TV Wonderland: Best holiday episodes to find online this break


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This Winter Break, make sure you catch some old holiday episodes while doing your TV binge-watching. An early episode of “The O.C.” is among the best.

Michele Corriston, Editor in Chief

Winter Break will inevitably lead to long, emotional rendezvous with your Netflix account. If you want to watch some seasonally appropriate episodes, look no further—here are some of the best.

“The O.C.” — “The Best Chrismukkah Ever” (2003)  

You want your menorah or a candy cane? In Orange County, you don’t have to choose. This episode unites Jesus and Moses — Seth Cohen’s super-team — and invents a grassroots holiday that became a hyped up “cultural zeitgeist” by 2004. Season two may have brought us the yamaclaus (Lindsay’s only worthwhile contribution), but season one is where the magic began. Seth is adorkable as always, Ryan smolders as he tries to forget boozy Christmases in Chino and Marissa ruins a perfectly good South Coast Plaza shopping montage by stealing a watch. Oy humbug. And of course, the Seth-Summer-Anna love triangle  reaches its cringeworthy conclusion: Summer does a Wonder Woman striptease, Anna draws her own comic book and Seth offers them both identical “Seth Cohen Starter Pack” gifts. “The Goonies” may not be just for kids, but these ladies deserve better. Still, it’s hard not to be swayed by Seth during Chrismukkah: Only Adam Brody can make ugly reindeer sweaters seriously sexy.

“Friends” — “The One with the Holiday Armadillo” (2000) 

In another take on the Christmas/Hanukkah conflict, Ross invents the Holiday Armadillo to try to teach his son Ben about Hanukkah. Chandler, dressed as Santa, swoops in and steals Ben’s attention, but in the end, Santa and Superman (played by Joey flexing his fake muscles and soap opera acting skills) listen as the Armadillo recounts the story of the Maccabees. There’s just one small revision — according to our “Friends,” Superman flew all the Jews out of Egypt. And then there’s Phoebe and her hilarious Christmas trimmings. Forget mistletoe or tinsel: She places a skull right on the kitchen table, an old Buffay tradition “to remind us, that even though it’s Christmas, people still die.” 

“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” — “Amends” (1998) 

“Amends” finds Angel back to his soulful old self after a stint as his murderous alter ego Angelus. Sure, he’s haunted by the ghosts of his vampiric victims, and they’re far more vengeful than the Ghost of Christmas Past. But he’s still sexy, and Buffy knows it. Just listen to David Boreanaz working that Irish accent in the flashback sequences. Throughout the episode, everyone complains about how hot it is in Sunnydale. Cordelia escapes to Aspen. Joyce cranks the A.C. so she can light a seasonally appropriate fire. But the joke’s on you, Scooby Gang. As Buffy convinces Angel not to kill himself in the sunrise to satisfy the First Evil, she tearfully reveals her love and a piano softly weeps in the background, snow begins to fall on the Hellmouth, right in the middle of Southern California. There is no sun! Their love is eternal, guys! Fifteen years later, I’m still crying.

“The Office” — “Christmas Party” (2005)

One word: teapot. Jim’s Secret Santa present to Pam, a teapot filled with mementos of their inside jokes, is too cute. Too bad Michael turns the gift giving into a game of Yankee Swap. Or Nasty Christmas. White elephant? Michael calls it “fun,” but Dwight is probably most accurate in his description, dubbing the activity “Machiavelli meets Christmas.” Regardless, the fallout prompts Michael to buy 15 handles of vodka for the 20 office workers, leading to a hilarious night of drunken hijinks, awkward dance moves, photocopies of Kevin’s butt and Meredith stripping down. In the end, Pam swaps her video iPod for Jim’s teapot, a sweet hint of their romance to come.

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