaine says she has decided she wants to keep him and she asks Ally if there is any way to turn him into the police and still keep him. They take it up with John, who agrees that their chances aren't good, but says they should at least notify the police and social services at the same time that they petition for custody. He asks Elaine if she can lactate. "Adoptive mothers have been known to produce milk," he says. Before anyone can object, Elaine removes her breast from her blouse and tries to get the baby to take it. John stutters.

Sandy comes into Billy's office as he is working out with his shirt off. She tells him she can come back, but he tells her to stay. He stops his work out, dries off and puts a shirt on. Sandy says Richard has moved the Christmas party to the bar due to overflow and she wants to know if Billy wants to invite anyone. He says no, adding he probably won't even go. She thinks he should invite Georgia to go, as his date. He doesn't like the idea. Sandy says her parents split up once, and they got back together when her father asked her mother out on a date. Billy says Georgia probably wouldn't go anyway. "If it's important, it's important. If it isn't, it isn't," she says.

John and Ally are in court with Elaine. Mr. McCabe represents social services, and he says that there are many people out there waiting to adopt children and Elaine has no right to leap frog over them. John says that there is a reason Elaine found this child in the manger that she was destined to find it and be its mother. He says there are several studies that say early bonding is important. "We don't even know if she's fit to be a parent," McCabe says. "Oh come on, that's an issue?" asks John. McCabe says, "Of course it's an issue." John says, "Well, for that to be in issue, my client must have some standing here." McCabe feels he has been tricked. The judge agrees to conduct a hearing later that day at 2:00. McCabe wants more time but the judge tells him she is allowing Elaine to maintain custody pending the outcome of the hearing. McCabe agrees to 2:00.

Alone in Ally's office, Elaine talks to the baby. She asks him if he likes the name Elliot. Ally comes in and sits next to her. Elaine says when she was a little girl, she used to dream about being a grownup and in the dream, there was always a child and not a husband. "I used to think 'That doesn't make sense.'" Elaine says. "Now it does," says Ally.

In the unisex, Richard tries to get Billy to talk Ally out of singing at the Christmas party. "She plans on singing something sexy," Richard says, adding, "Next we'll have Mary Tyler Moore doing porn." A toilet flushes, and Ally comes out of the stall. "You don't think I can be sexy?" she asks Richard. In an attempt to make himself not look so bad, he says that seeing her be sexy will make him unable to fantasize over anyone else. She tells him that she can be very sexy.

In another office, Ling and Nelle are changing the baby. Nelle thinks he needs more powder, but Ling says she put plenty on. The baby pees in her face. "Well, he wanted more powder," Nelle says, laughing. Nelle leans down to finish putting the diaper on and the baby pees in her face.

Ally and John meet with Margaret Camaro, a sociologist who has previously testified on their behalf. They want her to tell the court how the baby is better off with Elaine. Margaret says she doesn't necessarily think that is true. Ally says that since Margaret has recently adopted a baby, she understands the feelings of someone who is trying to gain custody of a child. "You know what it's like to bond with your baby," Ally says. Margaret says that, in this case, what is important is the bonding on the baby's side. Ally asks her how long she thinks it took for her baby to bond with her. Margaret says about a day. Ally tells her to just say that. "I'd be saying that more as a mother than as a sociologist," Margaret says. Ally tells her, "We'll take that."

Georgia and Renee are working at their firm. Billy comes in and asks Georgia if she would like to come to the Christmas party as his date. Before she can answer, another woman comes in. She is with social services and wants to ask Renee a few questions about Elaine.

Back at Cage/Fish & Associates, another person with social services is questioning Richard. He says that they need to be satisfied that Elaine is fit to be a parent to the child. "It's not like you need a license to raise children, although it's not a bad idea," Richard says. "Anybody can be a parent, as long as you can procreate, plus, you know, it takes a village."

On the stand, Margaret says that there are no absolutes when it comes to bonding and that in all likelihood, the baby hasn't bonded with Elaine. But, she adds that she thinks the baby should stay with Elaine because she seems to be a good mother and, from the baby's standpoint, the less disruption the better. McCabe asks her whether it is more important to leave Elliot with who has him now or to provide him with the best caretaker. She reluctantly agrees that it is more important to put him with the best caretaker.

Billy goes back to his male chauvinists support group. He tells them that when he went to ask Georgia for a date, she turned him down. Becker, the head of the group, tells Billy that because he kissed another woman, the act of asking for a date could have compounded that offense by trivializing it. He asks Billy why he kissed that other woman. He says he did it because he isn't good enough. He says that whatever he did, Georgia would complain about it. He says she is a glass half-empty person who makes him feel as if he is the one who drained the glass. He goes off on a huge tangent until one of the men tells him to "say it." "She's a bitch," Billy says. The entire group starts chanting "bitch."

Back at the office, Sandy tells Billy that his meetings don't sound very productive. He says he has realized that he doesn't want to get back together with Georgia. He says he feels guilty about being unfaithful and he wants to make that feeling go away, but he really doesn't want to get back with her. He asks Sandy if she would like to go to the Christmas party with him. She declines because one, she works for him and two, she thinks he needs to take time before he starts dating again.

In an office at Cage/Fish & Associates, Elaine spends some alone time with Elliot.

Later, she helps Ally rehearse her song for the party until they get called back to the courthouse.

Ling and Nelle are riding in the elevator to the office. Ling says she has reconsidered not having any children. "They can laser off stretch marks, so the sacrifices aren't as big," she says. When the doors open, she sees Richard holding the baby. She asks if she can have him. "Sure," he says, "Here." He throws the baby towards her like it was a football. As Ling and Nelle run in slow motion to catch him, we see that the baby is actually a doll. Ling catches it. Billy appears with the actual baby. "I'd say he got you," he says, laughing. Elliot has just had a bath. Ling gets close to him and he again pees in her face.

In court, Elaine is on the stand. Ally asks her what she was thinking when she picked up the baby. She says first, that he was beautiful and second, that he was hers. Elaine says she has held babies before - nieces, nephews, infants of friends - but this one wasn't somebody else's child. Ally asks if she will be able to raise a child. Elaine says she will have to cut back on work, but that she made a lot of money on her face bra and is financially solvent. She can afford to work part-time. She tells the judge that she is ready to raise this baby. McCabe brings up the customized condoms Elaine invented, then asks her how many men she has slept with in the past year. John and Ally object, and their objection is sustained. McCabe asks her if, about a month ago, she removed cappuccino froth from Cage's nose by performing a sexual act on it. She says that was just in fun. McCabe asks her if a fluffer is someone who gets a man sexually warmed up so that he can perform with someone else, then he asks if she has ever been Mr. Cage's fluffer. Elaine says it was only one time and she didn't know that John planned to spank Nelle. "Isn't it true you enjoy passing yourself off as the office slut?" he asks. She says she does that in fun. "You'll make a fun mom," he says. He brings up the fact that she was sued by family members who said she stole the idea for the face bra. "Your own family members believed you to be dishonest," McCabe says.

As Elaine, John and Ally exit the elevator at the office, Elaine sees Richard and says, "What the hell did you say?" Richard says he didn't say anything. "Or, was it you?" she asks Nelle. "You two would trash me for the sport," Elaine says. Billy comes into the main office and says, "It was Renee." He says he saw the social services woman at Renee's office.

Ally goes to find out why Renee did that to Elaine. Renee says she didn't say anything like that. Georgia comes out and says she is the one who told social services all of those things. She says she didn't slam Elaine, but the woman asked for both the positives and the negatives. "It's about a child," Georgia says. "I'm not qualified to say who would be the best parent and neither are you," she says.

In the unisex, Billy dances with Elliot to his theme song, "New Man in Town." He tells Richard and John that the baby likes it but Richard says he's only smiling because he has gas. John asks if he can try. He takes Elliot and the men start dancing to John's theme song, "You're the First, the Last, My Everything." Nelle comes in and chastises them for dancing with the baby like that. "He just ate," she says. "You'll make him sick." She tells John that the judge wants them back for closing arguments. She wants to rule by the end of the day.

McCabe tells the judge that social services isn't out to 'get' Elaine, they only want to ensure the welfare of the baby. He reminds the judge that Elaine's integrity has been called into question by her own family. "We can do better by this child and we should," he says.

Ally tells the judge that the undeniable truth is that McCabe doesn't know Elaine and she does. She says Elaine is loving, giving, unselfish, highly moral, and more than anything else, she's a caretaker. Ally says that regarding the face bra lawsuit, her cousin made up a lie. As for the alleged promiscuity, Ally says most of it is just talk. "And the rest," Ally starts, "well, it happened before she became a mother."

Later, Billy finds Ally in her office with Elliot. She is watching him while Elaine is in the bathroom. Billy comes up beside her and asks if she wants him to hold him. Ally says she's fine. "Seven years ago, I would have thought this would be us," she says. He asks, "What did happen to us?" Ally replies that she doesn't know.

The group heads down to the Christmas party to see Ally sing. She appears on stage wearing a sexy Santa outfit with a short skirt. She sings "Santa Baby," and she is very good. Her sexy routine includes taking someone's cherry from their dessert, sitting on Richard's lap, and seductively touching Ling's shoulders. She's still singing when Elaine checks her beeper and they are called back to court.

Ally, John, Elaine and Elliot are in court to hear what the judge has decided. She says that in cases like this, it comes down to character, and while she isn't thrilled with the customized condoms or the embracing of slut as part of Elaine's self image, she has looked to the people who know Elaine. "If the petitioner lives up even slightly to the endorsement offered by her lawyer, I have very little reason to doubt that Ms. Vassal will make an exceptional mother," she says, just before granting temporary guardianship to Elaine. They are all shocked.

Everyone goes to the bar to celebrate, except Elaine, who takes Elliot upstairs because the music is too loud.

Upstairs, Elaine changes Elliot's diaper. She's wearing her newest invention, goggles with wipers, and they come in handy when he pees in her face. As she turns them on, she tells the baby that she'll split the profits with him, 70/30. A group of people exit the elevator. One of them is a woman who tells Elaine that her name is Lynn Hart and that the baby she has is her son.

Ally is in John's office with Elaine. Ally tells her to breathe deep. John comes in and says the woman is a single mother and she suffered from post-partum depression. She watched Elaine find Elliot, she parked outside her apartment and she was even in court. She wants the baby back and will move in with her parents. Ling comes in (along with Richard and Billy) and says she was afraid something like this would happen so she's been doing research. There is a recent case where a court ruled that when a parent voluntarily terminates guardianship, the de facto parent can't have her rights taken away. John asks for a moment alone with Elaine and Ally. He says that he suspects they will use the post-partum to say the mother didn't act voluntarily. In addition, if Elaine wants to keep Elliot, they will be looking at a long fight. He says that if they lose, Elliot will be older and the disruption in his life will be a lot more detrimental. If they win, Elaine will be faced with one day telling Elliot that she went to court to take him away from his biological mother. He says if it was about the mother being unfit, that would be one thing but if it's about Elaine's wants, then it's selfish. He tells her that whatever she wants to do, the firm stands ready to support her. Elaine gets up and walks out of the room. Ally and John follow. The lawyers are outside the office waiting for Elaine to make her decision. Elaine takes the baby from Nelle and walks over to Lynn. "What's his name?" she asks the baby's mother. "Alan Matthew Hart," she says. "How do I know you won't abandon him again?" Elaine asks. Lynn says, "I didn't really abandon him this time, not totally. I was all set to go back and take him when I saw him in your arms. Something hit me that he was better off. I can't go on living without my son." She says that she is getting help for her depression problems. "I'm so sorry for causing you this hurt," she says. With tears in her eyes and on her cheeks, Elaine kisses the child on the forehead and hands him to his mother. Several of those in the room, including Ally, can no longer keep from crying. Elaine whispers to the baby, "I love you," then she turns and slowly walks back into John's office, never once looking back. Lynn and the group she came with quietly leave the office. The lawyers are left alone with their thoughts and feelings as the screen fades to black.


BITS AND PIECES:

If you read my site often, you know that my favorite episodes contain both humor and sadness. Just from the previews of this one, I knew "Blue Christmas" would fall into that category.

My favorite part of this episode was the fact that it reminded me of how complicated a person Elaine is. I have always enjoyed the scenes when she opens up to Ally or John, and I almost always hate the scenes when she acts like a slut, but all of that makes her Elaine. And as surprised as I was by the spoilers on this episode (Elaine, a mother! Yeah, right!), I believed her with all my heart when she said she was ready to be a mother.

Isn't it amazing what happens to a group of people when a baby is around? Who would have EVER imagined Ling would be so openly loving. We have seen her emotional side ("Angels and Blimps"), but I don't recall her really showing emotions in front of others.

I would be crazy if I didn't mention Nelle's hair. One question. Why?

Speaking of hair, during Ally's closing argument, her hair seemed shorter and much curlier. But, when she turned and walked back to her seat, it looked like it did before. I'll have to watch that one again to see if I'm just imagining things.

So, Billy reveals that he doesn't really want to get back with Georgia. Who didn't see that one coming? I still wonder whether it's true. And why does he think she is a bitch? If their relationship really was the way he portrayed it in the male chauvinists meeting, then why didn't we see any of that before this abrupt change?

Ally can sing and Ally can be sexy! Fantastic job by Calista on the Christmas song.

This was the last new episode of 1999. Until next year, Happy Holidays to everyone!

Copyright © 1999 Dana Bonistalli. All rights reserved.