It’s Christmas at the Harris home which means it’s time to trim the tree (sort of), give out toys, and dress as trolls. Typical holiday stuff.
The entire family congregates in the White Room to decorate for Christmas. (To refresh your memory, the rules of the White Room are as follows: No Juice. No Shoes. No Food. But yes to everyone in there at once wrestling and putting up the Christmas tree.) After he realizes that none of his children are particularly interested or skilled at holiday decor, especially not King or Major,
he tells the family “We’re just going to let the professionals do this. We’re gonna pay somebody to do this.”
That message of defeat is hardly inspiring, but Tip has other ways of inspiring his kids, like gathering them all together for a toy drive and putting on a play written by his oldest son, Messiah.
First, Tip has to get the family on board with participating. He tells the kids about the toy drive, and King is instantly worried that toys for other kids means no toys for himself. “Reminder: Christmas is not about money or toys, it’s about giving and baby Jesus,” Domani tells him. This is the T.I. version of A Charlie Brown Christmas! It’s hard to decide if I love Domani more for saying that, or Messiah for actually writing the Christmas story with his mom about a troll who’s different. Messiah’s mom explains the origin of the tale, saying that first of all, she chose a gross creature because it reminded her of her son who can also be gross, what with the peeing around the toilet seat and the slimy boogers he leaves around the house. Seriously, this kid sounds like living with Shrek.
Another similarity is that the troll is obsessed with Asian girls and Messiah has a little obsession with white girls, his mom says. All the boys in this family share that obsession, it seems, King wants a white woman too, if you’ll recall. Messiah, who is shy to begin with, looks like he wants to curl up into a ball of embarrassment when his mom brings all these things up.
But the message of the story is what’s really important. Tip explains “Messiah is different because he’s a lot more reserved, he’s a lot more quiet. Hopefully writing this play will help him come out of his shell.”
At the first rehearsal for the soon-to-be classic “A Troll Without Warts,” the family members all receive their parts and their scripts. King is assigned to be the wolf and has no problem pouncing like a wolf on his sisters, but when Messiah, who’s playing the lead character, Strange, is prompted to snarl and growl, he needs a few acting lessons to come out of his shell. Messiah is not a Method troll, unfortunately.
En route to the show, Tip learns that basically the whole family hasn’t learned their lines, and worse still, Messiah has not learned his growl. “The star of my show still will not growl!” T.I. says, desperate to make his son realize that growling can be cool if you put your mind to it. They have a pep talk though, so it’s all good.
Everyone else gets into hair, makeup, and warts and this is quite the handsome family when all the green skin and pustules are applied.
(Wait, what’s the story with the guy to the right, behind Teeny Troll?? Leather pants, ruffled shirt…explanations wanted.)
And of course then there’s our wolf, King.
Uh oh, he looks mad, he’s showing his teeth now.
They perform the play and all goes well (except for one missed cue that King the Wolf didn’t pick up, but aside from that…) “Everybody killed it,” T.I. says. “The whole family did phenomenal, Messiah found a growl somewhere inside his chest, I’m very, very proud, more importantly all the kids loved it.” That’s true, look at them all.
Of course, by the laws of Chekhov’s Santa Suit, if you mention T.I. dressing up as Santa in the first act of the show, he actually has to fulfill that by the last act, so he suits up to give out toys to all the children, some of whom are totally on to him.
Tip Claus doesn’t reveal himself to the kids, but we all know his true identity. Rapper by day, stealthy gift giver and inspirational king troll by night.