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American Housewife - The Bromance Before Christmas - Review: "You Get a Meat Tree!"


It's Christmas in Westport! Let the hysterics begin!

As the family gets ready for Christmas, Katie finds out that her parents won't be making it for the holiday. Her dad is still recovering from his foot surgery, and although she's sad not to see him, she's THRILLED that her mom's not coming. And because Greg's still estranged from his parents since the reveal of his father's secret family several years earlier, it doesn't look like anyone will be joining them for Christmas.

Oliver and Anna-Kat, meanwhile, are struggling to actually embrace the "peaceful" part of the holiday. After eating part of Anna-Kat's gingerbread house, Oliver decides to show her where Greg and Katie keep their presents to make up for it. Of course, this naturally leads to another fight. They find an unwrapped box that they both think must be a present for themselves, start fighting over it, and accidentally drop and break it. Turns out, it's Katie's special Christmas serving tray. Oliver assures Anna-Kat that there's no reason to worry. Apparently, he's a master of breaking stuff and gluing it back together without anyone noticing - coffee-mugs, vases, Anna-Kat's ponies, you name it! The serving tray will just be one more thing to add to his list.

Katie's happy about having neither set of grandparents coming for Christmas, as it means she gets to spend more time on Christmas traditions - like building her Nana's traditional "Bavarian Meat Tree" with Taylor (much to Taylor's chagrin). Kathryn banned making them after her mother died, so the fact that she won't be showing for Christmas gives Katie a rare chance to make one. While she and Taylor are working on the Meat Tree, Greg's gift arrives. Katie's been insisting that she's finally gotten Greg exactly what he needed. And while Greg's expecting a book of Shakespearean insults, he finds something a little different on the doorstep - the other Greg Otto, his half-brother!

Turns out other Greg is exactly like his big brother (if slightly more successful!). Our Greg and Other's Greg's dad just told Other Greg about his American brother a few weeks before, and he immediately went to track him down. When he called the house, Katie answered, and upon finding out he was coming to the States to lecture at Yale, she invited him to visit as a Christmas surprise. Although the kids are enamored with him, and Other Greg's thrilled to get to know the family he never knew existed, our Greg is feeling frosty, to say the least. He's no big fan of Katie's "perfect" Christmas gift and insists to her that he has no desire to get to know his father's secret child.

Of course, Other Greg is currently standing in their living room, so our Greg doesn't have much of a choice but to at least be cordial to him. As our Greg is forced to spend time with Other Greg, our Greg makes a bitter comment about Other Greg being more successful. But Other Greg says he's got it all wrong. Our Greg has everything he wants but doesn't have - a loving family. That's why Other Greg showed up so quickly upon finding out his father's secret - he's finally getting the family he's always dreamed of. This causes our Greg to start to realize that getting to know his long lost brother might not be so bad after all.

Just as the Gregs are finally finding common ground, another unexpected visitor shows up - Kathryn! Turns out Greg revenge-invited her for Katie inviting his brother. Under the impression that her daughter misses spending Christmas with her, Kathryn loaded Katie's dad up with pills and hurried on over. (And she's already complaining about the meat tree!) On the bright side, she does seem to get along well with Other Greg!

Just when things seem to be going okay and everyone seems to be getting along for the moment (even Kathryn and Katie), Kathryn lets it slip that our Greg has known about his brother for two years and never reached out, whereas he gave Other Greg the impression that he'd just found out as well. A hurt Other Greg storms out and our Greg angrily tells Kathryn that Katie didn't really want her there. Kathryn being Kathryn though, this doesn't cause her to leave, but just inspires her to add weeks onto her stay to get back at them! ("And I'm wearing the shorty robe!")

With the Gregs duking it out and Kathryn and Katie feuding, Oliver and Anna-Kat set to fixing Katie's serving platter. Oliver glues it back together, and the two are even able to distract Katie when she goes looking for it by pretending to fight. Now all that's left is to wait for it to dry.

Katie and Greg discuss their ever-plentiful family drama. Greg goes out to look for his brother, while Katie agrees to try and mend things with Kathryn. When Kathryn asks Katie why she didn't want her to come for Christmas, Katie admits that she knew Kathryn would ruin the Christmas traditions she wants to make with Taylor. ("You tend to be somewhat judgmental.") And since this is Taylor's last Christmas before college, Katie thinks it will be the last Christmas she's at home. When Kathryn says that Taylor will still come home for Christmas, Katie doubts it. After all, she never came home for Christmas after going to college. Kathryn states that that was because she was a bad mother to Katie, but Katie's not a bad mother to Taylor, so she'll still want to come home. A relieved Katie suggests that she, Kathryn, and Taylor start a new Christmas tradition that doesn't involve packaged meat!

Oliver and Anna-Kat bring down the now-fixed platter and present it to Katie. It's been so meticulously glued back together, that it's impossible to tell where it broke. Until it breaks again, that is. Apparently, Oliver and Anna-Kat didn't let it dry long enough! Kathryn reasons that it probably broke due to age, and Katie begins to blame herself, inspiring Oliver and Anna-Kat to admit the truth. Katie's pissed, but slightly less so when the two tell her that working together to try and fix the platter actually caused them to get along. Katie makes them promise to actually fix it for real this time.

Outside, our Greg finds Other Greg and apologizes for not reaching out to him. He admits that he took his anger at their dad for hiding a secret family out on his newly discovered brother. Other Greg says he understands, and they realize that their dad was actually a pretty terrible parent to both of them. The rest of the family makes their way outside and the brothers Greg engage in a snowball fight with the family.

On Christmas morning, the family happily sings Christmas songs together and Katie accidentally
discovers another one of Oliver's glued together broken masterpieces when she goes to pour water and the pitcher breaks in her hand!

Random Thoughts:
-The best line goes to Kathryn. "Quick question. I know that Taylor is. But is Oliver of drinking age?" At least she tried to be responsible!

Were you surprised to see Greg finally meet his secret brother? Let me know below!

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