Reel Thoughts: “Good Luck Charlie” to “Euphoria:” Check out these holiday and winter-themed TV episodes.


Illustration by Emily Lichty

From Schitt’s Creek to The Office, The Daily recommends holiday episodes for all ages.

Iris Swarthout, Audience Engagement Editor

For many people, the seemingly dramatically shorter days post-Daylight Saving Time means more time indoors avoiding the dropping temperatures. But you can still find a cheery pastime through hours in the dark: by watching television favorites in light of the holiday season. Reframe your seasonal blues with these wintery episodes for all ages. 

Schitt’s Creek: Merry Christmas, Johnny Rose 

Immense family development bleeds through in this episode, which comes four seasons and 13 episodes after the Rose family’s move to Schitt’s Creek. Still, Johnny Rose’s (Eugene Levy) mind drifts back to the old days when the family celebrated the holidays together, even if just around their fake friends in an altered reality. A rather wholesome surprise — though not devoid of David Rose’s (Dan Levy) and Alexis Rose’s (Annie Murphy) witty bickering and Moira Rose-induced (Catherine O’Hara) dramatics — brings this episode to a satisfying close. 

New Girl: Chicago 

Though not holiday-related, this episode centers on Nick Miller (Jake Johnson) and his roommates traveling home for his father’s funeral amidst Chicago’s dreary winter — a familiar setting for Northwestern students. Nick showcases a surprising amount of maturity when dealing with his rather disorganized family while remembering a man with whom he shared a strained relationship. For Elvis Presley fanatics, anticipate the wintery Chicago classic “In the Ghetto.” 

The Office: Secret Santa

The hilarity of Michael Scott’s (Steve Carell) childlike immaturity surfaces like never before in this episode. After Phyllis Vance (Phyllis Smith) is granted office Santa privileges for the day, Michael grows increasingly agitated for not being appointed to the role. The devastatingly ridiculous realization that one member of the company will be fired is the icing on the cake. 

Grey’s Anatomy: Holidaze 

Caution: This description includes spoilers. 

Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson), a Grey’s Anatomy’s fan-favorite, takes a powerful step forward by maintaining her decision to file for divorce. Previously, she and her then-husband faced immense marital troubles due to the high intensity of her job in comparison to his. Her decision to abandon traditional marriage pacts that her own father held so dearly sheds light on her strength and resilience. Meanwhile, a new woman enters Mark Sloan (Eric Dane) and Lexie Grey’s (Chyler Leigh) life — though not in the way you might expect, adding a perfect touch of levity to an otherwise serious Christmas special. 

Good Luck Charlie: It’s Christmas!

Excuse my digression into a movie-length episode, but this one will forever be at the top of the pyramid. Despite the back-and-forth, chaotic storyline, “It’s Christmas!” brings a level of calm to its intended audience: college students looking for a wholesome yet cringey throwback to the days of Disney Channel. Amy Duncan (Leigh-Allyn Baker) and Teddy Duncan’s (Bridgit Mendler) stunningly dangerous cross-country commute brings tensions to a boil, while Bob Duncan’s (Eric Allan Kramer) unsteady relationship with his mother-in-law in Palm Springs, Cali. comes to a head. Watch this one alone or with younger members of your family.

Euphoria: Trouble Don’t Last Always

An oxymoron comes to mind when analyzing this hour-long special: straight-faced emotionality. The viewer feels desperately compelled to continue watching what feels like a deep dive into raw and tenable hopelessness. Before meeting up with her 12-step addiction recovery sponsor Ali Muhammad (Colman Domingo), Rue Bennett (Zendaya) snorts a line of cocaine  — preparing the reader for the underlying reality that she will be high throughout the conversation. 

Modern Family: Undeck The Halls 

Before Christmas celebrations, Phil (Ty Burrell) and Claire (Julie Bowen) find a cigarette burn mark on their couch and launch an extensive investigation in search of the perpetrator. As an incentive for admission, Phil cancels Christmas until the smoker steps up. Meanwhile, Cameron (Eric Stonestreet) is severely irked by his ex-caroler group’s decision to oust him — making their decision to perform in front of Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and Cameron’s house particularly awkward. 

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Twitter: @swarthout_iris

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