Every holiday movie has the same plot: girl unexpectedly meets boy, boy falls in love with girl, something tragic happens, boy and girl profess their feelings, they kiss passionately against the backdrop of a professionally decorated Christmas tree with fake snow falling around them. Yawn.
Although I usually put up with that cookie-cutter plot every year, I decided to try something a bit different (and way more entertaining) this December: re-watching the holiday episodes from my favorite TV shows.
Given that basically every holiday party is canceled, in-person shopping is hardly a thing, and the gyms are closed (although let’s face it, I wouldn’t be going even if they were open), I had all the time in the world to cuddle up with a weighted blanket and a (spiked) hot drink and laugh, cry, and feel all sorts of emotion while watching classic shows like Parks and Recreation, Gilmore Girls, and 30 Rock.
As my wonderful gift to you, I’ve listed the best holiday episodes from all our favorite shows so that you too can fill your time this December with something other than watching people’s annoying Instagram Stories and cringey attempts at creating Reels. Enjoy!
‘New Girl’ – “LAXmas” Season 4 Episode 11
There is literally nothing more relatable in these COVID-19 times than having your holiday plans ruined, your vacation canceled, and you therefore not being able to post that thirst trap bikini pic in December. Call me a masochist, but that’s why I loved re-watching this episode of New Girl. I got to commiserate, emphasize, and shout “HA! You got screwed too!” at the TV when Jess, Nick, Winston, and Schmidt’s holiday flights were canceled.
’30 Rock’ – “Ludachristmas” Season 2 Episode 9
It’s as if Tina Fey knew we needed something to prove that there are families out there more dysfunctional than our own when they created this episode. In the most hilarious way, we see the picture-perfect Lemon family break down after an outing with Jack and his mother, and the TGS crew have their party plans hijacked by Kenneth. Plus, I promise this is the exact Rockefeller-related holiday content you need to get that sad excuse for a tree they put up this year out of your mind.
‘The O.C.’ – “The Best Chrismukkah Ever” Season 1 Episode 13
Confession time: I completely forgot about The O.C. until I Googled “shows like Gossip Girl” this summer… and then promptly re-binged it with no regrets. And one of the most entertaining, dramatic, and heartwarming episodes happens to be a holiday one, where Seth introduces Ryan to the wonders of Chrismukkah and struggles in a love triangle between himself, Anna, and Summer. I have to admit, seeing a love triangle that didn’t involve me, my fridge, and Netflix was actually pretty refreshing.
‘Keeping Up With The Kardashians’ – “Christmas Chaos” Season 16 Episode 9
Being invited to the Kardashians’ annual Holiday Party is on my bucket list, Amazon wishlist, and in my letter to Santa every year. Is there anywhere else I can add it at this point? But while my invite is still lost in the mail, the next best thing is to watch the party unfold on TV. And I promise you, this is one of the most iconic holiday episodes ever. It’s the one where Kim is literally quoted saying, “This is so inappropriate. It is so so much money for one night.” Do I need to say more?
‘The Office’ – “A Benihana Christmas” Season 3 Episode 10 & 11
We’ve all been that psycho b*tch, but in this episode Michael takes crazy to a whole new level. How? By Photoshopping his face onto his girlfriend’s ex-husband’s body in one of their old family photos, and sending it out as his Christmas card. And, no spoilers, but this episode includes some major Pam vs. Angela drama and a classic Jim prank on Dwight that will make you forget about TikTok for, like, 20 minutes.
‘Gilmore Girls’ – “Women of Questionable Morals” Season 5 Episode 11
Some things are just the f*cking worst until someone comes along and makes it special for you (like Valentine’s Day, for a totally random example). And that’s the case for Lorelai and her feelings toward snow in this episode, until Luke surprises her with a romantic snow-related gift that made even a Grinch like me say, “AWWWW!”. Beyond the snow drama, this episode also features the cutest little stray dog that brings Emily and Richard together in a true holiday miracle kind of way.
‘Friends’ – “The One with Phoebe’s Dad” Season 2, Episode 9
You know that friend who waits until the last possible moment to buy their presents? Well, be prepared to watch Joey and Chandler do that exact thing… and be forced to buy their gifts at a place I only go into when I really need to pee during a road trip. And, as if that’s not enough comedy, what screams tradition more than some classic Ross and Rachel drama? Be prepared to get your fill of it this episode.
‘Gossip Girl’ – “Roman Holiday” Season 1 Episode 11
I’ve watched this episode about 14 times, so at this point let’s just say it’s a holiday tradition. I swear, no matter how many times you see Blair come up with a conniving plan to break up her Dad and his boyfriend, the story is guaranteed to transport you from your burrito-stained sweats and unmade bed to the Upper East side within moments. It’s the exact escape you didn’t even know you needed.
‘New Girl’ – “The 23rd” Season 1 Episode 9
Picture this: Schmidt shirtless, wearing just a Santa hat and Santa shorts. If that’s not enough to convince you to re-watch this episode, keep in mind that the theme is how dealing with new relationships around the holidays is stressful AF (relatable, right?). Like any New Girl episode, this one will have you laughing at the lovable, entertaining, and slightly inappropriate trouble the crew gets themselves into at Schmidt’s office party.
‘Fuller House’ – “Oh My Santa” Season 4 Episode 1
Even though the holidays may suck more than usual this year, just know that for the first and probably only time in your life, your holiday season is going better than Lori Loughlin’s. And speaking of which, this episode of Fuller House is sure to bring a smile to your face, despite how cheesy the plot is. The most relatable part? Tommy throwing a tantrum in the mall. Been there, done that (and over much less, if I may add).
‘Parks and Recreation’ – “Citizen Knope” Season 4 Episode 10
Are you one of those people who re-gifts an old box of chocolate or nauseating-smelling candle to your co-workers every year? If you said “yes”, you seriously need to take notes during this episode. While Leslie is off work for two weeks, Ann rallies the Parks department to create a special holiday gift for Leslie. As cheesy as the gift is, it’s actually pretty sweet (pun intended) and will probably make you feel as warm and fuzzy inside as the spiked eggnog you’re sipping.
‘Ally McBeal’ – “Silver Bells” Season 1 Episode 11
There’s something about watching Ally McBeal that brings back all sorts of early ‘00s nostalgia. And this episode gives us just that against the backdrop of a hectic office during the holidays (TBT to offices), and plots about Ally being her usual badass self and the romantic troubles the couples in the office are facing. I won’t reveal if there are any holiday miracles at the end of the episode, but I can safely say you’ll be feeling emotions far from the disappointment Kyle Richards felt when she realized bangs just weren’t her thing.
‘Modern Family’ – “Undeck the Halls” Season 1 Episode 10
If you want to escape the stressful bullsh*t of your family’s holiday Zoom call by finding another family going through equally dramatic times, look no further. In a mix of both hilarious and feel-good storylines, you’ll get to emphasize with the Dunphy kids as their parents cancel Christmas until someone fesses up to ruining their sofa. Plus, you get to see what happens when Cam and Mitchell say something we’ve all thought at least once in our lives: “this mall Santa is just not jolly enough”.
Cougar Town – “Cry To Me” Season 2 Episode 14
If you’re the kind of person who gets pissed when people leave their holiday decor up way past December, this episode will make you feel more seen than ever. Now bear with me, because this episode is actually more about Valentine’s Day than Christmas, but it still delivers an accurate depiction of how crazy people get around any holiday.
‘Brooklyn 99’ – “The Pontiac Bandit Returns” Season 2 Episode 10
Amy’s weird-yet-adorable admiration for Captain Holt is somehow one of the most entertaining things to watch (because who TF actually likes their boss?). And as odd as their relationship is, this episode delivers just the right amount of it, showing us Amy working hard (but hardly working on her actual work) to get around Holt’s “no gift” policy. And, to quote the queen of the holidays, Dorinda Medley, we see Jake “make it nice” with his nemesis/best friend Doug Judy in order to gather intel for Rosa.
Images: Netflix; Giphy (12)
Anybody who knows me (and many people who don’t know me but read my Vanderpump Rules recaps) knows that my favorite show of all time is Parks and Recreation. It is the best show to ever exist. Yes, even better than The Office. While The Office is hilarious, Parks and Rec is both hilarious and a very good political satire, which pushes it above The Office. But anyway, I’m not a TV critic, and nobody cares about my ranking of NBC comedies.
The point is, all this extra time at home has got me thinking, and also watching a lot of Parks and Rec. So I thought, how would our beloved Parks employees be spending this pandemic? Let me, a person with a self-administered Master’s degree in Parks and Recreation-ology, answer that for you.
After her two terms as President, during which she reduced unemployment, increased jobs, enacted universal healthcare, and made National Waffle Day a federal holiday, Leslie returned to a quiet life as a private citizen. Psych! Do you know Leslie? She immediately moved back to Pawnee, where she resumed her former dream role on City Council, which was not against the law because frankly, nobody in Pawnee ever thought something like that could happen. She is now spearheading multiple coronavirus relief efforts in Pawnee, which is the worldwide epicenter of COVID-19. She’s started a national campaign, All Hands On Deck, encouraging people to wash their hands for at least 20 seconds. She’s 3D printing masks at home and hand-delivering them to hospitals. In her remaining free time, she’s going around to all the parks and yelling through a megaphone at all the people who are not maintaining proper distance.
Ben cannot stop obsessing over how flippant every single person in Pawnee is acting about this virus. It’s maddening. For the record, Ben has been working from home for a month now, and has never eaten more calzones in his life. When he’s not working, he is yelling out his window at everyone outside not practicing social distancing. He started back up his claymation hobby. At the current rate, he will have a movie out by next year. He is very depressed.
Andy didn’t take the virus seriously at first and was still playing packed-out venues with Mouserat. But as the pandemic grew even more serious, he decided to put his skills to use. He has now written the single most popular jingle about the importance of hand washing, and he films Johnny Karate from his living room. You can watch all 17 hit seasons on Gryzzl’s new streaming platform. He has only taken Dwyer showers in the past two weeks, which is how, when he does go outside, he’s able to get people to stay away from him.
April, too, thought COVID-19 was a joke at first, and she went around to Costco to cough on free samples just to scare people. But then she got a slight cough and immediately freaked out. She and Andy retreated to Ron’s cabin with Champion in tow. Once settled there, she adopted every remaining foster animal in Pawnee.
Regal Meagle has been livin’ large ever since November, which is when she first caught wind of the novel coronavirus in an obscure corner of Reddit. She took no chances and fled to her private island, where nobody else is allowed to join her. (Not even Tom, much to his dismay.) Much like the Benz, her island is pristine. Years from now, scientists will study it as the one remaining place on Earth to not have a single case of coronavirus.
Ron secretly thinks coronavirus is for the weak, like vegans and people who drink skim milk. But he’ll take any opportunity to avoid people at all costs, so outwardly, he takes it extremely seriously. He disappeared to one of his many properties in with Diane and the girls and has been earning a living selling his handmade wood furniture. He is singlehandedly responsible for the nationwide shortage of eggs and bacon.
Tom managed to get special permission from the FDA to bring back Snake Juice—which was previously banned—and market it as a cognac-hand-sanitizer combo, given that it contains 80% alcohol. Tommy’s Bistro is still open for contactless delivery by drone. He is not letting anyone into his apartment without having their temperature checked by his staff of personal bouncers at the door.
Jean-Ralphio un-faked his own death just so he could fake coronavirus for the clout. His dad administered the test, which he streamed on Instagram live. He started a line of counterfeit Louis Vuitton face masks, which are big in the Youtube influencer community, and he is flush with cash.
Mona Lisa Saperstein
Thinks she’s immune to coronavirus, and went viral for an interview soundbite in which she threatened to beat up the virus (she thought “Corona” was the name of her ex-boyfriend’s now-girlfriend). She is actually an asymptomatic carrier. She’s been jet setting all over the globe because she can’t resist cheap flights, and infecting everyone she meets along the way.
Beautiful tropical fish Ann Perkins has been working overtime at the hospital and fielding calls from Leslie about updates on the virus. Her Venmo has been blowing up with donations from horny Illinois men who saw her give an interview on the local news and started sending her money.
Chris has never been more stressed out in his life, living in constant fear of COVID-19 compromising the microchip. Forget a grain of sand, he says, the coronavirus would be a whole freaking beach. Doctors have tried their hardest to assure him that, even if he were to get infected, he would have a 100% chance of survival since he is the healthiest man alive, but it’s no use. Chris runs seven consecutive marathons a day indoors.
Jamm has been singlehandedly leading the movement espousing the belief that COVID-19 isn’t real and is just a conspiracy made up by the Chinese government to destabilize the markets and come out on top… in spite of the fact that Jamm himself has been experiencing a dry cough and tested positive for the virus a week ago.
CRAIG DOESN’T GET HOW YOU IDIOTS ARE NOT TAKING THIS SERIOUSLY!! IT’S A PANDEMIC, NOT A SUMMER VACATION!!! IF YOU KEEP GALLIVANTING AROUND NOW, YOU’LL NEVER GET TO GO OUTSIDE UNTIL IT’S WINTER!!!! HE FEELS LIKE HE’S YELLING AT A WALL!!!!!!!!
He has upped his therapy sessions with Dr. Richard Nygard to five times a week.
Greg Pikitis is huge on TikTok and started the #CoronavirusChallenge where he would go around licking toilet seats in public restrooms. He is already infected and will start showing symptoms in three days.
Jerry is COVID-19 patient zero.
Images: Chris Haston/NBC; Giphy
Parks and Rec is one of the greatest shows of all time, and if you don’t agree, you can fight me—in the comments section or literally, whichever you prefer. Case in point: We are literally living in one giant episode of Parks and Rec with a president who makes Jeremy Jamm look like fucking Elizabeth Warren. But I’m not here to talk about how our political arena has basically descended into one giant parody that’s actually real. Not today, anyway. One of the biggest mysteries throughout Parks and Rec is how Jerry Gergich, the lovable klutz who’s not exactly a looker, ended up with Gayle, who is hotter at age 60 than I am right now at age 26. Seriously, it baffles everybody.
Here is Ben trying, in vain, to explain how Gayle and Jerry got together:
No one in the entire series can wrap their head around it, but I know why and how Gayle chose Jerry Gergich aka Garry Gergich, and it’s actually very simple. Before I divulge my theory, I’d just like to say that I’ve been sitting on this for years but have only just typed it all out now, so I hope nobody’s beaten me to the punch. Anyway.
Let’s look at the facts. First of all, despite being a bumbling idiot at work, Jerry is a very confident and self-assured guy when he’s comfortable. Just think about the scene where he’s in his element, and home having breakfast with his family. (I tried in vain to find a Youtube clip, so I’ll just have to do this the old-fashioned way and describe it with my words.) Jerry and his family cheerily sing the “Eggs, Bacon and Toast” breakfast song. At one point, Jerry even tosses a mug up into the air, watches it flip around a bunch of times, and then catches it seamlessly. Leslie is shocked. But she shouldn’t be. When Jerry is comfortable, he’s a fun-loving and, dare I say, smooth guy. That’s number one.
Number two is that Jerry is probably the nicest guy on the planet. Think about if you’re Gayle, you’ve been hot your whole life and probably dealt with a bunch of assholes. Then confident Jerry comes along and, wait, he’s actually the sweetest guy ever who’d never harm a fly? Jerry is constantly made fun of, and not only does he never care, he’s a really good sport in the face of constant mockery. Just look to the scene where Jerry gets demoted when he’s only a few years from retirement. Does he get upset? No, he’s Jerry—he finds the silver lining even in getting a pay cut. Again, I WOULD have embedded a video, but NBC really has a lock on Parks and Rec videos. Damn it. Anyway, so here’s the gist: Jerry interviews for the Animal Control job. Over the course of the interview, it comes out that the college Jerry went to is now a four-year college, but was only a two-year college during his attendance. Hence, he never graduated from a four-year college, which technically makes him unqualified for his current job. Follow me? Cool. April says, “You’re fired!” Then Chris says, “You’re not fired, but we’re definitely going to have to lower your salary.” Jerry says, “Oh, well fair is fair,” and chuckles. See? Jerry could be a more positive person than even Chris. He’s low-key a gem.
Third, there’s one point in some episode my friend just reminded me where Jerry says that he used to look like Chris before he had kids. So maybe when Gayle met Jerry, he was hot and he just let himself go as he got older. People do that, you know.
But the real kicker comes in a one-off in the episode where all the men in Pawnee are sending Ann photos of their junk because she correctly diagnosed one guy as having mumps by looking at his dick pic. Are you ready for it? Because this explains everything.
Game, set, match. Suddenly it all makes sense. You are all very welcome.