The Only 3 Christmas TV Plots

When it comes time for the holiday episode, don't expect a surprise
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 20, 2009 3:43 PM CST
There are really only three possible plotlines for a TV show's Christmas episode.   (Flickr)

(Newser) – Christmas “takes over the airwaves as comprehensively as it does malls, office lobbies, and public service announcements”—but unfortunately, the Christmas TV plotline always falls into one of three categories, writes Torie Bosch for Slate:

  • Money woes: “A holiday season without gifts doesn't really feel like a holiday at all,” so when Christmas bonuses are denied, tragedy ensues. But, as Bart Simpson said in one such situation, “If TV has taught me anything, it's that miracles always happen to poor kids at Christmas.”

  • Job woes: “A stressful office party or a last-minute assignment” can easily “jeopardize the holiday spirit,” and no series has captured that better than Arrested Development. When Gob fires everyone at Christmas, a banana suit helps him get back into the holiday spirit: “Everyone gets their jobs back. It's a Christmas miracle.”
  • Attitude woes: The “hands-down most popular holiday story line” involves characters who just can’t dredge up any Christmas spirit. “But if a little holiday magic can make Ebenezer Scrooge embrace the Christmas spirit, it can do the same for just about anyone—even the undead,” as it once did during an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Click here for more examples of shows that fall into the categories, from All in the Family to The Office.

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