Welcome back my friends as I count down my all-time favorite Christmas sitcom episodes.Today I bring you another gem from the 80’s, from a show which may not come to most people’s minds when they think of great Christmas episodes. But this episode is funny and the final gag provided one of the biggest and best laughs ever. How could I not include it?
My #2 Christmas episode is from:
The Night Court Before Christmas
Aired Dec 21, 1988
Plot Synopsis:After Roz and Bull accidentally distribute toys meant for evidence, the owner of the toy company Mr.McKracken causes Roz to be thrown in jail because she will not reveal where the toys where delivered.
Best Line:â€These yahoos thought that Nick might be…Santa Claus”….DanÂ (the problem with most quotes from this series is they lose their impact when you can’t hear them)
Nitpick of the Episode:So let’s say Nick isn’t Santa Claus. Then how in the hell did he have the toy Buddy gave McKraken? Like with the Halloween episode, you have to turn your brain off or it will make no sense. Also the charity is called Toys for Toddlers, why couldn’t they use the name of he real Toys for Tots?
Standout Character:Dan, even Dan is moved by the poor children and in one of his best scenes gives McKraken a piece of mind!
Syndication Edit:At one point when Roz and Christine have their talk we see a trio of carolers in the holding cell. Wonder how they got there? The full version shows that the three were tried by Judge Stone after the commercial break. Don’t you hate syndication edits?
Episode Fun Fact:Ummmm…the title refers to “Twas the Night Before Christmas” (hey it’s not always easy to find interesting facts on these old shows)
Final Thoughts:Night Court had a couple of Christmas episodes. One involving a snow storm causing everyone to be stranded in the courtroom. That wasn’t bad. Another regarding a disgruntled Santa that was pretty good too. But this is the one that I LOVE. Why isn’t this regarded as a classic? Well maybe it’s just me but this episode is just fantastic.
First of all, let’s talk about John Astin. He really steals this show with his role as Buddy Ryan. Every single scene he is in is laugh out loud funny, with his delivery and crazy eyes. I complained earlier this year on the idiocy of making Buddy a recurring character. It was a bad idea that didn’t work. But when you watch this episode you can kind of understand how the creators decided to go that way.
So the episode starts as an ordinary episode, and then we find out that Bull and Roz accidentally gave away toys which were meant for evidence. Roz refuses to tell where they delivered them, which lands her in jail. The owner of the toy company, Mr.McKraken, is about as nasty a person as you’ve ever seen in a TV show. In jail Roz reveals why the Toys for Toddlers means so much to her, and when given a chance she still refuses to reveal where the toys are. It looks like Roz will remain in jail, until the runner of the Toys for Toddlers drive appears along with some homeless kids and reveals where the toys are. Despite the sad, homeless children McKraken insists on taking the toys back…what a jerk! Heck, even Dan feels moved to tell the guy off. Yeah it was out of character but even Dan acknowledges it, so we can forgive it.
Buddy gives McKraken a toy that was given to him by his friend Nick.Â It turns out that the toy is something McKraken had asked Santa for when he was a small child. So touched McKraken has change of heart and tells Harry to give the toys to the kids. This leads our characters to wonder if, somehow, Nick stands for Saint Nick. Even Buddy finds the idea of Nick being Santa Claus ludicrous, but notes that it would explain his car. Which flies.
So what is that final gag I mentioned? I will try to explain sine I spoiled everything else. After sending Christine off with a kiss under the mistletoe, Harry sits for a drink of egg nog. Buddy then calls from the window, and Harry turns to see Buddy, and Nick (a bih man with a long white beard!) floating in a car outside! It’s a fantastic sight gag, and one of the biggest laughs ever for me anyway. Remember this is Night Court, not to many shows could even begin to get away with such a broad gag like that. But those kinds of gaga is what this show excels at.
I guess the only downside is that there is really no B story. Roz gets a nice speech and I already mentioned Dan’s great scene. But that’s it, the characters just kind of react to the plot. But even so this is just a funny as hell episode and one I enjoy watching every single year. If you can, check it out!
Final Grade-A, Just a good solid well written episode
Honorable Mention:The Brady Bunch
You may have noticed all these epiosdes are 80’s and 90’s. Yes I do know Christmas episodes didn’t start in the 80’s.Â But I didn’t grow up with the gems of the 70’s so they don’t have that special place in my heart. The Brady Bunch is kind of an exception, since I have watched that one several times and like it. The story is simple, Carol loses her voice before she is to sing. And Cindy asks Santa to give her mommy her voice back. It’s sweet and corny….but it’s a classic.
There are lots of great Christmas shows from the 60’s and 70’s including Happy Days, Mary Tyler Moore, All in the Family….just to name a few! Going all the way back to I Love Lucy. So feel free to fill me in on the gems of the 60’s and 70’s that I know are really good and I don’t mean to ignore.
(oh and the same for goes for episodes from the last decade or so which are also missing like Scrubs or The Office).
That’s all for today my friends. So what is my #1 episode? Come back next time and find out!!