Alex’s Pick: “Modern Family” “Undeck the Halls”, Season 1, Episode 10
In this Christmas themed episode, Phil Dunphy (Ty Burrell) and his wife Claire (Julie Bowen), discover a burn mark on their couch and suspect that one of their three children smoked a cigarette. As a punishment, they threaten to take away Christmas if one of the kids does not confess. Meanwhile, Cameron Tucker (Eric Stonestreet) and his partner Mitchell Pritchett (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) take their daughter to the mall to get a picture on Santa’s lap. In their opinion, Santa is not “jolly enough,” which leads to funny consequences, as they invite him home for dinner. Lastly, Jay Pritchett (Ed O’Neill) tries to show his wife Gloria (Sofia Vergara) and son Manny (Rico Rodriguez) some typical American family Christmas traditions as opposed to their Colombian ones. Each intertwined story is hilarious, and this episode in particular really depicts a “modern family” by showing struggles everyday people can relate to throughout the holidays.
Grade: A for a hilarious, honest look at a “modern family”
Lucas: “Family Guy” “Road to the North Pole Part 1” and “Road to the North Pole Part 2”, Season 9, Episode 8 and Season 9, Episode 9
After standing in line at the mall to see Santa and being turned away after a long wait, Stewie sets out, along with a forced Brian, to the North Pole to take his revenge against Santa. After a series of typical disjointed and incohesive Family Guy humor, Brian and Stewie arrive in the North Pole to find a depressed and overworked Santa Claus whose workshop has been reduced to a polluting, inbreeding and grim factory to keep Christmas gifts coming for the growing population. With a nearly dead Santa unable to make the Christmas deliveries, Stewie and Brian attempt the deliveries, breaking into homes and murdering people, doing whatever it takes to deliver all of the presents but still failing. The story culminates with Brian and Stewie showing people the nearly-dead Santa and people realizing that they need to change their ways to preserve Christmas. While the plot can be thin at times and some of the story is graphic and sad, the moral comes out with a message against the abuse and materialism of Christmas.
Grade: B for a strong central plot stained by incohesive jokes and parts of the storyline
Jake: “How I Met Your Mother,” “Little Minnesota,” Season 4 Episode 11
It’s Christmas time and Robin Scherbatsky (Cobie Smulders) is missing her homeland, Canada, more than ever. As her friends try to cheer her up, Marshall Eriksen (Jason Segel) takes her to his favorite bar in order to celebrate the season with his friends from Minnesota. Robin quickly makes the bar feel like her own. Marshall becomes angry at this and outs her as Canadian while the owners kick her out of the bar, as it is for “Minnesotans Only.” Meanwhile, Ted Mosby’s (Josh Radnor) sister is coming to town, and he is worried about her recklessness and her always asking him for money. In addition, Ted is also worried about Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris), his “player” best friend, making a move on his sister. This worry is well-founded, however, as the show depicts a montage of parodied Christmas and Hanukkah songs about Barney being with Ted’s Sister. This special theme, combined with Ted and Barney’s usual antics, makes for a must watch this holiday season.
Grade: A for a whimsical spin on an entertaining program