Rate "Counting on Christmas"

On a scale of 1-5, rate "Counting on Christmas":

  • 5-Perfetc

    Votes: 3 75.0%
  • 4-It's a Wonderful Episode

    Votes: 1 25.0%
  • 3-Fine. Fine. Good. Good.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 2-One for the So-So Corral

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 1-Not So Great

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
My spoiler-free review:
I just gave "Counting on Christmas" a "Perfetc" 5/5 rating, which I almost never do for a story more expansive than a brief scene added to an existing episode. (I think it's easier to capture a single moment perfectly than it is to create an entire perfect episode.)

Oh, how I wish this could have been filmed back in the day!

What really makes this one so successful for me is its sheer breadth of accomplishments. How do I love "Counting on Christmas"? Let me count the ways:
  1. For David and Maddie Christmas-tree shopping together. This scene, and the description of what led them to it, just hits home, especially at this time of year. And happily, David's personality is present enough to ensure that things don't get too "Hallmark-y."
  2. For "I want you to not ask me." Simply brilliant.
  3. For David's thoughts on Maddie as they shop for the tree, and...
  4. ...for Maddie's thoughts on David after they get back to her house and he runs out again.
  5. For "The Color of Maddie" references that, for the first time EVER that I can recall, thankfully put more emphasis on "the ladder" than on "pals."
  6. For the circumstances that allow Maddie to be reasonably troubled by the intrusive arrival of a stranger, while still being reasonably confident enough in David's pending return that she doesn't call the police. (And how nice it is that these stories take place in the pre-widespread f'ing cell phone era?)
  7. For how David speaks to Benny about his relationship with Maddie. Just absolute, spot-on perfection.
  8. For what Maddie finds on her desk the following morning.
  9. For the reference to David and chocolate milk; these always make me smile. (I feel a kinship with David in, among other things, his preferred choice of non-alcoholic beverage.)
  10. For the backstory about Benny and the seeds that it plants.
  11. For Maddie's response to finally learning a bit about David's personal life.
  12. For the spaghetti dinner that has me seriously craving David's "best spaghetti sauce in town."
  13. For the beautifully balanced, simultaneous handling of both David and Maddie's physical connection around the couch...
  14. ...and their emotional connection around the Christmas tree ornament.
  15. For the clarification it offered about weekday vs. weekend sleeping arrangements, which makes perfect sense of what season 5 made senseless.
  16. For Viola and "Pin-the-Tail-on-Rudolph." Just brilliant! (I don't care what anyone says... Bert rules!)
  17. For the arrival of Mr. and Mrs. Hayes. Of course, they would be there for Maddie on this particular Christmas.
  18. And last but certainly not least... I love this story for its happy ending. Have you ever taken a break from watching a movie or reading a book right at its happiest moment, just to linger there for a while in denial of the less-happy times you know lie ahead? "Counting on Christmas" ends exactly as it should.
So, yeah... I've basically reviewed this story by listing a bunch (but not all) of its elements. Have I taken the lazy way out? Perhaps. But it's my way of making clear that Marlena has done anything but take the lazy way out. I am simply amazed by how efficiently and yet richly she has handled all of the above in what would have been a heartwarming holiday story even without so many gifts placed thoughtfully under the tree.

Yep. "Counting on Christmas" is just "Perfetc"!
Love it! I'm so glad it has a happy ending. I can't imagine what might happen in future stories to change their relationship so drastically. I'm looking forward to more stories.
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Boink, I felt so honored by your review of "Counting on Christmas". I am so happy that you liked it. Thanks for inspiring me to write this one.