The title kind of says it all. The episode actually takes place in early November, and is about the mishaps involved in taping Sue Ann's Christmas special. All of the components are there for it to turn into a Christmas special at any moment””there's tons of food, and friends, snow, and there's even a Christmas carol””but the cast is also stuck in the studio having been snowed in, lowering the overall mood. Add the fact it's early November, and the whole rigmarole prevents the festivities from really taking off.
Thanksgiving plays a fairly big role in this Seinfeld classic, but no one eats any turkey. It just so happens that Jerry has a horrible toothache, but all the dentists are busy since it's the holiday. Luckily, Jerry has a potential way into a party where a large amount of dentists are, considering Elaine is dating the dentist holding the party. A lot happens in the episode, but none of it relates to Thanksgiving.
The title calls it "springtime," but the episode calls it Easter. Not that it matters, since it's mostly about Gargamel capturing Mother Nature and wrecking havoc on the traditional seasons the Smurfs were used to. Things get back to smurf-normal by the end, and they do smurfebrate the smurfiday, but its still too Smurf-y to really call it Easter.
Sunnydale doesn't have much time for cheer, but season 3's "Amends" takes place just around Christmas. There's a few Santa jokes, a scene in a tree farm, and Joyce invites Faith over for Christmas dinner, but Sunnydale isn't the kind of place where people just peacefully celebrate Christmas. Instead, things like Angel getting manipulated by the First Evil into attempting suicide distract them. It is a little bit Christmassy, though””hey, it snows!
It's pretty obvious what It'sAlways Sunnyin Philadelphia's Halloween episode is really about””the gang trying to find out who got Dee pregnant. The only clue they have is that she claims the child was conceived at a Halloween party. What follows is the typical Always Sunnyfare of loud, drunken yelling and flashbacks involving costumes...the only difference is, people other than Charlie are wearing costumes, too.
Sometimes everyone wants to celebrate the holiday, but they just can't. That's the case in this Bob's Burgers episode, where the Belcher kids get trapped in a fort they made, preventing them from going trick-or-treating. While the main action is certainly influenced by Halloween, the whole point is that the holiday is passing them by while they're stuck in the fort.
Arbor Day is not a holiday that often gets a TV special, but Strangers With Candy was a very special television program. The whole point was to skewer after school specials, so in its own bizarre way, it made perfect sense. "Bogie Nights" is mostly an episode about how Jerri traded her baby for a guitar some fifteen years ago, and may be dating him now. Only in the opening few minutes when Jerri plants a tree is it clear this is an Arbor Day special...and in the last few seconds, when she chops that same tree down.
Trans-dimensional portals can lead to some confusion, and they can turn an Easter episode into an episode about Aesop's Fables. Both involve rabbits, after all. The episode finds the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles getting warped to the Fairy Tale Dimension, interacting with a rabbit named Hokum Hare and acting out parts of the plot of Jack and the Beanstalk. Once they get back to Earth, Hokum Hare fills in for the Easter Bunny. Close, but not quite.
Despite having the word Christmas in the title, and the episode being about a particular sect of creatures' version of Christmas, no one could mistake this classic South Park episode for "a Christmas special." Maybe for the first five minutes, and the word Christmas being in the title could fool you...but these woodland critters do not celebrate Christmas the way humans do. Not at all. Hail Satan.
The nature of improv prevents any form of true cohesion. So although many of the suggestions, both from the audience and on the cards, start with a bit of a Christmas tilt, the performers rarely keep things festive. Naturally, they prefer to let the scenes play out whatever the funniest way is, leading to the majority of the episode having nothing to do with Christmas at all. Aside, of course, from the tree sitting on Clive's desk.
The classic Seinfeld episode "The Strike" introduces one of the most famous non-holidays of all time: Festivus. And it's ultimately just so George can get out of giving anyone in his office a Christmas gift. It might be a legendary level of selfish, but that's exactly what one should expect from George Costanza, and when the result is a Festivus for the rest of us, who can really complain?
Professional sports don't typically play into holiday cheer, since the audience is extremely wide and not everyone celebrates. Professional wrestling cares significantly less about mainstream approval, but that doesn't mean when Halloween and wrestling mixed it made any sense. In fact, WWE Raw, Smackdown, and the yearly WCW event Halloween Havoc,all attempted to mix wrestling with Halloween, and though the wrestling portion of these shows occasionally received praise, the Halloween crossover attempts always feel out of place and cartoony. Which is a strange criticism, considering wrestlers themselves are cartoony, but it just didn't work.
All in the Family regularly used sitcom themes to address far greater social issues, and the idea of a Christmas dinner is simply used here as a backdrop for a discussion on draft dodging and the Vietnam War. Even the introduction of new characters to one another only leads to a soft "Merry Christmas" between them, while the far bigger, global issues are the true focus of the episode. Here, a shaky wreath with a message of peace is a more political statement than a holiday decoration.
Some of the episodes on this list are brilliant and genre defining pieces of entertainment. Some of them...well, sometimes you just prefer a simple little Christmas episode. Christmas comes up fairly often in this very dense episode, and it starts with the powerful image of gay teen Ricky bloody and beaten, kicked out of his house. So why does the episode fail? What makes the episode so maligned? Ghosts. Homeless teenage ghosts. You can't have a good Christmas episode, or really a good episode of any variety, and make the focus homeless teenage ghosts. Not if you want to be taken seriously.
15. `ATHF' "The Cybernetic Ghost of Christmas Past"
As with some other examples, there is some bizarre version of Christmas within this episode, simply not one any actual human has ever celebrated. Perhaps we will in the future the Ghost of the Past is from, but that day has yet to come. As for Frylock, Shake, Meatwad and Carl, well, it must be hard to get into the Christmas spirit when your pool is filled with elven blood. That's more of a St. Patrick's Day thing.