I covered movies on Monday, so for Christmas I'm listing my five favorite Christmas-themed TV episodes. Now, I've never seen the Festivus episode of Seinfeld or the West Wing episode where Toby plans a funeral for a homeless veteran. So I may not know the classics, but here are some new classics for you.
5. "How Lily Stole Christmas," How I Met Your Mother
It can't hold up to the Thanksgiving episodes, but this Christmas episode has plenty of holiday gold. There's the Christmas miracle of Marshall delivering all the packaged presents. Ted's trip to his religious cousins' presents-free celebration. And the many uses of "grinch" as a euphism. Plus, who can't get behind beer as a unifier?
4. "An Echolls Family Christmas," Veronica Mars
The main plot involves a poker game gone wrong, but the B-plot is all Christmas. As Keith investigates a death threat on A-list movie star Aaron Echolls, we get to see what the Echolls' Christmas party looks like. With murderous Christmas cards, deranged pumpkins, and a vengeful server, this darker Christmas tale is a nice balance for all the cheesy Lifetime specials.
3. "Afternoon Delight," Arrested Development
Arrested Development took a trip to The Office as GOB used his role as Bluth Co. president to insult all of his employees. But this episode's best remembered for teaching all of us what the song "Afternoon Delight' is really about. The moment when Michael/Maeby and Lindsay/George-Michael realize what they're dueting about? Hilarious.
2. "The Best Chrismukkah Ever," The OC
It's a tough call between this and season 2's "The Chrismukkah That Almost Wasn't," but I have to go with the episode that coined the word. No "yamaclauses," but a simple explanation of Seth Cohen's Christmas/Chanukah hybrid. Also, Seth's identical gift packs to Summer and Anna, leaving him with neither by the end, helped bring out the show's best love triangle.
1. "A Benihana Christmas," The Office
This hour-long episode was The Office at its best. Michael's cluelessly creepy Christmas card to Carol inserting himself into her family. Jim and Pam's CIA prank on Dwight. Dwight and Andy fighting over Michael while drinking at Benihana. Michael marking his date with a marker to remember which one she is. The date riding off on Michael's bike. And the beginning of Michael and Jan. The holiday brought out the best in every character, creating the perfect blend of awkward and hilarious.