I love watching the holiday episodes of sitcoms and cartoons from the 90’s. It’s something I look forward to every year. One year, I watched all of The Family Matters, Golden Girls, and Full House Christmas episodes. Two years ago, I decided to tackle Sabrina The Teenage Witch.
I stumbled upon this review on my hard drive and figured it should see the light of day here. Is it horror? Ugh… no. But I think it has a place under my Spooky, Not Scary tag and it’s something fun and different for the holiday season.
Sabrina The Teenage Witch, not to be confused with the reboot/reimaging that is currently on Netflix, premiered on September 27th, 1996 on ABC. I was twelve years old, and I had my butt firmly planted in front of the TV, because my pre-teen crush Melissa Joan Hart, had moved on from Clarissa Explains It All to a new show.
I’ll be honest, my first impressions weren’t overly positive. It wasn’t that show was bad; it just didn’t really pull me in. I wasn’t wise enough to know that most pilot episodes are rough around the edges, so I watched the pilot and that was basically it. Every once in a while I’d catch an episode here or there, but Sabrina didn’t make it into my regular rotation of TV shows.
Three years ago, I found myself looking for something old but new to watch. I love going back and checking out TV shows I missed out in the 80’s and 90’s, because they still give me that twinge of nostalgia and I’m simultaneously introduced to new fandom in the process. While browsing through Amazon or Hulu, I ran across Sabrina’s smiling face, and I realized that some wholesome, goofy humor might do me well. So, I sat down, a little over twenty years later, and decided to revisit the pilot. It was still rough and wow was the Salem puppet bad, but the show had charm, thanks mostly to the excellent casting of Sabrina and her two aunts (Caroline Rhea and Beth Broderick).
Sabrina became the ultimate popcorn/stress-relief show for me. It’s easy to watch and usually provides a couple of chuckles. There are some fantastic cameos and the show just feels like the 90’s to me, and that makes me happy.
When I binge watch old TV shows, I usually skip out on the holiday episodes that way I can go back and revisit them when it’s closer to the holidays. I was hit and miss with Sabrina. I definitely saw a few of the Christmas episodes already, but a few of these were new to me.
Overall Sabrina aired six Christmas themed episodes. Here are some quick run downs and a few thoughts on each of them.
Season One, Episode Eleven
A Girl and Her Cat
Original Air Date: December 13th, 1996
It’s Christmas Eve and Salem is not in the holiday spirit. He’s upset about being a cat and he’s taking it out on everyone, especially Sabrina. After destroying her sweater and reading her diary, Salem decides to hide out in her bag so that he can visit the Slicery where Sabrina and Harvey were meeting up to exchange Christmas gifts.
A mouse is seen in the restaurant and Salem goes nuts. This leads to both Salem and Sabrina being kicked out of the Slicery, and since this happened right as Harvey was about to kiss Sabrina, she’s super mad. Salem’s bad attitude causes Sabrina to leave him in the dumpster behind the restaurant, where he’s eventually taken home by a kid who accidently hits Salem with a bike.
This episode is not overly sappy but it definitely feels like a Christmas special. We got snow, Sabrina as Santa Claus, a touching moral, a dinner scene, mistletoe, and gift exchanges. Coolio shows up in a neat cameo where he jumps out of a poster. In two less obvious cameos you’ll see Joe O’Connor who portrayed Clarrisa’s dad in Clarissa Explains It All and Nick Bakay, the actor who does Salem’s voice, portrayed one of the people in the homes that tried to kiss Zelda. Over all, I got the vibes that this was a Christmas episode and that’s what I look for.
Christmas Theme: A
Season Two, Episode Twelve
Original Air Date: December 19th, 1997
Sabrina is obsessed with gifts and Harvey and her aunts are starting to notice. She doesn’t seem like she’s really it giving, but is 100% committed to receiving. This begins to affect Sabrina’s magic and whenever she conjures something up, she actually takes it away from someone else.
Sabrina is diagnosed with egoitsis. She is so obsessed with recapturing the magic of Christmas of her youth, that she has become fully self-centered and everything revolves around getting something. Zelda and Hilda decided to bring someone from the other realm to help and his name is Bob (portrayed by the always wonderful John Ratzenberger). Hijinks ensue and Sabrina is forced to act as Santa for the night and in return, will hopefully be reminded what Christmas is all about.
I loved this episode. It was so frigging magical and Christmasy. It took the classic Christmas story of someone who forgot the true meaning of Christmas and gave it a fun Sabrina twist and it worked all around for me. This episode featured the before mentioned John Ratzenberger as well as Johnny Mathis in a cameo role.
Christmas Theme: A+
Season Three, Episode Eleven
Original Air Date: December 11th, 1998
Sabrina is not happy about spending all the time with her family this Christmas. She seems to be going through the typical teenage “I hate everything” type of phase. This bums out Hilda and Zelda, who double down on finding a way to get Sabrina into the holiday spirit, which they fail at miserably.
On Christmas Eve, Sabrina goes to a “I Hate Christmas” party in the other realm and discovers that she doesn’t exactly fit in with all the Christmas haters. In a huff, she accidentally erases Christmas and returns back to the mortal realm completely unaware. Once she realizes her mistake, Sabrina has twenty-four hours to find a way to reverse her mistake or it’ll become permanent.
This was another great episode. Salem is by far the star, constantly babbling on about Bobunk, the holiday he once erased. It’s a very traditional Christmas type story, with our protagonist needing to rediscover the true meaning of Christmas, amongst all the chaos they have created and I love it. Most shows take the lazy way out and do a version of The Christmas Carol, so kudos to the writers for taking the themes and working them out in a fun way that fits the tone of Sabrina.
Christmas Theme: A
Season Four, Episode Twelve
Sabrina Nipping at Your Nose
Original Air Date: December 17th, 1999
Sabrina’s in a bad mood going into Christmas. It’s been snowing non-stop and all she wants a warm holiday. Lucky for her, the radio is running a trivia contest that will send the winner to Jamaica for a week. Aunt Zelda is able to win the tickets, but the snow storm isn’t letting up, so the Spellmans can’t fly out anyway.
Sabrina decides to consult Salem to help her change the weather, which irritates Mother Nature and Sabrina is turned into a snow woman. Mother Nature agrees to turn Sabrina back to human, but only if she is able to cheer up Mr. Kraft who is depressed.
This is another good Christmas episode that has plenty of Christmas decorations and even a slight nod to a Christmas story in it. There is a lesson to be learned here and you’d think by now Sabrina would just enjoy the holidays instead of getting so moody. Then again, that’s teenagers for you.
Christmas Theme: B
Season Five, Episode Ten
Sabrina’s Perfect Christmas
Original Air Date: December 15th, 2000
Sabrina dreams of a perfect Christmas with a loving family in a log cabin, roasting chestnuts, and the like. It turns out that her roommate Morgan have this exact Christmas every year, so Sabrina decides to skip out on her aunts and go enjoy a traditional Christmas with her friend’s family. But soon after arriving, she discovers that the picture perfect Christmas is not so perfect and Morgan’s family is insane.
I really liked this episode. For years, like Sabrina, I wanted one of those picture perfect Christmases; the ones with a large family around a table, lots of holiday cheer, and fun Christmas traditions. It took me a while to realize that hardly anyone has this and each family celebrates in their own unique way. It’s a lesson Sabrina learned over this episode and it reminded me of that time in my life.
Christmas Theme: A
Season Seven, Episode Nine
It’s a Hot, Hot, Hot, Hot Christmas
Original Air Date: December 6th, 2002
Sabrina finally makes it somewhere warm for the holidays (Miami) where they have a unexpected run-in with Roxie’s mom who is fresh out of prison. After the timeshare the girls are staying in gets robbed, everyone looks at Roxie’s mom as the culprit and it’s up to Sabrina to try and clear her name.
I’m not a huge fan of nontraditional Christmases, so setting this in a timeshare in Miami didn’t really convey the whole Christmas theme to me. Then again, this show was quite different from the rest of the Christmas episodes and I gotta give the writer’s credit for that. There were plenty of Christmas references, but this episode could have easily been set at any time of the year and played well.
Christmas Theme: C
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I spoil quite a bit of the plot in most of these write ups, so if you want to avoid spoilers, be sure to just skim the titles and watch them before reading.
Family Matters is a show that I started revisiting since it was added to Hulu earlier this fall. It’s odd, because I watched a ton of Family Matters growing up, but not much of it stuck with me. Now, when I start an episode, it usually takes me just a minute or so to remember the entire plot and recall the show in shocking detail. It’s like it’s just hanging out somewhere in my subconscious waiting to be triggered.
Family Matters did seven Christmas episodes that are all worth watching.
Have Yourself a Very Winslow Christmas
Season Two, Episode Thirteen
Originally Aired: December 21st, 1990
The first Family Matters Christmas episode revolves around Steve Urkel, who is home alone at Christmas and is shunned by the Winslows after breaking Laura’s favorite ornament. Steve upsets the Winslows even more by promising Richie that Santa will bring him the hottest toy that holiday season, Freddie Teddy. Steve has faith that people will get what they really want because he still believes in Santa.
Carl does his best to secure a Freddy Teddy and almost pulls it off, but a little old lady accuses him of cutting in line and a massive fight breaks out over the toy.
Laura finds Steve sitting in his basement, eating a TV dinner, reading his one Christmas card from his doctor, and trimming his tiny desktop tree. It’s just about the most pathetic Christmas scene you could ever see and although the show hits you over the head with it, you’ll still feel sympathy for Steve. Laura invites him to spend Christmas with the Winslows, which fills Steve’s Christmas wish that he placed in a letter a few days earlier. Also, under the tree, Richie finds a Freddy Teddy, but no one is sure who bought it.
ImpressionsThis is a very decent Christmas episode that works with the familiar formula of not taking for granted what you have and recognizing the struggles of others. I felt like Steve was at his most annoying in the earlier seasons, but Laura’s impatience with Steve is equally as annoying. A good story was told though, and I found myself enjoying this episode quite a bit.
Christmas Theme: B
It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Urkel
Season Four, Episode Ten
Originally Aired: November 20th, 1992
Family Matters took a season off before making another Christmas episode, and this one begins with Urkel bringing his new snow creation machine into the Winslow’s house that blows up and covers the Winslows and their living room in snow.
Laura and Eddie head out to buy Christmas gifts and Laura picks up an expensive crystal ornament that she put on layaway for her mother. When Steve comes to pick her up he accidently breaks the ornament and Laura (as usual) loses her temper with Steve and tells him that she wishes he knew what it felt like to be her.
Cue Laura’s Guardian Angel
Laura gets to see firsthand how it feels to be Steve in an alternate reality. She dresses and acts like Steve (and does an amazing impression) and Steve takes her place in The Winslow family.
Of course, things play out exactly the way they do in a typical Family Matters episode, but this time Laura is the one being yelled at and demeaned. She realizes that Steve has true feelings for her and that the way she treats him is not respectful. Much like Scrooge, over the course of her time in this alternate reality, she realizes that she is a bit of a villain and needs to change the way she acts.
I’m normally not a big fan of the different takes on “A Christmas Carol” that so many movies and TV shows love to use, but this one didn’t bother me. I think my frustration with Laura’s rudeness made me want to see her mistreated, and both Kellie Williams and Jaleel White’s acting in the reverse roles was impressive enough to keep me hooked and I found myself really enjoying the episode.
Christmas Theme: A
Christmas Is Where the Heart Is
Season Five, Episode Eleven
Originally Aired: December 10th, 1993
Well, after a great Christmas episode, they followed it up with a very subpar one.
Carl accidently breaks his gift for Harriet (what is up with all the breaking stuff in these episodes?) and has to go out on Christmas Eve to buy something new. Steve ends up accompanying Carl and his bubbly spirit does not go over well with Carl since he doesn’t want to be out in the madness that is Christmas Eve.
As fate would have it, a power outage causes Steve and Carl to get trapped on the subway with a bunch of other grinches who take offense to Steve’s pressure to get them all into the holiday spirit. But slowly Steve works everyone over and convinces them to discuss where they are planning on spending Christmas. The dirty subway car beomes a jolly place and they even decorate their own makeshift tree. Once everyone’s spirits are raised the power comes back and everyone gets to go home.
Impressions I don’t know about this episode. It’s not terrible, but it certainly is not good. I found myself counting the minutes until it would end. It reminded me of the first Christmas episode of Full House, since both Steve and Carl were trapped with a bunch of strangers on Christmas Eve, and because they were trapped, they were all in a bad mood and needed cheering up.
Christmas Theme: B
Miracle on Elm Street
Season Six, Episode Eleven
Originally Aired: December 16th, 1994
In this episode, Richie brings home a homeless man to spend the holiday with The Winslows, which is not something they appreciated. Meanwhile, Eddie throws out Laura’s favorite childhood doll by accident and Laura refuses to speak to him and allows this mistake to ruin her Christmas.
The homeless man keeps trying to teach The Winslows Christmas lessons which they slowly start to understand. It’s revealed that the homeless man is actually Santa Claus and he had chosen The Winslows to help teach the true meaning of Christmas to.
After Steve sees how upset Laura is about her doll, he decides to head out to the landfill and try and find it. He teams up with a dog he meets and they spend sixteen hours before finding her beloved doll. Steve makes Laura Christmas special, and Santa brings Carl the present he’s wanted since his childhood.
Not the best and not the worse, the one thing that rings pretty consistent with most of the Family Matters Christmas episodes is that they are very average, which isn't a bad thing. The plots of this episode doesn't change up the normal Family Matters formula and that makes it feel like just another episode.
Christmas Theme: B
Fa La La La Laaagghh!
Season Seven, Episode Eleven
Originally Aired: December 15th, 1995
Carl has no interest in putting up Christmas lights since last year his nativity scene got laughed at. Steve offers to help, but Carl turns him down. However, Carl’s tune changes once he hears that a cash prize will be awarded to the best decorated house in the neighborhood. He hoodwinks Steve into helping and Carl thinks they are a shoe-in for the prize.
Eddie and Laura find themselves too busy to help Harriette decorate the Christmas tree, which upsets Harriette and angers Mother Winslow. Mother Winslow decides to punish the children by not making her special gingerbread cookies since they are too old and busy to help decorate for Christmas. Of course, the children see the error of their ways and help their mother finish up decorating.
Carl and Steve fall through the roof and Carl admits that he only entered the contest for the money. This sends Steve off on a tangent about how Carl is a Grinch and only decorated for the money and not to make children happy. Carl sees the error of his ways and apologizes.
Impressions This episode was a little better than the rest and it was nice seeing almost everyone in the family getting a lesson about having a positive Christmas spirit.
Christmas Theme: B
It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
Season Eight, Episode Thirteen
Originally Aired: December 13th, 1996
Cheap-o Carl decides he wants to cut down his own Christmas tree this year. He invites Eddie to assist him and reluctantly invites Steve along too. Unfortunately for Carl, Eddie can’t make the Christmas Eve trek for a tree and that leaves Carl with just Steve coming along for the journey.
While Carl and Steve are out looking for the perfect Christmas tree, Laura is busy kissing on both Curtis and Stefan. Harriette decides it’s time to intervene and puts Laura in a position to actually choosing between one of the guys. Laura decides to break it off with Curtis and stay with Stefan, which leads to a very awkward and horribly acted interaction between Stefan and Curtis.
Steve, of course, drives Carl nuts and the quest for the perfect tree takes so long it starts snowing and they lose sight of their tracks in the snow. They seem destined to spend the night out in the woods, but Steve uses his knowledge of astronomy to lead them out of the trees.
I really liked the whole Steve and Carl lost in the woods plot line. It was like The Pine Barrens episode of The Sopranos, but with less profanity and a half dead Russian.
Christmas Theme: B
Deck the Malls
Season Nine, Episode Eleven
Originally Aired: December 19th, 1997
It’s Christmastime again and this year the gang all finds jobs at the mall: Myra hires Steve to work at a gift wrapping booth at the mall, Carl is suckered into playing Santa, and Laura acts as his elf. Richie is upset because his mom isn’t going to make it home in time for Christmas and Steve upsets Myra because he cannot work productively.
In typical sitcom fashion, everything works out. Myra and Steve make up after a crowd attacks Steve due to his inability to wrap at an appropriate speed and Eddie drives all night to pick Rachel to make Richie’s Christmas special. Carl who hates working as Santa finds a little Christmas spirit when a young boy asks Santa to help his dad find a job.
This was Family Matters last season and the quality of the episodes were on the decline. With that being said, this episode holds up well and is a very decent Christmas episode. There is just enough absurdity to keep the laughs going while a few touching moments give it that Christmas charm.
I’ll admit I felt a little sadness when I finished this episode. I guess, I enjoyed watching The Winslows at Christmastime more than I thought.
Christmas Theme: B
Top Three Episodes Worth Watching:
Family Matters, Fa La La La Laaagghh! (Season 7, Episode 11)
Family Matters, It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
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During the seven season run of The Golden Girls, only two Christmas episodes were made, which is surprising considering that The Golden Palace ran for just one season and managed to squeeze in a Christmas episode.
Twas The Nightmare Before Christmas
Season Five, Episode Seven
Originally Aired: December 20th, 1986
The first Christmas episode aired during season two and is called Twas the Nightmare Before Christmas. The episode has a very simple set up: the girls are heading out of town to visit their respective families when they are taken hostage by a lonely man on Christmas. Yeah, I bet you didn’t see that coming.
This episode peaks at the beginning with Dorothy’s rant on consumerism at Christmas time, and it really goes all downhill from there. They are taken hostage after stopping by the counseling center that Rose works at, where a lonely gentleman dressed as Santa came busting in waving a gun and demanding that everyone in attendance spend time with him. If you had to be taken hostage, this guy was about as good as they come he brought presents.
The best joke of the episode comes when Sophia (who is tired of waiting in the car) comes to fetch the girls and realizes the kidnapper is holding a toy gun. The girls escape and make it to the airport on time, only to find out that all the flights have been cancelled due to weather.
The show ends with the girls sitting around a table at a diner feeling sorry for themselves until the waiter mentions what a nice family they have. It’s only then the girls realize they are a family and are lucky to have each other on Christmas. And just when you think it can’t get any more wholesome, it begins snowing in Miami.
This is not a strong episode of The Golden Girls and you can see why they didn’t revisit the Christmas theme for quite some time. The reason The Golden Girls is still relevant in 2017 is the show had its wholesome moments, but also offered a lot of sarcasm and even cynicism at times. It felt like real people were existing in a sitcom world.
This episode had an absurd sitcom plot that could have been entered into any sitcom in the 80’s and 90’s. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t great either.
Christmas Theme: B
Have Yourself a Very Little Christmas
Season Five, Episode Twelve
Originally Aired: December 16th, 1989
Three seasons later, The Golden Girls revisited Christmas for the last time in Have Yourself a Very Little Christmas. I wish I could say the show totally redeemed itself and hammered out a Christmas episode for the ages, but instead we got another paint-by-numbers preachy sitcom episode.
The episode begins with Stan showing up at the house trying to convince the girls to invest in his latest scam. They turn him down, because it’s well… Stan.
Similar to the first Christmas episode, Dorothy is pretty upset about the chaos that goes on during Christmas shopping and in order to cut back on the stress the girls agree to do Secret Santa, instead of buying a gift for everyone. Everyone is happy with the idea, but no one wants Rose to buy them a gift.
Rose draws Blanche’s name, but everything turns out alright. I think they did this bit just to they could infuse some humor into the episode, before turning it into an afternoon special.
So, after the gift giving is over, the girls decide to serve the homeless at Rose’s church.
::Cue dramatic shots of dirty children eating::
The second half of the episode takes place entirely at the food kitchen and features sad music and somber (and honest) comments like a lot of people are only two or three missed paychecks from living out on the street.
The big surprise to the girls is that Stan is among the poor coming for a hot meal. He’s homeless after his wife threw him out of the house, and his latest investment (toy firetrucks) didn’t arrive in time to be sold for Christmas.
In the end, Dorothy gives Stan a pep talk and he returns to the shelter and provides firetrucks for all the children.
Maybe I have too high of expectations but I still expected something better out of The Golden Girls when it comes to Christmas. This is very solid Christmas episode, in that it features some dark content that is alleviated by the Christmas spirit in the end, like most good Christmas movies do. It gets a little preachy, but a very valid point is made about our society and our economy that is still prudent even in 2017.
I don’t want to hate on this episode too much, because maybe it fails to touch me in the right spot at my age now, but I remember watching this episode as a child and it pulled on my heart strings in ways that entertainment rarely does today. It made me feel grateful and helped get across the idea that a lot of people had it harder than me. Maybe the way it was presented hasn’t aged well, but the idea and thought behind the episode is timeless.
Christmas Theme: A
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You’d think a show like Full House would have had a Christmas episode every single season, but you’d be wrong. Full House only had three Christmas episodes during its eight year run. Luckily, all three episodes are pretty decent thanks to Full House’s wholesomeness.
Our Very First Christmas Show Season Two, Episode Nine December 16th, 1988
The Tanners along with Jesse’s parents and Becky, are making their way to the midwest to spend Christmas with some relatives, when a blizzard forces the plane they are on to make an emergency landing at a random airport. This causes the family to spend Christmas around a baggage carousel with a bunch of strangers, which puts everyone in a sour mood.
Jesse fails to make a move on Becky, DJ is upset the presents are missing, and Stephanie is upset because the Santa Claus she encounters is really Joey. DJ then tries to convince Danny to tell Stephanie the “truth” about Santa, which pushes Jesse over the edge, who is sick and tired of all the negativity around Christmas. He gets everyone waiting in the baggage area to sing Sleigh Ride, which seems to bring up everyone spirits and helps everyone get some sleep.
The next morning, Michelle accidently sends Danny outside when she turns on the convey belt that he was sleeping on which helps everyone wake up laughing. The real Santa then shows up (who is actually a man who was on the flight) and he shows the girls where the missing presents were and the episode ends with everyone opening presents and singing Deck the Halls. Impressions Oh god is this episode corny, but it’s also a lot of fun. It’s one of the most memorable Christmas sitcom episodes and despite it’s intense wholesomeness and the multiple times of breaking out in song, I liked it. It took me back to my childhood and made me feel like I was sitting in front of the TV at my grandma’s house watching TV in December. Christmas Theme: A Re-Watchability: B A Very Tanner Christmas Season Six, Episode Twelve Originally Aired: December 15th, 1992 This episode has three story arcs: Rebecca is sad because she misses the white Christmases of the Midwest DJ is upset because Steve has decided to go to Daytona Beach University and will be across the country. Stephanie and Michelle are both obsessed with receiving presents and are missing the true meaning of Christmas. To be honest, any one of those arcs could provide enough content for one whole episode of Full House, but the writers masterfully interweaved them together to make a pretty solid episode. DJ plays the insecure teenager perfectly and attempts to bribe Steve into not going to school in Florida. She puts all her money into an expensive leather jacket in order to show Steve how much she loves him. Steve gifts her a Daytona Beach University sweatshirt and DJ doesn’t take it so well. Steve accuses DJ of trying to bribe him and their relationship looks to be over or at least on the rocks. Sometimes Full House could capture a real family dynamic and emotion and this is one of those times. It was a very realistic reaction by a teenager dealing with the idea of their true love leaving. After the family gift giving ensues, Jesse promises to take Michelle and Stephanie someplace truly special, and they end up at a homeless shelter. Of course, there is a lesson to be learned here, the same one in The Golden Girls episode, and like I said, it’s one of those lessons that needs not to be forgotten and I think conveying it into sitcoms that are watched by children is a great way to go about it. The girls learn their lesson and feel remorse for going present crazy. Danny ends up talking to DJ and helps her realize that she did indeed try to bribe Steve. She and Steve discussed the issue and Steve decides to stay in California and attend junior college to help improve his grades. Ya know, it’s Full House, everything has to be wrapped up properly by the end of the episode and in a positive fashion. The final story arc goes a little nuts and concludes when Jesse convinces a friend of his that makes snow cones to bring 17,000 snow cones worth of snow to his backyard and he provides Becky with the a white Christmas after all. It was touching, unrealistic, but touching. Impressions I don’t think anyone puts the Full House Christmas episodes in their top ten lists of best 90’s Christmas Episodes, but it actually is a good episode that never has a dull moment and reeks of holiday charm. Full House gets a lot of flack online these days, and yes, I know it’s a bit cheesy and wholesome, but I ask you what’s wrong with that? We need TV shows that parents can watch with their children, and I’m thrilled that Fuller House has been so successful. Christmas Theme: A Re-Watchability: B Arrest Ye Merry Gentlemen Season Eight, Episode Thirteen Originally Aired: December 13th, 1994 Michelle bought Danny a Christmas gift that is best described as a gag tie complete with a cup holder. Becky had actually bought Joey the same gift, and Danny says some pretty bad things about gag ties and this upsets Michelle and she decides to burn the present. Jesse catches her trying to put the present in the fireplace and stops her. Once he realizes what is going on, he agrees to take her to the store to exchange the gift, despite being in a very bad mood himself. Jesse and Michelle arrive at the prank store to find Mr. Dreghorn, played by the great Mickey Rooney, who is not in the holiday spirit and he refuses to exchange the gift. After some words, Jesse tries to hurry up the transaction and exchanges the gift himself, and Mr. Dreghorn locks Jesse, Michelle, and himself in the store and accuses them of shoplifting. It doesn’t take much to see that Mr. Dreghorn is actually just a lonely old man who wants to spend Christmas with anyone. Common sense finally overcomes him and he agrees to let them go, but Michelle has figured out his game. Jesse and Michelle badger Mr. Dreghorn into coming home with them and he insists on arriving dressed as Santa and hands out gifts to everyone. The gift Jesse gives to Mr. Dreghorn is the cordless phone to call his estranged family and make amends. ImpressionsThis episode was on for a whopping thirty seconds before I recognized it. It’s just one of those episodes that’s resided in my subconscious for the past twenty years and needed a small spark to remind me of it. I don’t know what is up with sitcom plots that involve kidnapping people on Christmas in order to have someone to spend time with, but I guess some people were really, REALLY lonely in the 80’s and 90’s. Like most Full House episodes, this episode had a lesson to be taught, and I think the episode is effective. It’s not a great episode by any means, and I’m pretty sure I can go another twenty years without seeing it again, but I’m glad I got a chance to revisit it. Christmas Theme: B Re-Watchability: D Top Three Episodes Worth Watching: Full House, Our First Christmas Show (Season 2, Episode 9) Full House, A Very Tanner Christmas (Season 6, Episode 12) The Golden Girls, Have Yourself a Very Little Christmas (Season 5, Episode 12)
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