Where would television be without venerable Christmas stories to rip off pay homage to this time of year? Las Vegas goes the "Christmas Carol" route, with Mike Cannon getting visits from the spangled ghosts of Vegas past, present and future, but adds in a near-naked Santa, catfights, skullduggery and lots of lingerie. Why aren’t my holidays ever this exciting?

Christmas just ain’t Christmas without the one you spoil.

Mike goes from "God bless us, every one" to "Bah, humbug" in about 2.5 seconds when Gladys (and all the Pips) cancel their Christmas plans, and since Mike can’t get any backup plans in place, he’ll be all alone. And what do you do when you’re all alone, but climb up on a wheeled chair in a lonely office and mess with things while standing on your tippy-toes? This prompts Mike to fall, take down a tree, and imperil his life. But more importantly, it brings on the Christmas ghosts.

Sam, in go-go boots and a spangled dress, is Past, and she tries to show Mike why he came to Vegas and how he found his dream job. I fear we’re heading toward a clip show, but we dodge that bullet. When Mike is unconvinced by the fact that he’s a natural at working surveillance, Go-Go Sam tries to show him how much action he’s had with the ladies in Vegas, neglecting to realize that none of these relationships turn out well.

Present is Piper in full showgirl regalia. She shows Mike how people want, need and depend on him every day. Unfortunately, Mike decides to interpret this as "I can never take a day off or this place will descend into chaos." These ghosts aren’t doing so well…

Future is an adorable moppet who ran through a glitter factory. She basically tells Mike that the future is wide open — he could be president of operations, mayor of Las Vegas, anything he wants. He could also sire children who will beget grandchildren — Future Moppet is apparently one of those grandkids. Future Moppet tells Mike he’s learned his lesson, so he returns to his body — which is unconscious and next to a Christmas tree that has started burning. Piper and Delinda show up looking for him in time to see the smoke, and Danny knocks out the door and rescues Mike. Mike turns into a Christmas believer again — not the least because he’s going to spend time waterskiing with Piper and her doubtless scantily clad friends.

In other news, Danny is trying to decide what retail store should be added to the Montecito, and he’s getting the hard sell. A chance encounter on the casino floor makes him realize that what the casino really needs is a product placement! Sorry, I meant event planning and supply store, someplace you could buy something for an engagement, anniversary, family reunion, etc. Makes sense. Cooper agrees.

The Montecito is participating in a charity contest, seeing which casino can raise the most money by midnight. Piper came up with the idea of having a buff, nearly naked Santa, who attracts bra-adjusting, hair-flipping, entirely-too-rowdy crowd. The ladies in line get restless waiting for their turn to sit on Santa’s lap — ew — and a riot breaks out. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen boozy floozies attacking each other with giant candy canes. It’s good stuff.

Sam is pursuing Christmas cheer in the usual fashion — she’s landing a whale. Unfortunately, that whale gets distracted by a pretty young thing collecting money for a Las Vegas homeless shelter, and decides to donate all his gambling money to her cause. Sam is incensed — doesn’t he realize all the good his money does when he pisses it away gambling?  — and decides to check things out. She visits the shelter and is impressed to the point of donating her own chunk of money, but catches on at the last minute that it’s a con. She saves the whale, then recommends real charities that he can give his money to if he so desires. The whale is so impressed by Sam’s Christmas spirit that he decides to do his duty by pissing away at least some of the money on the casino floor. Ah, Christmas.

Highlights, thoughts and odds and ends

  • Piper on why their near-naked Santa will defeat the Venetian’s life-size gingerbread house: "Candy is dandy but beefcake is better!"
  • Go-Go Spirit Sam (which sounds like an anime character) transports mike from place to place by smacking him, hard, on the face. Hee! That’s so very Sam.
  • Not-so-Sam: Go-Go Spirit Sam pulls notes out of her bra, but she’s not nearly as up on things as her real-life counterpart. Go-Go Spirit Sam would never land a whale that way. 
  • When Mike asks Future Moppet who his future wife is, she won’t tell him — but she does hint that it’s one of the spirits who visited him, and she packs quite a punch. Mike panics: "It can’t be Sam! She does have a great a — attitude, a great attitude." Yeah, right — if you weren’t talking to your hallucinatory future granddaughter, you totally would have said great ass, and you know it.
  • I loved the competing sales presentations that Danny had to endure. The lingerie vendor puts on a sales presentation that involves women stripping to "Superfreak" and showing off the merchandise. Classy! Plus, the competing electronics vendor who bribes Mitch into tearing Danny way to hear his pitch? Lester from Chuck.
  • Cooper left presents under the tree for the whole crew. They’re disappointed to find out said presents are bowling shoes — until they realize the shoes are stuffed with wads of cash. Merry Christmas indeed.
Posted by:Sarah Jersild