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  • Shelby Cadwell

Shelby's Super Awesome Christmas Marathon! (TV edition)

Every year, starting in early December, I begin my annual Christmas movie and TV marathon. I spend the month rewatching old holiday classics, as I have time and in no particular order. This tradition is pretty loosely structured and has changed a bit from year to year, but it serves its purpose well - to get me excited for the holiday season, even when other things (like the end of semester slog through grading) feel overwhelming.

Until now, my must-watch-by-Christmas list has only existed in my head, but I suppose now is as good a time as any to share it with the world. For the purposes of this blog, I'll try to stick to shows available on streaming or as a reasonably-priced rental ('cuz December's paychecks are better spent on gifts and Terry's chocolate oranges!). Stay tuned for part 2, where I'll share my favorite Christmas films!

Community - "Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas" (Season 2, Episode 11)

Nothing is more Christmas-y than stop-motion animation! In addition to being my all-time favorite episode of one of my all-time favorite shows, "Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas" is a true modern classic. Abed suffers a mental break and starts imagining himself and the rest of the Greendale cohort in stop-motion animation. The study group goes on a quest to find "the true meaning of Christmas, which is, of course, buried deep in Abed's psyche.

Favorite line: "Who taught you therapy, Michael's Jackson's dad?"

Available to stream on Hulu.

Community - "Comparative Religion" (Season 1, Episode 12)

In the very first Community Christmas special, the study group realizes that despite their religious differences (Abed is Muslim, Troy is a Jehovah's witness, Shirley is Christian, Jeff is agnostic, Britta is an atheist, and Pierce, unsurprisingly, is in a cult), they will always have each others backs. Anthony Michael Hall makes a guest appearance as the school bully, but don't worry, the study group puts him and his break-dancing crew in their place.

Favorite line: "Look, this dude doesn't show up, we're definitely going to Applebee's, alright? 'Cause I'm getting in a fight today no matter what"

Available to stream on Hulu.

South Park - "Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics" (Season 3, Episode 15)

The second appearance of Mr. Hankey the Christmas Poo, this episode is a collection of holiday songs from the residents of South Park, hosted by everyone's favorite festive feces. Although the episode lacks the adventurous plotline of most South Park holiday specials, the songs never fail to crack me up (even though I've seen this episode more times than I care to count).

Favorite line: "Hark, hear the bells/Sweet silver bells/All seem to say/Ding dong, mmmkay"

Available to stream on Hulu.

South Park - "It's Christmas in Canada" (Season 7, Episode 15)

More the typical South Park holiday fare, this episode follows Stan, Kyle, Cartman, and Kenny as they go on a Christmas adventure in Canada to bring Kyle's younger brother Ike home to his family. The episode is equal parts silly Christmas adventure and Wizard of Oz parody, featuring memorable songs and plenty of goofy Canadian stereotypes.

Favorite line: "Watch out for Scott, he's a dick!"

Available to stream on Hulu.

The Office - "Christmas Party" (Season 2, Episode 10)

The first Christmas episode of The Office, this one might also be my all-time favorite. When Michael goes way over the agreed upon limit to buy his Secret Santa giftee Ryan an iPod, the office Christmas party goes awry. Disappointed that he bought an iPod and received a homemade oven mitt from Phyllis, Michael decides mid-party to change Secret Santa to "Yankee Swap" (also known as "White Elephant" in some circles), resulting in predictable hilarity and awkwardness. Realizing that his selfishness has ruined the party, Michael sneaks off to buy a ton of alcohol for the employees and the rest of the night gets pretty wild, resulting in an iconic moment where Meredith flashes Michael at the end of the night.

Favorite line: "Well, happy birthday, Jesus. Sorry your party's so lame."

Available to stream on Netflix.

The Office - "Secret Santa" (Season 6, Episode 13)

When Jim decides to let Phyllis play Santa, Michael gets pissed and decides to set up shop as a competing Santa - until he decides that what the party *really* needs is a Jesus. Meanwhile, Andy's Secret Santa gift to Erin (the items from "The Twelve Days of Christmas" goes horribly, but predictably, wrong. As Andy says, "Is it my fault that the first 8 days is basically 30 birds?"

Favorite line: "David, guess who I'm sitting here dressed as . . . I'll give you a hint. His last name is Christ. He has the power of flight. He can heal leopards."

Available to stream on Netflix.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine- "Yippie Kayak" (Season 3, Episode 10)

During some last-minute Christmas shopping, Jake, Gina, and Charles end up in a real-life Die Hard scenario when thieves take a bunch of store employees hostage. Like Jake Peralta, Die Hard is probably my favorite movie ever, so of course I appreciated all the references. I also appreciated that Charles got to be (momentarily) the cool guy action hero...until he totally botches the cool guy line.

Favorite line: "Yippie Kayak, other buckets!"

Available to stream on Hulu.

Every single Christmas episode of Bob's Burgers

These are all great episodes, so I couldn't pick just one or two. If I had to put them in order from greatest to slightly-less-great, I'd say: Season 8, Season 7, Season 3, Season 4, Season 5, then Season 6. But really you should just watch them all.

"God Rest Ye Merry Gentle-Mannequins" (Season 3, Episode 9)

Favorite Line: "She didn't have nipples, and brother, she didn't need them."

"Christmas in the Car" (Season 4, Episode 8)

Favorite line: "That's how I want to go out: dehydrated and covered in tinsel."

"Father of the Bob" (Season 5, Episode 6)

Favorite line: "Not a good idea to let my kids into your basement, by the way. Gene took a bean bath."

"Nice-capades" (Season 6, Episode 5)

Favorite line: "So the nurse says, 'Rectum? I damn near killed him!' Well, those are all the clean jokes I know."

"The Last Gingerbread House on the Left" (Season 7, Episode 7)

Favorite line: "Dad, you need a Venetian mask and a thong, stat!"

"The Bleakening" (Season 8, Episode 6)

Favorite line: "Most of the year, you know me as Cleavage ToBeaver, but tonight, I'm Miss Triple XXXmas."

All episodes of Bob's Burgers are available to stream on Hulu.

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