The holidays are here! And like most of you, I’ll be watching Christmas movies like A Christmas Story, Christmas Vacation, It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, The Santa Clause, etc. over the course of December.
But what about TV shows? Sitcoms have been doing Christmas-themed eps since the early days of I Love Lucy, and the tradition continues over six decades later.
The boss man, David, did a video last year listing his favorite Christmas movies (check it out below), so I decided that a post about my favorite Christmas-themed sitcoms would be appropriate this time around.
With so many to choose from this list could be 100+, so I decided to narrow it down to my faves this particular Christmas season. Here now are five of my favorite sitcom Christmas episodes (not animated) for 2011.
Curb Your Enthusiasm – “Mary, Joseph, and Larry”
Larry David is a genius and this episode is so hilariously awkward on so many levels that I bumped Wings off the list so I could include it here. Good ol’ Larry just doesn’t get Christmas (because he’s Jewish), and every attempt he makes to appease his wife and her visiting family only ends in greater disaster.
This season three episode comes toward the end of an already brilliant season and proves that when it comes to awkward comedy moments, it’s hard to top Larry David.
Just Shoot Me! – “How the Finch Stole Christmas”
One of the joys of watching Just Shoot Me! in general is the witty banter and clever insults that you wish the people in your workplace were smart enough to come up with on cue (and I’ve tried this out at work and it NEVER goes well).
This season three Christmas ep has all the bells and whistles: narration by Kelsey Grammer (and he sings!), snarky dialogue, and plenty of Christmas cheer in a way only Just Shoot Me! can deliver.
Full House – “Our Very First Christmas”
Why are DJ, Stephanie, and Michelle the ONLY kids on the flight to Colorado? This question and many more pop up throughout this zany episode of Full House that finds the Tanners and company stranded in an airport on their way to a family reunion.
As a Full House scholar, I know that the series is campy and silly and corny, which makes this episode all the more enjoyable since it rolls all those elements into one festive ball of heartwarming cheer…with a lesson about the true meaning of Christmas.
And check out that crazy 80s technology with Danny’s video camera, the cranky guy’s laptop, and Jesse’s Walkman. And can you imagine how much DJ’s new CD player probably cost back then? Crazy! And I’m sure you can think of a great drinking game to go along with it, too!
Home Improvement – “Yule Better Watch Out”
I like this show for the simple reason that for eight seasons it was able to mill humor out of the same gags, jokes, and puns and make it always seem fresh. One of the places this is most evident is in the Christmas themed eps, which usually revolve around the same basic premise of Tim trying to beat Doc Johnson (a retired 80-year-old proctologist) at the annual Christmas lighting contest.
I like it because it incorporates all the elements that would be recycled in future seasons, but also has a sense of Christmas magic and fun that the others just don’t seem to reach.
There are some solid one-liners, some great gags, and even a lesson to be learned in this classic family sitcom from the 90s. And you can grunt along to “Jingle Bells,” too!
Married…with Children – “You Better Watch Out”
It takes a special sitcom to receive a parental disclaimer before it’s Christmas episode begins. The second season Christmas-themed ep of Married…with Children proves that when it comes to yuletide insanity, no one beats the Bundys.
I always refer to this episode as “the one where Santa dies in the Bundy’s backyard,” but there is so much more going on in this episode that makes it a must-see classic. There’s so much macabre humor laced throughout the episode as well as the continual irreverence toward the holidays that makes Married…with Children a satiric masterpiece.
While Married gave us many, many other solid Christmas eps over its 11 season run, it is the first one that set the stage for what was to come. And it was a pretty high bar from the start!
Have a favorite Christmas episode? Leave a comment and let us know what it is and why you like it!
And here’s David’s video below!