TV Sets: Holiday Treats

December 2, 2019 - Comment

Holiday episodes from 8 of your favorite TV shows: I Love Lucy, The Honeymooners, The Andy Griffith Show, The Brady Bunch, Taxi, Family Ties, Frasier, Wings. I Love Lucy: The I Love Lucy Christmas Show The Honeymooners: ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas The Andy Griffith Show: Christmas Story The Brady Bunch: The Voice Of Christmas

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(as of December 2, 2019 8:10 pm GMT+0000 - Details)

Holiday episodes from 8 of your favorite TV shows: I Love Lucy, The Honeymooners, The Andy Griffith Show, The Brady Bunch, Taxi, Family Ties, Frasier, Wings. I Love Lucy: The I Love Lucy Christmas Show The Honeymooners: ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas The Andy Griffith Show: Christmas Story The Brady Bunch: The Voice Of Christmas Taxi: A Full House For Christmas Family Ties: A Keaton Christmas Carol Frasier: Miracle On Third Or Fourth Street Wings: A Terminal ChristmasThe idea behind TV Sets: Holiday Treats is so appealing, and so obvious, it’s a wonder someone didn’t think of it long ago. This compilation of eight Christmas-themed sit-coms spanning some 40 years serves as a reminder, in its sit-commy way, of what’s really important about the holiday season; it also provides an interesting look at the evolution of the genre and the ways in which it reflects its times. Back in the “Golden Age,” when seminal shows like I Love Lucy (represented here by a mediocre 1956 offering that’s little more than a compilation of clips from earlier episodes) and The Honeymooners (a charming “Gift of the Magi” adaptation from ’55, with Jackie Gleason, Audrey Meadows, and Art Carney terrific as always) ruled, the fact that they were shot in black and & white and performed before a genuinely live audience gave them a little extra je ne sais quoi; mistakes could be made, lines blown, but these brilliant performers would always overcome. By the time of The Brady Bunch in 1969, sitcoms were about as edgy as a circle (this cute episode about reaffirming family values is well-intentioned but painfully square by any standard), whereas in the post-Watergate era, shows like Taxi were rude and confrontational (in this episode from ’78, Louie, played by Danny De Vito, gets into a poker match with his estranged brother, with their mother as the “prize”). Family Ties, with Michael J. Fox as the selfish, money-hungry Alex Keaton, typified the so-called “Me Decade” (this 1983 selection is a lazy version of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, with Alex as Scrooge), while Frasier reflects the cynicism of the ‘90s (“Miracle on Third or Fourth Street,” the episode included here, is the best-written, funniest, and least mawkish of the whole collection). The set also includes installments from The Andy Griffith Show from 1960 and Wings from 1990. There are no bonus features. –Sam Graham

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