Season’s Greedings


Commercialism has run rampant and the spirit of Christmas lost in floating malls that make debt slaves out of their employees. One of these slaves, Carol, abandons her baby in Arturo’s arms to spare him a life on indentured servitude. Arturo will not stand for it, and pledges to reunite the boy with his mother, even if it means dressing up like Santa Claus. Wade deals with her own family reunion when she discovers her father and sister working in the mall. Her sister Kelley is the right hand woman to the mall’s director, a cheat who uses subliminal advertising to increase sales. Wade and Quinn crack the computer code and convince Kelley Wade is the sister she lost when she was just a child. Arturo and Rembrandt teach some children the true meaning of Christmas, Quinn punches the bad guy in the face, and a Merry Christmas is had by all.

Worlds Visited

Pygmy World

Whatever you do, don’t smile at the locals — they’ll want you to bear their children.

Read the full Travelogue entry »

Mall World

Just when you think the Christmas consumer frenzy was bad, you end up here. Huge open malls that contain schools, lodging and everything a person could need to subsist are big business and a social ill. This gives “just another day at the mall” a whole new meaning.

Read the full Travelogue entry »

Details

  • The bus that Carol hops on is the Sky High Plaza Employee Shuttle.
  • Plaza shops include: Jodi Maroni’s Sausage Kingdom (Home of the Haut Dog), The Nature Company, Victoria Jewelers, Victoria’s Secret, Lerner New York, and Toy Mania.
  • Toys the boy wants include a Sammy Spender Doll and a Cosmic Turbo Fighter Jet. He also mentions a sticky, gooey thing but Arturo interrupts before he can name the item.
  • Ted’s promotion will bring him and Kelly to a mall called Paly, up north.
  • A man named Steve is responsible for selling the subliminal advertising tapes to Ted Bernsen.
  • While Wade is trying to hack into Bernsen’s computer, the screen reads “Sky High Plaza / Security Level Three / You have 60 seconds to enter your password or security will be notified.”

Character Information

  • While Wade believes in mysticism and such, she is also devoutly Christian.
  • We finally get to meet Wade’s older sister Kelly and father Don.
  • Wade shared her bedroom with Kelly on Earth Prime.
  • Quinn says he lost his father when he was eleven years old.
  • Quinn’s Christmases had been “empty” from the time his father died until he was about 15 years old when he mother and he went to a tree farm and picked out a tree that reminded Quinn of his father’s passion for pathetic-looking trees.
  • Wade’s mother is blonde and is named Liz.
  • During the final days of World War II, Arturo’s mother brought him out into the English countryside to spend some time with his elderly aunts. The second night they was there, the house was bombed. Arturo’s aunts were killed and Arturo awoke to find the firemen pulling his dead mother off of his chest in order to rescue him. The firemen then had no way of knowing who this little boy was as Arturo’s father was fighting the war in India. As a result, little Maximillian was placed into an orphanage where he remained until after the war was over and his father came to get him.
  • The Christmas of 1945, as such, was very special for Arturo — and his father gave him a blue, hand made wooden car with black wooden wheels. It was the “best gift he ever could have given,” the Professor says fondly.
  • When Kelly was nine, she found all of the hidden Christmas presents and told Wade, which ruined her Christmas.
  • The first boy that Kelly ever kissed was Christopher Sliney, who promptly ran home.

Money Matters

  • Cash is useless in Sky High Plaza — only debit accounts are honored, something the Sliders learn when they try to pay cash for food.
  • Rembrandt buys a dozen gifts each for Wade, Arturo and Quinn.
  • Quinn buys a suit when he gets transferred out of elf duty.
  • Arturo and Rembrandt are able to buy snacks for a group of children during Story Time.
  • Wade buys herself dinner before her father’s surprise entrance causes her to drop it.
  • The Sliders are paid $200 a day for their work, $100 of which is deducted for housing. At least $80 of the remaining $100 must be spent at the mall.

Notable Quotes

  • “I don’t suppose you’d want to trade, would you?” — Rembrandt, dressed as an elf, to Arturo, dressed as Santa Claus.
  • “Think happy, think toys, think sales.” — the employee motto at Christmas.
  • “Uh, this kid I grew up with.” — Quinn, explaining to Kelly who Charlie Brown was.
  • “Rembrandt, something’s going on with you man. Trust me, you don’t love us this much.” — Quinn, trying to figure out why Rembrandt has bought so many gifts for the others.
  • “Always love to perform for the little people.” — Rembrandt as he is about to sing ‘Silent Night’ for the baby.

Arturoisms

“Christmas is a time for miracles — miracles and faith.”

Nitpicks/Errors

  • What a surprise — the housing facilities in the mall are identical architecturally to the suit layout at the Royal Chancellor Hotel (a problem that also rears its head in The GuardianThe Dream MastersDragonslide and The Fire Within).
  • John Rhys-Davies is obviously very uncomfortable in the Santa getup, especially the white fake beard over his own. He pats the beard down or touches it at least 33 times during the episode.
  • As Bernsen and his goons, with Arturo and Rembrandt in tow, approach the base of the escalator at the climax of the episode, Arturo is seen with his arms at his side. In the next scene, standing around the escalator, they are being restrained behind his back.

Neatpicks

  • When Arturo agrees to hold the baby, he says “I would be delighted. As a matter of fact, I delivered a little fella like this not long ago,” a reference to his midwife duties in Prince of Slides (also written by Eleah Horwitz) where he delivered Rembrandt’s baby.

Rewind That!

  • While Ginny the hot dog girl is telling the Sliders that they can’t buy food with cash, Quinn steals a French fry while she’s not looking.
  • When the picture is taken at the end of the episode, Quinn displays a really goofy smile.

Rewind That!

  • It’s interesting to note an omission in the dialogue that would have somewhat carried on the storyline about Wade’s desire to have children. After the four realize that the baby’s mother has vanished, Arturo asks Wade to hold the baby while he heads for the bus. He hands the child off to Wade without a glitch, in other words, the child is silent, but in CC, it reads “baby cries.” One has to wonder if the producers intended some irony by having Wade longing for a child, but basically disliked by babies in general.
  • As the Sliders ascend the escalator towards the mall, Quinn suggests that the ‘floating’ mall is balanced on massive tiers. Arturo says “Well, if it’s not, there’s been a significant change in the laws of physics.” However, closed captioning states that the line once read “Well, if it’s not, someone here has made a quantum leap in the laws of physics.” [It’s possible that ‘quantum leap’ was excised due to the ultimate comparisons made between Sliders and the 1989-1994 NBC time travel show “Quantum Leap.”]
  • In the same breath, Arturo says that “one can hardly admire a world that places shopping in higher esteem than motherhood.” However, CC reads “one can hardly admire a world that reveres architecture over motherhood.”
  • As with Rules of the Game, there are slight differences between what the P.A.. announcer says and what appears as his dialogue in CC throughout the episode. As the Sliders are [still] ascending the escalator, the announcer says “Attention shoppers, only two more shopping days till Christmas. Show someone your love with that extra special gift. Instant credit loans always available.” Yet in CC, it reads “Attention please, only two shopping days till Christmas. Show someone you love them with that special present. Instant extra-credit loans always available.”
  • As it turns nighttime, and Arturo continues telling the children those wondrous and meaningful stories, a suit-clad Quinn approaches Rembrandt to have a talk about how everything is going. Though Arturo’s story in the background is muffled on screen, the closed captioning reads that he is actually relating “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” to the kids. It reads “So you see, the Whos didn’t care about their gifts. What was important to them was Christmas, and being together.”
  • As Arturo and Rembrandt are being hauled away by Bernsen and his goons, Arturo tells the children, “Children, don’t worry, Santa’s just going to feed the reindeer.” But in closed captioning, he said “Children, watch. Father Christmas is being arrested.”

History Lesson

Consumerism on Mall World has led to corporate fiefdoms around the country — literally. People live, work and love amdist the confines of massive shopping centers, and cannot leave if they owe any debt to those who own the facilities.

As such, the malls themselves contain housing, schools, hospitals and other essential services that make leaving all the more unlikely. Some, such as the Sky High Plaza in California, are dressed up using optical illusions to give the impression that they more exotic than they really are. The malls have been around for about two decades.

Those who don’t live in the malls are stereotyped as living in the “flats,” and many believe that the malls are paradise because of their flashy facade.

The Inside Slide

“The Christmas show that we are shooting today has been the most difficult episode to work on because I have to dress up as an elf throughout most of the episode — the pointy ears, the clogs, the striped socks, the whole nine yards,” laughs Jerry O’Connell. “You’ll see me and Sabrina both in this get-up. We shot a lot of it outside, and shot in a mall yesterday, and I was eating lunch with that on in public. That was a little embarrassing. I mean you have got to see John in his outfit, and when you see Cleavant, that’s also pretty funny. I do admit, though, that we just have a blast on the show.”

“I know, I know, these pointy little ears,” Sabrina Lloyd says with a sigh. “People at the mail yesterday kept asking me if I was a Vulcan or something.”

· · ·

This episode was originally scheduled to air on December 13, 1996.

Guest Stars

Co-Starring

Unaccredited

  • Baby Alexander.

In Brief

Written by Eleah Horwitz
Production # K1806
Network # SL-312
Directed by Richard Compton
Music by Danny Lux
Edited by Casey Brown

Chronology

Previously:
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In Review

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Taking the obnoxious American tendency to “shop ’til it hurts” to extremes, “Season’s Greedings” crafts a hyper-consumerist society that offers up scathing commentary on the nature of debt during the holiday season.

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Logline

All is not calm for the Sliders, whose Christmas is spent in a giant mall where customers run up outlandish bills, then become virtual prisoners while trying to pay them off.