With an early episode just in time for Halloween, Whitney and Ellen dish on all of their favorite spooky pop culture, including what they put on their Halloween playlists, the first movie to scare their socks off, and who from the horror villain gallery they would prefer to be their murderer. Plus, Whitney throws out some crazy hypotheticals in a Halloween themed game of Would You Rather!
Do you ever encounter something that make you feel like your entire life has been a waste? Like you have nothing to show for your time here on Earth? These were the feelings I had when I saw “The Office Time Machine“, an internet project by Joe Sabia. Basically, he went through all of The Office and picked out every cultural reference made on the show and compiled them in videos by year of the reference.
It’s pretty bonkers and has to be seen to be believed.
Today, I give you my list of Christmas episodes. This list is almost impossible to whittle down to just 10, so I made this a list of 15. Also, I tried to keep the list to just one episode per show. Some of these, I haven’t watched in a long time and some are brand new additions to the Holiday Episode list. Keep in mind that I don’t watch every show and I am very biased in my selection of the “best holiday episodes ever”, but I think you can enjoy my list regardless.
15. “The 23rd” New Girl: Season 1 – Nick really fouls things up when he tells Jess’ current boyfriend that she is not in love with him. The real Christmas magic is when Nick wakes up the most decorated neighborhood in town, Candy Cane Lane, to turn on all of their lights to cheer her up. Is it any wonder why these two are together now?
14. “Symphony of Illumination” How I Met Your Mother: Season 7 – Definitely the biggest bummer episode on the list, but that is what makes this episode so great. Robin takes the narrating reins and tells the story of when she thought she was pregnant to what turn out to be her imaginary children. You see, Robin finds out that she cannot have children. The true Christmas spirit comes when Ted cheers her up without knowing why she needs cheering up by setting up an elaborate Christmas light routine.
13. “Christmas Party Sex Trap” The Mindy Project: Season 2 – Yes, this just aired, but hello! Did you see Chris Messina dance to Aaliyah? Yeah. And if that weren’t enough, Mindy and Danny almost kiss!
12. “Santa in the Slush” Bones: Season 3 – Ah, the good old days when the only person getting into the Bones-Booth mix was Caroline bribing them into kissing under the mistletoe. I love Caroline. While the whole first-kiss aspect really helps, this is also just a pretty good Christmas episode. You have the gore and mystery with a dead Santa in a sewer, you have the funny with Booth having to sniff Santas, you have the whimsy with Santa’s apartment above a toy store, and you have the touching with Booth giving Brennan her Christmas tree. Le sigh.
11. “Christmas Special” 30 Rock: Season 3 – In my book, it doesn’t get much better than Liz Lemon ruining Christmas for some kids and Jack finding out that his mom took F.A.O. Schwartz as her gentlemen lover (“Uhh that word bums me out unless it’s between the words meat and pizza”) to make Christmas for him as a kid.
10. “Citizen Knope” Parks and Recreation: Season 4 – It shouldn’t be surprising that the merriest show on television is good at doing a Christmas episode. Sure enough, in true Parks and Recreation style, this episode is hilarious and sweet. Leslie is in the midst of her suspension after it is revealed that she and Ben are dating. Leslie is obviously the best at gift giving, but the parks department wants to make up some of the difference. When her campaign team bails after low approval numbers, they give her the best gift of all!
9. “Afternoon Delight” Arrested Development: Season 2 – Ah, Christmas. The time of year when you have parties on Bethlehem time, sing about daytime lovin’ with your niece, and let kids get their grubby little hands all over a $3000 dollar suit. Come on!
8. “The Polarizing Express” Psych: Season 5 – It is exactly what you would want out of an It’s a Wonderful Life episode from Psych written and directed by James Roday: bizarre, hilarious, and Gus in a UPN sitcom in the 90s. This episode only further solidifies my love for Roday.
7. “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas” Community: Season 2 – This stop-motion, musical spectacular holiday special send-up had to be on the list. Um, Abed finding out that the meaning of Christmas is the first season of Lost on DVD because Christmas can mean whatever we want it to mean? Brilliant, uproarious, and kind of sweet. Also, this episode gave me my new favorite Christmas mascot. Christmas Pterodactyl!
6. “Christmas Party” The Office: Season 2 – This one made me all sorts of nostalgic for the (now fulfilled) sexual tension of Jim and Pam. It also had some other great stuff, too. Michael’s impromptu Yankee Swap to get rid of the homemade oven mitt, Creed’s equally impromptu Secret Santa gift, Angela’s babies-playing-saxes poster, and Meredith flashing Michael. “Happy birthday, Jesus. Sorry your party’s so lame.”
5. “A Very Supernatural Christmas” Supernatural: Season 3 – This episode is exactly what you would expect from a Supernatural Christmas episode: it’s creepy, it’s kooky, and it has that punch of heart right at the end between the demon hunting bros.
4. “No-Ho-Ho” Happy Endings: Season 3 – All I want for Christmas is this show to come back. Is that so much to ask? The episode centers around the gang trying to give Jane the best birthday ever when they find out that her birthday is actually on Christmas, but they have a hard time keeping Christmas out. Between Brad’s penchant for dancing with hip-hop Santa, Max’s Egg Nog addiction, and Alex’s weird present opening fetish, there is no way they can succeed. “Happy Birthday, Jane. And Jesus.”
3. “Bath Item Gift Hypothesis” The Big Bang Theory: Season 2 – Sheldon really struggles with what to reciprocate Penny’s Christmas gift with so he buys up every gift basket in Bath and Body Works with plans to pick the present that best fits her gift to him in terms of price. And while I enjoy this whole episode, I adore the last five minutes. When Sheldon receives Penny’s … you know what, just go watch this.
2. “A Christmas Carol” Doctor Who: Eleventh Doctor – It should be noted that I somehow forgot to include at lease ONE Doctor Who special on yesterday’s list. I’m so ashamed that I am cheating and including this special on the episode list. Hey, it’s my list, I can do what I want. It has gotten to they point now where my Christmases are not complete without my Doctor Who specials and this one is my favorite. A twist on the Dickens classic may be a bit over done, but the Whovian element makes this just right.
1. “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” Mystery Science Theater 3000: Season 3 – In answer to your question, yes, this movie is as ridiculous as it sounds. In fact, probably more so. But that is what makes Joel and the bots making fun of it so great. Then you couple their commentary with their performance of “A Patrick Swayze Christmas”, a seminal Christmas carol classic, and you get pure holiday magic.
Phew! That’s a lot of linking for your viewing pleasure, there you have it! Do you have any shows you like with great Christmas episodes that I should check out? Do you disagree with my order? Not that I am going to change my mind, but I would love to at least pretend to listen to your feedback. Check out my favorite Christmas specials and stay tuned for my favorite holiday movies and holiday records!
I feel I am safe in shouting this from the rooftops now because it has been a week, but BEN AND LESLIE ARE GETTING MARRIED! I couldn’t be happier for these two crazy kids. Yeah, I know, they’re fictional but that doesn’t hinder my excitement for the most adorable couple on TV.
Their perfect proposal got me thinking about other TV proposals which got me thinking about making a list. I have compiled 5 of my favorite with the following disclaimers: Ben and Leslie may very well top this list but it’s too fresh to tell for sure, so I excluded it here. Also, these are only from the shows that I watch, so there are going to be blind spots that I missed.
5) Michael and Holly – The Office: In their mad dash to give Michael Scott an epic send-off, the Office crew brought Holly back to make sweetly dorky music with Michael again. This was great because it got everyone involved and showed everyone’s attachment to Michael despite all of his buffoonery in the past. And let’s not forget, it was sweetly romantic. The simulated rain, the candles, the first place they fell in love, and any proposal that happens in Yoda voice is A-OK in my book.
4) Turk and Carla – Scrubs: This proposal is greatly aided by it’s simplicity and Old 97’s “Question”. Turk kept asking and asking and Carla kept refusing to give an answer, until she calls Turk and tells him to ask again. Turk comes running, they meet in a park, and we just watch as they finally get their moment. Then, because this is still Scrubs, J.D. comes in running around with sparklers. Love it. And “Question” was playing in my car for a good couple months after this one.
3) Charlie and The Waitress – It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: That sweet guy who has been mooning over you at the coffee shop for years writes a musical so that he will finally have his moment to tell you how he really feels and propose marriage. Sounds kind of sweet, right? Well, the musical has a pedophile troll, a princess who wants little, baby boys, and penetration from behind. Not all proposals are perfect and it may not be a huge surprise that The Waitress turned down Charlie, but this one is still up there for me.
2) Jim and Pam – The Office: I was Team Jim and Pam from the very beginning (mainly because I had been Team UK Tim and Dawn and I knew what was coming). I cheered when they finally kissed and I wept when Jim moved away and started dating Ann Perkins. With all their ups and downs, their sweet proposal in the rain at the gas station that was halfway between them was perfect. And I’m starting to realize that Michael Schur and Co. should plan all of life’s proposals.
1) Monica and Chandler – Friends: I know I’m not alone, but I loved Friends. Like, LOVED it. My love of this proposal is only increased by the fact that Chandler was my favorite guy and Monica was my favorite girl. This just seems to be TV doing a proposal right. Just when it seems that everything has gone to hell in a hand basket, you open the door to find a room full of candles. I love how neither of them can get through what they want to say without crying, because that will probably be me. I’m a weeper. Let’s move past it.
Honorable mentions: Matt and Julie on Friday Night Lights, Homer and Marge on The Simpsons, Will and Emma on Glee
What do you think? Did I miss your favorite? Because in researching this, I realized that there haven’t been as many as you would think.
The day I heard that Amy Poehler was leaving SNL I literally thought my world was crashing down around me. I mean, the wound Tina Fey’s departure left in my heart was still pretty fresh and I didn’t think I could handle losing my other favorite cast member. So when I heard Poehler was developing a new show for NBC I was both relieved and deeply, deeply concerned. Because honestly, how many cast members have left SNL to pursue other things only to crash, burn, and fade into oblivion? I didn’t take into account, however, that Amy is one talented broad. Not only is her show Parks and Recreation the funniest sitcom on prime time TV, it also has the most heart. I’m embarrassed by how much I love this show. Seriously, even just thinking about it now makes me kind of giddy. This one scene, for example, makes me laugh so hard my head hurts…
I believe I can guess what your thinking. “Whitney, you hate The Office, which is basically the same premise as P and R! Whats the deal?” Valid, totally valid. I think what sets Parks apart is that I actually like and care about the characters on the show rather than just cringing and laughing uncomfortably whenever they do or say something stupid, which was my basic reaction to The Office. Case and point: here is a clip of Andy Dwyer (Chris Pratt) endearing himself while acting stupid. Michael Scott, eat your heat out.
And I really couldn’t talk about Parks and Rec without mentioning my ever-increasing crush on Ben Wyatt (Adam Scott), the boffable nerd who successfully captured Leslie Knope’s (Amy Poehler) heart last season. And really, what lady could say no to this?…
The message boards aren’t the only ones going nuts, Ben.
I leave you with a clip that Ellen and I quoted for a solid six months. Jean Ralphio, take me there!
Confession time: The Office is not one of my favorite shows. Not that it’s a bad show, I just felt that it got boring and repetitive as the series progressed. So when I heard that Mindy Kaling, a writer, exec-producer, and one of the stars of The Office, was developing her own show, I didn’t pay much attention. Also, I don’t really love self-referential show titles, so the fact that the show was named The Mindy Project was not a huge turn on either.
Then I actually watched the pilot. And let me tell you, it was awesome. It accomplished everything a pilot should accomplish; it introduced the characters, delivered a hilarious and compelling narrative, and gave us an idea of what the rest of the series would be like. I know what your thinking. “Whitney, an awesome pilot doesn’t necessarily indicate an awesome show”. To which I would respond, “Oh yeah? OH YEAH?!… That’s actually very true. Good point.” But I’ve got a good feeling about this one. So do yourself a favor, haul on over to Hulu, and watch the pilot of The Mindy Project. It might just be the funniest 23 minutes of your day.