Fall’s leaves are bleeding from a warm orange to a deeper shade of red, frost is inching closer and closer during the night, and Hallmark Channel has replaced its delightful slate of nightly reruns with 24/7, mostly made-for-TV Christmas movies with titles like A Very Merry Mix-Up and ‘Tis the Season for Love. It’s that time of year.
Missing The Golden Girls and Frasier and Home Improvement as the season changes has me thinking of those great late ‘80s/early ‘90s holiday episodes, those one-off “very special episodes” where Tim Taylor goes bananas decorating the house in lights or the Tanners get stuck at an airport and spend Christmas in baggage claim.
Thanksgiving gets some small screen love too, though not as gloriously, but then, once you’ve had Screech blow-drying a frozen turkey and treating it to a sauna, that well’s pretty much run dry.
Tim takes “more power” to the yuletide level, competing against Doc Johnson for best decorated house in the neighborhood (becoming an annual holiday tradition on the show for most of its run). Randy and Brad tell young Mark that Santa died six years ago, and a hammer freezes to Tim’s tongue. Nothing a little rotating Santa to the back of the head can’t fix.
(Image from ovguide.com.)
2. “Twas the Nightmare Before Christmas,” The Golden Girls (Season 2, Episode 12, 1986)
The ladies miss their flights home for the holiday after being held hostage at the Grief Counseling Center, where Rose works. Luckily, they’d exchanged their homemade gifts earlier in the day, including Ms. Devereaux’s twelve-month calendar, “The Men of Blanche’s Boudoir,” setting up Sophia perfectly:
Dorothy: [looking through the calendar] Whoa!
Sophia: I'm surprised you were able to walk in October.
(Image from christmastvhistory.com.)
3. “Christmas Is Where the Heart Is,” Family Matters (Season 5, Episode 11, 1993)
Stranded in a crowded subway car during a power outage, Urkel helps Carl and the rest of the passengers remember the true spirit of the season—while proudly rocking some serious Cookie Monster-blue ear muffs.
(Image from omega-level.net.)
4. “Shibboleth,” The West Wing (Season 2, Episode 8, 2000)
(Not ‘90s, but almost, and with great Thanksgiving eps, you’ve got to take ‘em where you can get ‘em.) Amidst a Chinese refugee crisis and controversial political appointment, C.J. learns it’s up to her to choose one of two photogenic turkeys for the president to pardon. After a mock photo shoot and general destruction of her office, she goes with Eric. At the last minute, President Bartlet steps in and conscripts one of the turkeys, saving both Eric and Troy. Oh, and the Chinese refugees make it safely into America.
(Image from douxreviews.com.)
5. “A Thanksgiving Story,” Saved By The Bell: The College Years (Season 1, Episode 11, 1993)
I’ve saved the best for last. In one episode, the gang helps with a televised charity Thanksgiving dinner without any food, Screech tries to resuscitate frozen turkeys, Zack flirts with Kelly, and the best, most random guest stars show up to help out—Six from Blossom, Jonathan Brandis (RIP), Brian Austin Green, and even Mr. Belding himself. Mold: broken.
(Image from simkl.com.)
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