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Archive for the ‘The Simpsons’ Category

That’s right- “Christmas.” Not “season”, not “holiday.” “CHRISTMAS.” We’re such bad-asses.

5. The OC– “The Best Chrismukkah Ever” (2003)

I was completely, wholeheartedly into the first season of The OC (did that show last more than a year? No? Didn’t think so). I’m pretty sure that, had you asked me to in 2003, I wouldn’t have hesitated to take someone down for a chance to just be NEAR Seth Cohen (Adam Brody, who has since disappeared. An apology for that Meg Ryan movie nobody saw?). And the whole notion of “Chrismukkah”, a result of the Cohen family being half-Jewish, is Seth at his greatest. From the Santa-yarmulkes (not sacriligious at all) to his demand for “8 days of presents, followed by one day of MANY presents” and that the whole family, now including his adopted-troublemaker brother Ryan, all be together to celebrate, it’s all so adorable that you just want to vomit dradles and jingle bells all over the place.

And, to top it all off, a tension-filled holiday party, squishy family moments and a lot of awkward swaying to Stevie Wonder. It really is the “Best Chrismukkah Party Ever.” Or it would be if Kristen was completely smashed on vodka.

4. Bones– “Santa in the Slush” (2007)

Ah, the good old days when Bones FOLLOWED THROUGH ON ITS PROMISES.

We were, you might remember, led to believe that Bones and Booth would kiss in the ’07 holiday episode and we got our wish. A Christmas miracle, indeed. And, yes, ok, it was because Bones owed Carolyn a favor for swinging a little visitation party with her dad who was in prison for murder and, because Carolyn was feeling impish, she decided Bones could repay her by laying a kiss on her FBI partner. Whatever, we’ll take it. The whole exchange is just sweet and awkward and weird enough to be believable and the chemistry between Deschanel and Boreanaz (they should open a perfume store or something) good enough to make it a truly squeal-worthy moment. Plus, the rest of the episode is AWESOME. They find a dead santa whose real name is actually Kris Kringle, he lives above a toy store, he was the best store santa in history and both scenes where the duo question a department store locker room FILLED with crappy Santas (And Carl Winslow too!) are hilarious. Add Bones’ extremely cool ex-con dad (played by Ryan O’Neil before he accidentally hit on his own daughter) and an appearance from her brother Russ “Mumford” Brennan and even little moppet-headed Parker and, it really is, the most wonderful time of the year. (Yes, I plan on ending EVERY entry with that.)

3. The Simpsons– “Simpsons Roasting On an Open Fire” (1989)

Even reading the description of this “Christmas Special” made my cold little heart bloom with joy. Remember how GOOD The Simpsons used to be?  Bart asks for a tattoo and starts to get “Mother” on his arm but gets caught by Marge and is left with “Moth.” They then have to spend their Christmas money getting it lasered off (he should’ve kept it. I mean, if little Pete could keep Petunia…), Homer doesn’t get his bonus, Barney is a drunk santa at the mall, they go to the track and blow $13 on a little dog named Santa’s Little Helper (who comes in dead last) but the pup follows them home. Yay, puppies and Christmas!

Where would The Simpsons be without Santa’s Little Helper? And where would be without old episodes of The Simpsons? I shudder to think…

2. The Office– “Christmas Party” (2005)

Michael Scott with the Dreaded Oven Mitt

Season 2’s Christmas episode at good old Dundler Mifflin was highlighted by the office’s Secret Santa exchange. Michael picks Ryan the Temp, for whom he has a serious man-crush on, and completely overshoots the dollar limit to buy him an iPod but then gets insulted by HIS gift, a homemade oven mitt from poor Phyllis who has the best sad-sack face in the universe, and quickly decides to turn the Secret Santa into a Yankee Swap instead. Just so he can get a not-so-crappy gift. This is all fine, except for Jim who is panicking. In one of the sweetest examples of Jim’s still-unspoken love for receptionist Pam, he picked her name out of the hat and got her an adorable tea pot filled with adorable notes just for her. The party just goes downhill from there so Michael, in a desperate attempt to pick things up, renegs on the office’s no-alcohol policy and gets everyone wasted. Which means drunk Meredith. Which means happy Judi.

Michael Scott: [checking out at a liquor store] Hey, you’re the expert; Is this enough to get twenty people plastered?
Clerk: [Seriously considers] Fifteen bottles of vodka?… Yeah, that should do it.

1. West Wing– “Noel” (2000)

Beal has her “episode that will make you cry uncontrollably” and this one is mine. It’s Christmas at the White House and months after the shooting in Rosalyn. Yo Yo Ma is set to play for the President and all seems jolly and bright. Except Josh is a mess and he doesn’t know why. He cut his hand and doesn’t remember how, he breaks out into a sweat during the concert and he’s biting people’s heads off left and right. A visit with a White House appointed shrink, played memorably by Chicago Hope‘s Adam Arkin, and a few really brutal scenes later, Josh is shaken to discover that he’s suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and while everyone is enjoying the holidays, he’s been reliving that time he almost died and, now, has to face the fact that he’s suffering from its aftermath and could very well lose his job (thanks a lot WHITE SUPREMACISTS. God). Until he gets a pep talk from Leo. And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go watch a bunch of old clips of John Spencer and cry softly into my lunch.

BONUS: This didn’t make the list but did you know there’s a Beverly Hills 90210 Christmas episode called “It’s a Totally Happening Life”? Best. Title. Ever. I almost choked on my salad when I read it (and when I say “salad”, I mean “chocolate croissant.” Don’t judge me.)


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by Judi

5. Buffy the Vampire Slayer– “Halloween” (1997)

Buffy-Halloween_l

I mean, it’s a no-brainer that if you have a show about vampires and werewolves and witches, Halloween would be a pretty big deal. And Season 2’s “Halloween” is especially fun, if only for the premise of “what if you actually turned into your costume?” In Buffy & Co.’s case, it’s the work of creepy Ethan, a dangerous ex-friend of Giles’ from his days when he was known as “Ripper”, who sells the kids enchanted costumes. Buffy, in an effort to be more like her vampire boyfriend’s old girlfriends from the eighteenth century, turns into a pansy-assed noblewoman who’s swooning at every turn. Willow at first dresses slutty (check out those abs!) and then gets nervous and throws a sheet over her head, which of course turns her into an actual ghost. Xander’s a tough-as-nails military guy. It’d be fine if Spike didn’t choose that moment to attack. Oh, and all the little monsters in the neighborhood? They’re all actually little monsters now. Demon want some candy?

4. Bones-“The Mummy in The Maze” (2007)

bones halloween 2

Dr. Brennan, for all her social awkwardness, LOVES Halloween. It’s not terribly surprising considering the morbid nature of her work but she really, really gets into it as does the rest of the Squints (which is, incidentally, FBI agent Boothe’s costume as a giant note-taking nerd. Just perfect for his captain-of-the-football-team image). Angela’s dressed full-out as Cher at the Oscars, Cam’s a hot Catwoman and Brennan’s Wonder Woman. And the case is a mummified body found in a giant hay-maze. The episode’s got creepy goths, RIDER STRONG as a maybe-pedophile, and a murderer who likes to kidnap young girls and, literally, scare them to death (he sticks one girl in a vault with a bunch of snakes). By the end, Boothe and Brennan are roughed up, filthy and tired from wrestling with a creep dressed up like a clown. You know, just like real superheros. (By the way, if you’re looking for something to watch that’s genuinely disturbing but not Halloween-centered, that episode where she wakes up bloodied and bruised after blacking out in New Orleans is SO GOOD. It’s got voo-doo and men who like to have sex near dead bodies and it’s the goriest Bones episode ever- and this is a show where a body once melted in a pool of lye).

3. 30 Rock– “Stone Mountain” (2009)

That’s right- LAST NIGHT’S EPISODE made my list. 30 Rock, off to a great start after a shakier 3rd season (too many guest stars, not enough writers room), hits so many great points about Halloween that I had to rewind my TiVo twice because of the happy clapping (I tend to watch TV like I’m Simple Jack. Is that offensive? Maybe now getting my profile rejected from Match.com isn’t such a surprise). From the discussion of the merits of a gay Halloween to the reappearance of Jenna’s gay-entourage (“Girl, your face called- it says it’s time to PICK IT UP.”) to a special appearance by Betty White! (who’s reading “From Peanut to President” by Milton Greene, love) to Jack and Liz’s visit to Kenneth’s town of “Small Mountain” (you really couldn’t bring him along? He probably hadn’t been home in years), I don’t even care that the whole episode wasn’t Halloween-crazy. I got my fair share of Lutz and, for that, I am appeased.

Watch episode here.

2. Beverly Hills 90210– “Halloween” (1991)

Oooh, a classic. Brenda and Dylan are Bonnie & Clyde, Donna’s a too-realistic mermaid who can’t move, Brandon and Emily Valentine (yay) take her niece and nephew trick-or-treating but then lose them, oops. Luckily, Mr. and Mrs. Walsh save the day. And the highlight- though it’s only Season 2, this is the SECOND time Kelly is sexually assaulted (the first one happened off camera, as recounted in the slumber party episode) and sweet sassy molassy, it will not be the last for poor, calamity-stricken Kelly Taylor. But don’t worry- Steve, dressed as Zorro, saves the day. Also, does that cowboy look like Christ Kattan to anyone else? Now I’m even more disturbed.

1. The Simpsons– “Treehouse of Horror I” (1990)

The Simpsons’ famed Treehouse of Horror series is so beloved by its fans that if either Beal or I left an episode off the list, we might be egged by one of our thirteen regular readers (what’s up, guys?). “Treehouse of Horror VI” was so good, in fact, that it was even nominated for an Emmy in 1996 for “Outstanding Animated Program” but it, sadly, lost to that timeless classic Pinky and the Brain, though I don’t recall any ground-breaking, 3-D animation happening on THAT episode. Whatever, ACADEMY.

But for this list, we’re going waaaay back to 1990 for “Treehouse of Horror I,” before they even knew they would have to start numbering them. As Treehouse of Horrors follows no continuity or other realism rules for the show, anything goes, which means we don’t see Bart & Co. traipsing around in costumes but we do get thirty minutes of genuine Halloween mayhem- gorings, murder, rabid bats, killer idols, tributes to The Shining (see clip). It’s the spirit of Halloween at its best, ignoring the cries for candy from greedy fat kids and “Should I be a slutty pirate or a slutty fairy? OOH, CAT. Slutty cat it is!” from every female over the age of sixteen. In this episode, the first act finds the family Simpsons moving into a house that would’ve made the Amityville Horror weep. Marge confronts the bleeding walls and flying objects and tells the house to behave. The house collapses in on itself- it’d rather die than live with Homer and his brood. In the second act, they’re abducted by aliens and what ensues is one of my favorite gags ever- the “How to Cook (For) (Forty) Humans” misunderstanding. And then, the third act is a retelling of Poe’s “The Raven.” Pretty classy, right?

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I planned this party for you later today… I hope you enjoy it.

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