RTVW Sound Off: The Holidays on the Tube   

RTVW Sound Off: The Holidays on the Tube

RAE: It’s time for another sound off. This one will essentially be just like our Halloween TV Sound Off only this time it’s about our favorite Christmas/Holiday TV. Spads is off traveling so she won’t be joining this time around but, since he threatened asked so nicely to be included, Ducky will once again be joining us for this sound off.

So, what are your favorite Holiday specials and TV episodes, what shows are you hoping came through with holiday episodes this year, and how great is it that some of our off-season/summer shows are making special holiday appearances?

I’ll start by saying just how much I will miss The OC Chrismakkuh episodes. A lot of my favorite shows have done holiday episodes that I adored but that’s the show that stands out the most for consistently coming up with a great holiday episode each year. What will I do without it?! Maybe someone will buy me a Yarmuclaus and the complete OC DVD set so I can relive the glory of Chrismakkuhs Past? It’s too bad we’re doing this via email… that plea isn’t quite as convincing without the puppy dog eyes I’m making at each of you right now.

Summer dresses up as Wonder Woman as Seth’s Chrismukkah present.JUST JODY: I will definitely have to second The OC Christmukkah episodes as some of my favourites. The season one episode, “The Best Christmukkah Ever,” is the best of them all. Summer in the Wonder Woman costume is a present all on its own! Plus, you get Ryan hanging his stocking and becoming a full-fledged member of the Cohen clan.

R: I love Summer in the WW costume! That was such a great present to give Seth. That Summer, she’s a smart cookie.

DUCKY: I have to say that as much as I didn’t love The OC toward the end of their run, there was nothing better than those first couple Chrismakkuh episodes. I actually purchased one of their Yarmuclaus’ a few years back. I was absoloving some Chrismakkuh.

GREG: Christmakkuh will always hold a special place in my heart, especially for giving us the yarmuclaus.

R: I’m jealous, Ducky! And why is there no picture floating around with you wearing your Yarmuclaus??

Speaking of made-up holidays, what about the Seinfeld episode “The Strike” in which we were introduced to Mr. Constanza’s holiday called Festivus (for the rest of us!)? I love the Festivus pole and Kramer going back on strike because his boss won’t give him Festivus Day off.

G: Ah, and you had me at Festivus. Any Seinfeld episode which peeks behind the curtain of life with the Costanzas gets a gold star from me.

JJ: Festivus is yet another great thing we got from Seinfeld! We actually celebrate Festivus here at the office… we have a Festivus pole and we sit around and air our grievances. Good fun. If only we could have Festivus wine at the office!

Buffy decorates the Christmas tree in the memorable holiday episode “Amends.”But my very favourite holiday episode is of course from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. “Amends” from season 3. Buffy and Joyce decorating the tree, Faith and Buffy together as friends, and the Awww inducing walk through the snow for Buffy and Angel.

R: I also adore Amends. The image of Buffy by the tree is one of my favorites but I also love the little montage we get at the end with everyone seeing the snow. Xander in his sleeping bag getting snowed on makes me smile every time.

G: I’m going to have to insist (I’m sure you’re protesting) that I raid your Buffy DVDs this weekend and watch that episode, as I don’t remember it in the slightest.

R: No, Greg. No Buffy DVDs for you!!

POLTER-COW: I am shocked and appalled that no one has mentioned “An Echolls Family Christmas.” Come on, people. Stabbing and fake snow, that’s what Christmas is all about.

R: That last scene in “An Echolls Family Christmas” is one of my favorite shots in all three seasons of Veronica Mars. The way it looks like the perfect winter scene and yet we know what just happened and then we pull away and you actually get to see how fake the “perfect holiday scene” really is.

Christmas in Neptune, the final scene of “An Echolls Family Christmas.”

G: How about classic holiday movies shown on TV? For me, it doesn’t seem like the holidays without watching Christmas Vacation. It gives me comfort to watch a more dysfunctional family than my own deal with holiday madness.

R: Oooh, Christmas Vacation is great. Gotta love the whole family showing up. Reminds me of Christmas at my parents’ house actually. Not that we’re nearly that dysfunctional. No family pulling their RV up in the driveway… yet.

D: Christmas Vacation is a close second for non-traditional Christmas movie magic. My father is Clark W. Griswold. My house growing up was always an attraction and people would pull over to gawk at the abundance of lights and ornamentation my Father would put up. He would spend weekend after weekend making homemade decorations for outside and I’m pretty damn proud that you could probably see his house from outer space during the holidays. He’s even been featured in the newspaper and on the news for being such a decorating freak. People hear this and my whole Christmas obsession suddenly makes tons of sense. I could choke a horse with all the quotes I can rattle off from Christmas Vacation but I think I’ll pick my two favorite. “Shitters full” and “Merry Christmas, Holy Shit!” Gems, all of em.

My favorite visual/ dialogue combo comes in the very beginning when they are traipsing through the forest and Audrey’s getting colder and colder with each step. They finally find the beacon of light that is the Griswold Family Christmas Tree (“Little full, lots of sap”) and Clark asks “Isn’t it beautiful Audrey” and they cut to a frost bit Audrey with blue lips and iced eyes before Ellen says “She’ll see it later Clark” — it seriously makes me almost wet myself every time. GENIUS!

Ralphie shows off his Christmas present in A CHRISTMAS STORY.R: Greg, I can’t believe you didn’t mention A Christmas Story as one of the classic holiday movies shown on TV. “You’ll shoot your eye out!” Or the bunny suit. Awesome. And, though we all agreed bunny suits made for great Halloween TV, I’m not sure any other Christmas movie/TV episode could ever pull off a bunny suit like A Christmas Story.

D: I’m there with you on the Bunny thing. Anya will own the Halloween visual but Christmas goes to Ralphie in Aunt Clara’s Bunny Suit. You have no idea how many times a week my friends and I say “TRY IT ON”… frightening how that random quote is one of the ones I use most. Well that and “I like the Tin Man” or even “Sonsabitches Bumpuses” or “Stuck, stuck, stuck, STUCK!” I mean come on, I can’t hear “Deck the Halls” without singing “farararara, rara, rara” instead of the real lyrics. I still absolove that TBS plays the 24 hour marathon of A Christmas Story every year. I kid you not that I watch it at least twice all the way through and catch about 10 other viewings in pieces parts. There is nothing better.

G: I must now admit that I’ve never seen A Christmas Story. I know, I know, how is this possible?

I’m about to get lawyered on this, aren’t I?

P-C:: I haven’t seen A Christmas Story either! Finally, someone else!

D: I can’t talk to either of you on email ever again.

As for the true classic holiday films, It’s a Wonderful Life is way high up there on my list. Come on folks, as TV freaks we should all know the town of Bedford Falls, if not for it’s true original intent (It’s a Wonderful Life) then for Herskovitz/Zwick’s end credit title cards from thirtysomething, My So-Called Life, Relativity, Once & Again, quarterlife and so on. “Merry Christmas Movie House”, the shaking bush, the retracting dance floor, the boxing of the ears? Come on!

G: And can you believe that I’ve also managed to avoid ever watching It’s a Wonderful Life?

R: Come on, surely you’ve seen scenes from It’s a Wonderful Life at least? It’s a CLASSIC, Greg!

G: Sure, I know the plot of It’s a Wonderful Life, the guardian angel getting his wings, yadda, yadda, yadda. I’ve seen clips here and there, but just never managed to sit through the entire movie.

JJ: You’ll also have to add me to the list of people who have never seen A Christmas Story! I own It’s a Wonderful Life though… does that help make up for it?

D: All of you are killing me with not seeing A Christmas Story? What are you, Canadian? Sorry Jody… I had to. I’m just blown away that you’ve somehow avoided it, given that it’s on for 24 hours during Xmas every single year for I think 10 years now.

I have the audio book from iTunes read by Dick Cavett. It’s wondrous. Read the book or download the recording because it’s a wonderful addition to the Holiday mania that is my life.

I’m also a psycho for The Bells of St. Mary. It’s a much forgotten Christmas classic. It’s charming and incredibly well acted.

Other Christmas Classics (new and old) I love and watch each year: Miracle on 34th Street, A Christmas Carol, Scrooged, The Family Man, Home For The Holidays (technically a Thanksgiving film but the ending has snow in it and in essence leads into Christmas so… plus I watch it about 12 times in the 4 or 5 weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas — simply one of my favorite films). Elf has made it into rotation too, it’s just great.

As for the old Christmas Classic TV specials, it’s all about Chuck, rather it’s all about Linus and that amazing speech – I don’t believe in God or religion or all the jazz but this moment in A Charlie Brown Christmas honestly makes me tear up:

I think it’s more an emotional attachment to this special from my childhood more than the crap he’s spewing but I love it so.

The Rankin Bass specials are also my all time faves: Rudolph, Frosty, A Year Without Santa, Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas, The Little Drummer Boy (which I actually secretly hate). There are also some sequels in there which I choose to ignore like Frosty Returns, Frosty’s Winter Wonderland, Rudolph’s Shiny New Year, and more. These really are my childhood holiday memories so I will forever watch and love most of them.

Wow, I need to stop typing…

The classic RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER.JJ: Along with the A Charlie Brown Christmas special, a must see every year for me is the classic 1964 Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer movie. Ah, such sweet memories of childhood. Who will ever be able to forget the noise that Rudolph’s nose makes?

[Moderator Note: As I'm sure you can tell by now, we do these sound offs via email. Occasionally life intervenes and we have lulls in our "conversation." At this point in our holiday sound off, we experienced one such lull… only this one was more like dead silence for several days.]

D: Why is no one participating here? You’re all ruining Christmas!

R: Oy, humbug to this sound off! Just kidding, sorry, sorry!

Speaking of ruining Christmas, while I concur with Jo that A Charlie Brown Christmas is a must see every year, it’s The Grinch Who Stole Christmas that’s my favorite Christmas story. The original that is, I enjoy Jim Carrey and his version (especially the music) but he’ll never replace the original Grinch.

JJ: We only got two holiday episodes from Gilmore Girls, but “Forgiveness and Stuff” from season 1 will always be a favourite of mine. The Santa burger Luke makes Lorelai is just classic and the scenes in the hospital with Lorelai and Emily are very touching.

Friends on the other hand was great at giving us plenty of holiday episodes. I think my favourite is from season 4 “The One With The Girl from Poughkeepsie” where Phoebe writes her classic Christmas Song:

“Went to the store, sat on Santa’s lap.
Asked him to bring my friends all kind of crap.
Said all you need is to write them a song.
They haven’t heard it, so don’t try and sing along.
No, don’t sing along.

Monica, Monica, have a happy Chanukah.
Saw Santa Clause, he said hello to Ross.
And please tell Joey, Christmas will be snowy!
And Rachel and Chandler, have err-umm-glander!!”

And the season 6 episode “The One with the Routine” where Ross and Monica go on Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve deserves an honourable mention just for “the routine”. Monica’s bad dancing is rivaled only by Elaine!

And then there’s the very last Friends Christmas episode we got, season 9′s “The One with Christmas in Tulsa”. Where Chandler quits his job and comes home to spend the holiday with his family of Friends.

P-C:: “Rory’s Dance”/”Forgiveness and Stuff” was my introduction to GG, and it hooked me good. Isn’t it a later episode, though, when Lorelai is just really wishing for snow,Lorelai enjoying the first snow of the season. and when it comes, she runs out in it like she’s five years old? Adorable.

JJ: Actually, it’s the episode before “Rory’s Dance” (“Love and War and Snow”) that we learn about Lore’s love of snow, and her belief that it has magical properties. One of my favourite GG images is the one of Lore out in the snow that night.

R: Ok, I think it’s time to wrap this baby up and get it under the tree.

Any last thoughts? Holiday episodes you loved this year or what you can’t wait to watch? Anything? Bueller, Bueller…

D: This year I’m happy to report that some shows pulled out some great holiday themed episodes. High on the list is Bones with their “Prison Holiday” and that incredible kiss. “A Very Supernatural Christmas” opened with the old school television special logo and went into one of the most devilishly gruesome holiday episodes any shows pulled off. Who doesn’t love the imagery of little kids watching Santa come down the chimney and killing their parents? Nothing says Holiday Cheer like a bloody stocking hung by the chimney with care. Kudos to Pushing Daisies for their final installment of 2007 as well. They took snowmen to a whole new level of creepy, is it wrong that I want my very own Ned The Pie Maker under the tree for me this season?

R: As long as he’s wearing a bow it’s not wrong, although I’d prefer him under my tree and not yours.

I agree about the Supernatural Christmas episode. I adored it. I did like the Bones episode but I think it aired too early for me as I’d kinda forgotten it happened by the time I was in the holiday mood.

Emerson spies something wrong with this snowman on PUSHING DAISIES.Here’s what I want to know… how were those snowmen standing up like that? Because let me tell you, hiding a body in a snowman like that isn’t as easy as it looks.

D: Agreed, but if rigor mortis had set in before putting them in the snowmen then maybe, just maybe they could pull it off. I’m not saying I have any prior experience with this but that could be a possibility. Either that or chop off a leg and us it as a kickstand to hold them in place. Could work!

R: Oh, I didn’t think of the leg/kickstand thing! Good thinking.

And, on that positive note, I declare this sound off officially over!

Happy Holidays, everyone!

2 Responses to “RTVW Sound Off: The Holidays on the Tube”

  1. 1

    [...] our TV Advent Calendar featured a bonus Bones scene under the mistletoe and we sounded off about our favorite holiday TV. Plus, Rae wondered how an episode of Scarecrow & Mrs King could still be considered [...]

  2. 2

    [...] our TV Advent Calendar featured a bonus Bones scene under the mistletoe and we sounded off about our favorite holiday TV. Plus, Rae wondered how an episode of Scarecrow & Mrs King could still be considered [...]