Announcing Yuletide TV: 2013 Edition

I am happy to announce that for the the second year in a row I will be embarking on a 25 day quest to recap some of the greatest christmas episodes of all time. From Dec. 1–Dec. 25 I will be traversing every genre imaginable to examine how Christmas is brought to life, celebrated, and in some cases, reviled.

I will be following roughly the same format as last year. There will be no Rudolph or Charlie Brown present in my list. Instead, I will be focusing on those episodes that could stand on their own alongside those Christmas specials as perennial holiday classics.

Throughout the year I have been meticulously making notes for possible series and episodes to include in this year’s countdown. I knew finding another 25 Christmas episodes wouldn’t be an issue, but could I come up with 25 completely different series? Happily, the answer is yes. There will be double-down’s this year, so even though I loved visiting Point Place and Greendale Community College last year, this year leads to new adventures.

However, as a way to get ready for the new year, I have collected all of last year’s posts below in order of when they were posted. Pick and choose at your leisure and get ready for tomorrow!

Yuletide TV: 2012 Edition

1. Saved by the Bell, “Home for Christmas (Parts 1 & 2)

2. Clone High, “Snowflake Day: A Very Special Holiday Episode

3. That 70’s Show, “An Eric Foreman Christmas

4. The Inbetweeners, “Xmas Party

5. Dorm Life, “Finals

6. Recess, “Yes Mikey, Santa Does Shave

7. Batman: The Animated Series, “Christmas with the Joker

8. X-Men, “Have Yourself a Morlock Little X-mas

9. Futurama, “X-mas Story

10. South Park, “It’s Christmas in Canada

11. American Dad!, “Rapture’s Delight

12. Band of Brothers/The Pacific, “Bastogne/Battle of Guadalcanal/Leckie

13. M*A*S*H, “Death Takes a Holiday

14. Cheers, “Christmas Cheers

15. Home Improvement, ” ‘Twas the Flight Before Christmas

16. Spin City, “Miracle Near 34th Street

17. Scrubs, “My Own Personal Jesus

18. Saturday Night Live, “Steve Martin/Alec Baldwin/Justin Timberlake

19. Top Gear, “Vietnam Special

20. Smallville, “Lexmas

21. Misfits, “Christmas Special (Episode Seven)

22. How I Met Your Mother, “Symphony of Illumination

23. Mad Men, “Christmas Comes but Once a Year

24. Community, “Comparative Religion

25. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: “Deck the Halls

Tomorrow: The real fun gets underway!

HIMYM Recap: “Platonish”

HIMYMWhen do you consider something a retread and when do you see at a necessary rehash of past events to provide greater understanding for the present? That is the question at the center of last night’s HIMYM as the show takes a break from Farhampton to head back to the bar and revisist the Ted-Robin-Barney love triangle. Have we been here before? Yes, but as a Ted-Robin shipper, it’s an important flashback as the show continues to distance itself from the relationship that started the story in the first place, and transitions to the one that will close the story.

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Agents vs. Arrows: Comparing Two Superhero Shows

There are two superhero shows on network TV right now: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Arrow on the CW.  As Arrow embarks on its second season and SHIELD prepares to launch its November sweeps episodes, I thought it might be a good time to take a look at these two shows and see where they succeed and where they fail.

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These are two very different shows. One is four episodes into an already strong second season. The other is five rocky episodes into the start of its first. Arrow has modest but consistent ratings, while SHIELD started strong, but continues to falter as the storytelling refuses to improve. That being said, Arrow is doing a number of things right, that SHIELD is not.

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Standup Review: Aziz Ansari “Buried Alive”

447px-Aziz_Ansari_2012The final semester of my senior year of college I took a class on Charles Dickens. While we didn’t read every thing the Boz ever wrote, we did take a chronological approach to dissecting his writing, starting with his earliest work, and going right through his final unfinished novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood. It was fascinating to see how he honed his craft over the course of his lifetime as a writer. Most of Dickens’ work is well written, but witnessing the evolution of his skills was almost as interesting as the stories I was reading.

In a similar way, as I watched Aziz Ansari’s latest standup special, “Buried Alive,” I was impressed by how much he has matured as a performer. On long car trips I like to download comedy albums and listen to them as I drive, and Ansari’s previous two specials have been in heavy rotation. While there is definitely some fine tuning that takes place between “Intimate Moments for a Sensual Evening” and “Dangerously Delicious,” “Buried Alive” leaves behind any sense that Ansari is trying to figure out how to present his act. Don’t get me wrong, Ansari is nothing if not a confident performer, but here he doesn’t lean so heavily on the jokes that have been surefire wins in the past. For example, there are fewer jokes about his encounters with other celebrities. He talks about his family, but rather than making fun of them as he has done with his cousins, he uses their experiences to push his routine further. And most surprisingly (and just a tad disappointingly), there isn’t a single mention of R. Kelly.

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Song of the Day: “Heads Will Roll” (A-Trax Remix)

Sup party people? Ready to party? Weeks are long and weekends are short, so be sure to enjoy every moment of yours. I’m here to get your Saturday started off right with some bumping beats.

“Heads Will Roll” (A-Trax Remix) by Yeah Yeah Yeahs is off the soundtrack for the film Project X, a highly underrated found footage comedy from 2012. So as you prepare to tear it up tonight, pump up this jam, get jacked, throw back some Jaeger and have a good time.

Arrow Recap: “Crucible”

arrow-9There is one rule when it comes to comic books – No one is ever dead. From the most popular, to the most minor, whether it be actual resurrection, a case of mistaken identify, or returning in the form of a vision, characters never go away forever. It is this guiding principle that is at the center of tonight’s Arrow and helps to continue the show’s strong start out of the second season gates.

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November Movie Preview

November officially kicks off the winter movie season. Now past the pitfalls of post-summer tentpoles that fill up September and the uninspired horror movies of October, November begins the perfect mix of Oscar contenders and blockbusters looking to take advantage of the holiday season. There are quite a few noteworthy movies coming out in November, so I’ve broken down what you should see and what you should skip.

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