December 19, 2008

tgif top 10: holiday edition

Christmas is next week, and I love me a Christmas episode. They're traditionally very corny, even in comedies. It's always a good opportunity to learn a thing or two about the characters. (i.e. Chandler hating Thanksgiving because his transvestite father and mother separated on that day)

Top 10 Christmas Episodes
  1. My So-Called Life: "So-Called Angels" This is my favorite Christmas episode of all time. And possibly my favorite series of all time. I'm still not over the fact that it was cancelled so quickly. In this episode, Ricky is living on the streets after escaping from his abusive uncle. Angela spends Christmas eve trying to find him and comes across an abandoned building filled with homeless kids. She meets one girl (played by Juliana Hatfield!), who in the end turns out to be an angel. All the while Angela's mom - just annoying enough to make her completely realistic - is going ballistic looking for her daughter. They eventually find Ricky, and the episode ends in a church with really cool music. Oh, and poor Brian Krakow is alone for Christmas, so he tags along too.

  2. The OC: "The Best Chrismukkah Ever" Season one was my favorite OC season. I always sort of thought it went down from there. I love this episode where Seth is trying to choose between Anna and Summer - both of whom present him with Chrismakkuh gifts. Anna creates an entire comic book called "The Adventures of Seth Cohen and Captain Oats." In my opinion, she blew Summer out of the water, whose present was her dressed a Wonder Woman. Alas, Wonder Woman always wins.

  3. South Park: "Mr. Hankey, The Christmas Poo" This one needs no explanation.

  4. The Office: "A Bennihana Christmas" The Office always comes up with a great holiday episode. I love this one where Michael gets dumped by Carol after Photoshopping his face onto a photo of her ex-husband and their two kids and sending it out as his Christmas card. He goes to Bennihana to drown his sorrows in "nagasaki" (three parts egg nog and one part saki), and falls in love with a Japanese waitress. But when he and Andy take their new "girlfriends" back to the office holiday party, Michael has to mark his lady's arm with a sharpee because he can't tell the two girls apart (they look nothing alike).

  5. Punky Brewster: "Yes Punky, there is a Santa Claus" I loved this show as a kid. This Christmas episode from this first season when some older mean kid tells Punky there is no Santa Claus, so Henry shows up at her school dressed as Santa. Punky sits on Santa's lap and tells him her only wish for Christmas is to find her mother. Henry looks everywhere for the her even though he's afraid to lose Punky. It's all very sweet. Try not to barf.

  6. All in the Family: "Draft Dodger" If you've never watched All in the Family, rent the DVDs. I know it seems like a one-note old sitcom, but this show was actually really progressive. Going back now to watch the raw bigotry of Archie Bunker is just...well, an interesting social commentary. Also, it's hilarious. This episode was one of the more serious ones. Christmas dinner at the Bunkers features Archie's friend, a military veteran whose son was just killed in Vietnam, and Archie's son-in-law invites his draft dodger friend who's been living in Canada. There's a lot of screaming and fighting on Archie's part until the father who lost his son silences him by sitting down to eat with the kid. This is a poor description - you have to see it.

  7. The West Wing "In Excelsis Deo" I already gushed about this one here.

  8. Gilmore Girls "Forgiveness and Stuff" Every episode of GG is perfection, but this is one of the best. Richard Gilmore suffers a heart attack leading to an amazing performance by Kelly Bishop as wife Emily Gilmore and a really sweet moment at the end with between father and semi-estranged daughter. I also love this episode because we see the first bits of great chemistry and flirtation between Lorelei and Luke. He gives her a ride to the hospital and later at the diner, at her request for something 'festive' he makes a Santa-burger. At the end of the episode she gives him the navy blue baseball hat, which he wears for the rest of the series.

  9. Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip "The Christmas Show" Ok, don't laugh. I know this show was on for less than a minute and received crap reviews. I don't care. I love Aaron Sorkin, and I loved this show. In this episode, they are trying to put on Christmas-themed show written by the Jewish Matt Albie, who actually has freakish Christmas spirit. The FCC is trying to slap NBC with a fine because a soldier was heard saying f*ck when a journalist was reporting from Afghanistan. Also, Danny (Bradley Whitford) professes his love to Jordan (Amanda Peet) in a great scene. And there's a cool performance by some real New Orleans musicians displaced by Hurricane Katrina at the end.

  10. Silver Spoons "The Best Christmas Ever" An oldie but goodie from the first season when Edward and Ricky are spending their first Christmas together. This episode features a super young Joey Lawrence whose family is literally living in a cave on Edward's property. Christmas spirit ensues, and they play Santa to the needy family. A classic.

If you find yourself stranded with your laptop at the airport or dodging family members next week, you can watch a bunch of full Christmas episodes courtesy of Hulu on this site.


Liu an Bo said...

Chrismukkah was probably one of the best episodes of that show---and you're right, in retrospect Anna's gift was 100% better. But, Summer dressed as Wonder Woman...lets just saw you can't have a party for two with a comic book. Poor Anna.

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