Well, the holidays are almost upon us which means family, carol singing, good food, and no new TV until after the new year. Wait what? No new TV? Screw this season! If there's nothing new on, what's the point? At least the summer is warm. Oh well. Seeing as we can't change anything here, we don't control TV (yet), is there anything old we can watch? Yes! Namely, old Christmas specials.
1. The 90210 Christmas episode "A Walsh Family Christmas," first airing in 1991, is a good one. Who really knows what happens in the bulk of the episode, the important thing is that Brandon or Brenda, one of the twins, brings home a hobo for the holidays, which is a grand tradition of television Christmas episodes.
2. There's a great Saved by the Bell episode called "Home for Christmas" about a hobo family living in the shopping mall (get the title now? It's a double entendre) that Zach, of course, rescues. But he really only rescues them because he has the hots for the hobo's teen hobo daughter. Oh, Zach. Well whatever, the ends justify the means, and everyone sings Christmas songs by the piano at the end of the episode. It's one of those weird episodes where you see a lot of one of the kids' parents, which is always a little unsettling. Wasn't Mr. Belding supposed to be everyone's dad? Is this show not about an orphanage for teenagers? It's confusing.
3. Perhaps the greatest Christmas Hobo episode is My So-Called Life's "So-Called Angels," in which '90s guitar girl darling Julianna Hatfield plays a pretty, mystical hobo girl who's also basically an angel and who teaches all the Christmas kids a Christmas lesson. It's tonally a little weird for this otherwise realist show, but it's still well done. This is arty Christmas Hobo television.
4. Back to 90210, but continuing on the angel theme, there is a rather insane Christmas episode of the show that is narrated by angels. Mmhm! 90210, otherwise a fairly straightforward soap, has an episode narrated by two angels and at the end god saves everybody from a bus crash. Oh, bus crashes. Is there anything more Christmasy? Seriously though it's a good episode, a good Dylan-and-Brenda-and-Kelly fight episode that just happens to be narrated by angels. It's from the third season, in case you need to consult your DVD collection.
5. The Simpsons has many good Christmas episodes, perhaps the best of which is "Marge Be Not Proud," in which Bart gets caught stealing a videogame at the local Try-N-Save, thus breaking his mother's heart. The rest of the episode is him trying to make it up to her and it's very sweet and there are some funny videogame jokes. And it features a terrific guest starring voice performance from the late Lawrence Tierney. It's great! "You have selected: No." Classic.
So those are the specials that you should immediately program your DVR to record. Of course just about every show has some sort of holiday episode, more than one perhaps, but really if they don't have a hobo, an angel, or Lee Carvallo's Putting Challenge, they fall short. .
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.