Posts Tagged ‘Petticoat Junction


TV Sets: Christmas Treats

Some of you may remember the 2008 Christmas Party, when I reviewed a DVD collection called TV Sets: Holiday Treats, featuring Christmas-themed episodes of eight classic sitcoms. This year, the TV Sets folks are back with a new collection — nine episodes from nine different shows, and while not all of them are fantastic, the collection as a whole makes up a fine way to spend a yuletide afternoon.

The Beverly Hillbillies kicks things off with a 1963 episode featuring Mr. Drysdale showering the Clampetts in gifts in one of his usual schemes to keep them in Los Angeles. I’ve seen this episode a dozen times, but I never get tired of it. This is truly one of the all-time great TV shows.

The Lucy Show is next, with the first Christmas with Lucy and Vivian’s families together. Lucy and Vivian each have their own traditions, though, and they begin to clash with each other. I’ve only seen a handful of episodes of this I Love Lucy follow-up, but this episode is fantastic.

Petticoat Junction, to me, has always been the least of the “Hooterville Trilogy” of TV shows (the other two being the Beverly Hillbillies and Green Acres) and this 1963 episode doesn’t really change my mind. Mr. Bedloe, that grumpy old man who wants to shut down the train, is trying to do it at Christmas. It’s not really a memorable episode, at least not to me.

Happy Days is next with the 1976 episode featuring Richie’s extremely teenage boy Christmas wish — to meet the girl on the Wisconsin Cola poster. His friends, of course, being the greatest friends in TV history, go to extraordinary lengths to make that happen. Strong episode.

Laverne and Shirley gives us a ’78 episode where the Pizza Bowl doesn’t have money for its annual Christmas dinner, leaving the girls and Carmine to try to find a way to raise it. I remember watching reruns of this show frequently when I was a kid, but it’s been years since I saw one. I recall now just why I liked it so much — this was a great show.

Mork and Mindy comes up next, also with a ’78 episode. It’s Mork’s first Christmas, and he attempts to give his friends something memorable, but as usual he has a rather amusing misunderstanding that leads to a truly warm moment.

Joanie Loves Chachi is next with — oh, wait, no. I just assumed the TV Sets people would have all of the Happy Days spin-offs in this set. Forget that, the next show is The Odd Couple from 1970. Felix is in a foul mood at Christmas, to the point where he throws Oscar out of his apartment. His nasty mood leads him into one of a trillion takes on A Christmas Carol that you’ll see this year.

From 1982, we have Cheers, with “The Spy Who Came in For a Cold One.” A stranger visits the bar and begins telling them wild tales of his life as a spy. Everyone believes him except Diane, and things start to unravel. This is really a brilliant episode, full of reversals and surprises that uniquely fit this series.

Finally, there’s a 1972 segment from Love, American Style which features a delivery man who winds up with a Christmas punch spilled on him. Afraid to go to his wife smelling like alcohol, the lady of the house tries to clean him up, and a severe misunderstanding results.

Overall, I really enjoyed this set. I’m a fan of many of these shows, and even the ones I’ve never really seen many episodes of gave me at least a few moments of amusement. It’s worth getting for a little Christmas nostalgia.


Everything But Imaginary #314: A Universal Truth

One of the things that makes comics a unique artform is the concept of a superhero “universe.” It’s hard to imagine a world with just one superhero now. Why don’t we see this sort of crossover in other media? And why do we love it in our comics?

Everything But Imaginary #314: A Universal Truth
Inside this Column:

All Star Comics #3

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