Ah, Christmas. A time of food comas, ugly sweaters, and smiling through the pain of bad gifts (“A sequined scarf! Oh. Lovely! Just what I needed!”) and your conservative uncle spewing uninformed and mildly offensive social commentary.
No, uncle, reverse racism isn’t a thing.
When the Medium board asked me to write about Christmas I was a bit taken aback. To be honest, I don’t really care for it. I mean – do I love gifts, and the mountains of food my nonna is going to prepare for my stereotypically numerous southern Italian family? Of course. But eh, I didn’t really grow up with the cult of mulled wine and ugly sweaters. It’s too hot in Sicily for that.
But enough of my not-so-humble bragging about being able to go to the beach on December 27th. We are here to get into that Christmas vibe, and there is no better way to opening our hearts to love, gift-giving and excessive amounts of food than by involving one of my favorite things in life: tv shows. Without further ado, here’s a list of my favorite Christmas-themed episodes:
- “The Best Chrismukkah Ever” – The OC, S1E13.
When the OC aired in Italy for the first time in 2004, it changed my life. I was obsessed with the quirky jokes, the tormented love stories and, most importantly, with Seth Cohen. Maybe one day I will write an article about how he was my first crush, forever shaping my dreams of cute but vaguely nerdy men. Seth, wherever you are, I still love you.
Raised in a Jewish and Protestant household, Seth blessed us with the creation of Chrismukkah, “the greatest super holiday known to mankind”. A combination of Hanukkah and Christmas. While filled with over the top romantic triangles and drama, the episode offers a quirky insight to what it means to grow up with two identities.
- “Abed’s Incontrollable Christmas” – Community S2E10.
I loved Community for being funny, unpredictable, and full of pop culture references that made it so much more than your typical sitcom. This Christmas episode is an example of that. The whole episode is shot as a stop-motion cartoon. The gang goes on a journey to rediscover the meaning of Christmas, blending humor with emotional depth.
- “White Christmas” – Black Mirror, special episode
Y’all were just expecting kisses under the mistletoe and holiday cheer? Well, think again. Black Mirror is a dystopian lens on modern society’s relationship with technology. Their festive twist is a set of three seemingly unrelated short stories featuring restraining orders and smart technology, with a final plot twist that’s bound to make your jaw drop.
- “The Constant” – Lost, S4E5.
Where do I even begin to describe Lost? One of the most iconic shows of the last twenty years, with one of the most frustrating, useless endings to ever be written. The myth of Lost spanned across six season of time travelling, mysterious smoke, polar bears and scientific experiments. It was deep, fascinating. And when it was good, it was an excellent combination of thriller and sci-fi, and with heartfelt considerations on what it means to be human. The Constant is Lost at its best. Christmas is the background for a time travelling plot about love and ties that no distance can ever truly break.
- “Can’t fix crazy” – Orange Is The New Black, S1E13.
Season 1 of OINTB was simply brilliant. What a relief to see women on screen doing ugly things, being imperfect, violent, unstable, but also kind, in love, deeply – quintessentially real, not idealized. The closing episode of the season is centered around the Christmas pageant put together by the inmates at Litchfield. There’s violence and Christmas carols and emotional rawness. It’s perfect.
Cover: Drew Coffman / Final editing: Tamar Hellinga