Happy Days: Guess Who’s Coming to Christmas

Merry Christmas Eve, Very Special Readers! I will keep things short today with this sweet little episode from Happy Days‘s first season.

Howard Cunningham has some VERY serious Christmas rules. No one can be in the house except for family and no one can start trimming the tree until he is ready. He freaks out when he thinks someone has tried to start decorating without him, but it turns out that it’s just a rogue sock from a laundry basket.

In a rare appearance, we see Chuck Cunningham as the sock’s owner. But it’s like they were already writing him out:

I forgot that Howard Cunningham owned a hardware store. He and Richie are at the store’s holiday party (where an employee is so drunk he literally passes out. Woah, Happy Days!) Sadly, Howard’s car breaks down on the way home. But on the bright side, Fonzie is still at the shop and can fix it for them. Fonzie won’t let him pay for the job since it’s Christmas. As they head home, Richie realizes he forgot to give Fonzie his present (a three-in-one wrench). He heads back to give Fonzie the gift and sees him eating Christmas dinner alone. Richie doesn’t want to embarrass Fonzie, so he turns back to the car without giving him the gift.

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Richie tries to tell his dad when he gets back in the car, but Howard is SOOO excited for family time that he doesn’t tell his dad about Fonzie until the get home. Howard is still reluctant because it’s “family time,” but he realizes what an ass he sounds like as he lectures his family on why they shouldn’t invite someone in to share their Christmas.

So Howard and Richie head over to Fonzie’s to invite him over. He tries to fake them out like he’s going to visit his cousin and is going to miss his bus. The whole thing is so pathetic. Howard ties to help Fonzie with his suitcase only to discover it is empty. And Fonzie dismisses the presumable emptiness of his suitcase by saying, “I travel light.”

Trying not to hurt Fonzie’s pride, Richie tell him that he just wishes he would wait to go to his cousin’s until in the morning because he really wants them to see their great Christmas tree. To which Fonzie replies, “I got a tree.” And it’s like the saddest tree this side of Peanuts.

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They’re so full of shit.
Earlier in the episode, we saw Fonzie give gifts to all of the waitresses at Arnold’s, Richie, Potsie, and Ralph. But no one had anything in return to give to Fonzie. (I guess we can assume that Richie picked something up at the hardware store receiving Fonzie’s gift at the diner.)

They finally get him to spend Christmas with them without insulting him, but telling him that they need him to fix the Santa on their lawn. It has some kind of electrical problem this year and it’s a very important tradition. By the time he has fixed Santa (and their Christmas tree lights), Fonzie has missed the last bus. So they’re all like well, guess you have to stay here. Ever prideful, Fonzie still resists. And then Howard “Family Time” Cunningham is like hey let me drive you!

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I mean Santa is legit broken though.
And then Fonzie (who obviously really wanted to stay) is like oh man, it’s  snowing too hard. It would be wrong for me to make you drive me. And then Marian is just like finally done with all this crap and she tells Fonzie that he is staying and that’s the end of it.

happydays3But the best part is when Howard lets Fonzie take over all of the Christmas traditions. Fonzie wants to do EVERYTHING and Howard gladly passes the baton. He realizes how fortunate he is to have such a lovely family and he’s finally happy to share that with someone outside of it.

And if you’re not in tears when Howard asks Fonzie to say grace and all Fonzie says is, “Hey God,” you’re literally the grinch. I’m like sobbing right now.

Very Special Holiday Lesson: I mean this is the same lesson as Sabrina‘s episode, but this one made me cry. Brb. Crying.

Sabrina, The Teenage Witch: Sabrina Nipping at Your Nose

mv5bmjizotgwmju1ov5bml5banbnxkftztgwnze3mzuymje-_v1_sx640_sy720_It is too cold in New England for Sabrina and she desperately hopes for a trip to a warmer climate. Instead of using magic to zap herself to the equator, she calls into a radio contest and has her Aunt Zelda answer a “science question.” I’m assuming they do use magic at some point though because Sabrina hangs up the phone before telling the DJ what her aunt’s name is.

Meanwhile, Salem has ordered himself “The 12 Days of Christmas” from the other realm’s 89-cent store. The gifts are kinda jacked up though. Here they are in order of their appearance on the show:

Danny “Partridge” in a pear tree.

*Two dead turtles with wings stapled onto their shells. (ick.)

*Three French Women sitting under those globe hair dryer things (They’re the “hens,” apparently. I also just learned that a Bachelorette party is also called a “Hen Party.”)

*4 – 8. Who knows. They’re not featured.

*9 very large, uncoordinated ladies dancing on the second floor of the house

*11 pipers piping and 12 drummers drumming, indoors, all at the same time

They’re also going to bring Harvey on the trip! But unfortunately, a large snowstorm has other ideas. I guess they could just magically zap themselves down to Jamaica, but that wouldn’t really work with Harvey…

e6356575a40dc298ae55bd1be0957e9dSo Sabrina tries a spell to change the weather. Unfortunately, she ends up changing herself into a snowman instead. And then she starts melting…and melting…and by the time her aunts come home, she’s nothing but a snowman’s head.

As it turns out, the only way to turn Sabrina back into a human is for her to plead her case directly to Mother Nature (depicted as a high-power CEO). So her aunts put her in a pail and take her over to corporate headquarters. Too bad Sabrina didn’t just check the weather because it turns out that the snow was going to stop that night anyway.

Luckily, Mother Nature is feeling charitable, so she turns her back into a human and determines her punishment to be as follows: Sabrina must spend time with Willard Kraft and fill him with Christmas cheer. Mother Nature gives her a little Christmas tree lapel pin and tells her that Mr. Kraft will be “sufficiently cheered” when the star at the top of the tree lights up.

So Sabrina takes Mr. Kraft back in time through the grandfather clock aunt her aunts’ store. She hopes to show him a good Christmas memory, so he will feel a little holiday cheer. Kind of Ghost of Christmas Past-y. It turns out that Mr. Kraft doesn’t really have any happy Christmas memories, but he DOES actually feel cheered up by their tour of the past. He decides all he needs to do is lower his expectations for Christmas and then he will never be disappointed. Aw, bummer.

So Sabrina decides to invite Mr. Kraft to Jamaica instead of Harvey. Sadly, Hilda ruins everything by casting the same spell that Sabrina did earlier (except this time to make the snow come back). She’d rather be a snowman than go to Jamaica with Mr. Kraft. But Mr. Kraft is okay with not going to Jamaica. He’s just happy to not be alone on Christmas.

Also, Salem complains to the 89-cent store and they send him a baker’s dozen of donuts as restitution. So…looks like I’ll be celebrating the 13 Days of Christmas next year.

Very Special Lesson: No one should be alone on Christmas, but if you really want to be alone on Christmas then you should be a snowman.

The Jetsons: A Jetson Christmas Carol

You may have noticed there are tons of versions of A Christmas Carol floating around this time of year. But did you know there are literally hundreds? Even The Jetsons have their own take on this classic tale.

An item of note about Christmas in the future. We’ll all have a “laser tree” instead of a Christmas tree.

hqdefault2Anyway, Mr. Spacely (the Scrooge here) has poor George (presumably, the Bob Cratchet) working overtime on Christmas Eve. Interestingly enough, George is aware of A Christmas Carol and even says that Mr. Spacely is a “Scrooge,” who he wishes would be visited by some Christmas ghosts.

The ghosts show up with only 9 minutes left in the episode, so things move at a pretty tight clip. We get to see a little tiny Cosmo Spacely and little tiny George Jetson when the Ghost of Christmas Past shows Spacely how he paid George only a penny for running little Spacely’s lemonade stand. Then it’s off to visit an old flame, who Cosmo told he loved more than Space Ball but less than money. (The romance didn’t last too long.)

screen2bshot2b2016-03-162bat2b12-47-472bpmSpacely wakes up at his desk for a moment and then quickly falls asleep again, only to be visited by the Ghost of Christmas present. In the present he visits the Jetsons’s house, where poor Astro is near-death, having injured himself by chasing around his gift: “a robot cat.”

In the future, Spacely learns that The Jetsons are incredibly rich, having won a significant lawsuit against Mr. Spacely. As it turns out, Mr. Spacely manufactured the sproket that killed Astro. (R.I.P. Astro).

Unlike Scrooge, he seems to have a genuine change of heart, Spacely seems more afraid of being sued than anything. On Christmas morning, he shows up at The Jetsons’s house with a vet, who is able to save Astro.

Very Special Lesson: You can make mean people be nice to you by threatening them with lawsuits. ‘Tis the season.

The Adventures of Pete & Pete: O’Christmas Pete

the_adventures_of_pete_26_pete_title_cardThis show really creeped me out as a kid. But I also LOVED it. I think it was my first encounter of something so interesting and freaky that I couldn’t look away from it. But honesty, it’s an awesome show and it is not creepy at all. In fact, the things that “creeped” me out as a kid are things I appreciate about this show more as an adult.

But I was probably a little on the younger side of the Pete & Pete demographic. I didn’t really get it. I didn’t get the band playing the theme song on the lawn, or the plate in their mom’s head, or the fact that an arm tat got a its own dedicated credit in the opening. But I did like the quirky characters and the plots were always engaging. I think I was actually okay with the fact that these two brothers have the same exact name. As an adult looking back on these shows, I can say with certainty that The Adventures of Pete & Pete holds up pretty damn well.

In the Christmas of 1996, Little Pete successfully kept Christmas alive for many days post-December 26th. Eventually, reality starts setting in and his dad has to go back to work. But more importantly, the garbage man comes to pick up the tree. And they absolutely cannot upset the garbage man.

vlcsnap-00005The garbage man is a really scary looking dude, who loves to throw dried-up Christmas trees into the truck as a metaphorical destruction of Christmas. Yeah, this guy’s a real winner. In an attempt to teach his kid about the “real world,” his dad invites the garbage man to come back to the house and take the tree out in the middle of the night. But Little Pete is ready. He’s rigged an alarm on the tree and has a nutcracker setup to shoot a tranquilizer dart at the garbage man.

When the garbage man starts “trash talking” (did the show intend this pun? I hope!) Little Pete during a physical struggle over the Christmas tree, Little Pete’s dad sees the error of his ways and throws his full support behind his son. That’s when the garbage man sets an ultimatum: The tree goes or the rest of the garbage stays.

Things get pretty smelly on the Petes’ street. But everyone is okay at first. They’re still playing Christmas Carols and mamboing with Santa around the cul-de-sac. But then again, maybe there are some creepy elements to all of this. After 12 days, the garbage man ups the ante. He hacks into their TV and tells them that he’s extended the garbage strike to the whole block until they give up their Christmas tree.

hqdefault3This pisses off all of the neighbors, who threaten Little Pete’s life if he doesn’t give up the Christmas tree. So Pete does the only reasonable thing anyone could do in this situation: He organizes a wrestling match between Santa Claus and any takers. Pete nominates Pit Stain (the school bully) from the crowd to be Santa’s first challenger. But Santa can melt even Pit Stain’s heart. He refuses to fight. As Pete says, “The Christmas Spirit lives!”

But the garbage man isn’t afraid to fight Santa. He even gets the crowd cheering for him (those lemmings…who want their trash picked up). He knocks Santa out cold as the onlookers turn into an angry, jeering, Shirley Jackson-esque mob. So the family agrees to part with the tree.

Little Pete is devastated. But there’s still time for one more Christmas miracle. Big Pete and their parents have rigged up the piles of garbage around the block with lights to look like lovely Christmas trees. It’s enough Christmas cheer to make even the garbage man feel a little Christmas spirit. He wins the tree, but the Christmas spirit wins the battle. (Yeah, that makes sense right?)

Very Special Holiday Lesson: Why aren’t the people on this block recycling more? It’s been like 2 weeks and everyone has 12 foot piles of trash on their lawn. If you’re reading this and you’re thinking of NOT recycling then FU man, you’re killing our planet. Happy Holidays.

The Brady Bunch: The Voice of Christmas

f0a1754e462631d8d476b109fe8c03b0This is one of my FAVORITE Christmas episodes ever. I am SO glad you voted for it.

In this episode, Carol Brady comes down with laryngitis just before she is supposed to sing a solo at the church Christmas service. She’s been so busy getting ready for Christmas that she’s worn herself out. But being the great husband that he his, Mike tells her to follow the doctor’s orders and take it easy. It’s their “first family Christmas together” (awww) and he promises that he and the kids will take care of everything. Carol just needs to rest her voice and get some sleep before the service.

They try every remedy known to man, including a smelly home remedy from Alice’s grandmother, which consists of placing a towel soaked in a vinegar-solution around Carol’s neck. Nothing works.

When Mike takes the kids to finish their Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve, Cindy decides to ask the one person who can do something about this drug-resistant laryngitis. Santa Claus.

brady5They arrive to a very long line of children waiting to see the big man. Cindy insists that she can wait in the line by herself. Since he needs to exchange Carol’s gift (which would have been a poorly timed voice recorder), Mike let’s her wait alone. He arrives to pick her up just as an elated Cindy hops off of Santa’s lap.

Cindy runs up to Mike and let’s him know that Santa has promised to make sure Carol can sing at the Christmas service. It’s 1969 so television won’t let him say this, but Mike’s face clearly says, “Oh shit, as if I didn’t have enough to deal with right now. He tries to play it cool.

“Oh honey, how could he do that? He’s not a doctor,” he says.

“He’s better than a doctor. He’s Santa Claus,” says Mike.

Oh shit is right, Mike.

Mike goes “backstage” to the Santa break room and is like, “Dude what gives” (but like in 1969 Brady language.) Promising to give kids toys is one thing, but promising miracles is another. And the guy basically says he doesn’t want to disappoint her and just wanted to make her happy. So Mike’s like ughhhh I have to deal with THIS on Christmas morning.

But there are other things to deal with this Christmas Eve, like hiding presents. Since they’re Brady’s, they all rush around hiding presents for each other instead of just leaving them under the tree like normal people.
brady_bunch_a_lIn the middle of the night, the four eldest Brady kids meet downstairs and decide to postpone Christmas because Carol is sick. Alice finds them in the midst of their discussion and says they might as well return the presents, take down the tree, and throw away the turkey. But that might be A MAJOR BUMMER since their parents planned this whole freaking Christmas for them. And then they’re like okay, just kidding.

On Christmas morning, Carol wakes up humming “Oh Come All Ye Faithful.” (Oh, of course she does). SHE CAN SING!!!! In honor of this beautiful talent that we lost this year (F.U. 2016) I’ll end with Florence Henderson singing one of my favorite Christmas hymns:

Home Improvement: Twas the Blight Before Christmas

his3-28Mark is signing The First Noel at church. He and the other kids have to wear robes with letters that spell out N-O-E-L. Mark is the N and he thinks his robe “looks geeky.” Meanwhile, Brad wants to skip-out on Christmas with his family, so he can go skiing with a friend from school. (Brad was always the shittiest kid in this family).

When it’s time to go to church and see Mark sing on Christmas Eve, Brad is too busy sulking to come along just because his mom wants “the whole stupid family” to spend Christmas together. (Literally. The shittiest.)

The family leaves Brad at home, rather than forcing him to come along and have him throw a fit all night. When Tim comes home to check on him, he finds Brad trying to sneak out of the house with his skis. He doesn’t want to miss out on the trip because there will be a lot of people there that he wants to hang out with.

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Clearly JTT is the good son in this family.

“Christmas is not about being with people you like. It’s about being with your family,” words of wisdom from Tim, the Tool Man, Taylor. But then things get real. Tim tells Brad that he’s not going to be a kid forever. One day he’ll have his own family and never make it home for Christmas, just like Tim and Jill never spend Christmas with their parents. Plus, Tim’s days are numbered since he lives dangerously on the set of Tool Time.

So finally it’s time for Mark’s big debut as the N. But the kids line up backwards, so it looks like they’re singing about some guy named Leon. Oh hey and do you recognize the kid playing the L? It’s Michelle Tanner’s friend Derek from Full House! Of course, Brad shows up mid-song and it’s a joyous occasion.

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Very Special Holiday Lesson: Don’t ditch your family on Christmas, even if there’s a cool trip involved.

Cheers: The Spy Who Came In For A Cold One

the_spy_who_came_in_for_a_cold_oneA mysterious man arrives at Cheers on Christmas Eve. He reveals to Carla that he is a spy and she of course tells everyone in the Cheers crew. He’s quite taken with Carla, which flatters her to no end. As she brags to Diane about her new friend, Diane begins to poke holes in his story. He doesn’t know the right currency for Norway and misidentifies a city to Turkey as a city in Bulgaria.

Diane has to be right, of course, so she confronts the man. Sam tells her to chill out and stop ruining their good time. And in that moment, he explains the magic of Cheers (and why it’s exactly the place where you want everyone to know your name).

Of course, Diane just can’t let it go. She ends up humiliating the poor guy, who leaves the bar in such a pitiful way that she cannot help but feel utterly ashamed. After his departure, Diane quits Cheers. Carla is totally excited and tries to hurry her out the door. But Sam and Coach talk her into to sticking around and making this right. Diane decides to search the city until she finds him.

Luckily, she doesn’t have to look far. She barely has her coat on when he returns to explain his actions. He says he is just a lonely writer and makes up stories due to his loneliness. Diane, as we know, LOVES literature, so she urges him to share some of his writing. Since Diane is an acquaintance of an editor at The Atlantic, she decides to call him and share one of the man’s poems.

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Sam urges her not to make the call, stating that the man could have simply memorized a poem and passed it off as his own. But Diane doesn’t listen because of course she couldn’t possible be wrong about poetry. Maybe about determining who is and who is not a legitimate spy, but NOT about poetry.

Surprise! The poem turns out to be plagiarized. Everyone has a good laugh (except Diane) and Sam thanks the pathological liar for giving them good entertainment. He then explains he’s simply an eccentric millionaire and makes up stories for his own amusement. He offers to buy the bar from Sam. He even lets him name the price.

Everyone has a good laugh when this guy writes Sam a check for two million dollars. Diane doesn’t find any of this funny (she’s still pissed about being bested) so she rips up the check. As the check pieces fall to the floor, a footman enters the bar and lets the eccentric millionaire/pathological liar know that some important papers have arrived for him from Geneva and he’s got the car all ready to go.

I mean…I still think this guy could be full of crap and have another person playing along, but this sends Carla et all scrambling to pick up the pieces of the check. Sam’s not worried though because he didn’t really want to sell Cheers anyway.

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Very Special Christmas Lesson: Honestly, the only thing Christmas-y about this episode was the decorations. Plus, Carla and Diane worse some Christmas corsages. Maybe it’s a message of being kind to strangers? And also maybe not calling acquaintances at The Atlantic? Take from this what you will and be on your merry way.