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Friday, December 23, 2011

Last Week in TV #13: All Christmas Edition

A couple of quick housekeeping notes. There will be no "Last Week in TV" post next week; if TV can take a week off, so can I. The following week (the 6th), we'll take a look at all the new shows I've been watching (many of which I haven't been writing about consistently) and evaluate what shape they're at mid-season. Then the week after that (the 13th), we should be back with regular material, taking a look at returning shows (and likely playing catch-up on some old stuff as well). Moving into the second half of the season, my hope is that my schedule will even out a bit, and I should be able to cover shows in a more timely manner than I have thus far. We shall see (best laid plans and all that). Anyways, on with the Christmas!

The Simpsons: Holidays of Future Passed


Not surprisingly, The Simpsons has, in its twenty-three season history, managed to create several subsets of episodes. There's the annual "Treehouse of Horror" anthologies, of course, and the themed anthology episodes inspired by those (like "Simpsons Bible Stories" or "Simpsons Tall Tales"). Then there's the clip shows and the high concept episodes, like "22 Short Films About Springfield" and "Trilogy of Error". This episode falls into two subsets: Christmas episodes, and alt-future episodes.

This turns out to be one of the best alt-future episodes yet (the first, "Lisa's Wedding", is one of my all time favorite episodes) and a pretty good Christmas episode to boot, thanks to a heartwarming story at the center focusing on adult Bart and Lisa coming to terms with their roles as parents and their relationship, as adults, with their parents, helped along by a surprisingly-wise Homer, and plenty of jokes centered around the world of the future. I particularly liked how, despite the presence of such advanced technology as flying cars and mass teleportation, the world is still essentially the same; after all just cuz new technology exists doesn't mean the world would be instantly transformed into a sleek, Jetsonian utopia.

Lisa: My daughter thinks I’m a ruthless tyrant. Like Hitler or Prince Harry!
Homer: Oh, ho, Bloody Harry. He brought back beheading in a big way. 

Homer: Everyone thinks their dad is a jerk. And everyone’s right! But when you get older, you realize how much you love him.

Amongst my favorite bits: the Christmas card montages showing Lisa's experimental sex life, the Independent Republic of Texas, the Road Warrior-esque state of air travel, the RoboSnake/Apu and family gunfight ("What are you after? We're a cashless society!"), the Montgomery Burns Institute For Soul Extraction, and the string of "Maggie is like Mary" puns ("a star in the east").


American Dad: Season's Beatings


More than any of the other Fox animated shows, American Dad has really embraced Christmas, churning out a nice collection of fun, high concept Christmas episode throughout its run. Being high concept, they tend to be rather plot driven and light on jokes that don't develop from the within the concept. The end result is that while the Christmas episodes aren't always the funniest episodes, they are usually lots of fun.

This episode was another worthy addition to the American Dad Christmas pantheon. While Stan questing for the weapons necessary to kill the Anti-Christ isn't quite on the same level as Stan fighting alongside the Nazarene in a post-Rapture wasteland, and the jokes here were thinner on the ground than usual, this was still a lot of fun, giving Haley and Jeff their first story in ages, and with an ending that connected it nicely to previous Christmas episodes (though, while I liked how the ending connected this episode the previous post-Rapture episode, the Sarah Palin joke was pretty lazy. I mean, I love me a good Sarah Palin joke, but her fifteen minutes is well past expired, isn't it?)


Glee: Extraordinary Merry Christmas
Well, it was going to be tough to top last year's "Artie gets robot legs" plot in terms of ridiculousness, but this episode found a way. Look, there was plenty to like here: pretty much all of the Christmas special the glee club shot was hilarious (I would totally watch a 50s-style sitcom starring Blaine and Kurt as a Lucy-esque housewife, and the non-copywright infringing Star Wars drop ins were great), the "Sam connects to the moroseness of the holiday" and "Finn deals with his pushy, greedy girlfriend" plots were both in character and dovetailed together nicely, albeit predictably (but hey, it's a Christmas episode; we know someone's heart is going to grow three sizes by the end), and I adore the Charlie Brown Christmas special to the point where I can pretty much quote the biblical passage Linus uses to remind everyone of the true meaning of Christmas, so using that passage in a similar manner here worked for me.

But then they go and end the show by singing "Do They Know Its Christmas", at a homeless shelter of all places, without a single hint of irony. Look, I straight up love that song, like, "top five favorite Christmas songs of all time" love. It's got a fun 80s sound a rocking drum line, but I completely love it ironically. It is a well-intentioned but misguided snapshot of a certain time, both musically and politically, and its existence cracks me up (as Dr. Bitz says, the question isn't "do they know it's Christmas?", but "do they care?"). But take the lyrics on their own, out of context and without irony, and it's a terrible song. Yet there's the Glee cast, belting it out like it's "Silent Night" or something while the suddenly-caring Sue nods approvingly. It's one thing to chuckle at Bono belting out "well, tonight thank God it's them, instead of you", it's another to watch Mercedes sing that line to the "them" in the song.

So yeah. Overall, not a bad Christmas episode. But man, did they totally biff the landing.

Other Thoughts:
My DVR suggested the central conflict of this episode revolved around the whole "The glee club is double booked! Will they choose crass commercialization or helping those in need" dilemma, and I'm glad that wasn't really the focus of the episode. For one thing, it seems like a non-issue (send half the club to one event, half to the other; I'm pretty sure they could have found enough volunteers for both. Also, the homeless need to be fed every night, not just Friday) and for another, if they did have to choose one or the other, it seems like the kind of decision Will would have ultimately made, and we all know he'd have sent them to the homeless shelter (apparently, he was too busy directing this episode to weigh in on the matter).

I'm not sure how to feel about Sue's sudden Christmas spirit. This is definitely how I like the character, snarky but ultimately well-intentioned, and while the writing, at least in terms of characterization, has been much more consistent this season, it just seems like whenever the show wants to humanize Sue, they bring up her sister so she can be nice for an episode before reverting to super-villainy in the next. If this is the starter of a truly softer Sue, great, but how many times have we said that by now? As improved as the show is, I'm not convinced its reached a point where's it willing to consistently portray Sue as anything but a villain.

Maybe it's different with this new, younger generation of Star Wars fan, but no one that's actually seen the holiday special likes it. It's so bad you can't even enjoy it ironically, so Artie's insistence on homaging it felt false.

While I completely understand non-Christians celebrating/partaking in the secular aspects of Christmas, I couldn't help but think that Rachel and Puck should have been less moved by Rory's biblical recitation than others. Then again, I've long argued that the Charlie Brown Christmas special is, at its core, secular, and that wishing for peace and goodwill is something that speaks to everyone regardless of thee indiviudal tenants of their faith. Still, Rachel, especially, was so gung ho about Christmas throughout this episode that it also rang a little false.  

I'm totally with Sam that there's an element of sadness to Christmas as well as one of joy and celebration.

I'm still curious how "My Favorite Things" became a Christmas song.

Buffy vet Marti Noxon wrote the script. Hopefully, she just wrote "song" in when necessary and let someone else pick the playlist...

Seriously, I still can't believe they sang "thank God it's them instead of you" to a room full of homeless people...


Community: Regional Holiday Music


Community has been taking pokes at Glee almost since the beginning, not surprisingly given that both shows premiered around the same time and one went on to become a commercial juggernaut while the other has remained a low rated critical darling. All those little jabs through the years (and the clip of the study group filling in for the glee club seen in last season's clip show episode) pay off in this episode, as we get a full-on Glee homage.

And homage really is the right word, because most of the Glee snark is reserved for the first act and some running bits (like the "what the hell is Regionals?" gag, truly is one of the more laughable elements of Glee, and the fact that Mr. Rad was pretty much just Mr. Schue played by a different actor), with the rest of the episode more focused on Abed anti-hipster attitude that sometimes it's okay to just like things and his desire to have everyone together to celebrate Christmas, with Glee-like singing simply the mechanism used to bring everyone under his sway. Eventually, he realizes that Mr. Rad's glee is forced and hollow, and releases everyone, only to have his friends come together of their own volition to share in the horror of the Inspector Spacetime Holiday Special with him (the Star Wars holiday special is getting a lot of mileage this season...).

It's neither as deft, touching or Chrismas-y as last year's "Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas" but it's still pretty damn funny, features some great original songs (Troy and Abed's rap is one of the most awesome things I've ever seen but "Baby Boomer Santa" was probably the best song), and wisely plays off of Abed's role in last year's Christmas episode to make him the driving force of this one.

Other Thoughts
This episode continued this season's examination of the show's characters (Along with "Remedial Chaos Theory" and "Horror Fiction in Seven Spooky Steps") by giving everyone a song that showed off some element of their character.

Despite being a Christmas episode, this had a distinct Halloween vibe to it, with the music infecting people like Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

Of the various Glee gags, my hands down favorite was finding the study room transformed into a choir room, complete with a piano guy who looked just like Glee's Brad.

I'm not even going to mention anything about how hot Alison Brie in the Santa outfit was, because that would be playing right into her song's hands, wouldn't it? But I will say that I absolutely adored how it lampooned the sexualization and infantilization of women during Christmas, something my poker group was just discussing this week (What? We talk about lots of different things while we play...). 

This is the last episode of the show before it's Unspecified Return Date, its remaining episodes shelved until something else on NBC's midseason schedule crashes and burns (so probably not long). If you watch this show, write a letter to NBC and tell them you want it back ASAP. Networks are apparently old fashioned and listen to actual physcial letters more than they do emails, so buy a stamp and write to:

Robert Greenblatt
c/o NBC Universal
100 Universal City Plaza
Universal City CA 91608.

Jeff: You know there's a point of diminishing returns on sexy, right?


Parks and Recreation: Citizen Knope


I've said before that Parks and Rec is like The Simpsons in its golden age, brilliantly blending hilarity and heart along with political and cultural satire, and appropriately enough for a Christmas episode, this episode definitely doled out the heart, as all of Leslie's friends come together to give her a gingerbread model of the parks department and pledge to help run her campaign. It was genuinely touching as everyone pledged their support, even the caustic Ron and April, and Leslie was so moved by it all even I started to tear up ("Ron Swanson: Any other damn thing you might need" also really got me).

But here's some of the many hilarious things I loved in this episode: all of the Christmas presents Leslie bought for her co-workers, which were spot on, Ron's barely concealed exuberance at his present, salgar, Ben's "calc-u-later" joke, April and Andy waiting to burst into the room to eat Leslie's leftovers, Ann's happiness at being Leslie's obvious favorite, Andy's hand stuck in the marshmallow fluff jar, Jean-Ralphio's monologue to Ben about following his passions, and the fact that one of those passions actually is model trains, and most of all, Andy eating the silver M&Ms only to be ordered to immediately throw them up by Ann, a bit that had both Mrs. Teebore and I rolling.

Seriously you guys, there is no show on TV better equipped to tell the kind of simultaneously poignant and hilarious stories that Parks and Rec consistently does. That this Christmas episode was one of their finest yet, capping off an excellent front half of the season, is the best present of all.


Saturday Night Live: Jimmy Fallon and Michael Buble
This episode was tons of fun. Jimmy Fallon was clearly excited to be there, and his energy was infectious, carrying over from sketch to sketch and helping smooth out some of the bumps left by the less-effective sketches. Plus, we got a ton of cameos from past cast members, helping the whole thing seem even more fun and Christmas-y.

Cold Open: Nicely set the tone for the night, with the reappearance of an old Fallon bit and former cast members (nice to Rachel Dratch again). Of all of Fallon's recurring sketches, I generally liked this one, and there was some fun metatextual commentary as the new cast members played teenagers looking up to Jimmy Fallon's now twenty-something Sully.

Monologue: I know I usually rail against songs in monlogues, but this worked. For one, Jimmy Fallon has a history of doing musical bits, for another, his race through 30 Rock was more than just singing on stage, and pretty damned funny. Plus, I loved the entire cast coming out and just dancing around at the end; another nice Christmas show touch.

The Today Show: One of the misses of the night, though it certainly wasn't awful (I do generally enjoy Kristen Wiig's Kathie Lee, which is funny in a "funny cuz it's true" way) and Fallon turned in a nice Regis.

Michael Buble's Christmas Duets: A good excuse for impressions, and I liked that Fallon contributed a lot of them. His Russell Brand was particularly good.

Mirror Image: A neat callback to that old Mick Jagger sketch made funny by how doofy Andy Samberg's mimicry was. 

"Don't Make Me Sing": The worst sketch of the night, featuring a recurring Kristen Wiig character that is barely a character, and not funny at all. 

Weekend Update: They really pulled out the stops for this one. The return of Nicholas Cage alone would have sufficed, but then they brought back Tina Fey and Amy Poehler for an anchor off. I also loved Seth's line about how the poverty line is the line that divides people who shop at Target from the ones who shop at Wal-Mart.


"I Wish it was Christmas Today": The return of another classic sketch, this one delighted Mrs. Teebore, who adores the original sketch (and the song itself). I loved that they actually got everyone back, and that they all did exactly what they did the first time around.

Beethoven: A bit repetitive, but funny in its way, and seeing the old faces helped make the repetition endurable. Also, there was a great line about how the tuba is music's answer to the fart.

War Horse: Again, not a bad sketch, but not one that did much for me.

Tommy Palmese: A good showcase for Armisen (I'd rather him do stuff like this rather than Obama), though it did remind me of a similar bit from an old Family Guy episode. I particularly liked the review excerpts that weren't at all positive (an old joke, but a favorite).

Tim Tebow and Jesus: Easily my favorite sketch. Yeah, the jokes were pretty obvious, but that is exactly how I imagine both Tebow and Jesus to be, so I loved it.

Closing: Another nice touch for Christmas; did you catch Will Arnett skating in the back of the group?

Nicholas Cage: My hair is like polarized metal filings at the mercy of their cruel mother magnet. All perched upon the face of a weathered possum king!

Nicholas Cage on his surprise at not being in the Sherlock Holmes sequel: One, it exists, two, much like Sherlock Holmes, I am a high-society playboy who moonlights as a cyborg assassin!

Episodes Featuring a Game Show: 3/10
Episodes with a Monologue Featuring a Song: 5/10

11 comments:

  1. Simpsons - aww man, that actually sounds good. Kinda bummed we didn't watch it

    FG - we completely agree with you that FG christmas episodes are consistently awesome. They do such a good job every year.

    Glee - we really disagree with you here. We hated the episode. We actually fast forwarded through the most of the tv special and only stopped when they sang a song. I think the difference between us, though, is that we would never want to watch a christmas special like that in real life, so glee forcing us to do so pissed us off.
    Other things that pissed me off this episode included:

    No one mentioning how Puck and Rachel were jewish, even though it's talked about frequently on the show

    Rachel, Finn, Sam and Rory? Is that his name? Ringing the bell for the Salvation Army which is heavily anti-gay. Granted, they aren't gay, but half their friends are. It was weird to me because i couldn't tell if the writers knew this and decided to keep the SA in the show anyway or what. I'd think they wouldn't want to offer any support to the SA even in a fictional world being as that they're so supportive of LGBT themes in the show.

    And the song at the homeless shelter for all the reasons you stated.

    Really, just couldn't stand this episode. And while i also love Favorite Things, we also remarked on why it was included as a christmas song.


    OT - are you still watching Person of Interest? How about Hell on Wheels?

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  2. @Sarah: Kinda bummed we didn't watch it

    Well, you're in luck: Fox is replaying it Sunday night at 7 if you want to catch it. Set your DVR!

    we completely agree with you that FG christmas episodes are consistently awesome.

    I think you mean American Dad, but the point stands.

    I just re-watched the Rapture episode last night. Not as Christmas-y as I remembered, but still just as awesome.

    we really disagree with you here. We hated the episode.

    I probably should have been more clear: while I didn't hate the episode, I didn't like it much either. I just largely enjoyed the TV special because, as you say, it was spoofing the kind of thing I would like to watch.

    But yeah, ultimately, I was not a fan of the episode. Whatever I did like was more or less overshadowed by the singing of "Do They Know It's Christmas?"

    The Jewish stuff wouldn't have bothered me if they'd just acknowledged it at some point. Like I said, I get the idea of non-Christians embracing the secular aspects of Christmas, but even some offhand comment like "I know I'm Jewish, but I still love Christmas trees!" or something like that to at least acknowledge the characters' previously-established heritage. I mean, we got reminded that Rachel is apparently a vegan, something that has never been as big a part of her character as the fact that she's Jewish.

    Ringing the bell for the Salvation Army which is heavily anti-gay.

    Huh. I had no idea the SA was anti-gay. Are they anti-gay like the Boys Scouts (whose anti-homosexual agenda is, in my opinion, often made to be bigger than it actually is) or really anti-gay? Is it possible none of the people who work on the show know about it?

    On the one hand, the show never referred to the Salvation Army by name. On the other hand, it's the only thing anyone thinks of when they see people ringing bells for donations at Christmas, so the intent was clear.

    And while i also love Favorite Things, we also remarked on why it was included as a christmas song.

    In Glee's defense, it's long been considered a Christmas song; that's not something they did. It shows up on tons on Christmas CDs and gets played on the Christmas stations and junk like that (I have it on a couple of Christmas CDs myself, and have to remove it from my Christmas playlist when I transfer Christmas music onto my iPod).

    are you still watching Person of Interest? How about Hell on Wheels?

    Yes, in that both are still on the DVR waiting to be watched. POI lacked enough narrative urgency to make me feel like we had to watch it ASAP while Hell on Wheels debuted during a time when we were already behind on other stuff, so both of them got stockpiled on favor of staying current on other stuff.

    But I'm hoping to get caught up on both (as well as Grimm, Once Upon a Time, Pan Am, Terra Nova, Burn Notice, etc...) soon. At least somewhat before the midseason premieres start and there's new stuff like Smash and Alcatraz I want to check out.

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  3. "I Wish it was Christmas Today" made my holiday season. I have very fond memories of the three or four seasons in a row where they performed that song around Christmastime, and when I heard Fallon was hosting the Christmas episode, I began to hope they might be able to pull together Horatio, Kattan, and Tracy Morgan to do it, but I figured it was a long shot -- not that they're all super busy these days, but I was sure it'd still be logistically difficult.

    So imagine my glee when the curtain parted and there they all were! I think I got goosebumps. It was by far the high point of the episode for me!

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  4. LOL yes. Yes i do mean American Dad. I'm just used to writing FG on this blog.

    I'm not sure how anti-gay they are. I know most people don't even know about it, but i haven't done any research into it.
    And actually, Sam did mention the Salvation Army by name, after he said Christmas can be sad, etc, he said he was going to ring a bell for the salvation army.

    Ok good on POI and Hell on Wheels. we're still behind on HOW a bit, but we caught up on POI last night and it was totally excellent.
    We had to give up on Once Opon a Time and Grim due to DVR space. I'm also interested to see what you think of Terra Nova, since we stuck with that one as well.

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  5. i agree 100% with everything Sarah said about Glee (but i'm not stupid enough to call AD FG).
    one note- at the very end of the Glee ep when they were ringing bells, Rachel did tell someone 'Happy Hannukah'. so i GUESS they SORT OF inlcluded that if you count it (which i don't)

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  6. ...WTF - why is Anne logged in as me and commenting as me?
    Beatdowns are a comin...

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  7. LOLOL! it didn't prompt me to log in so i didn't realize i was signed in as you

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  8. @Sarah: I'm also interested to see what you think of Terra Nova, since we stuck with that one as well.

    Good to know. We fell behind after the third episode got interrupted by the baseball game, and haven't taken the time to watch it online yet. I didn't hear great things about it, but I still want to finish it out.

    @Fake Sarah: at the very end of the Glee ep when they were ringing bells, Rachel did tell someone 'Happy Hannukah'. so i GUESS they SORT OF inlcluded that if you count it (which i don't)


    Yeah, Todd VanDerWerff over at the Onion AV Club mentioned that too. I totally missed it, but he said it sounded very "added at the last minute in post-production". At any rate, I'd have liked a better acknowledgment than that.

    @Sarah: Beatdowns are a comin...

    TWIN FIGHT!!!

    @Matt: It was by far the high point of the episode for me!

    For Mrs. Teebore too, though I definitely enjoyed it as well. I especially liked that Tracy Morgan managed to affect almost the exact same look of disinterest that he did in previous versions.

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  9. I'm with you, as usual, on all the shows we watch in common.

    Glee: "Extraordinary Merry Christmas"

    Rachel: "You gave me a dead pig for Christmas?"
    Finn: "No, no, it's not dead yet; you gotta get it fat first."

    I liked a lot of the song choices in this ep. You're right, though, that the big climactic one was just cringe-inducing.

    "Baby, It's Cold Outside" has become a holiday standard even though like "My Favorite Things" and even "Winter Wonderland" it has no specificity to Christmas. I'm pretty sure that the first time I heard it was on a mid-'80s ep of SNL, when David Johansen as Buster Poindexter sang it with Chrissie Hynde — wild. Having it done by Kurt and Blaine was fun.

    The Waitresses' "Christmas Wrapping" is one of my perennial faves. The Glee take on it was awesome but way too short — as opposed to the girls' skirts, which were awesome because they were way too short. 8^) Please don't hurt me, Annie!

    "Do They Know It's Christmas?" is a nostalgic treat even though the lyrics are so problematic. To hear it on the radio and think back to the days when it was so exciting to see the video — and especially the making-of film — on MTV, when my friends would each take a part as it came on the radio, when nobody knew who Midge Ure was other than that he looked oddly like The Edge, that's cool. But the misguided bleeding-heart obliviousness of so much of the lyrics is not. Everything you say is spot on, Teebore, most especially the sentiment of thanking God it's "them" instead of you — right to their faces, in this case, or if the folks at the homeless shelter are part of "you"/us instead of "them" then going back to the original, still-awkward celebration that, hey, it could be worse, we could be starving Africans, so cheers.

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  10. My other major problem this ep was Rachel being such a Jewish American Princess. I buy that she would want Finn to shower her with gifts, and even that he would feel obligated to do so on his own (a perfectly reasonable plot point) based on the comfort in which she lives, but it's totally tone-deaf of Rachel to not understand Finn's financial situation at this point. The worst part is that there was an implication if not an outright acknowledgment that her dads would be getting her anything she wanted, anyway, so she didn't "need" Finn to get her anything on her list so much as he needed to get her stuff simply because the act of spending lots of money on her was proof of his affection.

    The fake TV special was a treat in large part because I actually enjoy that stuff (nyah, Falen). I love Mercedes saying, "I think these are the end times," and then laughing it off with the pshaw hand-wave.

    I'll decline to speculate on whether that show could've come in on its $800 budget in the spirit of the season, but when I heard that amount I [a] expected it to be more of a plot point and [b] thought to myself that the glee club should just kick in whatever funds they're drawing from to stage their practices in the auditorium — which in turn reminded me about that line at the top of the episode in which they mention that they blew their budget for the rest of the year on the holiday decorations but it was worth it. What the what? That makes no sense from so many angles.

    Like you I most appreciate Sue in this nether region of grudging respect for the glee club, but the pendulum has swung so wildly for so long now that I don't expect it to last — or for her crazy shifts in characterization to ever make any sense unless/until it's revealed that she actually needs medication (which I wouldn't entirely put past the producers).

    We did at least get a throwaway reference to Arnie's "magic robot legs" breaking right after Christmas last year.

    As far as the melancholy of Christmas goes, yeah, there's always been that aspect of it for me, too. I suspect that part of it is the knowledge, whether faint or keen depending on your age or circumstance, that there are others not able to enjoy the holiday the way you are thanks to poverty, famine, sickness, crime, and war. There's also perhaps the feeling that no matter how perfect this one silent night may be the feeling of peace won't last. And then there's the whole endgame of what happened to that baby Jesus. With Christmas observed in December the calendar year sort-of turns into the Star Wars saga, with lamentation over the messiah's death on the cross in April followed nine months later by celebration of his birth.

    Oh! I almost forgot. Your belated Christmas gift is this link to a strip done by Nik at Nite alum Kevie. It's still the thought that counts, I hope.

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  11. @Blam: "Baby, It's Cold Outside" has become a holiday standard even though like "My Favorite Things" and even "Winter Wonderland" it has no specificity to Christmas.

    Good point. I first/usually heard it as a Christmas song, so it doesn't seem as odd to me as "Favorite Things" (which I know as a Sound of Music song), though I've since seen it appear on a lot of non-Christmas pop standards collections.

    ...as opposed to the girls' skirts, which were awesome because they were way too short. 8^) Please don't hurt me, Annie!

    Ha! No argument here.

    "Do They Know It's Christmas?" is a nostalgic treat even though the lyrics are so problematic.

    Definitely. For all my complaints about the song in this context, I wholeheartedly agree with that sentiment.

    My other major problem this ep was Rachel being such a Jewish American Princess.

    That's a good point. The idea that Rachel could embrace various secular elements of the holiday, up to and including the receiving of gifts, isn't that big of a deal. It's the fact that she's so pushy and selfish about it that's most off-putting and out-of-character.

    which in turn reminded me about that line at the top of the episode in which they mention that they blew their budget for the rest of the year on the holiday decorations but it was worth it.

    Yeah, that's another one of those things where all you can do is toss up your hands and say, "well, that's Glee!".

    We did at least get a throwaway reference to Arnie's "magic robot legs" breaking right after Christmas last year.

    And I was beyond shocked that we did. I credit that to the new writing staff; I doubt if Murphy/Brennan/Flachuk were still penning every ep, that little nod to continuity never would have been dropped in. They never seemed as concerned with that kind of stuff, and wrote very much "in the moment".

    With Christmas observed in December the calendar year sort-of turns into the Star Wars saga, with lamentation over the messiah's death on the cross in April followed nine months later by celebration of his birth.

    Ha! I've never thought of it in those exact terms before, but you're right.

    As I kid, I still remember when I put two and two together and realized Christmas (Jesus' birth) was celebrated in December, and then Easter (his death) in April (or March, depending on when the date was decided...don't get me started on that particular peculiarity) and proceeded to wonder why we bothered going to church between May and November, when we'd already covered his entire life from December through April.

    I totally understood the repetition of going every year to re-hear the story, but as far as I was concerned, he was born, lived and died in four months time, and we should have been able to take the summers off. :)

    Your belated Christmas gift is this link to a strip done by Nik at Nite alum Kevie. It's still the thought that counts, I hope.

    The thought most definitely does count, and I appreciate it. That was hilarious (having "ftw" in smaller font really sold it).

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