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Rocking around the TV screen

Originally published in the December 3, 2010 issue

The holiday season brings a lot of things with it – excess food, cheap gifts and miserable weather. The greatest gift of the season, though, comes on TV.

While most shows haven’t rolled out the annual holiday cheer yet, we look back on some that are way more enjoyable than any family bonding.

“The Office” – “Secret Santa”
For this show, anything centered around a big event guarantees hilarious awkwardness. This classic Christmas episode involves a cut-throat battle between Phyllis and Michael as to who makes the better office Santa, a romantic confession of love by way of the 12 days of Christmas and a budding inter-office homosexual relationship.

If these things don’t scream Christmas, we don’t know what does. Jesus (as in the Messiah) also makes a guest appearance carrying on that constant battle of religion vs. Santa. Can’t we all just get along?

“Futurama” – “Holiday Spectacular”
Although fans of the show are used to seeing this one in the summer, “Futurama” has come out with a special “Holiday Spectacular” including three segments of festive antics.

The first includes a search for the extinct pine tree, providing a rather slow start to the Christmas-y fun. The next segment fulfills a much needed Christmas musical fix, with songs about Robanukah. The final installment diversifies the holidays even further with an annual Kwanzaa celebration. In case anyone didn’t get the memo, there is yet another song to explain everything Kwanzaa.  

Lifetime Christmas Movies
This season, Lifetime has been pushing their classic heart-wrenchingly depressing Christmas dramas pretty hard. In the past two days, six new movies have been posted on Hulu, and more are on the way. We must admit, though, we have not watched any of these new installments. Not because we have the same aversion to them as most sane individuals do, but because we would have a hard time coming to terms with the inevitable sobbing via Christmas cheer that would ensue. And nobody wants to see that.

“How I Met Your Mother” – “Slapsgiving”
To mention the holiday season and not discuss “How I Met Your Mother’s” “Slapsgiving” deserves a slap itself. Thanksgiving may have come and gone, but reliving the slap bet between Barney and Marshall is perfect any time of year.  Besides the legendary slap, Marshall’s ode to the incident, “You Just Got Slapped,” is hilarious and the rekindling of Ted and Robin’s friendship adds the necessary heart in a refreshing way.

“The O.C.” – “The Best Chrismukkah Ever”
The glory days of “The O.C.” seem to be a television myth nowadays, given its quick fall from grace, but in its first season, the show revitalized the genre of soaps about pretty, dysfunctional high schoolers long before “Gossip Girl” even existed.  In its prime, the first “Chrismukkah” brought “The O.C.” a new level of notoriety. And while it is not that well acted and excessively cheesy, the blending of Judaism and Christianity topped with the right amount of over-exaggerated drama,  makes Chrismukkah a holiday worth noting.

“Arrested Development” – “Afternoon Delight”
“Arrested Development” didn’t reach its beloved cult status through its sweet and appropriate nature. Rather, the show thrived on awkward inappropriateness and poor decisions. The episode “Afternoon Delight” is no exception. The half-hour show has multiple, borderline incestuous singings of “Afternoon Delight,” two beyond-dysfunctional company Christmas parties and jokes involving Tobias “blueing” himself for the Blue Man Group. Nothing rings in the holidays better than sexual innuendo.