Binge Watch: Christmas Episodes, Pt. 1

Merry Christmas! Well, almost Christmas anyway. The big day is Saturday, but if you’re like me you’ve been prepping with your favorite films and specials for days, weeks or even months. Last year I looked at some classic Christmas films and this year I thought I’d turn my attention to the small screen. Over the next two installments, I’ll be looking at some classic Christmas episodes. This week is comedy, next week some dramas. I limited myself to one episode from any single show, five episodes each week. So, let’s get some Christmas Cheer up in here.

“My Own Personal Jesus,” Scrubs Episode 1.11, first aired December 11, 2001
I loved Scrubs in its prime, especially the early seasons. This first season episode has a lot going on but primarily deals with Turk (Donald Faison) and his faith, which he’s seemingly lost after working at the hospital at Christmas. But a miracle helps bring his faith back. This was Scrubs at its best and offered more than a few scenes that tugged at my heart.

“Christmas Party,” The Office Episode 2.10, first aired December 6, 2005
The second season of The Office featured the first Christmas episode, and it’s a doozy. It involves the office Christmas party, complete with a Secret Santa gift exchange. Jim (John Krasinski) draws Pam (Jenna Fischer) and plans something that moves the needle on their relationship. But, naturally, Michael (Steve Carrell) changes the rules up in a fit of frustration, nearly derailing the whole thing. It’s fun, awkward and has some beautiful moments.

“Afternoon Delight,” Arrested Development Episode 2.06, first aired December 19, 2004
Never conventional, Arrested Development offered a different kind of Christmas episode in season two. This one has a lot of awkward jokes and a pair of horrendous office Christmas parties, each highlighted by an inappropriate rendition of the song “Afternoon Delight.” So, yeah, it’s a good time.

“The One With The Routine,” Friends Episode 6.10, first aired December 16, 1999
Friends had a few different Christmas episodes, and this might not be the one that leaps to mind for most, but I loved it. While Rachel (Jennifer Aniston), Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) and Chandler (Matthew Perry) search for the Christmas presents Monica (Courtney Cox) has hidden, Monica, Joey (Matt Le Blanc) and Ross (David Schwimmer) head to a taping of Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve. And, let’s just say, the dance that Ross and Monica have to offer—one perfected in their childhood days—is iconic.

“The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis,” Big Bang Theory Episode 2.11, first aired December 15, 2008
The heart of the show, for me, was often the relationship between Sheldon (Jim Parsons) and Penny (Kaley Cuoco). When Penny decides to get gifts for the guys, Sheldon forgoes his no presents rule out of respect for the social construct. He buys a number of gift baskets so he’s prepared to reciprocate a gift of any value, and yet Penny offers something that surprises him. The result is one of the most heart-felt and delightful moments between these two characters.

Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. He is a member of the FSWA. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast.

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