Making the world a better place, one show at a time.

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I guess you would like to know a little bit about the person making all these proclamations upon good taste and horrid characters. I'm Andrea and when I was 15 I fell in love. An hour after meeting "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" I was forever altered in the way only love can, and I never questioned for one minute afterwards that television offered me an amazing chance to experience lives and moments that I could never imagine. So now, when I'm not getting distracted by my real life, I write about TV. I also read, am finishing a Master's degree in English Literature, travel, am attempting to learn vegan cooking, am the 5th of 6 children, and drive my roommate nuts by constantly cleaning our already clean apartment. Now that we're old friends, time for you to take my opinions as the be all and end all.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Top 5: Favorite Christmas Episodes

Everyone has fond childhood memories of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and Merry Christmas Charlie Brown. And most series that run for any extended amount of time have a “special” Christmas episode. These episodes tend to be sappy and completely miss the actual point of Christmas. But some shows do it right: Christmas episodes that actually spread joy throughout the world. But since there is no way to avoid a bit of schmaltz around this time of year, I fully disclose at this time that I am, in many ways, guided by emotional attachment in making my choices.

“A Very Supernatural Christmas,” Supernatural
I have no joke watched this episode three times in the last two weeks. This episode is not just an incredible episode of a fantastic show; it might be the best understanding of the meaning of Christmas in a secular world. In S3 Dean decides that for his last Christmas he wants to do it right, an idea Sam is less than enthusiastic about. But what we see through both the flashbacks to the Christmas when Dean told Sam the truth about monsters, and the present story, is that the truly powerful aspect of Christmas is that it rises above the difficulties of life by embracing them, by impressing upon us the necessity of our families, broken and frail as they may be. Dean and Sam’s Christmas is not an escape from reality, it is a momentary reprieve and a loving celebration in order to fortify themselves for the tragedy they know lies ahead. Oh, and their terrible rendition of Silent Night is hysterical.

“Christmas Party,” The Office
I feel kind of awkward picking S2’s Christmas episode for this list consider how amazing the episode that aired two weeks ago was. But I stand by my choice. Thank you Jim Halpert for reminding all of us that a gift in and of itself means nothing if it does not speak specifically to the person to whom it is given. “It’s the thought that counts” is usually what we say when we feel we have given/received a less than thrilling gift, but as the journey of Pam’s teapot explains, it is the truth behind the best gifts.

“The Best Chrismukka Ever,” The O.C.
Seth’s holiday combining his Protestant and Jewish heritage lives on in my heart every year. Even when The O.C. sucked hardcore, Chrismukka was worth looking forward to, and that first one was so perfect. How could you help but want a happy holiday for beaten down Ryan, and it might have been Marissa’s redeeming moment that in the midst of all her selfish ridiculousness she at least tried to do the right thing for him. The battle-of-the-presents for Seth between Anna and Summer still remains as one of the funniest moments in a love-triangle in TV history. And as much as I love traditional (European/American) fare, who doesn’t dream of a little Lo Mien on Christmas?

“Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire,” The Simpsons
This is the first episode of The Simpsons. This is the origin story of Santa’s Little Helper. This is like eggnog: MANDATORY TRADITION. No further comment necessary.

“An Echolls Family Christmas” Veronica Mars
It was a toss up for me, “An Echolls Family Christmas” (S1) where Veronica foils the poker-cheating plot, or “One Angry Veronica” (S2) when Wallace returns to her and the world of Neptune is set to right (er) again. But then I remembered that S1’s Christmas episode ends with Aaron Echolls being stabbed by the totally looney-tunes waitress that he had the one night stand with. Best. Christmas. Gift. Ever. And it contains one of my favorite lines of the whole series: “Annoy tiny blonde one, annoy like the wind.” (TV you are a sadder place lacking Logan.) While in contrast to the earned peace of “A Very Supernatural Christmas” this ends with the cynical pain of a world unredeemed, but I wouldn’t love it at all if it tried to shove some inorganic sappy crap down my throat (like other lesser shows attempt at this time of year).

Honorable Mentions:
“Gus’s Dad May Have Killed An Old Guy,” Psych
This is really just a funny episode. Gus’ parents are adorably overprotective, and Shawn and Henry’s can-you-guess-what-I-got-you game looks like it would be a lot of fun.

“Amends,” Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Poor Angel, tortured by the Devil into almost believing that he can never do good and trying to kill himself. Poor Xander and his abusive family. Poor Willow thinking Oz rejects her. But it is all worth it for Buffy and Angel’s walk in the snowy daytime.

“The Balance,” Roswell
I mention this because I have relied on this episode to teach me how to deal with overzealous Christmas enthusiasts (I won’t name names but you know who you are). I try to channel Michael when I encounter my own Isabel-esque Christmas-Nazis.

I would recommend any of these episodes as a welcome addition to your own Christmas traditions. Dean and Veronica, Michael and Bart should have their place next to Frosty, Jimmy Stuart, Bruce Willis, and Ralphy.

Merry Christmas all,
The TV Girl

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