Ok, so I'm going to stretch the idea of "sitcom" once or twice.  Get over it...

Over it yet?  Good.  Let's start off with my all-time favorite Christmas sitcom episode in which Jack Benny goes shopping.


 

There's no possible way to do justice to this episode here.  Suffice it to say this is one of Jack's best, with appearances by many of his regular and frequent supporting cast members, including:


Dennis Day
Don Wilson
And a completely abused Mel Blanc, in rare form...

Technically, this isn't a sitcom.  Still, "Dragnet" is pretty funny at times, albeit unintentionally - here's an episode that's surprisingly touching.

It starts with a completely lame Christmas tree...
(C'mon, Charlie Brown would leave that one laying...)

Leads to a missing statue of the Baby Jesus...

Diverts briefly to the most cantankerous merchant of religious items you'll ever meet...

And ends with a little boy and his "new" red wagon.

Moving from the sublime to the ridiculous, what is Christmas without seriously overdoing decorations?  And who, in sitcom history was most likely to overdo anything involving the home?

Yep, Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor and the gang from "Home Improvement".  Tim could - and did - manage to leave his own indelible stamp on anything and anyone that crossed his holiday path.


He'd carve up his own roof for his Nativity display.
The Manhattan Transfer got slightly less respect than, let's say, The Barking Dogs might've earned.
And Al was certainly fair game, especially if he managed a better part in a promo.

Time for one of my guilty pleasures here.  "Sabrina The Teenage Witch" was about as mindless as the cartoon incarnation from the Sixties, but fortunately, I'm not one to quibble about such a minor issue.

Especially considering star/producer Melissa Joan Hart was cute as a button.  (So I'm sexist.  Sue me.)

The plotlines were thin, to be sure, but these folks could crank out Christmas shows.  Whether Sabrina was grumping about the holidays, filling in for Santa, or doing penace by helping her principal find joy in the season, these episodes were good, old-fashioned fun.



Let's close out this look at holiday sitcoms with one from "WKRP In Cincinnati".

This installment shows receptionist/brains of the operation Jennifer Marlowe as the staffer most looking forward to the office Christmas party.

When the rushed near-gala ends with an even more hurried toast, the normally even-tempered blonde lets her feelings show in no uncertain terms.

Properly chastened, her co-workers try to save the holiday for her...and in the process, turn her apartment into a mini-forest of Christmas trees.










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