Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Top 5 Christmas Specials

Ah, Christmas. That wonderful time of year where you're nice to others, appreciative of what you have and no fucking work so you can relax all day. I can think of no better way to relax than with some Christmas themed episodes of some good tv shows. I'm going to pick my favorite Christmas themed episodes from some of my favorite shows and share them with you, because I have nothing but holiday cheer. Again, what I like in a Christmas medium, is something unconventional, so most of the shows I've picked are shows that you wouldn't automatically think "Christmas special". I'm counting down from 5. So let's begin, shall we?
5) Tales From The Crypt:
And All Through The House
How do you like your Christmas? A little dark? A little Morbid? How about twistedly humorous? Maybe with some delightful Christmas music? If all of the above, then this is the one for you. This one here is a combo; both Christmas and horror. And its actually the best piece of fiction that combines the 2.The plot is that a woman murders her husband on Christmas eve, and at the same time a psychopath escapes from a mental asylum, dressed as Santa and begins killing women, so the wife can't call the cops to help her and has to deal with the murderer by herself. It has all the staples of a typical slasher film, but everything is presented in a fun manner. Its a blast! The killer (played by Larry Drake) is terrifying and hilarious at the same time. Its always nice to see Santa going crazy.
This next one is kind of a cheat, because its not technically a Christmas episode, but it was originally aired in December. Fuck you, it has snow, so that makes it count
4) The Simpsons:
Mr. Plow
This one is a no brainer, and is easily one of the best episodes in the entire Simpson catalog. Homer buys a plow to start a plow business to pay for the plow. Classic Homer. But Homer gains quick success and competition comes in the form of his best friend Barney, who becomes even more beloved than Homer. It has appropriately used celebrity guests, unlike later seasons which just had celebrities shoe horned in for the sake of filling out the run time. This episode has some of the best lines in the series, and almost every scene has a memorable quote. And like all early episodes of the Simpsons, Homer learns a valuable lesson in the end. It makes me feel warm every time I watch it. Mostly because I can't stop laughing. Probably the most accessible Christmas episode on this list, so pop this in whenever you get the chance.
As much as I didn't want to include 2 episodes from one show on the same list, I can consider these 2 different shows because of the change in tone and art direction.
3) Batman: The Animated Series
Christmas With The Joker
This show combines some of everybody's favorite things. Batman, The Joker, and murder. All of this in a nice little Christmas package. Joker escapes from Arkham and has a plan to kill a lot of people, like always, but Batman doesn't know what he is planning and is certain doom is on the rise. Robin is trying to get Batman to watch It's a Wonderful Life with him, but Batman is skeptical to watch a movie with a happy ending. But of course, Batman saves the day, kicks Joker's ass and ends up watching and liking It's a Wonderful Life (a film that brilliantly mirrors Batman's own life). And that wasn't a spoiler, it's fucking batman. How can he lose? This episode features some of the best writing in an animated program, and its almost too mature for the children it was aimed at. But I would put this baby on over most movies.
2) The New Adventures Of Batman
Holiday Knights
Montoya and Bullock
Now, Christmas With The Joker is written better and has a much more impressive art style, Holiday Knights is just more fun, and I think its more entertaining. In the end, isn't that what it's all about? Holiday Knights is an anthology episode that features 3 stories revolving around the holiday season in Gotham City. The first episode features Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy putting Bruce Wayne under mind control (with a kiss from Ivy) and using him to buy gifts for themselves, then hilarity ensues. The second story features Batgirl, Robin, and detectives Bullock and Montoya in disguise as Santa's Elf and Santa, respectively, in the middle of a stake out trying to catch a shoplifter at the mall. This segment features one of the best lines in the history of the show. One of the children at the mall accuses Bullock of not being the real Santa, to which Bullock replies, "sure I am. Wanna see my gun?" And the last segment features Batman and Robin trying to stop the Joker from committing mass murder. I left several elements out, but this episode is even more adult than Christmas With The Joker, and it ends with Batman and Gordon sharing a cup of coffee as the night turns to New Year's Day, in a very nice moment between the 2, and reflecting on their holiday tradition. And it ends with Batman leaving and paying without Gordon noticing, in true Batman fashion and Gordon saying that one day he will pay the check.
And now for my favorite Christmas special of all time. But before that I will give some honorable mentions.
How The Grinch Stole Christmas (only because it isn't actually a tv show), Xmas story from Futurama and Have yourself a Morlock Little Christmas from Xmen. I just didn't have room for these because I wanted to keep the list relatively short
1) The X-Files
Maurice and Lyda
How The Ghosts Stole Christmas
This is just the best Christmas special ever. It has everything, without feeling too crammed, but its also a nice little ghost story that never feels like its trying to scare you. The plot is that Mulder brings Scully to a supposedly haunted house on Christmas eve. Its very whimsical and features 2 very lighthearted performance from Ed Asner and Lily Tomlin as the ghosts that haunt the house. The direction (show creator Chris Carter) is very quirky and almost feels like something Wes Anderson would concoct. The point of the whole episode is to show how lonely Mulder is to drag Scully out to a haunted house (something Scully doesn't believe in) on Christmas eve, and just how lonely Scully is for agreeing to meet him there. The two get trapped in the house while the ghost's mess with them and just play around making the agents feel like they are in danger, and all the while nobody knows quite what is real. Its one of the few episodes that doesn't take itself seriously, yet offers some pretty strong character development. The episode ends with the ghosts holding hands and reminiscing about how they almost got them, and with Mulder and Scully exchanging gifts, even though the 2 agreed not to. It shows how far they have both come with each other and how strong their friendship has become. This is the only episode on this list that I wish was a feature film. I could have watched this for days. I wanted to dedicate this whole review to just this episode, but I figured that you didn't want to read an orgasm in text form.
So that's my list. So Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Whatever emotion you feel for Ramadan, and fuck you, because you don't celebrate Kwanzaa
Happy holidays
      -L.K

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