I LOVE CHRISTMAS EPISODES!! I literally spend the whole month of Dec watching them, even from series I never watch otherwise. There is just something about them I can’t get enough of. And with some, it just plain would not be Christmas without these great episodes. Since I had so much fun doing this on Halloween I decided to do a Christmas version as well.So for the next couple weeks I present my all time favorite episodes.

   

 

A few things. First of all, nope couldn’t settle on five again. And man was this a hard one. I love Christmas episodes so trying to find my absolute favorites was pretty tough. But the same rule as the Halloween list, one episode per series. Yes I will do honorable mentions again. Oh, and why top 8? Like with the Halloween list, I have already reviewed every episode of Seinfeld and Friends so I wont bore you be re-reviewing the Christmas episodes from those shows (sorry, no Festivus or Holliday Armadillo which would both be on here). Let’s call those honorary entries which bump this into a top 10 list.

And finally, like before I am not suggesting these are the best Christmas episodes of all of the Christmas episodes that exist. These are MY favorites. Feel free to disagree or even hate these shows. I am sure I am leaving off plenty of other choices other people love and adore as much I do these episodes.

So to begin I decided to pick a show that rarely disapointed at Christmas. There were several but I chose the first because this episode is what every episode tat came after it tried to duplicate. Which show?

Family Matters

“Have Yourself a Very Winslow Christmas”

Aired Dec 21, 1990 on ABC

Plot Synopsis:Steve Urkel is invited to spend Christmas with The Winslows until he accidently breaks Laura’s favorite ornament. Meanwhile, Rachel has a hard time looking for a gift for Richie.

Best Line:”You know, the toy companies do that on purpose. See, they deliberately create a shortage, which increases demand, which shoots up their profits!”..Rachel flipping out

Nitpick of the Episode:Not a nitpick more a funny observation. One thing in this episode makes me laugh because it dates the show. Laura bought Judy a CD, which is boxed in the package that CD’s used to come in before people realized all that extra cardboard was a waste. Ah, the good old days. Hey, remember CD’s?

Standout Character:Steve, this is when he was likable and funny (you know, before he got older and became grating and annoying). He even carries a scene all alone and does a great job.

Syndication Edit:Sorry no idea

Episode Fun Fact:Steve gives Laura a talking Steve Urkel doll as a gift. This would become a real thing.

Final Thoughts:This episode does everything you would expect a good Christmas episode to do. It’s funny, it’s sweet, it’s full of heart. This show really knocked their Christmas episodes out of the park (well, not all…some were stupid).

It’s not all good, the scene with Carl waiting in the line for the toy is just plain cliche. Everything about it from the long line, the reported long trip to the store, teh fact the store is down to two toys despite the crazy line and reports they had plenty, and of course the fight that ensues over that final toy. Even worst when Carl, in full uniform, is in the middle of it! Of course this is a sitcom because if it were real life half the people there would be arrested for assaulting an officer. And of course, the scene is never mentioned again after it ends. I’ll never understand sitcom writers, that kind of thing is NOT FUNNY.

Putting that aside, the episode just works. I love the Santa stuff, as we find that Steve still believes. The way he proves it is just great, he got to spend Christmas with his favorite family. Awww. Nothing wrong with believing in Santa, no matter what your age is. And while it’s obvious that Steve got the Freddy Teddy somehow, it still makes for a cute moment when no one can figure out where it came from.

The real conflict in the show comes when Steve accidentally breaks an ornament Laura cherished, and she flips out and throws him out. It wasn’t a cliche yet so I can forgive the tired “Laura calms down and forgives him” part. The scene where Steve is alone in his basement is very funny but kind of sad, and then Laura’s inviting him back to the house for Christmas Eve is real sweet. Oh and yes it does become a cliche; in another Christmas episode when Laura flips out and tells Steve she wants him out of her life, he literally says “Now Laura you don’t mean that!”. As if he’s really saying “man, this again??”.

Finally, the scene around the Christmas tree just feels like we are watching are real family. From Steve waking everyone up all excited, to the kids being thrilled while the parents are sleepy, to the reactions that the various gifts get. In my opinion it may be one of the most genuine family scenes from any show. Is it cheesy? Yes. Is it silly? Yes. It’s a Family Matters Christmas episode, what did you expect? I meam for pete’s sake, the whole family sings “Have Yourself a Merry Christmas” at the end. Who does that? But this episode is tame compared to later peisodes where they try to duplicate the stuff here, and it comes off even more forced and goofy. It’s sweet, it’s setimental…and I can’t help but love it.

Grade-B+, The fight over the toy was unnecessary (I wouldn’t be surpried if it’s cut of syndicated airings) but on the whole the episode works

Honorable Mention:Benson

I was torn between this and Family Matters and decidesd to go with that because it was more universally known. And while I love the Benson Christmas episode it is kind of corny. It was a It’s a Wonderful Life knockoff where Benson sees what life would be like without him. Worth it to hear Robert Guillaume sing but that’s it. There was another episode which is ok but is so full of 80’s cheese it makes the episode I just discussed seem tame. The solution to yhe pronlem literally falls from the sky and the story is rushed so the last five minutes can be the cast singing Christmas carols around a piano. Man TV was different then.

Be back with my #7 choice in a few days

By richb

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