We all love a good holiday-themed episode from our favourite shows. Edge writers have collected their favourites below, covering Christmas, Thanksgiving and even Valentine’s Day. Read on to find out why we should be celebrating Galentine’s Day, or why Gossip Girl‘s seasonal episode is, boldly, the “best episode of all time”.
The Office (UK)
How do you do a Christmas special (and a finale) for a show famous for its bleak and pessimistic tone? Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant found the answer in 2003 with their two-part festive finale. Criticised by some for conforming to a happy ending that goes against the scathing satire of the show, the final episode does feature some undeniably cathartic moments.
From David Brent’s long-awaited outburst to Chris Finch, to making his ex-colleagues laugh at long last with a Frank Spencer impression, we as the audience are ultimately rid of the skin-crawling awkwardness in favour of genuine character arcs. The Christmas party is, in keeping with the seasonal spirit, optimistic. British self-deprecation and relentless obsession with reality has always been the motive of the show, but Gervais and Merchant also show that good things can happy to good people: Tim and Dawn’s final scene is undoubtedly one of the greatest television moments; raw and emotional, with great music choice and a proud David Brent looking on. The Office didn’t sell out for the sake of Christmas happiness, it matured.
– Jacob Hando
Christmas time TV is often polarising, but there have definitely been a few exceptional moments of specials, one of these being Outnumbered. The show itself is one of the most easy-watch programmes ever. With its hilarious characters, little to no plot-line and some extremely memorable moments, there’s really nothing to dislike about it.
Although all have been spectacular, the 2016 Christmas special was particularly special as it marked the one-episode return of the brilliant series. It’s Boxing Day, and as all three kids were grown up, it was so heartwarming to see. The banter from Pete and Sue was brilliant, and the kids were familiar yet older. Karen on Instagram, Ben causing a car crash and Jake with a girlfriend were all lovely reminders of the characters’ unique traits.
It wouldn’t be an Outnumbered episode if it didn’t contain at least one small catastrophe. The car crash was coupled with the fact that the family were transporting the ashes of Grandad, which flew everywhere. This combined humour with sentimentalism, as David Ryall (Grandad) had passed away in 2014. Spreading laughter, happiness and Christmas spirit, Outnumbered delivered it all.
– Georgie Holmes
Parks and Recreation
It’s rare that a seasonal TV episode based around Valentine’s Day of all things isn’t a) overly cliché b) better than its series Christmas/Halloween episodes (although ‘Meet N Greet’, Season 4 Episode 5, is a personal favourite) and actually offers something original to the pre-existing group of episodes around the same topic. ‘Galentines Day’ brings something new to the table; it’s a Valentine’s Day episode that isn’t really about Valentine’s Day, and brings a cool new holiday for you and your friends to celebrate (me and my pals have been celebrating Galentine’s Day for the last 4 years). Leslie Knope tries to set her mother up with an old flame, only to realise that you can’t really force love on anyone, and April hits a revelation about what she really wants in life, namely to be closer to Andy. The episode is less about the plotline itself (the team organising a Senior Center Valentine’s Dance) and more about the characters relationships with one another, from recognising one’s self worth and thus ending a relationship, to accepting what one really wants. It hasn’t got a typical happy Valentine’s Day ending; two couples break up in the episode, and another seems to teeter on the rocks. Even so, it’s light-hearted and gratifying, with the overall message being that yeah, sometimes relationships don’t work out, and that’s okay! Not to mention, the whole concept of ‘Galentine’s Day’ is great, and it should definitely be a national holiday.
– Alice Fortt
The Vicar of Dibley
There’s nothing more Christmassy, in my humble opinion, than the 1996 episode ‘The Christmas Lunch Incident’ of the classic British sitcom The Vicar of Dibley (1994-98). I don’t think there’s anybody that could embody the spirit of the season more than the wonderful Geraldine Granger, portrayed by the witty Dawn French, who stars at the heart of the brilliant sitcom and even more brilliant Christmas special.
As someone who is alone at Christmas, lead character Geraldine is invited to the Christmas lunches of her many friends so that she doesn’t have to sit and wallow over the festive period. As nice as this sounds, Geraldine’s popularity is met with a wealth of chaos as she agrees to spread her time between her friends and finds herself attending 4 different Christmas lunches. If you’re imagining all the food she has to stuff her face with then think again, it’s even worse than you can picture!
If you’re looking for something fun and festive to watch with family or friends to ring in the season at the end of the year then make sure to give ‘The Christmas Lunch Incident’ a go. You’ll be in stitches by the end, and that’s a promise.
– Katie Evans
This isn’t just the best seasonal episode of Gossip Girl but the best episode of all time. Season 3 Episode 11 captured everything we loved about Gossip Girl, intense smouldering, dramatic exits and arguments. However, there’s one scene in particular which stands out and that’s the dinner scene which sees bucketloads of drama unfold in under 4 minutes. Before I go into detail, just know Jason Derulo’s ‘Whatcha Say’ is playing softly in the background to set the scene before the drama unfolds. It begins with Nate telling Tripp’s wife, Maureen, that Tripp and Serena are having an affair, whilst Blair tells Jenny that Eric was the one who plotted to ruin her cotillion. Lily then starts acting shady whilst CeCe drops hint to Rufus that Lily has a secret. Jenny confronts Eric, who calls her sweet potatoes “bland”.
Poor Rufus begins his Thanksgiving toast which sparks the truth to be revealed about Serena and Tripp, Serena dramatically leaves the table, continued with intense smouldering from Nate, Chuck and Tripp. But don’t worry, the drama hasn’t ended just yet: Jenny dramatically leaves the table, Blair also leaves the table proclaiming, “and I want pie”. More smouldering, then Vanessa dramatically leaves the table (why Vanessa was there we will never know). CeCe ends the scene thanking Rufus for inviting her to Thanksgiving. And that is why this episode goes down in Gossip Girl history.
– Morgan McMillan