In writing my book WRITE BEFORE CHRISTMAS, one of the most challenging parts of the process was getting into the head of a character who has no pop culture knowledge. I love TV and movies; and during Advent the past few years, I’ve been dragging my kids into the pop culture muck with me.
I have an Advent calendar I bought years ago at Starbucks, and I used to fill it with chocolates. But during the pandemic, I decided to do something different. I came up with a list of twenty-four different holiday-themed TV episodes and wrote each of them down on a slip of paper (with the episode name and number, plus where the show was streaming—an important bit of info to have). We did it again last year. We laughed, we learned, we groaned.
Here are some of the best-received episodes, for your holiday viewing pleasure:
- CHUCK, season 2, episode 11, “Chuck vs. Santa Claus”: This episode is a great stand-alone, and it’s like Die Hard in the Buy More. What could be more fun?
- PUSHING DAISIES, season 1, episode 9, “Corpsicle”: This episode perfectly marries the creepy and the kitschy twee-ness Pushing Daisies did so well.
- COMMUNITY, season 3, episode 10, “Regional Holiday Music”: Okay, my first three picks have all been a little heavy on the black comedy, but they’re just so worth it. All the music in this episode should be on your holiday rotation (especially the pitch perfect “Baby Boomer Santa”), and Taren Killam is, as always, a delight.
- GOLDEN GIRLS, season 2, episode 11, “’Twas the Nightmare Before Christmas”: I might as well keep the “dark” theme going. It is Spooky Season, after all. This one was a lot of fun…even though it’s about the girls getting held hostage by an armed Santa at a grief counseling center.
- CHRISTMAS AT PEE-WEE’S PLAYHOUSE: This is technically not an “episode,” but a “special.” Still, it aired on TV, and it is one of the greatest pieces of art of all time. The caliber of celebrity in this send-up of old holiday specials is spot on—Whoopi, Cher, Grace Jones, k.d. lang, etc. etc. etc. This is the only perennial “must include” in our holiday Advent calendar.