Roundtable: Best holiday episodes

The holiday season allows for television shows to spread cheer. (Photo by Brandon Wade/Invision for Reliant/AP Images)

Chris McDermott, Staff Writer

“Seinfeld: The Strike”

A lot of sitcoms make fun of the holidays. Any “Big Bang Theory” or whatever-the-most-recent-thing-Tim-Allen-is-doing can run a laugh track about how stressful it is to buy gifts for your tyrannical grandmother or how likely that turkey is to burn. “Seinfeld” goes a step further and solves the holidays. It’s “Festivus for the rest of us!”

Everyone does an “airing of grievances” of some sort for the holidays, usually in a passive aggressive way. Seinfeld’s Festivus, by comparison, lets it all out.

Christmas trees are a lot of work, complicated to set up and really an exercise of commercialism, you bourgeois stiff! Take a Festivus pole. It’s just a pole. It’s all you need.

And the feats of strength! Because the holidays were going to end badly anyway. This holiday season, don’t stress about the holidays. Embrace denial!

Casey Virgo, Campus Correspondent

When the holiday season has everyone returning to their favorite Christmas episodes, my go-to is always the classic “Friends” episode titled “The One With the Holiday Armadillo.” Ross is disappointed that his son Ben isn’t interested in learning about his Jewish heritage, so when a shop is out of Santa costumes, he buys an armadillo costume in the hopes that he can use it to teach Ben about Hanukkah. But as the “Holiday Armadillo” is educating Ben, Chandler bursts through the door donning a full Santa outfit, complicating Ross’s plans. It’s silly and entertaining, making it the perfect episode to brighten spirits for the holidays.

 Angie DeRosa, Staff Writer

Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town 1970 TV Special

If there were ever some strange reason why I wasn’t in the holiday mood, I can always count on the 1970’s TV special “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” to put me right into the Christmas spirit. I’ve been watching this classic since I was a little kid and any time I see that it’s on my excitement for it never changes. Nothing can compare to the stop motion technique telling the story of how Santa Claus and other Christmas traditions came to be. It will forever be a favorite of mine.

Max Engel, Campus Correspondent

I would say my favorite holiday special is that one where “Rugrats” re-told the story of Hanukkah. It just seems funny that the writers would arbitrarily designate Tommy’s mom as being Jewish just so they could have an excuse to have a Hanukkah special and I say that coming from a Jewish family myself. Funny enough, this also means Tommy is Jewish, since it’s said that Judaism is passed down maternally – but that’s a rule you’re free to disregard in some communities. I mean it’s such a forced way to introduce the audience to a holiday that it becomes sort of funny.

Kimberly Armstrong, Staff Writer

It’s difficult to choose one classic Christmas special as the best of the best, so instead I’m going to choose “Community’s” season two’s holiday episode, “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas.” In this jam-packed special, resident mega-nerd Abed Nadir plunges his unwilling companions into a claymation wonderland after his distant mother, who left when he was a child, decides to spend Christmas with her new family for the first time.

Part of what makes this episode so touching is how it conveys Christmas’ significance as a secular holiday centered on family to people like Abed, who’s muslim, and its continuing power to bring people together around borderline creepy animation. 


Christopher McDermott is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at christopher.mcdermott@uconn.edu.

Kimberly Armstrong is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at kimberly.armstrong@uconn.edu.

Max Engel is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at max.engel@uconn.edu.

Angie DeRosa is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at angelina.derosa@uconn.edu. She tweets @theangiederosa.

Casey Virgo is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at casey.virgo@uconn.edu.