• Sun, Dec 16 2012

Lifetime’s Merry In-Laws Shows That Family Is Stressful, Even If Santa’s Your Father-In-Law

Merry In-Laws

Hey, Lifetime, is it Christmas yet? Nope? Still fifty movies left about kids asking Santa to give their parents spouses and jaded adults learning the spirit of the season? Okay.

This week the network gave us another glimpse into the life of Santa Claus and his wife, casting Cheers alums George Wendt and Shelley Long as the yuletide couple. But wait… I thought Will Sasso and Mira Sorvino were Mr. and Mrs. Claus. What’s going on, Lifetime?! Make up your minds!

If you choose to believe that these frauds are the Clauses, then their son is a young teacher named Peter (Lucas Bryant) who’s in love with a young astronomer named Alex (Kassia Warshawski), who has no idea that his dad is Santa.

Peter asks Alex to marry him, but not before forcing his students to make decorations with which to deck the halls for his proposal. When he finally goes through with it, Alex rebels against Lifetime rules and actually says, verbatim, “We need to consider the pros and cons of legalizing our relationship.” Whoa, whoa, whoa! This crazy talk needs to be remedied!

As if thinking rationally weren’t enough, Alex mentions her career achievement — recording a gamma ray burst, no big — to her parents before she mentions her engagement. She’s quickly corrected by Peter, but unfortunately her mom and dad are joyless bores who don’t approve of the match.

You see, they’re realists who disapprove of video games and sugar and fun, and they’re wary of Alex’s decisions ever since she went to that Stephen Hawking conference and got herself knocked up. As her dad explains, “He always attracts the wild ones.” It’s true. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to a Stephen Hawking conference and fallen in love with a leather jacket-wearing, motorcycle-riding bad-boy scientist who breaks my heart. If I had a dime…

It also warrants mentioning that Alex’s son Max (Jacob Thurmeier) managed to get a husband for his mom without asking Santa once. He doesn’t even believe in Santa, thanks to Alex’s dad! That’s some dedication!

Alex is dying to meet Peter’s parents, so she makes him invite them over for the holidays. Santa and Mrs. Claus (or Mama, as she prefers) rush there in their sleigh — which appears to Alex as a meteor! I’m starting to think that’s what the Mayans were predicting. It all makes sense now!

At first Alex is uncomfortable with the Clauses’ odd behavior, but she eventually warms up to singing awful songs while baking cookies and allowing her son to play video games. Her parents, however, don’t approve of such “masks of joviality,” as her therapist mom puts it.

Her dad is so suspicious that he goes to the extent of looking into Santa’s (or Santos, as he calls himself) background. This includes testing his DNA, googling him and having Alex’s creepy colleague (who happens to be in love with her, because of course he is) snap photos of Peter in a compromising situation. The explanation is that he was arguing with his parents’ elf companion Linda, who was trying to fix the sleigh, and simultaneously wiping her allergy-prone eyes, but it looked like he was touching her romantically. You know, just every guy’s explanation on Cheaters.

When Alex discovers these photos and Peter gives her this explanation, she shockingly doesn’t believe him, and they get into a huge fight.

Conveniently, Alex is able to — a la CSI — use the latest astronomer technology to track the trajectory of the meteor she saw the day the Clauses arrived. And voila, it went straight from the North Pole to her doorstep! This fool-proof evidence, combined with Santa showing her the letters she sent him as a child, convinces her that Peter was telling the truth. This is just me, but I’d probably still be suspicious of Linda, even if she is Santa’s elf, but it doesn’t seem to faze Alex, so whatever.

The couple finishes the movie calling each other Mr. and Mrs. Claus, which just made me wonder what Peter was telling her his last name was all this time. She didn’t think it was weird that his dad’s name was Santos Claus?

Nevertheless, they see Santa and Mama off on Christmas Eve, and they all live happily ever after. Except that guy who stalked Alex. He’s not very happy about the whole situation.

(Image: Lifetime)

You can reach this post's author, Jill O’Rourke, on twitter.
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  • Cbalducc

    FYI, an “astrologer” is someone who pitches the idea that the alignment of stars and planets controls our destinies. It seems Alex was actually an “astronomer”, someone who studied the stars for scientific reasons.
    I also thought it strange that the American Mr. and Mrs. Santos gave birth to someone with a Canadian accent!

    • Jill O’Rourke

      Believe it or not, I told myself not to make that mistake. Thanks, fixed it.

      This movie was very “aboot”-heavy. Might have set a Lifetime record.