Christmas Specials II: The Second Best

Last year, I compiled a list of my top five favorite Christmas movies/specials/animatronic shows/smoke signal stories, because it was the only post idea I had. Since the Nostalgia Critic recently compiled his own favorite specials list, I figured I might as well round out the list by sharing my numbers 6-10. Now, as always, you may consider some of these a stretch, but if you have a problem with it, go start your own blog. On to the list!

10. Any Homestar Runner Decemberween Installment, But Mainly “Homestar Presents: Presents“. This Year’s “Death-Defying Decemberween” Comes Close, Though.
Hey, I didn’t say these all had to be heartwarming. Just stuff I enjoy watching around Christmas.

Approximately 31% of any given conversation with me consists of Homestar Runner quotes. (Another 30% is MST3K, and 22% is miscellaneous, leaving 17% for original thought. Somebody help me.) The above links are, for me, the very most quotable of the Decemberween set, but all of them have something memorable about them, whether it’s the catchy lyrics of “O Holy Crap” or “O Decemberween”, or the desire to see Litigation Jackson turned into in a real movie.

Basically, Homestar = Hilarity, so Christmas Homestar = Christmas Hilarity.

9. Futurama: “Bender’s Big Score”
This one may be a bit of a stretch, as only part of it really takes place around/mentions XMas, but it was between this and “Die Hard” for me, and while “Die Hard” may be awesome and have more Christmas decorations throughout, this touches upon the Christmas spirit much more for me.

One of the many, many things I love about “Futurama” is the Fry/Leela relationship. While Fry is often selfish and ignorant, there are times we see that his feelings for Leela go beyond idle infatuation and into real genuine love, even sacrificing his own health or happiness for hers. The Fry/Leela/Lars subplot of “Bender’s Big Score” is my favorite romantic comedy for this very reason. At first Fry is jealous and self-centered, but by the end he becomes more noble, and even when it goes against everything he wants, he decides to do what is in her best interests, and not just his own.

Also, there’s a lot of time travel paradox humor. Can’t go wrong with that.

This flick may only be marginally Christmasy, but it’s still an excellent love story, and for the most part, pretty hilarious, even if it relies just a bit too heavily on fanservice and inside jokes. Anyone who even remotely liked the show would do well to check it out.

8. Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire
While we’re on the subject of Matt Groening, let’s talk about the first broadcast episode of “The Simpsons”. (And the first item on this list to actually include Christmas by name!)

Sure, it’s not as funny as some slightly-later golden age episodes, but it is still gives us a peek at both the wit and the heart that would make those yellow doodles the most famous family in the country. Like Fry, Homer often lets his own ignorance and selfishness get him into trouble, but he truly loves his family and wants to do right by them, even if it means taking a second job as a mall Santa. It’s not the greatest Simpson family adventure ever, but it’s a sweet and funny look at a struggling-but-caring family.

7. The Office Christmas Special (BBC)
Many people I know don’t particularly care for the original British version of “The Office”, on account of being darker and more depressing than its American counterpart. While that is certainly true for most of the series, it all becomes worth it in the final moments of the fantastic series finale. (The finale of Ricky and Steve’s “Extras” is also fantastic, but much less Christmasy.) Tim’s soliloquy about “happy endings” and his uncertainty about whether or not he’ll ask Dawn out again remain highlights for me. Brent finally has a connection with someone without putting his foot in his mouth too much, Tim and Dawn finally have their happy ending, and Finch finally gets what’s coming to him. Really, the only one without a huge ending is Gareth, but he does get to be Regional Manager.

All the pain and suffering of the series builds up to a beautifully redemptive ending. (Okay, so a girl leaving her fiancee for another man may not seem redemptive, but Lee was a selfish, shallow bastard who was only with Dawn for the convenience, so…there.) The point is, this finale always brings a smile to my face and a tear to my eye.

6. Mystery Science Theater 3000: “Santa Claus”
Like I said last year, “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” just narrowly edges this one out for the top five. It’s MST3K, so you know it’s funny. Where else can you find the classic battle between Evil and the Narrator?

Merry Christmas, everybody!

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