Special Feature: Holiday episodes where you least expect them (part two)
Welcome back! Once again, we kick things off under the banner of the 1980s CBS Special Presentation Title Card, as we look back at strange holiday themed episodes for series and franchises that you would never expect a holiday episode from.
Last time we looked at the hilarious third season holiday episode of 'Supernatural,' the disturbing holiday episode about Woodland Critters on 'South Park,' and the inexplicable Christmas special crossover between 'He-Man and the Masters of the Universe' and 'She-Ra: Princess of Power.'
What other strange holiday episodes have we unearthed? Onward to part two!
4) 'The X-Files' 6x06 "How the Ghosts Stole Christmas"
Yes, even the supernatural thriller 'The X-Files' got in on the holiday episode game, come the sixth season of the smash hit 1990s series.
Remember how Ed Asner played Santa Claus in Will Ferrell's comedy 'Elf?' Well Asner was brought in for an entirely different sort of holiday performance in "How the Ghosts Stole Christmas." Joining Asner is Lily Tomlin ('I Heart Huckabees,' 'Malibu Country'), teaming up as ghosts haunting a home which lights up full of activity on Christmas Eve.
The episode was written by series creator Chris Carter as a Monster-of-the-Week episode, unconnected to the series' larger mythos.
Suicide, corpses, and the exploration of a haunted house... not your traditional Christmas fare. Mulder and Scully quickly become trapped in the haunted house, as the twisted spirits within attempt to turn them against each other.
This strange episode begins with Scully wrapping Christmas presents, ends with Mulder and Scully exchanging gifts, and in the middle... the pair both shoot each other!?
Those pesky spirits are up to no good, tricking our heroes, convincing both that the other can't be trusted. Throughout this strange Halloween-esque plot, Christmas music and decorations abound, giving the episode a very eerie feeling.
Another strange aspect of "How the Ghosts Stole Christmas" is that the agents barely escape with their lives at the end of the episode, leaving the last word to the murderous spirits themselves. Seemingly still very much in love, Maurice (Asner) and Lyda (Tomlin) sit by the fire, holding hands, saying that they almost had the two agents.
The plot is left unresolved, capping off one of the strangest Christmas episodes of any series in history.
5) 'Monday Night Raw' December 1997
What can be said about WWE Raw's Christmas episodes? Let's let the video speak for itself:
Yes, the WWE hasn't been very kind to old Santa Claus.
However, it is worth noting that every year for the past decade, the WWE has recorded a "Tribute to the Troops" special from an American military base overseas. These episodes are holiday themed (usually airing on Christmas Day), giving the men and women of the American military a little taste of home around the holidays.
Here's a clip from "Christmas in Bagdad" 2003, where Santa Claus turns the tables on the evil boss, Mr. McMahon...
There's that holiday spirit!!
6) 'The Star Wars Holiday Special' 1978
How could I possibly complete this special feature without talking about one of the strangest holiday specials of all time?
Yes, Luke, Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca... the whole gang is back!
How on Earth do you have a holiday special in the Star Wars universe? Isn't it set a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away?
Why yes, it is. That's why the special day that Han Solo is talking about in the introduction above isn't Christmas--it's Life Day, the biggest holiday on Kashyyyk, Chewbacca's home planet.
The plot basically unravels from there. George Lucas himself has gone on record that he would like to track down every existing copy of 'The Star Wars Holiday Special' and smash them with a sledgehammer. The special was ill-received, given that its plot made little to no sense. It's a wonder that they even got the cast to agree to film it... although I guess a dumptruck full of money will help twist one's arm.
Something that many Wars fans won't want to admit? 'The Star Wars Holiday Special' also features the first ever appearance of Boba Fett. That's right: your beloved, cool villain debuted in the most uncool fashion possible.
Carrie Fisher noted in 2010 that she has a copy of the special in her possession. She claims she likes to put it on and show it to people at parties... "mainly at the end of the night when I want people to leave."
Oh Leia, never change!
Well there you have it! A handful of the wackiest, strangest television holiday specials of all time!
Did I miss one of your favourites? Let us know below!