Welcome back my friends as I count down my all-time favorite Christmas sitcom episodes. There are some series which will do one, maybe two, Christmas shows and that’s all. Then you have those others that do on every single year, and not only did they do one very year but they are almost always very memorable episodes.
My number 5 favorite episode is from:
“Twas the Blight Before Christmas”
First aired December 15, 1993
Plot Synopsis:Brad would rather go skiing at Christmas
Best Line:â€You lied in church on Christmas Eve? Watch out for those lightning bolts. God doesn’t like that stuff.”….Tim
Nitpick of the Episode:Wow, Brad’s lucky he didn’t grow up with my parents. The little rebellion he throws is way out of line. And if I were Tim or Jill I’d have a word for the guy for inviting my son on a ski trip at Christmas! What the hell was he thinking?? Also I love how time works in sitcoms. So, after Tim talks with Brad he goes back to Church. At this point Brad is dressed casually. Tim drives (let’s assume he could have walked I guess) back to the church. Tim walks in and as he is explaining why he left, Brad suddenly walks in seconds later, dressed up, surprising them all. So….Brad changed his mind, got changed into his dress clothes, and somehow caught up to Tim just seconds after he arrived? Unless Tim stopped off at the hardware store or something that seems awfully convenient.
Standout Character:Tim, I love the speech he gives to Brad which gets him to change his mind.
Syndication Edit:Never seen the episode in syndication
Episode Fun Fact:Ummmm……..Oh ok. Something obvious. The episode’s title references the opening line of the poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas”: “‘Twas the night before Christmas”
Final Thoughts:This show did a good job of giving their episodes a real story, rather than it just being sappy Christmas nonsense that didn’t fit the series (A Christmas carol takeoff, it’s a wonderful life take-off, Santa cliche…no they did do that, sorry). They were actual episodes that just happened to take place at Christmas..but it didn’t ignore the holiday either instead embracing it.
Ok, ok…an episode where one of the characters want to go skiing despite the fact it’s Christmas isn’t an original idea. It’s been done in many other shows including Wings, Step By Step, and Gimmee A Break. But I like the spin they take on it here. Usually in these episodes, the character either can’t get away due to mitigating circumstances, the trip is ruined, or the character actually gets to go skiing and the show is about the family being sad they are not there. None of that here, Jill and Tim flat our refuse to let Brad go on his trip. And then Brad acts like a spoiled brat for the rest of the episode.
I know I already said this but the way he acts is just crazy! I don’t just mean pouting like a brat. He then refuses to get dressed for church, doesn’t care his bother is singing, and even tries to run away before Tim catches him! What the hell Brad? The problem is, in my opinion, he is old enough to realize that Christmas is kind of a big deal with his family. But then again this is the same kid who two episodes earlier called his brother a dork for believing in Santa Claus. Yeah, I guess Brad was a jerk.
So what else happens in this episode? We get Tool Time antics again, though it’s more of a filler than anything. There is an extended scene in the church and the way the episode ends with the “Noel” playing….love it. Hey, that’s the second episode in a row that used that song effectively. Funny. There is some great jokes in this show including a “LEON” gag that still makes me laugh. And of course we have the usual antics with Tim and the lighting contest. Why he even bothers when Doc Johnson beats him every year speaks to his character. He won’t be beaten, he keeps trying again and again. Even after falling of the roof. The reason why this running Christmas gag didn’t get old is because it’s always in the background. We can forgive these gags when they don’t’ interfere with the plot. Also they always added a little something to it. For instance the spin in this episode is that Randy has been giving Tim’s lighting secrets away to Doc Johnson’s granddaughter.
This was the first Christmas episode of this show I saw and I loved it. This was the high point for this series as far as Christmas episodes go. None of the next could come close. Though the next year’s episode involving Jill and her bickering parents was good. In fact the closest to the episode was the year before, with a story about Brad and Randy stealing charity money. Very good episode. Other episodes had Randy coming home and discovering things have changed, Tim and Al being stranded in an airport, and of course the season one episode where Wilson plays Santa…or was it the real Santa all along?
Final Thoughts-The truth almost every episode is great, and I love the excitement Home Improvement had for Christmas every year (except one episode which I discussed last year).
Honorable Mention:The Wonder Years
I don’t pay much attention to this show most of the time, but at Christmas I love it. This show did some very good Christmas shows which really captured the way kids (then, and I think now) look at Christmas as they grow up and the holiday becomes about more than just getting presents. There is the episode about Coach Cutlip playing Santa that Nostalgia Critic mentioned last year. I love that episode, the way the three boys look at Cutlip and can’t see anything but Santa. It is seriously one of my favorite moments in any Christmas episode. Two other episodes followed but were not quite as good. One about an annual Christmas party that never got mentioned in any previous episode (annual??) and another in the final season which I won’t waste time describing. It was OK but less a Christmas episode and more….an episode.
Be back in a few days as we get into #4 on here.