By: Bill Cushing – December, 2014
With Christmas upon us, I thought I would look back at some great Christmas episodes of our favorite shows over the years. There have been many, to be sure. But I’m going to discuss my personal favorites. Some that are not what you would consider traditional Christmas episodes, and that’s why I like them so much.
All In The Family – “Edith’s Christmas Story” – This episode of All In The Family dealt with a serious issue. While Christmas descended on the Bunker home, Edith discovered a lump in her breast. She dealt with it secretly, rather than ruining everyone’s Christmas. Archie figured out what was happening though, and rushed to the hospital to be by her side while she underwent testing. Things turned out well, as Edith didn’t have cancer. The episode showed, that despite Archie’s gruff exterior, his love for Edith was always present.
LOST – “The Constant” – In this episode, while aboard a helicopter that experiences turbulence, Desmond’s consciousness keeps jumping back and forth through time. He finally was able to reunite with his lost love, Penny, on Christmas. While LOST had many outstanding episodes, The Constant is one of the very best, and one of the series defining moments.
Scrubs – “My Own Personal Jesus” – Scrubs, in my opinion, is one of the great comedies of the 2000’s and highly underrated. The main theme of this episode is that it’s very hard to get into the Christmas spirit while working at a hospital. Turk tries to convince that the unlikely recovery of a patient is a miracle. JD doesn’t believe it. Turk then loses his faith after a particularly rough Christmas Eve in the ER. But by episode’s end, Turk finds a missing pregnant woman and he and Elliot help deliver her baby, performing a miracle and restoring Turk’s faith. A very funny episode that’s very touching at the same time, as most of the episodes of this fine series were.
Happy Days – “Guess Who’s Coming To Christmas” – Fonzie is all-alone on Christmas, after telling everyone he had huge plans. When the Cunningham’s learn that Fonzie is really spending Christmas by himself, they try to invite him over but he insists that he has plans. They concoct a story that their mechanical Santa needs to be fixed. After making the repairs, Fonzie is finally convinced to stay and join the Cunningham family for Christmas. It’s a sweet story that mixes in the nostalgia of the 50’s along with the heartwarming Christmas spirit.
The West Wing – “In Excelsis Deo” – Toby is called to the National Mall. A man was found dead and he had Toby’s business card on him. Toby had donated his coat to Goodwill and this homeless man was wearing it. Toby discovers that the man was a Korean War veteran and arranges for a military funeral. The episode ends with a very touching montage of a Christmas celebration at the White House, a choir singing The Little Drummer Boy, and the military funeral for the homeless man. TV doesn’t get much better than this.
MASH – “Death Takes A Holiday” – On Christmas, BJ and Hawkeye struggle to keep a mortally wounded soldier alive so that his family will not remember Christmas Day as the day they lost their husband and father. Like many MASH episodes, it tugs at your heartstrings while putting everything in perspective.
Seinfeld – “The Strike” – The classic episode that introduced Festivus to the world. Festivus, as George describes to the gang, is a made up holiday that his father invented. Festivus is celebrated around a bare aluminum pole instead of a tree, and an uncomfortable dinner which includes “The Airing of Greivances,” where people raise complaints they have. The made up holiday has spawned real life celebrations of Festivus every year and Festivus merchandise. A classic episode from a classic series.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year everyone!
Did I miss your favorite Christmas episode? Do you enjoy my columns? I’d love to hear from you. Do you have any questions about TV? Email me at BillsTVTalk@gmail.com. I will answer all of your questions and will feature some of the questions I receive in a future column.