Happy holidays, Dance Moms fans. It’s time for the first-ever Dance Moms Christmas Special. And, hence, the first-ever Dance Moms Christmas Special recap. Consider it my special holiday gift to you.
We open with the girls placing a star on an artificial tree, plus JC, Executive Producer Superstar, sporting a shorter, darker hairdo, and a glammed-up Abby Lee.
Abby says Christmas to her means two weeks off from the dance studio, the moms and all the complaining. A chance to de-stress, if you will.
JC wants to plumb the Christmases of Abby’s youth for a spell, so there are photos of her family scattered around the set. Abby says that Christmas morning when she was growing up meant opening gifts and then not getting to play with them because Ms. Maryen Lorrain made her go to Mass when all her heathen neighbors were getting to enjoy their gifts. She’s embarrassed about the tantrums she threw now that she’s a big girl.
“So Abby Lee had a tantrum,” JC observes. “Basically nothing has changed.” Abby does not murder him. We have our first Dance Moms Christmas miracle.
Then JC asks how Maryen is doing and Abby says she is home for Christmas. Our second Dance Moms Christmas miracle, this one a fabulous one.
Then JC asks if Maryen had a naughty-and-nice list and Abby says no — but she does! A big one, heavy on the naughty, because the moms are so rude. But she bought them presents anyway.
Jeff asks for a Cliffs Notes version of why each mom is on the naughty list.
• Christi’s mouth.
• Melissa the New Orleans boob flasher is just naughty and inappropriate in general.
• Kelly shows up to the ALDC drunk.
• Holly doesn’t believe that Nia’s feet can’t fixed by reading a text book. I think Abby means she does believe that, but whatever.
• Jill needs to toughen Kendall up because the kid cries at the drop of a hat.
All just bad, bad moms. And here they come. Everyone is here, except for Leslie, so those of you worrying we’d seen the last of a mom or two can settle in comfortably for a long winter’s nap now.
Abby says even though the mothers don’t deserve it, she’s giving for the joy of giving. Then claps her hands and a shirtless young buck in a Santa hat appears to dole out the gifts. Kelly and Christi give him a kiss for his efforts.
Kelly gets to open first. Abby reminds her that the gift is only for at home, not the studio. Kelly pulls out a monogrammed red plastic baseball hat outfitted to hold a pair of beer cans. Get your own here. She reaches back in and pulls out a bottle of tequila. Kelly looks the gift horse in the mouth and tells Abby that, since she’s known her since she was 2, she should know Kelly doesn’t drink tequila.
Maybe we can do a White Elephant swap at the end of this thing, depending on what the other moms get.
Abby says Kelly was a good sport.
Jill goes next. She gets a box of Botox and some hypodermic needles. No, I am not kidding. Jill wants to know if the needles are clean. Holly, whose hair has grown becomingly long, looks mortified. Then Jill pulls out a $500 gift certificate to have her gift professionally administered, for which I am relieved.
Kelly looks the gift horse in the mouth again and protests that she only got tequila, which she doesn’t even like!
Enjoy, Abby tells Jill. And share, adds Kelly.
Holly goes next. Abby says she knows Holly wants to start out Season 4 on the right foot — and Holly pulls out a pair of shoes that Abby says are orthopedic and very expensive. Holly says she will wear them while Abby is tap-dancing on her last nerve. Abby says she got them for Holly because she has big feet and also bunions and her cute husband is too good for that.
Christi goes next. Abby says something about Christi’s husband saying they come home with bags full of money and Abby doesn’t want them going through the airport with it in a brown paper bag, so she gets a little strongbox with a handle. I’m not sure what exactly is happening here, but Christi says that Abby needs the box more than she does, since Abby makes more money than all of them — including charging people to come to Maddie’s birthday party. Melissa protests that the proceeds went to the food bank, so there.
Melissa gets a camisole and matching boy shorts. Kelly wants to know if that’s so she can land husband No. 4. Melissa says no, and also she wears a size small and not a medium. Then she reaches in and pulls out a gift certificate for the services of the “Million Dollar Matchmaker.”
Melissa says she already has a million-dollar man and Abby’s just a big teaser. JC presses the issue anyway, and Abby says if Melissa’s going to take her kids and move to L.A., she’s going to need another man, because the one she’d got won’t go with. Melissa says Greg is going to retire in three years, making him more mobile, so there.
Then Mackie, Maddie, Chloe, Paige, Brooke, Nia and Kendall — all decked out in red plaid jammies — perform an adorable dance to a tune called “Christmas Morning.”
For Christmas, Chloe wants her braces off, but since she just got them on that probably won’t happen.
Then Maddie performs a solo called A Dancer Is Born. It’s 100% Grade A Maddie.
Next JC wants Abby to admit that even though they fight all the time, she and the moms really are like family. Yes, says Abby. A dysfunctional one. None of the mothers disagree.
Christi says the mothers are like sisters — ya don’t always like your sister, but at the end of the day, you love her anyway. Abby says that sisters don’t stab sisters in the back and Christi’s really Mommie Dearest.
JC decides it’s time to bring out their sister from another mother, er, state — Cathy. Jill says Cathy’s the ugly stepsister. JC would like to explore this idea a little further. He asks Christi who is the bigger Scrooge, Cathy or Abby. Christi Lou Who gets her Scrooge and her Grinch mixed up and says both of the women’s hearts could use to grow a couple sizes larger. Ever the minion (and even though she was just the recipient of a gift certificate to be hooked up with another man), Melissa says Cathy is by far the bigger Scrooge.
Let’s bring her out. And here she is, toting a present for her archrival. Abby accepts the package, but doesn’t make eye contact.
Inside the box is an egg poacher, which I did not know was actually a thing. JC plays dumb and asks what that’s about, even though he knows and you know and I know the entire third season featured Cathy poaching dances and dancers and guest choreographers in an attempt to build a winning team. Even so , Cathy points out, Abby’s going right out there and doing the same with her upcoming casting special, so she’s going to wind up with egg on her face. You should have thrown a black pot and kettle in there, too, Cath.
JC asks her what she thinks of Abby’s gifts to the moms and Cathy says she’s appalled. If the moms were Candy Apple moms, they would’ve gotten Chanel tennies. Good for running away from wicked people like Abby.
Then Cathy tells Kelly she would have added a hankie to her present, because she’s always crying. For Melissa, a one-way ticket to L.A., because she’s sick of Maddie always being front and center. For Christi, a “Get Out of Jail Free” card, which Christi says she would be happy to have. Jill wouldn’t get anything because Cathy doesn’t like her and she knows it. Holly gets forgotten altogether, which doesn’t appear to bother her one bit.
Cathy goes on to wax philosophical about why, given as much as their girls win for Abby, they would stand by and let Abby go out and look for other members to replace their girls. Abby argues back about her name in Broadway playbills, but the moms jump on the “Why replace your lifelong students?” bandwagon anyway. Abby says maybe, just maybe, she just wants the girls to be challenged. Christi says she could just expend the time and energy she is recruiting other dancers making sure the ones she has are the best they can be.
Seeing she’s made some anti-Abby traction with this line of discussion, Cathy says that if Abby’s girls are winning and she still isn’t happy with them, maybe she thinks her girls are being handed their wins. Abby says she’s crossed the line. Cathy says it wouldn’t be the first time, only she left her purse at home this time.
Then Cathy says she’s brought her senior team to entertain, and on that subject, what’s up with Abby’s dwindling senior team, anyway? Melissa says graduation. Duh. Abby says three of her graduates are in Newsies, Big Fish and Wicked. So there.
Brooke’s worst Christmas memory is standing on a chair to hang an ornament on the tree and having the chair flip over, causing her to crack her head open and spend Christmas in the hospital with a cracked-open head.
Kendall likes the Vertes family Christmas breakfasts — when she makes it. Jill doesn’t really cook. Jill was kind of hoping that Kendall would leave that last part out.
Cathy’s senior team — one boy and five girls — dances.
Next Abby busts out her own version of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas (A Visit From St. Nicholas, for you purists). Everybody have some cocoa and a cozy blankie? Here we go…
‘Twas the night before Christmas.
It’s perfectly clear
the Abby Lee Dance Company
has nothing to fear.
This poser, pretender
and hick that we’ve seen
can try all she wants,
but I’ll always be queen.
Their moms are obnoxious
greedy and drunk,
but my dancers are champions
from ballet to krunk.
They outclass all others
and reign through the land.
The name “Abby Lee”
means something quite grand.
Cathy, since we met
you’ve been jealous of me,
my girls, my show,
It’s hard to believe
that we were once friends.
You lie and you cheat
and honey, your time’s come to an end.
It’s a miracle you’ve gotten
as far as you’ve gotten,
’cause deep down inside
you’re an apple that’s rotten.
Cathy says the only part of the poem that is true is the part about it being unbelievable that she and Abby used to be friends. And guess who else has written a poem!
Oh Abby, you’re delusional.
Lost and at sea.
Your girls are amazing
but you’ll never be …
…anything more than
a washed-up old lady
and saying you hate me.
Yes, you are the diva
of unparalleled bling.
Sparkle on tracks suits
is totally your thing.
But who cares about rhinestones.
It’s talent that counts.
And when push comes to shove,
you haven’t an ounce.
Abby says she won the poetry slam. But wait. There’s a late entrant. Ladies and gentleman, Christi.
Merry Christmas, ladies
It’s good to be here.
Don’t worry about me.
You have nothing to fear.
Seeing that it’s Christmas,
I want to share my big wish
of things Santa should give you,
so I made up a list.
To Abby, I wish you
success and nothing but peace.
May your wins finally go up.
May your shirt size decrease.
May Santa bring you a man
to take one for the team
so your ass settles down
and you stop being so mean.
To Cathy, I hope
Candy Apples turn things around.
I don’t it’s quite possible
you could go further down.
So may Santa bring you
a competitive advantage
and I hope you correct
all the things you mismanage.
To both of you, I wish
a very happy holiday,
and may Santa Claus bless you
in every possible way.
What the hell. Since we’re all having a go at bad poetry, I’ll try my hand, too.
‘Twas the night before Wednesday
and on my TV
six women were fighting
with Miss Abby Lee.
Their stockings were perfect.
Not a hair out of place
adorned every face.
JC in his suit coat
and I in my crap
had just settled in
to see who would snap.
The children were dancing
all snug in their jammies
while Abby and Cathy
were camera-hog hammys.
The giving of presents
on this Christmas-themed show
Gave illusions of goodwill,
but, kiddies, you know …
Oh, booze hat!
Oh silly egg poacher!
Oh, cash box
and marriage encroacher!
From the moment the ladies
walked through the door
this show has me sweating
about Season Four.
Nia likes the music and definitely the presents. She loves hanging out with her family. And decorations.
When we come back from commercial, Abby opines that the dads should take as much interest in their daughters’ dance careers as the moms, and then we bring a couple out to talk that over. We have Evan, Holly’s husband, and Jill’s husband, Erno.
Erno says being a dance dad is tough because Jill and Kendall are never around and it’s really hard to watch the show when bad things are happening to Kendall. This is Erno.
Evan says Dance Moms has been an amazing experience for Nia and she has grown so much despite the tough times. Asked about Abby, he laughs and laughs and says sometimes he wants to reach through the TV, but the good has outweighed the bad.
This is Evan.
Abby wants to know where the other dads are. Christi says her husband avoids the studio because Abby is rude to him. There’s an argument about dads who make props and wear “Prop Dad” shirts. Christi says Mr. Lukasiak makes sure everything is copacetic at home, so she and Chloe can do their thing and that is enough.
Then we let Erno and Evan make a break for it. Then someone named Coco Jones sings “Good to be Home.” Then the gussied-up girls come out to get presents from Abby.
Too Sweet Nia, who once baked Abby a cake, gets $2,000 worth of baking equipment, including a pink KitchenAid mixer. We know this because Abby tells us it’s $2,000 worth.
Kendall, the dress-up-loving cover girl, gets $2,000 worth of the best makeup money can buy. We know this because Abby tells us it’s $2,000 worth. And the best money can buy.
Brooke gets home recording equipment. I’m guessing it’s $2,000 worth, but Abby doesn’t say.
Paige gets a vanity, because that’s what Abby would want if she was pretty like Paige. No price tag on that baby, either.
Brainy Chloe gets an e-reader, some of Abby’s favorite books and what Abby says is a “lifetime gift certificate of books.”
Maddie gets custom-made pink Capezio tap boots and a $5,000 Capezio shopping spree. Uh. Couple things. We know for sure that two of the girls’ gifts are worth $3,000 less than that. Paige just got a vanity. And, well, this face …
Abby and JC make her sit on a stool, and then Abby goes and fetches a pink box.
Mackie reaches in … and this happens.
And suddenly I can forgive everything that happened in the 55 minutes prior, including the poems. And also this, my fellow A-ha fans.
See you in January.
Dance Moms Season 4 premieres Jan. 1 on Lifetime.