It’s rare to find an unquestionably great Christmas episode, especially one that gently parodies previously existing holiday tropes. That’s why “Community’s” recent “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas” has been rightly praised. But sadly, it was seen by only 4.29 million viewers, the second lowest for the show this year, and about a third of what “The Big Bang Theory,” its timeslot competitor, pulls in. Like the widely-quoted line about people starting bands after purchasing the Velvet Underground’s first album in 1967, I’ll bet at least half of that total is composed of wannabe TV writers, so hopefully they learned how to effectively blend humor with holiday sentimentality, and not do one of the five oft-used plotlines below.
1. A Christmas Carol Parodies
In case you haven’t heard, TV’s been around for quite some time. Considering most sitcoms and dramas over the past 40 years or so have had a Christmas episode every season, it’s likely that they’ve mocked A Christmas Carol at some point. The story’s so universally known that it’s an easy way for writers to pen an episode that will probably be liked because of its universal appeal, but not particularly appreciated. The A.V. Club recently did a list of 23 adaptations, but they left out “The Simpsons,” “The Suite Life on Deck,” “American Dad,” “Pepper Ann,” and scores more.
And as long as we’re talking about parodies…