"God Rest Ye Merry Gentle-Mannequins" took a standard Christmas plot, in this case helping the helpless, and ran with it. The Belchers inherited a storage lot from Uncle Ernie Lombard, who owned a defunct department store, and inside they found Chet, a man who claimed to have been a mannequin in that department store but became a real man following his separation from his mannequin wife, Nadine.
It was all very Frosty the Snowman, and it played into the Christmas special vibe of the episode, complete with Chet doing good by the Belchers with his brilliant window displays (I really liked the Hanukkah one, and the one where Louise rode the train, slapping Tina and Gene) to generate foot traffic for the restaurant. It was exactly the sort of holiday magic you’d expect, and given the general sense of whimsy that Bob’s often engages in, it’s not completely outside the realm of possibility that Chet was, in fact, a mannequin at some point.
Even if he wasn’t magic, Chet’s apparent delusion still fit with the Belchers, particularly Linda, trying to do well for the less fortunate during holidays. The show even played up the idea of Chet being a mannequin as sort of Christmas miracle, with Tina watching Chet kiss Nadine’s head, making it look like they were transforming, and then it turned out they weren’t. It was a sly acknowledgement of holiday-episode tropes.
By the end, everyone was in the Christmas spirit: Bob stole Nadine from a sex shop (though he was more motivated by the publicity and money he could make) and the kids gave away all the gift money so Chet and Nadine could be together. But it just wouldn’t be a Loren Bouchard show if there wasn’t some sort of little twist, and it turned out that Chet was just squatting in the storage unit while his apartment in Manhattan was being renovated.
I’m not sure what to do with this little development. The reveal came at the episode’s end, so there wasn't any comeuppance for Chet’s behavior, and that sort of bugs me because it essentially demonstrates that everyone's holiday cheer was wasted on helping some jerk with a perfectly nice place already. Sure, Chet paid them back in his own way, but it still feels like a store-bought fruitcake crashing an otherwise delightful holiday spread.
Notes & Quotes
– "Burger of the Day" board: One Horse Open Slaw Burger (comes with slaw, no horse); Santa Claus is Cumin to Town Burger (with cumin); Fifth Day of Christmas Burger (comes with five golden rings of onion).
–Louise asking for an apartment was cute, but I would much prefer the doll whose head comes off and it’s a knife.
–"Penis fly trap." Oy, Tina. Oy.
–"I found a train, the most civilized form of toy travel!" I’m sure Sheldon Cooper would agree with you, Gene.
–"Where he’s been making quite a living display of himself."
–I loved Linda sending the kids to bed and Bob begging them to stay as their fight broke out over Chet and Nadine being in a dumpster. So wonderfully parental. It may’ve been my favorite bit.
–"I hope your face can catch, Bob! Because I’m throwing your words back at it."
–I was sort of surprised that Linda’s impromptu Christmas poem was so horrible, but her "Bells bells bells bells" cracked me up.