Of the literally thousands of holiday-themed TV sit-com episodes produced through the years there are half a dozen that stand out for me above all others and must be watched every December. Otherwise Christmas doesn’t really come.
Four of these episodes are actually from the same series: The Wonder Years, which owns Christmas like Roseanne owned Halloween and Cheers ruined all other Thanksgiving episodes with “Thanksgiving Orphans.” The Wonder Years came out with Christmas episodes in Seasons Two, Four, Five, and Six, and they are all excellent in their own ways. Like the series itself, one sees Kevin growing up through Christmases, from the awkwardness of teenage gift giving to the realities of Christmas we face as grownups. Thank you, again, Netflix, for making it so easy for me to retrieve these episodes and watch them repeatedly.
Next on our list is, of course, “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire,” actually the first ever real full-length episode of The Simpsons. Now more than 25 years old, there is nothing more heartwarming than seeing a dysfunctional family win at Christmastime.
And speaking of dysfunctional families, there is the Costanzas. Yup, Frank, Estelle, and George Costanza, who have been celebrating “Festivus” (a holiday for the rest of us) since George was a boy. Perhaps more than no other Seinfeld reference, Festivus has entered our lives and lexicon and I’m sure one day will replace the official Christmas when the PC crowd finally gets its way.
Let the airing of grievances begin!