Thursday Open Thread: Holiday-Themed Episodes

It’s that time of year again. The time where we cozy up in blankets in our living room, ready to watch our favorite shows…only to seem then donning colors of green, red, and blue. It’s the holidays, and I’ve got a question for you:

Yay or Nay: Do you like holiday-themed episodes?

Note that I did say holiday-themed. Don’t think that I’ve forgotten those Disney Channel favorites like Even Stevens, where they did try their best to bring Hanukkah to the eyes of children (you know, the one episode out of ten that didn’t go Christmas crazy on the Disney Channel).

Personally, I think Christmas episodes make sense for some shows. I enjoy seeing them on sitcoms. I’m super excited about tonight’s stop-motion episode of Community, and the first few seasons of The Office and Friends had some good Christmas episodes, too. Some dramas can fit in the holiday spirit. In fact, one of my favorite episodes of Bones was the first season Christmas episode. I guess they’re really just fitting for those shows that don’t have a strong story arch where a holiday episode might get in the way.

Kinda like Leverage. As much as I love the show and am thrilled to see it return on Sunday, it’s returning with a Christmas episode. Now, I enjoyed the episode when I saw the screener, but it just seemed out of place.

So for me, if it’s a show that has one-off episodes that can fit in a holiday episode without raising eyebrows, go for it. I’m quite happy to see more than just holiday commercials when I turn on the tube. But as for some shows, just push them aside, and stay with your strength.

What do you think?

Seriously, tonight’s Community is going to be so fun!

*images from TNT and NBC


5 thoughts on “Thursday Open Thread: Holiday-Themed Episodes

  1. I tend to feel the same way about holiday episodes that I feel about guest stars. It depends on where the focus lies.

    There’s nothing worse than having a show feel as if it’s been written just to show off a guest. The focus should lie on the regular cast and themes of the show. Now, if you can fit someone into the story who happens to be recognizable, I have no problem with that.

    The same thing applies to holidays, which are basically what you could consider “guest settings”. These episodes can be great, as long as they don’t become too centered on the holiday. Scrubs and West Wing are two that come to mind as examples of well done holiday shows. The setting is Christmas, but the focus is on the characters. Of course, to counter this there are umpteen billion TV takes on “A Christmas Carol” or “It’s a Wonderful Life”, in which the focus is instead on retelling a traditional tale and then fitting the TV show characters around it.

  2. For the most part, I do enjoy holiday episodes. Even if shows do ones that relate to a Christmas Carol or some other holiday story, I usually like them. They are kind of a wash when they don’t relate to the shows main story line, but I still think they are fun to watch.

  3. I can see your point, CS. Honestly, the ones that spin off of A Christmas Carol or It’s a Wonderful Life tend to bug me, too. Especially the It’s a Wonderful Life ones. But I wonder if we see those as much anymore. There was one on One Tree Hill years ago, but that wasn’t Christmas-themed. I think that was depression-themed. Ha. (Ooh, maybe I shouldn’t laugh at that.)

    Before that, I tend to think of shows in the ’90s.

  4. I do like them, generally, especially in shows that are basically “Here is what life’s like for these characters.” If a show like Gilmore Girls or How I Met Your Mother never dealt with Christmas, sooner or later, it would feel like something was missing.

    I’ve gotten to the end of season three of Mad Men, and I really like the way that show deals with holidays — they’re there as part of the setting. At least so far, there haven’t really been holiday-themed episodes, but there’s definitely Christmas cheer going on in the background of the season three finale, and the Draper kids’ excitement over Halloween is used as a minor element of a previous episode.

  5. Pingback: Thursday Open Thread: Favorite Holiday Special « Raked

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