Je n'aime pas dans les vieux films américains quand les conducteurs ne regardent pas la route. Et de ratage en ratage, on s'habitue à ne jamais dépasser le stade du brouillon. La vie n'est que l'interminable répétition d'une représentation qui n'aura jamais lieu.

Picket Fences: High Tidings!

Was that the first time?

No.  About four months ago we made love.

Once every four months.  They might as well be married.

Kim’s parents catch her in bed with her boyfriend and Jimmy arrests him for statutory rape; meanwhile, Max finds herself dealing with a strange arrest: a mysterious man has the red suit, the white beard and a social security card in the name of Santa Claus.  This is a strange episode; the A & B plots really don’t connect on any thematic level and they aren’t on the same quality level either.  The plot in which Jimmy & Jill have to deal with the fact that Kim is sexually active is a serious and thoughtful treatment of a lot of compelling drama.  And it raises and explores a lot of issues: ages of consent, statutory rape, sexual abuse, etc.  There’s a scene between Holly Marie Combs, giving her best performance so far as Kim, and Costas Mandylor’s Kenny where Kim unburdens herself about the pervasive “was it or not?” sexual abuse of teenage girls that’s really disturbing and thought provoking.  And, oh my God, after we found about the charged history between Jimmy, Jill & Jimmy’s ex-wife back in The Contenders I’ve been wondering if this would happen; well, it does: enter a wily, smart-ass Cristine Rose as Lydia, the ex-wife.  Her scenes with Jill & Kim are really wonderful.  The Santa Claus plot is . . . just not good at all.  I kind of don’t even have anything to say about it.  It’s not funny and the twist at the end is pretty stupid, I thought.  A shame; the Kim plot is great, but you’ve got a solid chunk of the episode dedicated to, essentially, dead air.  2 ½ stars.

tl;dr – the episode explores issues related to sexuality and youth in a compelling way, but wastes a lot of time on a cutesy Christmas subplot about Santa Claus.  2 ½ stars.

More Picket Fences!