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Sunday, December 5, 2010

WEEKEND REWIND: Top 40 Christmas Episodes, #40-#26

Each weekend in December I will be counting down my favorite Christmas episodes. This week has #40-#26. Next week will be #25-#11 and the following week will have the Top 10. Enjoy! As always, this is solely based on personal opinion.

40. Roseanne #84 "Santa Claus" (first aired December 24, 1991)
Roseanne had many Christmas episodes but as a whole they were not as memorable as the show's Halloween ones. Still, this made the list thanks to a very funny scene when Roseanne dresses up as Santa Claus for a mall job and Jackie is a hard-nosed Mrs. Claus. There are many great interactions between Roseanne and the children that come to sit on her lap.

39. According to Jim #89 "Stalking Santa" (first aired December 14, 2004)
Jim and Cheryl are in a fender bender with a guy who gives them false insurance information. When Jim spots him as a mall Santa, he gets in a fight in front of the kids. This is a funny episode thanks to not one but two mall fights between Jim, Santa, and his elves and it has a sweet moment at the end between Jim and his son Kyle.

That Girl "Christmas and the Hard Luck Kid"
38. That Girl #16 "Christmas and the Hard Luck Kid" (first aired December 22, 1966)
In a flashback episode, Ann stays with an student at a boarding school whose parents are not getting him for Christmas. It's a sweet episode from start to finish including Ann's fear of the big building at night and the many jelly sandwiches.

37. Frasier #12 "Miracle on Third or Fourth Street" (first aired December 16, 1993)
Frasier is in a fight with his dad and taking a radio shift on Christmas when he stops at a somewhat seedy diner (far below Frasier's snobbery) when he sees kindness on display. It's a nice episode that shows a different side of Frasier as he lets his guard down.

36. Cheers #133 "Christmas Cheers" (first aired December 17, 1987)
In the only full-fledged Christmas episode of Cheers, Rebecca is the scrooge who makes the staff work on Christmas Eve and Norm is dressed up as Santa Claus. There's nothing amazing about this episode, it's just nice to have a fully Christmas themed episode of a great show.

The Office "Secret Santa"
35. The Office #113 "Secret Santa" (first aired December 10, 2009)
The Office has had several great Christmas episodes already and the most recent one (until Thursday!) is another great one. There are funny moments including Michael's disgust with Phyllis playing Santa but the episode's best moments come from Andy's 12 Days of Christmas gift to Erin which is an utter disaster until a very sweet ending.

34. Wings #107 "Insanity Claus" (first aired December 13, 1994)
A depressed air traffic controller takes Antonio as a hostage when someone eats his last jelly doughnut on Christmas Eve. It's an absurd premise but actually quite funny, particularly Lowell shouting "we don't make deals" and battle-planning the situation.

33. Newhart #9 "No Room at the Inn" (first aired December 20, 1982)
In a very clever premise, the Stratford Inn is full on Christmas Eve when a traveler and his very pregnant wife arrive and Dick has to tell them (as only Bob Newhart can) "it's Christmas Eve and there's no room at the inn." When she goes into the labor, the hotel guests (which is a group of doctors) has to deliver the baby. The clever use of the setting for this show makes it memorable.

32. Home Improvement #12 "Yule Better Watch Out" (first aired December 17, 1991)
In the first of many Home Improvement Christmas episodes, Tim is caught up in a decorating contest with the neighbor and Randy and Brad tell Mark is dead. But a visit from Wilson as Santa Claus (or is it Wilson?) makes for a sweet ending to a funny episode.

The Brady Bunch "The Voice of Christmas"
31. The Brady Bunch #12 "The Voice of Christmas" (first aired December 19, 1969)
In a hokey but still sweet Christmas episode, Carol loses her voice right before she's supposed to sing "O Come All Ye Faithful" at church. The Bradys' Christmas isn't the same until she gets her voice back. It's corny as always but a nice look at an idealized time gone by.

30. The Honeymooners #13 "Twas the Night Before Christmas" (first aired December 24, 1955)
In the Christmas episode from the "classic 39," Ralph sells his bowling ball to get Alice a Christmas gift and, in true 50s fashion, many misunderstandings occur. The alternate gift Ralph gives and the overall simpleness of a Christmas in 1950s working class NYC make this a classic.

29. Friends #131 "The One With the Routine" (first aired December 16, 1999)
This might be higher except it has more of a New Years theme than a Christmas theme but it still deserved a spot on the list thanks to two great storylines - Monica, Ross, Joey, and his roommate Janine dancing at Dick Clark's New Years Rockin' Eve (highlighted by the ridiculous routine) and Chandler, Phoebe, and Rachel looking for Monica's Christmas presents. It's a hilarious episode from start to finish.

28. The Odd Couple #12 "Scrooge Gets an Oscar" (first aired December 17, 1970)
Many shows have done a "Christmas Carol" parody for an episode but this is possibly the best one. When Oscar won't be in Felix's play, he is visited in a dream by Felix as the ghosts. The look of the episode including the ridiculous big steps taken by ghost Felix make it an original and clever take on an overused plotline.

27. The Mary Tyler Moore Show #105 "Not a Christmas Story" (first aired November 9, 1974)
Another episode that may have been higher if it was a full-fledged Christmas episode - the WJM gang is snowed in and angry at each other on the set for Sue Ann's Christmas special. From Sue Ann making Lou kiss her until mistletoe (actually asparagus) to the ridiculous hats they are forced to wear to the hilarious singing of the "12 Days of Christmas," it's a very funny episode.

Laverne & Shirley "Oh Hear the Angels Voices"
26. Laverne & Shirley #25 "Oh Hear the Angels Voices" (first aired December 21, 1976)
The gang puts on a show at a mental hospital for Christmas. It runs the risk of veering into too many performances but there is a fun performance by Laverne and Shirley and the episode is made by Lenny and Squiggy's depressing song "The Jolliest Fatman." It also has a sweeter undertone than most episodes of this show which makes it memorable.

Next weekend will be #26-#11 so come on back!

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