12 Days of Christmas Episodes: Day Two – The Last Man on Earth, Ugly Betty, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, The Nanny, Rev, The Vicar of Dibley, and (more) Friends

12 Days of Christmas Episodes: Day Two – The Last Man on Earth, Ugly Betty, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, The Nanny, Rev, The Vicar of Dibley, and (more) Friends

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The Vicar Of Dibley [image via The Digital Fix]

The Last Man on Earth – season 2, episode 9 – “Secret Santa”

Decorated house = 1pt
Tandy dressed as a Christmas tree, singing “Oh Tandy-baum” = 1pt
Secret Santa = 1pt
Almost sing-along (“This Little Light of Mine”) = 1pt
Sitting around the tree, exchanging presents = 1pt
Actual sing-along (“Deck the Halls”) = 3pts
Total = 8 points

I actually watched this episode last night, after writing up yesterday’s viewing. Not that it makes any difference in the scheme of things. But anyway, I wasn’t expecting a Christmas episode, and found myself pleasantly surprised. You never know what you’re going to get with The Last Man on Earth. One moment, you’re watching Carol give Melissa a pair of hideously decorated Prada boots, and the next, you’re brushing away tears from your eyes as you watch a worm (seemingly) die.

Ugly Betty – season 1, episode 10 – “Fake Plastic Snow”

Decorated office/house = 1pt
Mistletoe (in dream sequence) = 1pt
Christmas music (background/transitions) = 1pt
Miscellaneous Santa = 1pt
“It’s a Christmas miracle!” = 1pt
Total = 5 points

I’ve only ever seen a couple of episodes of Ugly Betty, but I’m fairly familiar with the German version, having watched several seasons of its French dub, Le Destin de Lisa. That’s fairly irrelevant here, but I digress. Not a terribly Christmassy Christmas episode, despite much of the plot revolving around a Christmas party and some neighbourhood decoration rivalry.

Sabrina the Teenage Witch – season 1, episode 11 – “A Girl and Her Cat”

Never-before-seen family member (Cousin Monty) = 1pt
Decorated house/pizza joint = 1pt
“Hey look – parsley!” / “I think it’s mistletoe.” = 1pt
Family Christmas (Eve) dinner with all the trimmings = 1pt
Salem singing “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” = 1pt
Gratuitous celebrity guest spot (Coolio) = 1pt
Montage set to Christmas music (door knocking to “We Wish You A Merry Christmas”) = 3pts
Major character (Sabrina) dressed as Santa = 3pts
“It is a wonderful life!” = 1pt
Family singalong (“Deck the Halls”) = 3pts
“Merry Christmas to all,” / “And to all a good newt!” = 1pt
Total = 17 points

At this point in my viewing, I was beginning to think that maybe I had it all wrong. Maybe my points system was flawed, and I had deeply overestimated the Christmas-ness of Christmas episodes. And then I decided to watch Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Not only did we get a montage, we also saw a major Character dressed as Santa, and had a family singalong. My faith in Christmas television was restored.

The Nanny – season 1, episode 7 = “Christmas Episode”

Decorated house = 1pt
Christmas music (transitions) = 1pt
Decorating the tree = 1pt
Mistletoe = 1pt
Sitting around the tree, exchanging presents = 1pt
Miscellaneous Santa = 1pt
Christmas mass = 1pt
Santa is real = 3pts
“My Christmas wish came true!” = 1pt
Family singalong (“12 Days of Christmas”) = 3pts
Breaking the fourth wall at the end of the episode to wish viewers happy holidays and thank them for watching = 1pt
Total = 15 points

This is more like it. Another cheesy Christmas episode, full of overused tropes. And our first example of “Santa is real”! So very over-the-top.

Rev – season 2 – “Christmas Special”

Special Christmas edition of opening titles = 1pt
Christmas songs (alarm clock, bells in transitions) = 1pt
Major character (Adam) dressed as Santa = 3pts
Decorated house = 1pt
Never-before-seen family member (Alex’s father) = 1pt
Christmas mass = 1pt
Big announcement (pregnancy) = 1pt
Mistletoe = 1pt
Christmas lunch with all the trimmings (designed to look like The Last Supper) = 1pt
Total = 11 points

Trying to raise money for the church, help the homeless, and bring Christmas joy to all, poor Reverend Adam Smallbone has his work cut out for him. Rev is a cute little comedy – I wonder if they’ll ever make a fourth season.

The Vicar of Dibley – season 1 – “The Christmas Lunch Incident”

Special longer length episode = 1pt
Trimming the tree = 1pt
Decorated vicarage/houses = 1pt
Advent calendar (Oasis) = 1pt
Carolers = 1pt
Christmas lunch with all the trimmings x4 = 4pts
Christmas music (“Fairytale of New York”) = 1pt
Total = 10 points

Yes, I unintentionally watched two shows about the clergy in a row (well, not exactly in a row – I took a break to watch an episode of Marvel’s Jessica Jones). But this one featured a guest appearance from a young Peter Capaldi! So it automatically wins. I considered adding a bonus point for the brilliant casting, but felt that would cheapen my system somewhat. In this episode, Geraldine eats too many Christmas lunches, for fear of letting down her parish. It’s silly, and funny, and not too Christmassy, all considering. I must also mention the sermon, comparing the nativity story to the origin of the Spice Girls. How very 1996.

Friends – season 4, episode 10 – “The One with the Girl from Poughkeepsie”

Decorated Central Perk = 1pt
Phoebe’s amazing Christmas song = 3pts
Total = 4 points

Funny that the Friends episode containing Phoebe’s wonderful Christmas song is probably the least Christmassy of all Friends Christmas episodes. In fact, it’s the least Christmassy Christmas episode of all shows I’ve watched so far.

I’ll be back tomorrow to report on more Christmas television. As always, if you have any requests, let me know in the comments, or talk to me on Twitter.

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