If there’s one thing that irks me a little bit about not having television, it’s that I can’t just have a non-stop stream of holiday-themed episodes playing in my place all day long. I mean, I could, but that would require effort, and Sunday’s just not the day for effort.
Today, my suggestion for keeping yourself busy is to watch holiday episodes from a few of your favourite shows. While not every series does holiday episodes, most of them absolutely do. Probably even one per season, in most cases. So if you have a DVD collection, or a streaming service, or some kind of television thieving device, it shouldn’t take long to track some down.
Personally, there are exactly three that I like to incorporate into my festive traditions. The first is from Community, and it actually the only real holiday “episode” of the bunch, since the other two are technically specials. “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas” from the second season, is almost definitely my favourite holiday episode of any show. It’s almost completely done in stop-motion animation, has a mystery at the heart of the plot, and tells a genuinely heartfelt story.
My second choice is the BoJack Horseman holiday special. This one is actually a Christmas episode of the Horsin’ Around show-within-a-show, and has BoJack and Todd watching it together as a framing device. Since it’s a riff on old 80’s sitcoms, it’s a lot like they cynical holiday episodes you’ll get from those kinds of shows, but more satirical, since it’s BoJack Horseman.
Finally, we come to the Trailer Park Boys holiday special, “Dear Santa Claus, Go F**k Yourself”. Interestingly, this one is set at least a year before the TV series, so you get to see somewhat younger and different versions of the characters. Ricky, Julian and Bubbles are all the same as usual, though, and the special actually plays out a lot like a very short season of the show.
So those are my three big picks. If I had to give a general recommendation for just one? Easily Community. You don’t need to be overly familiar with the rest of the show to really appreciate it, and I think you need at least a little bit of base knowledge to fully enjoy BoJack‘s. Trailer Park Boys is a real hit-or-miss kind of thing in general, but being placed outside the show’s timeline does make it a little more accessible to newcomers.
It’s also worth mentioning that all three episodes I’ve listed above are available on Netflix. One (BoJack) is exclusively so, and the other two you could theoretically get on DVD. (Do they still print DVDs?) I don’t know where else they might be streaming.