17 Festive Tv Episodes to Stream This Holiday Season
As you gather your loved ones close to you this holiday season, take comfort in the fact that, should anything go awry, you'll always have the sweet, sweet embrace of television. Here are 17 shows with great holiday episodes that are currently available for streaming, enough to distract yourself for ... well, about half a day. http://bit.ly/1YqgBIF
- •30 RockDuring its seven-season run, the workplace comedy embraced the holiday spirit to tell tales both heartfelt and truly demented, whether that meant forcing neurotic showrunner Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) to face the truth about her family, allowing earnest page Kenneth (Jack McBrayer) to teach everyone the true meaning of Christmas, or giving magnificent narcissist Jenna (Jane Krakowski) cause to hijack the show to sing increasingly horrifying Christmas carols.
- •Gilmore GirlsThe aggressively quaint town of Stars Hollow loves nothing more than a reason to decorate to within an inch of its life, so Christmas has a special place in its heart. But while the townspeople frost their businesses in snowflakes and find their inner carolers, the Gilmore family is usually experiencing some sort of significant, life-challenging event.
- •BoJack Horseman"Sabrina's Christmas Wish" has us watch BoJack (Will Arnett) as he watches a Christmas episode of Horsin' Around, the fictional multi-camera sitcom that launched both his career and his eventual spiral into irrelevance. The special is cheesy, maudlin, and nonsensical. But it proves that series creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg knows the "holiday episode" genre inside and out, and the jokes are just self-reflexive enough that the episode never becomes the treacly Christmas fare it's satirizing.
- •Orange is the New BlackNetflix's wildly popular prison dramedy capped off its first season with an episode that borrows elements from traditional Christmas specials while subverting them entirely. As Litchfield Penitentiary prepares for its Christmas pageant — one that will allow many of the inmates to (sometimes literally) find their voices — Piper (Taylor Schilling) falls deeper and deeper into the mania that's been threatening to swallow her up all season.
- •The OfficeWhile The Office underwent many chaotic changes throughout its 10-season run, the employees of Dunder Mifflin almost always made room to celebrate Christmas together. Sure, the parties were almost always disasters, and, okay, Michael Scott (Steve Carell) is just about the worst at making things merry, despite his very best efforts. But when The Office was at its best, its Christmas episodes were great.
- •Bob's BurgersBob, Linda, and their three unapologetically weirdo offspring throw themselves into the holiday spirit with reckless abandon. The weirdest — and most personal — is "God Rest Ye Merry Mannequins," the show's very first Christmas episode, in which the Belchers try to reunite a man with his long-lost love ... which just happens to be a mannequin.
- •New GirlFamily dinners and lessons learned are standby Christmas episode clichés. But in its second season, New Girl managed to find a new approach by tackling a very real holiday problem: too many parties. In "Santa," Jess (Zooey Deschanel) and her equally dysfunctional roommates dodge awkward situations by party-hopping throughout Los Angeles, wreaking havoc and — inevitably — learning lessons along the way.
- •Arrested DevelopmentYour heart will not be warmed as you watch the demented Bluth family get drunk, trash-talk their employees, and stage accidentally-on-purpose incestuous karaoke duets. But you will be entertained. The Bluth office Christmas party in "Afternoon Delight" is a neat encapsulation of this absurdist series, letting the cast run wild for one of the most twisted Christmas episodes on this or any list.
- •The Mary Tyler Moore ShowMary Richards takes on the true spirit of giving in "Christmas and the Hard-Luck Kid," The Mary Tyler Moore Show's first Christmas special. But when she offers to take on a co-worker's Christmas Eve shift, Mary finds herself far lonelier than she had anticipated; it is her first Christmas after a big break-up, after all. As a bonus, you'll get to see a ton of Christmas decorations from the '70s, which might just be the best Christmas decorations of all.
- •SeinfeldSeinfeld always did its best to undercut the overwhelmingly sweet nature of traditional Christmas episodes — most memorably with "The Strike" and its introduction of Festivus, the holiday George's father created years ago to fight back against the holiday season's rampant commercialism. But if you'd rather have more of Julia Louis Dreyfus's Elaine Benes in your holiday (and who wouldn't?), you can turn to season four's "The Pick," in which Elaine accidentally sends out a NSFW Christmas card.
- •CommunitySeason one's "Comparative Religion" forces all the members of the study group to not only face their differences but embrace them; it also involves a bloody knock-down, drag-out brawl. From season two, "Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas" is one of the most ambitious episodes in the show's six-season run, drawing inspiration from the classic Rankin-Bass holiday specials for a bittersweet adventure in claymation. And in season three, "Regional Holiday Music" spoofs Glee and corny Christmas musicals.
- •Brooklyn Nine-NineNow in its third season, Brooklyn Nine-Nine has fully accepted the warm embrace of sitcom holiday episodes. Season one's "Christmas" helps Jake and Holt get past their initial animosity to a new place of understanding, while season three's "Yippie Kayak" drops Jake and his colleagues into a Die Hard–style hostage crisis. Brooklyn Nine-Nine is one of the most consistently funny and earnest shows on TV right now, and it's no surprise that its Christmas episodes reflect as much.
- •Doctor WhoCrucial plots rear their alien heads at Christmastime; 2012's "The Snowmen" even introduced a new companion in Jenna Coleman's Clara. Hulu has all the new Who (from 2005 on) Christmas specials available to stream, so you can pick your flavor of holiday alien drama depending on your preference of Doctor 10 (David Tennant), 11 (Matt Smith), or 12 (Peter Capaldi).
- •Fresh Off the BoatFresh Off the Boat showcases its sharp humor and adorable family shenanigans in season two's "The Real Santa," a Christmas episode that brings out the best the show has to offer. As Eddie (Hudson Yang) and Emery (Forrest Wheeler) scramble to find their mother, Jessica (Constance Wu), the perfect gift, she scrambles to keep her youngest son, Evan (Ian Chen), from learning the truth about Santa Claus. It's all about preserving the magic of Christmas no matter how old you are.
- •Rugrats"A Rugrats Chanukah" tells the story of the Festival of Lights through the babies, who imagine themselves as its key players (e.g., Tommy as Judah) — to educational and adorable effect. The same device is used for "A Rugrats Passover," which casts Tommy as Moses and his bossy cousin Angelica as the pharaoh. And even though these retellings would be notable on their own, the beautiful stories of how the blended Kropotkin-Pickles family comes together to celebrate really makes them shine.
- •Hey Arnold!When it wasn't exploring hidden corners of a city through the eyes of delightful weirdo kids, the Nickelodeon cartoon Hey Arnold! was excellent at carrying out emotional blindsides that left you reeling and teary. Its holiday episodes are especially good at this; the first season's "Arnold's Christmas" is downright devastating. Getting to know Vietnamese immigrant Mr. Hyunh, and the story of what he has sacrificed over the years, makes for an unusual and incredibly touching episode.
- •The OC (Miscellaneous but important)Rejoice, all ye devotees of Chrismukkah, The OC's combination holiday that honors both Christmas and Hanukkah. You can even have a mini marathon with four episodes from each season: season one's "The Best Chrismukkah Ever," season two's "The Chrismukkah That Almost Wasn't," season three's "The Chrismukkah Bar Mitz-vahkkah," and season four's "The Chrismukk-huh?"