Friday, December 16, 2022

My Favorite Christmas Episodes

(Guest post by TJ)

If you know me, you know my birthday is Christmas Eve. Also, you’d know that I love the Christmas season and Christmas movies are some of my favorite things. But a good Christmas episode is equally compelling to me. Today, I’m going to share seven of my favorites from some of my favorite TV shows (along with honorable mentions.)

I Love Lucy - The I Love Lucy Christmas Show: Season 6 - Episode 11
Another thing you may wish to note about me is that I deem I Love Lucy one of the greatest television series of all time. Unfortunately, I think they only have this one Christmas episode. Unfortunately, this is a clip episode, which are sometimes full of nostalgia. The goal for the main four characters is to make a good Christmas for Little Ricky. This leads Lucy, Ricky, Ethel, and Fred dressing up as Santa Claus. At the very end, they dance around the tree and suddenly there are five people in the room…This is just a fun episode and hits a strong classic tone. But it’s also a reminder that Christmas is definitely about sharing what’s special with others.

The Simpsons – Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire: Season 1 – Episode 1
This is one of those moments where I get to say, “I was there.” I watched this episode with my brothers and cousin when it aired the first time. This hooked me to the Simpsons, a show that changed many times over the years while being the same. There’s an anti-Gift of the Magi theme going on here where both Homer and Marge believe the other has Christmas money saved up. But of course, a series of events leads them to not having any money, a sign of the show that this is about a family who struggles financially. In the end, Homer ends up bringing home a dog, saving the dog from being abandoned. Something that everyone loves. As much as Christmas is about presents for everyone, sometimes it’s about doing what you can for those you love

Friends - The One with the Holiday Armadillo: Season 7 – Episode 10
First of all, this is the episode where Monica says, “…Santa, the Armadillo man and I will have a talk in the kitchen. There’s a sentence I never thought I’d say.” But this is a pretty interesting episode. All Ross wants to do is help his son understand a different holiday, one that’s important to him. Being half-Jewish myself, I have appreciated my heritage and have been looking for ways to celebrate Hannukah with my kids to help them understand their heritage as well. But the humor of the random costumes between Santa, the Holiday Armadillo (seriously who came up with that) and Superman is what makes this episode such a holiday joy. 

Community – Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas: Season 2 – Episode 11
Community, at its heart, is such a diverse show, even in its holidays. In season 1 we learn that everyone at the table has a different belief system. But for this season 2 we suddenly have a Claymation episode because Abed has jumped into a delusion. We go through this Winter Wonderland in Abed’s mind as he searches for the true meaning of Christmas. (Gotta be honest, my 6-year-old loves this episode for one specific reason: she loves the Christmas pterodactyl.) Now, while I agree with Shirley’s statement that Christmas is about the Savior, the group does realize that Christmas has another point to it: the longest, coldest, darkest nights can be the warmest and brightest as long as you have those you love around you. This message becomes clearer as the study group sits and watches Rudolph together. 

Doctor Who – The Runaway Bride – Season 3 – Episode 0
This in-between episode that introduces Catherine Tate’s snarky Donna Noble has very little to do with Christmas…or does it? She gets married on Christmas…kind of. It’s the humor that makes this episode so great for me. (See the meme that goes with this.) But I digress. What is interesting in this episode is the Doctor remarks that there is nothing special about Donna, an insult to the fastest temp in Cheswick. But the real point is that Donna is special…not only that, we’ll see how important she is much later. Regardless, Christmas can be a time where we don’t worry about whether or not we’re special. The joy in seeing someone else feel special is part of what the Christmas spirit is.

The Big Bang Theory – The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis: Season 2 – Episode 11

This was Big Bang’s first Christmas episode and honestly is still my favorite. While Penny has gifts for the guys, this causes Sheldon to be extremely Sheldon-like and goes on a rampage at guessing how much Penny’s gift is worth. On the flipside, Leonard loses his new BFF to Penny and shows his jealousy when to the guy who’s attractive and super-intelligent. Of course, that relationship fails quickly. For me, this episode has the strongest chemistry between Penny and Leonard. But of course, when Penny gives her gift to Sheldon, he has a plan to make her go first. Of course, she kindly does and Sheldon is absolutely flabbergasted. He has no idea what to do since the gift that cost the struggling waitress $0 is worth more to Sheldon than the dozen gift baskets he purchased for her. So, he hugs her, showing that Sheldon can exhibit real personable emotions…in this case…gratitude

Frasier – Frasier Grinch: Season 3 – Episode 9
The Christmas episode from season 1 is probably one of the best episodes, but the character arc that Frasier goes through is removed by the next episode it seems. And even though this episode starts in a way I don’t necessarily appreciate, it has one scene that makes me cry every time. Frasier fights to get his son a specific toy and fails. Martin tries to cheer Frasier up, but it’s not working. Finally, Martin gives Frasier his Christmas present: the toy Frasier wants to give Freddie. In the end, this episode breaks Frasier’s recurring theme of “let me live my life my way alone and I’ll do what it takes to get there” to “I don’t care about anything else besides making someone I love happy.” Seriously, writing about this moment on Frasier makes me cry a little.

Thanks for reading! Alien abductions are involuntary, but probings are scheduled.

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