Christmas came early for FOX this Sunday, with each show celebrating the holiday in its own unique way. Was it really the most wonderful time of the year or was Ebenezer Scrooge actually right about everything all along? Find out below!
The Simpsons – “I Won’t Be Home for Christmas” (NEW)
Tonight’s episode of The Simpsons used the age-old conflict of Homer being a bad husband to drive the plot. When Homer stays late at Moe’s since he feels bad Moe is alone on Christmas Eve, he gets in trouble with Marge who accuses him of never being there when the family needs him. So can Homer make things right in time for Christmas? You can probably guess what happens. My biggest problem with this episode is that it never felt like the stakes were real. We know Marge isn’t going to leave Homer. We know everything is going to be fine since its Christmas and this is a holiday special. Because we already know how an episode like this needs to end, what makes it potentially interesting is the journey itself. And when all we get is a journey we’ve seen dozens of times before, it leaves a lot to be desired. This is definitely an episode that will be forgotten by next Christmas.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine – “The Pontiac Bandit Returns” (NEW)
Peralta and Diaz must work with Doug Judy, better known as the Pontiac Bandit, (played by guest star Craig Robinson) to catch the big druglord their task force has been looking for. Meanwhile, Santiago tries to work her way around the Captain’s no gift policy for Christmas, and unintentionally uncovers a mistake he made on one of his past cases while making him a scrapbook that is costing her nothing but her time. Overall, the episode was solid and the return of Craig Robinson was welcome, as he always manages to steal the scenes that he appears in. What I’m noticing about the show in general, however, is that it seems to be getting too comfortable in using what it knows will work instead of trying new ideas. For instance, I’d really like to see a plot that doesn’t involve Santiago and the Captain because we’ve already seen it so many times. Good episode, but not outstanding like last week.
Family Guy – “The 2000 Year Old Virgin” (NEW)
In what was no doubt the most controversial episode of the night, Peter makes it his goal to get Jesus Christ laid when he finds out that Jesus is back in Quahog. I’m sure this episode offended a number of Christians given Jesus’s final line: “Who cares? I’m not even real. Merry Christmas” and the show’s unabashed portrayal of Jesus as a drug-using, manipulative adulterer. To be honest, it offended me too, but for very different reasons. First, this episode paled in comparison to past Christmas episodes such as “Road to the North Pole” which offered brilliant and relevant commentary about the over-commercialization of Christmas. Second, I believe that if a show is going to be edgy and push the boundaries, then it better have a damn good reason to do so, and support this with a clear message. The satire we saw tonight broke all the rules of good satire. Rather than be a biting, smart, and justified critique of religion and its figures, this episode felt like it was just mean for the sake of being mean. It lacked any thesis at all, and felt like it was simply a product of a bunch of writers trying to think of new ways to make fun of Christians. I am not an offended Christian writing this, I am simply an offended fan of comedy.
Bob’s Burgers – “Father of the Bob” (NEW)
To end on a more positive note, Bob’s Burgers offered one of its best Christmas episodes yet in this simple, but effective tale of a father and son finally mending the walls that came between them decades before. We soon learn that Bob’s father was never supportive of Bob’s more “creative” style of cooking through a series of flashbacks, and this Christmas the two will finally be forced to address their issues with each other head on. Unlike The Simpsons, which relied on an overused plot, or Family Guy which, well you know, this show gave us a very human, relatable, and emotionally complex plot that is much more original than the competition. One scene that really reminded me of how well-written this show is at the end when Bob Sr. and Bob Jr. are talking out their differences. Rather than just sit and talk for a few minutes, the two do so while line dancing at Bob Sr.’s friend’s gay bar. Brilliant! A must watch.