Rex Manning Day, Mean Girls Day and More: Essential Pop Culture Holidays

In The Great Gatsby, Daisy always watched for the longest day of the year and then missed it. In the age of tumblr, I always watch for Saturday Detention Day, AKA Breakfast Club Day, and then miss it. I kind of understand how Daisy must feel. In the interest of never missing another movie or TV holiday, we’re compiling them here. Did we miss any? Let us know before we’re late to yet another Aaron Samuels Day.

Galentines Day

Date: February 13
TV Show: Parks and Recreation (2009 – 2015)
Reasoning:

Leap Day

Date: February 29, every 4 years
TV Show: 30 Rock
Reasoning: 30 Rock didn’t invent Leap Day, but it did invent Leap Day William, the heart and soul of the holiday

The Day Of The Dude

Date: March 8
Movie: The Big Lebowski (1998)
Reasoning: Anniversary of the Big Lebowski’s Release

Breakfast Club Day AKA Saturday Detention Day

Date: March 24
Movie: The Breakfast Club (1984)
Reasoning:

Winston Smith Day AKA 1984 Day

Date: April 4
Book: 1984, by George Orwell (1949)
Reasoning: The day Winston Smith began his diary.

Rex Manning Day

Date: April 8
Movie: Empire Records (1995)
Reasoning:

The Perfect Date

Date: April 25th
Movie: Miss Congeniality
Reasoning:

N Sync Day

Date: April 30
Song: It’s Gonna Be Me
Reasoning:

The Battle of Hogwarts

Date: May 2
Book and Movie: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Reasoning: Confirmed by J.K. Rowling, who said that Victoire Weasley was born on the anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts, May 2. The year was 1998:

Star Wars Day

Date: May 4
Movies: Many
Reasoning:

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Date: June 5
Movie: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
 Reasoning: It’s iffy. That’s the day the audio from the Chicago Bears game they attended came from, but there may have been a few months left in the schoolyear. Also, that parade would have been in the fall. Let’s say that any day you play hooky can be Ferris Bueller Day in your heart.

Best Friends Day

Date: June 8
TV Show: Spongebob Squarepants
Reasoning: There’s no date given for Best Friends Day in the episode where Spongebob and Patrick celebrate it, so it’s usually celebrated on the Facebook-ish holiday of Best Friends Day, June 8

Bloomsday

Date: June 16
Book: Ulysses, by James Joyce (1922)
Reasoning: The events of Ulysses (main character Leopold Bloom) take place on June 16, 1904

Harry Potter’s Birthday

Date: July 31
Books/Movies: The Harry Potter series
Reasoning: Not only is this the date Harry was born in 1980, it’s when JK Rowling was born in 1965. And of course, Neville Longbottom was born the day before Harry if you want to turn it into a two-day event.

Roald Dahl Day

Date: September 13
Books: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The BFG, Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, and many, many more
Reasoning: Roald Dahl was born on this day in 1916. Last year we celebrated with a whole week dedicated to Matilda.

Mean Girls Day AKA Aaron Samuels Day

Date: October 3
Movie: Mean Girls (2004)
Reasoning:

Treat Yo Self Day

Date: October 13
TV Show: Parks and Recreation (2009 – 2015)
Reasoning: The ‘treat yo self’ episode aired on this date in 2011

Abed’s Rudolph Day

Date: December 9
TV Show: Community (2009 – 2015)
Reasoning: In the classic 2010 claymation episode Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas, this is the day Abed always watches Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer with his mom. 

Refrigerator Day

Date: December 11
TV Show: Dinosaurs (1991)
Reasoning: The date this classic episode about Refrigerator Day aired:

 

Festivus

Date: December 23
TV Show: Seinfeld  (1989 – 1998)
Reasoning: The day the holiday ‘for the rest of us’ is celebrated with the feats of strength, airing of grievances and Festivus pole.

 

ICYMI: Sugar, Butter, Flour

There are so many “National holidays” these days, but one of the most important ones was on Monday, aka Pi(e) day. All day pie. Pie is great. I love pie.

Best Of Pi(e): Celebrating Pi And Also Pie

Happy Pi Day! Nobody likes meaningless snack holidays more than me. But today’s two-for-one, celebrating the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter and also filled pastry desserts, really takes the cake. Or Pie. So let’s just go with it and celebrate some of pi(e)’s finest moments:

Best Pie Movie: Waitress

This sweet little movie features a post-Felicty Keri Russell, small-town life, an unplanned pregnancy, and a WHOLE lot of pies. Pies like I Don’t Want Earl’s Baby Pie, Baby Screamin’ Its Head Off In The Middle of the Night & Ruinin’ My Life Pie and Lonely Chicago Pie. It is really on the upper crust of pie movies.

Bonus! Waitress is soon to be our favorite pie-related Broadway musical. Still waiting on the Pi musical.

Best Celebrity Pie Argument

Best Pie Meme

Best Pi Meme

 There were fewer pi memes than you think. Anyway, this one was relevant c. 2011.


You know what goes great with pie? Coffee. Especially if that coffee and pie is being served up by someone like Luke Danes (LBH, i’ll take anything served by Luke Danes).

Bottoms Up: Our Favorite TV Baristas

It’s National Coffee Day! Normally I skip over these made-up-sounding holidays, but when I think about things that really make a difference in my day-to-day life, coffee is at the top of the list. A few weeks ago I had to go to a lake house with a janky coffee maker (my life is hard!) and waiting 15 minutes and jostling the machine to get the coffee to brew was the worst thing ever – particularly because, cruel fate, I had to do that before I’d had coffee. Not to mention the few times I’ve started my Keurig without a cup under it – again, a harmful byproduct of having to make coffee before you’ve had coffee.

That’s why, although teachers and administrative professionals and dental hygienists all deserve their respective fake holidays, people who make us coffee so we don’t have to are the real heroes. They’re the ones who keep our streets safe (because they make coffee for police officers), our population healthy (because they make coffee for doctors), and bring joy and laughter to our world (by making coffee for comedians or, if you’re into that, clowns). And how about the baristas who keep our favorite TV characters going? Today, I raise my mug to them:

Gunther, Friends

Gunther – full name Gunther Centralperk? – is a barista with “hair as bright as the sun” who did not father Rachel’s child (“that hair on a baby?”). He was full of hope – an aspiring actor who once appeared on All My Children, chronically enamored with Rachel, and ever expectant that he’d be let into the Friends clique. Ah, Gunther. You may not have been part of the primary crew, but you did something even more important: provided laughter, coffee, and – briefly – employment to the people we really cared about. Fun fact: James Michael Tyler was a real barista who earned his role, in part, due to his ability to operate an espresso machine.

Luke Danes, Gilmore Girls

At Luke’s diner, coffee was made with love – years and years of unrequited love – and served with a little bit of judgment. But as much as Luke scoffed at the Lorelais caffeine habit, he knew that it was important and was always ready with a mug of coffee and a tousled baseball cap. October 1, guys. We’re almost there.

Larry The Cook, Seinfeld

Sure, Monk’s Cafe was a full service restaurant – I mean, any restaurant that doesn’t serve a Big Salad can get out – but let’s not forget that the characters frequently referred to it as a “coffee shop,” so we all know what the main attraction was (other than the Big Salad). Larry (Lawrence Mandley) was the owner, but we can’t forget the supporting players who brought coffee to New York’s finest: checkout lady Ruthie Cohen and weird temporary owner, Mr. Vilaski.

The Waitress, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia

I don’t think there’s a good way to explain The Waitress’s storyline on It’s Always Sunny if you’re not already familiar with the tone of the show. Just know that she’s a career waitress – after a Starbucks opens across from her cafe, she also gets a job working at a Ruby Tuesday-esque chain restaurant.

Roseanne, Bonnie, Jackie, and Nancy, Roseanne

Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name. And sometimes, you just want to go where nobody cares at all what your name is, they just sort of gruffly serve you black coffee and pie.

Kit (and the full cast of Cafe Nervosa employees), Frasier

Frasier, more than any show, reminds me of the aspirations of the 90s. I watched this and – when I understood what was going on – felt like some day I, too, could order cappuccinos, own a laptop, and have my hair cut into The Rachel. Cafe Nervosa was really serving up that dream. The cafe was a Seattle coffee shop during that magical age when Starbucks still felt sort of special, and all of the employees – mostly randoms, but also Frasier’s one-time girlfriend Kit – kept our favorite tv psychiatrist well-caffeinated in true 90s style.

Emily, Pretty Little Liars

A teen can’t just run away from/towards A all the time – she’s got to make money, too. This has worked well for plot devices like having Emily working at Jenna’s party, because what high schooler didn’t want to have her birthday party at a coffee shop? Although, doesn’t working as a barista seem like more of a Spencer thing? It’s only a matter of time before someone serves up a latte with a cursive A squiggled into the foam.

Ruby/ Red, Once Upon A Time

If there’s any job that’s cuter than working in a cozy little diner, it’s working at a cozy little diner… in small-town Maine … in a village populated entirely with fairy tale characters … and also you are Little Red Riding Hood. Seriously, though, everything here looks amazing, and Ruby is the perfect coffee shop worker/ waitress who always remembers everyone’s orders (cinnamon hot chocolate, amIright?) and is super nice, even though she looks sort of scary because they dress her like she bought the Hot Waitress Halloween costume from Spencer’s Gifts.

The Coffee Shop Workers Of Portland, Portlandia

I think everyone’s been to that coffee shop that has so many rules for how to order (which Italian word meaning “large” is the large, again?) or how to behave (no laptops??) that you feel like someone must be playing a trick on you. But no, some baristas just take their work that seriously. This Coffee Shop Manifesto penned by the baristas of Portland is one of those “funny because it’s true” TV moments.

ICYMI: Spotlight on Starbucks

This week, a small number of people went insane over the design of a coffee cup. Meanwhile, there are literally people dying of terrorism. So I mean, pick your battles, folks.

The War On The War On Christmas #1: The Starbucks Cup That Killed Baby Jesus

Instead of the War On Christmas ™, now we’re faced with the War On The War On Christmas. And the first battle of 2015 is these darn red cups that made Baby Jesus cry.

The #ItsJustACup hashtag is either sticking it to the foot soldiers of the War On Christmas, or encouraging them. Here are some choice contributions:

Problem Solved – Jewish Federation of San Diego County

I’m not southern enough to ever tell someone they “need Jesus” but I do think it’s a fun phrase.


Has all this coffee talk at least made you want coffee? Well grab a cup and pretend one of our fave TV baristas served it up to you.

Bottoms Up: Our Favorite TV Baristas

It’s National Coffee Day! Normally I skip over these made-up-sounding holidays, but when I think about things that really make a difference in my day-to-day life, coffee is at the top of the list. A few weeks ago I had to go to a lake house with a janky coffee maker (my life is hard!) and waiting 15 minutes and jostling the machine to get the coffee to brew was the worst thing ever – particularly because, cruel fate, I had to do that before I’d had coffee. Not to mention the few times I’ve started my Keurig without a cup under it – again, a harmful byproduct of having to make coffee before you’ve had coffee.

That’s why, although teachers and administrative professionals and dental hygienists all deserve their respective fake holidays, people who make us coffee so we don’t have to are the real heroes. They’re the ones who keep our streets safe (because they make coffee for police officers), our population healthy (because they make coffee for doctors), and bring joy and laughter to our world (by making coffee for comedians or, if you’re into that, clowns). And how about the baristas who keep our favorite TV characters going? Today, I raise my mug to them:

Gunther, Friends

Gunther – full name Gunther Centralperk? – is a barista with “hair as bright as the sun” who did not father Rachel’s child (“that hair on a baby?”). He was full of hope – an aspiring actor who once appeared on All My Children, chronically enamored with Rachel, and ever expectant that he’d be let into the Friends clique. Ah, Gunther. You may not have been part of the primary crew, but you did something even more important: provided laughter, coffee, and – briefly – employment to the people we really cared about. Fun fact: James Michael Tyler was a real barista who earned his role, in part, due to his ability to operate an espresso machine.

Luke Danes, Gilmore Girls

At Luke’s diner, coffee was made with love – years and years of unrequited love – and served with a little bit of judgment. But as much as Luke scoffed at the Lorelais caffeine habit, he knew that it was important and was always ready with a mug of coffee and a tousled baseball cap. October 1, guys. We’re almost there.

Larry The Cook, Seinfeld

Sure, Monk’s Cafe was a full service restaurant – I mean, any restaurant that doesn’t serve a Big Salad can get out – but let’s not forget that the characters frequently referred to it as a “coffee shop,” so we all know what the main attraction was (other than the Big Salad). Larry (Lawrence Mandley) was the owner, but we can’t forget the supporting players who brought coffee to New York’s finest: checkout lady Ruthie Cohen and weird temporary owner, Mr. Vilaski.

The Waitress, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia

I don’t think there’s a good way to explain The Waitress’s storyline on It’s Always Sunny if you’re not already familiar with the tone of the show. Just know that she’s a career waitress – after a Starbucks opens across from her cafe, she also gets a job working at a Ruby Tuesday-esque chain restaurant.

Roseanne, Bonnie, Jackie, and Nancy, Roseanne

Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name. And sometimes, you just want to go where nobody cares at all what your name is, they just sort of gruffly serve you black coffee and pie.

Kit (and the full cast of Cafe Nervosa employees), Frasier

Frasier, more than any show, reminds me of the aspirations of the 90s. I watched this and – when I understood what was going on – felt like some day I, too, could order cappuccinos, own a laptop, and have my hair cut into The Rachel. Cafe Nervosa was really serving up that dream. The cafe was a Seattle coffee shop during that magical age when Starbucks still felt sort of special, and all of the employees – mostly randoms, but also Frasier’s one-time girlfriend Kit – kept our favorite tv psychiatrist well-caffeinated in true 90s style.

Emily, Pretty Little Liars

A teen can’t just run away from/towards A all the time – she’s got to make money, too. This has worked well for plot devices like having Emily working at Jenna’s party, because what high schooler didn’t want to have her birthday party at a coffee shop? Although, doesn’t working as a barista seem like more of a Spencer thing? It’s only a matter of time before someone serves up a latte with a cursive A squiggled into the foam.

Ruby/ Red, Once Upon A Time

If there’s any job that’s cuter than working in a cozy little diner, it’s working at a cozy little diner… in small-town Maine … in a village populated entirely with fairy tale characters … and also you are Little Red Riding Hood. Seriously, though, everything here looks amazing, and Ruby is the perfect coffee shop worker/ waitress who always remembers everyone’s orders (cinnamon hot chocolate, amIright?) and is super nice, even though she looks sort of scary because they dress her like she bought the Hot Waitress Halloween costume from Spencer’s Gifts.

The Coffee Shop Workers Of Portland, Portlandia

I think everyone’s been to that coffee shop that has so many rules for how to order (which Italian word meaning “large” is the large, again?) or how to behave (no laptops??) that you feel like someone must be playing a trick on you. But no, some baristas just take their work that seriously. This Coffee Shop Manifesto penned by the baristas of Portland is one of those “funny because it’s true” TV moments.

YA Novelizations That Probably Should Have Happened

With the final day of TEENS BE READING week here, we’re going to take a look at what could have been in the YA world. Missed opportunities, regrets left and right, plenty of hanging heads down in shame for never giving readers what they really want – novelizations of their favorite TV shows and movies.

In the literary world, novelizations are considered trash by any reasonable author’s standards. It’s one of the least creative ways to use your talent as a writer, and one of the most looked down upon. But people still do it. And they’re still entertaining. Mama’s still gotta get that money. Of course, novelizations are nothing new, in fact we’re covered them before with Dawson’s Creek (hint: a Gilmore Girls one may be on deck). There are plenty of books to choose from when it comes to kid and teen shows, such as Full House, The OC and Lizzie McGuire, but unfortunately not all our faves could be translated into the magic that is novelizations.

Here are our picks for what could have been. Books that could have had the chance of having Harry Potter like popularity. Ok, probably not, but it’s nice to dream.

Summerland: A Fresh New Summerland

The Summerland novel serves as a final chapter in the cancelled too soon WB series that ended only after two seasons. The book picks up five years later, when Bradin (Jesse McCartney) is a successful professional surfer who, after 3 years sober, resorts back to drinking when he has a string of losses. Meanwhile, we find out Nikki (Kay Panabaker) has lost touch with her former BFF and BF Cameron (Zac Efron), who suddenly became a movie star after he was spotted in the mall by a casting director. In the novel, he attempts to win her friendship – and maybe even her love – back.

The Real World: Seattle : The Slap

One of the most iconic moments in Real World history happened in season seven, when a dramatic showdown between Irene and Stephen led to the slap heard ’round the world. In this novelization, we only follow the lives of Irene and Stephen through a series of alternating past and present day (as in 1998) stories. We follow Stephen as he’s raised by a single mother in a black Muslim household then converts to Judiasm at 15, and we see Irene as she goes through the constant battle with Lyme disease. It all comes to a head when Irene calls out Stephen for being gay in “Present Day”, and his immediate response is to throw her beloved stuffed animal in the Seattle waters then slap her across the face. The epilogue includes Stephen revealing actually IS gay and engaged. To a man.

Guts: The Aggro Crag’s Revenge

For years, The Aggro Crag had to deal with tiny little teens climbing up its sides. No matter how hard it tried, they always managed to find their way to the top. In this Choose Your Own Adventure-type book, contestants must choose their paths up to the mount wisely, with rocks, creatures, and very bright lights at every turn. You won’t have a safety harness to rely on this time around, so do, do, do, do, you have it? GUTS.

S Club 7 in L.A. : S Club 7 in Las Vegas

Following their three TV series, Miami 7, S Club 7 in L.A., and Hollywood 7, the fictional British pop group continued their story via book form. Set in 2002, a year after the Hollywood season, the singers hop in their red convertible and drive to Las Vegas (despite the fact management offered them a private jet) to kick off their six-month residency at the Golden Nugget. The seven-book series features a singer’s perspective in each book. Tina’s got a side job working as a showgirl on her days off, Bradley fell in love with a girl at the Wheel of Fortune slot machines and he may or may not have gotten drunkenly eloped, and Paul is in massive debt due to his gambling problem.

Seinfeld: The Book About Nothing

Literally the one about nothing. The book is full of blank pages. The final page is a sketch drawing of Kramer storming into Jerry’s apartment.

Sister Sister: Sister Sister (Sister)

In this non-canonical novelization of Sister Sister, Tia and Tamera’s lost triplet, Tarisa, shows up with a desperate plea for money. Suspicions are raised when they realize that Tarisa doesn’t look like them and appears to be an adult woman. It all comes to a head when Tarisa has to dress up as Tamera to take Tamera’s Geometry test for her for some reason!

Destinos: An Adventure In Present Tense Spanish

This companion novella to the substitute teacher-endorsed “Spanish” hit takes you deep into the world of Fernando and Raquel. Or actually, very shallowly into their world, because all of the dialogue is written in basic Spanish. Raquel’s uncle Jorge is missing at the zoo and she and Fernando have to use all of their rudimentary vocab to find him! ¿Encontrará Fernando al tío de Raquel in el parque zoológico? They’re asking all their best questions and dropping all their most relevant knowledge: !Tío Jorge lleva una camisa roja! !Anduve cerca de las gallinas! ¿Ha visto a mi tío Jorge? ¿Cononce a Jorge, el hombre que le gusta jugar al tenis?

Friends: Ben’s Dyno-mite World

Capitalizing on 90s children’s fascination with Friends, a show about grownups, this chapter book highlights the busy, modernish Greenwich Village life of Ben, a little boy growing up with two moms and a dad he sees once or twice a season. When Ben gets lost in the Natural History Museum, he has to use his dino smarts to find his way back to his dad. He is with his Uncle Joey, but he is mostly useless.

Titanic: My Heart Will Go On And On

After the sinking of the Titanic, 17-year-old Rose Dawson (nee Dewitt Bukater) lands in New York with nothing to her name – so she makes a name for herself, first gaining popularity on the Vaudeville circuit, then starring in early silent films. As Rose’s fame grows, she finds herself bound for England aboard the Lusitania. Rose finally lets herself love again – a roguish scamp named Mack Carson – but when the ship meets a tragic fate, Rose must learn that her heart will go on. And on.

Zoom: Ub-an Fub-un Tub-ime Ub-in 02134

It’s a Saturday afternoon in Greater Boston’s zaniest zip code. The Zoom kids have to complete a fun obstacle course across Allston without dropping their balloons – or triggering Zoe’s latex allergy. When someone swipes Alisa’s bookbag during a rousing round of the cup game, the gang has to track it down by snacktime! Where could it be? Find out in this adventure written entirely in Ubbi Dubbi.

ICYMI: Venti Half-Caf Over Ice With A Shot Of Diversity

Not sure if that order even makes sense, but I do know what makes not a lot of sense is Starbucks’ recent campaign for diversity.

Uncomfortable Discussions To Have With Your Starbucks Barista

At Starbucks – as in life – everyone has an objective. The customer wants some damn caffeine. The barista wants to do their job, then get paid. And the Starbucks corporation wants to start a racial dialogue. All in a morning’s coffee run, eh?

Starbucks is facing a lot of crinkled brows and quizzical expressions – basically, everyone is looking at them with Jaden Smith Face – because of their new initiative, #RaceTogether. A barista has the option of writing Race Together on your coffee cup (in Starbucks tradition, probably spelled wrong). That can start a conversation about race between the barista who just wants to do their job, and a person who presumably hasn’t had coffee yet. Sounds awesome. If it seems familiar, that’s because this was also the plot to an ill-received country song that we live-blogged a few years ago.

But listen. I don’t want to go to Starbucks knowing that I’m going to face an uncomfortable discussion about race with a side of Grande Americano with skim. I want to go to Starbucks not knowing what kind of uncomfortable discussion I’m going to have. Starbucks making me discuss racism with a stranger sounds an awful lot like classroom group work, something I hated my entire educational career, but fine. While we’re at it, let’s talk about everything that’s taboo in polite company.

Here are some conversation starters to get the discussions rolling with your favorite barista or customer:

Money
  • Wow. Venti? How much do you make?
  • On your way to work? Cool. How much do you make?
  • Gold card? How much do you make?
  • How do you feel about poor people?
  • POOR PEOPLE. Am I right?
Relationships
  • Didn’t you always used to come in with that one guy? What happened?

Despite the weirdness Starbucks is going through right now, let’s be real – we still love coffee too much to totally give up on awk questions with our fave baristas (shout out to my boy Alan).

Bottoms Up: Our Favorite TV Baristas

It’s National Coffee Day! Normally I skip over these made-up-sounding holidays, but when I think about things that really make a difference in my day-to-day life, coffee is at the top of the list. A few weeks ago I had to go to a lake house with a janky coffee maker (my life is hard!) and waiting 15 minutes and jostling the machine to get the coffee to brew was the worst thing ever – particularly because, cruel fate, I had to do that before I’d had coffee. Not to mention the few times I’ve started my Keurig without a cup under it – again, a harmful byproduct of having to make coffee before you’ve had coffee.

That’s why, although teachers and administrative professionals and dental hygienists all deserve their respective fake holidays, people who make us coffee so we don’t have to are the real heroes. They’re the ones who keep our streets safe (because they make coffee for police officers), our population healthy (because they make coffee for doctors), and bring joy and laughter to our world (by making coffee for comedians or, if you’re into that, clowns). And how about the baristas who keep our favorite TV characters going? Today, I raise my mug to them:

Gunther, Friends

Gunther – full name Gunther Centralperk? – is a barista with “hair as bright as the sun” who did not father Rachel’s child (“that hair on a baby?”). He was full of hope – an aspiring actor who once appeared on All My Children, chronically enamored with Rachel, and ever expectant that he’d be let into the Friends clique. Ah, Gunther. You may not have been part of the primary crew, but you did something even more important: provided laughter, coffee, and – briefly – employment to the people we really cared about. Fun fact: James Michael Tyler was a real barista who earned his role, in part, due to his ability to operate an espresso machine.

Luke Danes, Gilmore Girls

At Luke’s diner, coffee was made with love – years and years of unrequited love – and served with a little bit of judgment. But as much as Luke scoffed at the Lorelais caffeine habit, he knew that it was important and was always ready with a mug of coffee and a tousled baseball cap. October 1, guys. We’re almost there.

Larry The Cook, Seinfeld

Sure, Monk’s Cafe was a full service restaurant – I mean, any restaurant that doesn’t serve a Big Salad can get out – but let’s not forget that the characters frequently referred to it as a “coffee shop,” so we all know what the main attraction was (other than the Big Salad). Larry (Lawrence Mandley) was the owner, but we can’t forget the supporting players who brought coffee to New York’s finest: checkout lady Ruthie Cohen and weird temporary owner, Mr. Vilaski.

The Waitress, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia

I don’t think there’s a good way to explain The Waitress’s storyline on It’s Always Sunny if you’re not already familiar with the tone of the show. Just know that she’s a career waitress – after a Starbucks opens across from her cafe, she also gets a job working at a Ruby Tuesday-esque chain restaurant.

Roseanne, Bonnie, Jackie, and Nancy, Roseanne

Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name. And sometimes, you just want to go where nobody cares at all what your name is, they just sort of gruffly serve you black coffee and pie.

Kit (and the full cast of Cafe Nervosa employees), Frasier

Frasier, more than any show, reminds me of the aspirations of the 90s. I watched this and – when I understood what was going on – felt like some day I, too, could order cappuccinos, own a laptop, and have my hair cut into The Rachel. Cafe Nervosa was really serving up that dream. The cafe was a Seattle coffee shop during that magical age when Starbucks still felt sort of special, and all of the employees – mostly randoms, but also Frasier’s one-time girlfriend Kit – kept our favorite tv psychiatrist well-caffeinated in true 90s style.

Emily, Pretty Little Liars

A teen can’t just run away from/towards A all the time – she’s got to make money, too. This has worked well for plot devices like having Emily working at Jenna’s party, because what high schooler didn’t want to have her birthday party at a coffee shop? Although, doesn’t working as a barista seem like more of a Spencer thing? It’s only a matter of time before someone serves up a latte with a cursive A squiggled into the foam.

Ruby/ Red, Once Upon A Time

If there’s any job that’s cuter than working in a cozy little diner, it’s working at a cozy little diner… in small-town Maine … in a village populated entirely with fairy tale characters … and also you are Little Red Riding Hood. Seriously, though, everything here looks amazing, and Ruby is the perfect coffee shop worker/ waitress who always remembers everyone’s orders (cinnamon hot chocolate, amIright?) and is super nice, even though she looks sort of scary because they dress her like she bought the Hot Waitress Halloween costume from Spencer’s Gifts.

The Coffee Shop Workers Of Portland, Portlandia

I think everyone’s been to that coffee shop that has so many rules for how to order (which Italian word meaning “large” is the large, again?) or how to behave (no laptops??) that you feel like someone must be playing a trick on you. But no, some baristas just take their work that seriously. This Coffee Shop Manifesto penned by the baristas of Portland is one of those “funny because it’s true” TV moments.

O Come Let Us Adore… Holiday-Themed Sitcom Episodes

ATTENTION: IT IS DECEMBER. IT IS THE LAST MONTH OF 2014. WHAT HOW HUH.

Ok now that I’ve made you feel like you’ve done nothing this year, it’s time to introduce you to our special holiday playlists of the month, because we like spreading joy here at Cookies + Sangria.

If you are a frequent reader of our blog, you know that we usually have a Playlist of the Month featuring our favorite songs based on the given theme. For December, we decided to give our gifts to you early (yay!) and have THREE ‘playlists’ that are all holiday themed. Today we’re kicking it off with some of our favorite holiday sitcom episodes. If you’re like us, you enjoy watching stuff like this to get into the spirit, so break out the egg nog (or just like, wine or something) and kick back with some of the best Christmasukkah crap TV has to offer!

Molly’s Picks

Parks and Recreation – Citizen Knope
{Season 4, Episode 1}

Guaranteed to bring on my annual Yuletide happy-cry, in this episode Leslie learns that as much love and dedication as she has for her friends and community, they have for her. Leslie always gives almost obsessively perfect presents, but after her rough suspension she receives the best gifts a gal could ask for: the love of her friends, a gingerbread facsimile of her workplace, and a campaign staff.

Seinfeld – The Strike
{Season 9, Episode 10}

Yes, my family has celebrated Festivus. The Feats of Strength were a real bummer because my brothers are both 6’5, but I think the Airing Of Grievances hurt more. If you don’t know what those things mean, you need to watch this episode.

The Office – Christmas Party
{Season 2, Episode 10}

Remember those sweet, early ‘will they/won’t they’ days of Jim and Pam’s relationship? When a Christmas gift exchange turns into a forced Yankee Swap, Jim’s gift to Pam is in jeopardy. She ultimately gets the teapot he bought her, but not before Jim removes the note he wrote her … then gives it to her like 7 years later.

Guys. I really miss this show sometimes.

Friends – The One With The Routine
{Season 6, Episode 10}

Do you guys remember Millennium Fever? Survivalists were freaking out about Y2K and everyone else was under heavy pressure to have the best New Year’s ever. When Monica and Ross land a spot on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, they decide to bust out their childhood dance routine.

Surest sign you were a tweenaged Friends fanatic in the late 90s: you watched the episode (taped on VHS, naturally) over and over until you had that routine down. Guilty.

30 Rock – Ludachristmas
{Season 2, Episode 9}

This one had me at the title. What can I say, I love a good portmanteau. But the episode itself seriously delivered. Jack’s mom (Elaine Stritch) is in town, as is Liz’s family (including her brother, whose brain injury makes him believe that it is perpetually 1985). The TGS Christmas party is ruined when Kenneth takes it upon himself to teach everyone the Real Meaning Of Christmas, and saved when Tracy decides to ignore his alcohol monitoring bracelet.

The Simpsons – The Simpsons Roasting On An Open Fire
{Season 1, Episode 1}

I was a big Simpsons fan as a little kid, and this is probably my favorite of their Christmas episodes. Homer gets a job as a mall Santa, but still comes up short on Christmas Eve. He and Bart hit the racetrack, and come home with the best present of all – Santa’s Little Helper, the losing greyhound they bet on.

Traci’s Picks

The Office – A Benihana Christmas
{Season 3, Episode 11}

This isn’t just one of my favorite Christmas episodes, it’s one of my favorite episodes of The Office – ever. There is so much going on in this episode that I don’t even know which storyline is my favorite. So let’s break it down. First we have Michael, whose realtor girlfriend, Carol (and Steve’s IRL wife) breaks up with him, leading him into a spiral of depression. To help him with the pain, he goes out to lunch at Japanese restaurant Benihana with some of the guys in the office. Michael and Andy pick up two of the waitresses (Kulap!) and bring them back to the office for the annual Christmas party. Except Michael can’t remember which Asian waitress was the one he was hoping to hook up with, and after a heart to heart with Jim, Michael realizes he really likes someone else and invites them to go to Jamaica with him (spoiler alert, it’s Jan). Speaking of the party, there are actually two dueling parties between Angela’s Party Planning Committee and Pam and Karen’s margarita-karaoke party. This is important because it’s the first time Pam and Karen are actually getting along despite the fact there’s the whole Jim love triangle. Eventually the two parties merge, and all is fine. Oh and as a Christmas present to Jim, Pam has been playing an elaborate trick on Dwight which involves the CIA. This episode is The Office at its finest. It has the perfect mix of humor, heart, and plot progression that will fit in a special hour-long episode. Ugh, I miss this show.

Friends – The One With The Holiday Armadillo
{Season 7, Episode 10}

This is obviously one of the more iconic moments of Friends – even though it’s from one of the much-debated later seasons. Ross wants to teach Ben about Haunukkah, since he’s half Jewish, but all Ben wants to do is talk about that Santa dude. Ross gives in, but it’s too late into the season that all the Christmas-related costumes are sold out, so he settles for an armadillo – the Holiday Armadillo to be exact (who is Santa’s representative for all the southern states. Annnnnd Mexico!) But because Ben has uncles who love him a lot and want to help out, Joey and Chandler dress up too, and the result looks like the Easter Bunny’s funeral.

Full House – Our Very First Christmas Show
{Season 2, Episode 9}

When I was a kid, I always thought Corduroy and his story was just the coolest. The fact that this bear came to life and gets to wander around a department store at night when it was closed just seemed so intriguing to me. Basically, any plot that involves people (or inanimate objects coming to life, I guess) being stuck in a place where they’re not usually supposed to be is great to me. In the first Christmas episode from Full House, the fam is on its way to Colorado for the holidays, but a blizzard forces the plane to land in a rando small airport and they have to spend the Christmas Eve in the baggage claim waiting room. Jesse’s dad tries to get Jesse to kiss Becky under the mistletoe, Deej is mad that their gifts have gone missing, Steph is upset because she doesn’t think Santa will find her in the stupid airport, and Joey doesn’t get a real storyline because this is Full House. Eventually some guy Steph was afraid of on the plane turns out to be the real Santa, and they all get their presents. It’s full of cheese, but what else do you expect from this show?

Parks and Recreation – Ron and Diane
{Season 5, Episode 9}

Because Leslie Knope is the greatest, she dresses up in this elf/santa’s workshop worker costume to tell Ron he is nominated for an award from the Indiana Fine Woodworking Association for a chair he recently built. Ron invites Diane to the ceremony and Leslie invites herself, and therefore meets Diane for the first time (cameo appearance from Tammy 2). Meanwhile, the rest of the gang are planning their annual Jerry Dinner – every time Jerry does something stupid, they put a dollar in the box, and at the end of the year, they use the money to treat themselves to a dinner. But on their way to spend the $500, Tom, Donna, April and Andy pass by Jerry’s house only to find out that the Gengriches, including Christie Brinkley, are having a big Christmas party without them. Ann, who is a guest at the party, won’t let them in, but they finally apologize and end up giving the Jerry Dinner money to Jerry to help pay for his hospital bills after his fart attack.

How I Met Your Mother – How Lily Stole Christmas
{Season 2, Episode 11}

Lily finds an old message on their answering machine that Ted left for Marshall after Lily left him to go off to San Francisco. He called her a grinch (bitch) and urged Marshall to get over her. Ted tells her that in all fairness she was being a huge grinch during that time, and refuses to apologize, which makes Lily furious. She takes away “Lily’s Winter Wonderland”, in which she decorates the entire apartment full of snow and Christmas items, and it’s Marshall’s favorite part about the holidays, especially this year since he’s busy studying for the bar exam. There are a lot of episodes in HIMYM focusing on Marshall/Lily and Ted/Marshall/Barney, but there are a few which get to focus on Lily/Ted, and this is one of them. Throughout college, it was Mashall, Lily, and Ted as a trio, and sometimes it’s hard to remember that with the Marshall/Lily ship, so seeing them fight and ultimately reconcile in this episode is certainly a Christmas miracle.

Saved By The Bell – A Home For Christmas
{Season 3, Episode 24}

Boy, do I love/hate a teen show which tries to incorporate adult subject matter. We briefly talked about how this show handled drunk driving and drugs during our SBTB Week a few months ago,  and this is no different. Most of the gang has jobs at the mall, and Zack lit’rally runs into this blonde girl and hits on her but he turns around for one second and she’s gone. Separately, Zack and Screech run into a man in the bathroom who they realize is homeless. Turns out, the blonde, Laura, not only works with Kelly at a department store, but is the homeless man’s daughter, and they’ve been living in their car after he lost his job. Zack’s mom offers to let them stay at their house until they find a place to stay. At the same time, the crew is putting up A Christmas Carol, which IRONICALLY mirrors a similar story between Laura and Kelly and their mean scroogey boss Mr. Moody. The episode ends with everyone singing Silent Night around a piano, and S2G, if I watched this episode as an adult I would hate it, but because I watched it so many times as a kid, the corny factor doesn’t even bother me. God bless us every one (esp Zack Morris).

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Bottoms Up: Our Favorite TV Baristas

It’s National Coffee Day! Normally I skip over these made-up-sounding holidays, but when I think about things that really make a difference in my day-to-day life, coffee is at the top of the list. A few weeks ago I had to go to a lake house with a janky coffee maker (my life is hard!) and waiting 15 minutes and jostling the machine to get the coffee to brew was the worst thing ever – particularly because, cruel fate, I had to do that before I’d had coffee. Not to mention the few times I’ve started my Keurig without a cup under it – again, a harmful byproduct of having to make coffee before you’ve had coffee.

That’s why, although teachers and administrative professionals and dental hygienists all deserve their respective fake holidays, people who make us coffee so we don’t have to are the real heroes. They’re the ones who keep our streets safe (because they make coffee for police officers), our population healthy (because they make coffee for doctors), and bring joy and laughter to our world (by making coffee for comedians or, if you’re into that, clowns). And how about the baristas who keep our favorite TV characters going? Today, I raise my mug to them:

Gunther, Friends

Gunther – full name Gunther Centralperk? – is a barista with “hair as bright as the sun” who did not father Rachel’s child (“that hair on a baby?”). He was full of hope – an aspiring actor who once appeared on All My Children, chronically enamored with Rachel, and ever expectant that he’d be let into the Friends clique. Ah, Gunther. You may not have been part of the primary crew, but you did something even more important: provided laughter, coffee, and – briefly – employment to the people we really cared about. Fun fact: James Michael Tyler was a real barista who earned his role, in part, due to his ability to operate an espresso machine.

Luke Danes, Gilmore Girls

At Luke’s diner, coffee was made with love – years and years of unrequited love – and served with a little bit of judgment. But as much as Luke scoffed at the Lorelais caffeine habit, he knew that it was important and was always ready with a mug of coffee and a tousled baseball cap. October 1, guys. We’re almost there.

Larry The Cook, Seinfeld

Sure, Monk’s Cafe was a full service restaurant – I mean, any restaurant that doesn’t serve a Big Salad can get out – but let’s not forget that the characters frequently referred to it as a “coffee shop,” so we all know what the main attraction was (other than the Big Salad). Larry (Lawrence Mandley) was the owner, but we can’t forget the supporting players who brought coffee to New York’s finest: checkout lady Ruthie Cohen and weird temporary owner, Mr. Vilaski.

The Waitress, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia

I don’t think there’s a good way to explain The Waitress’s storyline on It’s Always Sunny if you’re not already familiar with the tone of the show. Just know that she’s a career waitress – after a Starbucks opens across from her cafe, she also gets a job working at a Ruby Tuesday-esque chain restaurant.

Roseanne, Bonnie, Jackie, and Nancy, Roseanne

Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name. And sometimes, you just want to go where nobody cares at all what your name is, they just sort of gruffly serve you black coffee and pie.

Kit (and the full cast of Cafe Nervosa employees), Frasier

Frasier, more than any show, reminds me of the aspirations of the 90s. I watched this and – when I understood what was going on – felt like some day I, too, could order cappuccinos, own a laptop, and have my hair cut into The Rachel. Cafe Nervosa was really serving up that dream. The cafe was a Seattle coffee shop during that magical age when Starbucks still felt sort of special, and all of the employees – mostly randoms, but also Frasier’s one-time girlfriend Kit – kept our favorite tv psychiatrist well-caffeinated in true 90s style.

Emily, Pretty Little Liars

A teen can’t just run away from/towards A all the time – she’s got to make money, too. This has worked well for plot devices like having Emily working at Jenna’s party, because what high schooler didn’t want to have her birthday party at a coffee shop? Although, doesn’t working as a barista seem like more of a Spencer thing? It’s only a matter of time before someone serves up a latte with a cursive A squiggled into the foam.

Ruby/ Red, Once Upon A Time

If there’s any job that’s cuter than working in a cozy little diner, it’s working at a cozy little diner… in small-town Maine … in a village populated entirely with fairy tale characters … and also you are Little Red Riding Hood. Seriously, though, everything here looks amazing, and Ruby is the perfect coffee shop worker/ waitress who always remembers everyone’s orders (cinnamon hot chocolate, amIright?) and is super nice, even though she looks sort of scary because they dress her like she bought the Hot Waitress Halloween costume from Spencer’s Gifts.

The Coffee Shop Workers Of Portland, Portlandia

I think everyone’s been to that coffee shop that has so many rules for how to order (which Italian word meaning “large” is the large, again?) or how to behave (no laptops??) that you feel like someone must be playing a trick on you. But no, some baristas just take their work that seriously. This Coffee Shop Manifesto penned by the baristas of Portland is one of those “funny because it’s true” TV moments.

How Normcore Are You?

Normcore is the movement or trend or – thing, I guess? – rejecting hipsterishness and “opt[ing] into sameness” (thanks, Wikipedia!). Yeah. But what does that really MEAN? I read the NY Mag piece about it, but that didn’t help much.

  • Is it still hipsters liking things ironically, but now it’s ironic fleeces and sneakers instead of trilbys and mustaches? Mustaches HAVE been coopted by the Pinterest Industrial Complex, after all…
  • Is it because all of the cool 70s – 90s clothes have been cleared out of thrift stores, leaving Gap hoodies and Adidas windpants for the too-cool masses?
  • Is it a more realistic version of 90s nostalgia? It is basically the stuff that adults wore from 1996 – 1998. The style of Seinfeld, if you will.
  • Is it a non-sexist version of “Basic Bitch”?
  • Is it just regular people wearing normal clothes, turned into a “movement” because a journalist had an early Monday deadline for a trend piece?

I’ll be damned if I know. As we said about “ratchet,” normcore cannot be seen or heard, but must be felt with the heart (™ Helen Keller). Here’s the best Am I Normcore self-test I can come up with.


 Do you own khakis?

KHAKIS!

No: 0 points
Yes: Do you need them for work?

If yes: 1 point

If no: 2 points


Do you own a fleece?

No: 0 points

 Yes: Is it necessary for outdoor activities, e.g. hiking?

If Yes: Hiking? That’s pretty normcore. 2 points.

If No: Do you refer to your fleece as “my North Face” or possibly “the Columbia?”

If Yes: 1 point. You are possibly a college girl in a windy climate, or were in the near past.

If No: 2 points. Normie.


You are walking around the city all day. What is on your feet?

Heels: 0 points

Men’s Dress Shoes (I identify as a man): 1 point

Men’s Dress Shoes (I identify as a woman): 0 points

Women’s Flats (I identify as a woman): 1 point

Women’s Flats (I identify as a man): 0 points (strictly because I’m pretty sure the gender binary is normcore)

Canvas sneakers, converse, old-timey high tops, etc: 1 point

Sneakers (the cushiony kind, with ankle support) in color: 2 points

Sneakers (the cushiony kind, with ankle support) in black or white: 5 points (Are they Reeboks? Give yourself another point, Norm-an Bates!)


Betsy or Tacy?

Betsy: 0 points

Tacy: 1 point

… Huh?: You’re dead to me.

You know what? Tib, actually: 2 points


Pick an Olsen Sister:

Two Of A Kind: Definitely the Olsen’s normcore phase. Or was 1998 just the world’s normcore phase?

Mary-Kate: 2 points

Ashley: 3 points

Elizabeth: 0 points

Nellie: Zero points, but let’s hang out.


Pick a type of bagel

 

 

…. Are you doing it?

 

 

….Do you have it yet?

 

Any kind of bagel: 2 points. Bagels are so NORMCORE.

Donuts: Cute. That’s cute. You get 1 point. On one hand, donuts are more normcore than bagels. I guess. On the other, you lose normcore cred because a real normal person would have answered the question.

I don’t know: 0 points. Also you couldn’t come up with a SINGLE kind of bagel? You’ll never be normcore if you insist on being this weird!


You’re getting married! What would be a really good wedding song?

At Last: 1 point. You are basically more normal than normcore.

First Day Of My Life: 0 points. You are clearly normal, maybe trying to seem slightly less normal.

You Make My Dreams Come True: 3 points. What says “I like ordinary things?” better than carefully-selected Hall & Oates tunes?

You probably wouldn’t have heard of it: 0 points. You passed normcore and went straight to hipster. Congrats?


Let’s talk about your cake topper:

Traditional man/woman, man/man, or woman/woman cake topper: 2 points. Nobody has those anymore unless they are specifically trying to choose middle of the road-y things.

Lady dragging husband down the aisle, reeling in husband, chaining ball to his foot, etc: 0 points. Let’s all try to be better than this. But you probably aren’t normcore, just misguided.

Well, I saw this thing on Pinterest…: 1 point. You might be normcore, but you’re probably just normal.


Bangs Or No Bangs:

Bangs: 0 points

No Bangs: 1 point

Do you mean like on me, or just sort of generally?: I don’t know. Have a point.


You have a cat. Where did you get the cat?

From a shelter: 2 points

It was outside: 1 point

I knew someone getting rid of the cat: 3 points

A way that was super on-purpose (breeder, e.g.): 4 points. Anyone who tries to get a cat is almost putting effort into seeming normal. And isn’t that what normcore is all about?


Congrats, you have a baby! You got married and adopted a cat, what did you really think would be next? Name that baby! (It’s a girl):

Something like Emma or Sophia or Isabella: 0 points. Normal, not normcore.

Something like Louisa or Harriet or Jane: 3 points. You intentionally choose the standard over the non-standard — even when the “standard” may also be less popular.

Something like Dorothy or Edith or Mabel: 2 points. Picking an old-lady name says “hey, I’m being a bit different here!”, but picking one that everyone has heard says “… but let’s not go crazy, now.”

Something like Morningflower or Thessalonia: 1 point. The names aren’t normcore, but they’re so different that I could see you getting real into, you know, cultural movements.


Okay, add ’em up, everybody! Ready:

20 – 30 points: You’re not normcore. You’re just normal.

10 – 20 points: You might be normcore – there are some indications that you aren’t all the way normal. But you might just be a little bit normal, a little bit not. Consult a doctor you trust for further evaluation.

0- 10 points: You’re not normcore. But you might be a hipster. Maybe.

TV Finales As Written By The How I Met Your Mother Writers

What a finale! During the last episode of How I Met Your Mother, we learned that Ted met The Mother at the train station after the wedding and stayed in New York, that Robin and Barney got divorced, that The Mother died of a nameless, convenient disease, that if you’re a career-focused lady your marriage will probably end but maybe in a decade your friend’s wife will die and he’ll hit you up, and that the writers must have liked Lily and Marshall the best. We also learned that the past nine years have been — in many Twitter users’ opinions anyway —  either a waste of time or a lie. Neither of us 100% hated the finale, but we sure didn’t love it, either.

The plus is, we now have a sitcom finale format that we can use to ruin the ending of any TV show that you ever came to love! Take a look:

Full House

Wait, we already knew the mother was dead the whole time, right?  It seemed like Danny would never find love – until Jesse and Rebecca get divorced. Then Danny gets with Becky, which is convenient because he was already keeping her and her children in his attic.

The purpose of the whole series was for Bob Saget to explain to his daughters why their cousins were becoming their step-siblings.

All of this is able to happen because Danny’s real love (Uncle Joey, natch) dies. Danny can finally go for Becky once that puppeteering, Popeye-impersonating cock-block is out of the way thanks to … I don’t know, cancer or something? Consumption? Some sort of vague, beautiful illness. It doesn’t matter.

I Love Lucy

Fred and Ethel get divorced. Ricky dies. Lucy confesses that she loved Fred all along. And the whole series was just a traumatizing story-session in which Lucy fishes for dating advice from Little Ricky.

Also Ricky Ricardo was really from Milwaukee. Because everything you thought was true was a lie.

Friends

The thing we were waiting for for years finally happened – Ross and Rachel got back together and tied the knot! Then, quicker than you can say “four divorces,” the marriage ended. Rachel didn’t hang out much anymore. Then Monica died. And Chandler married Rachel, which makes Emma and the twins some sort of cousin-siblings. And the whole series was just a way to explain to the twins why daddy’s trying to get with Auntie Rachel.

Joey gives his last “how YOU doin’.” To an accident-baby.

M.A.S.H.

How could you possibly improve on arguably the best TV finale of all time? Easy, using the HIMYM Series-Ruining Format. The good news is that the events that viewers spent years waiting for finally happened.  Klinger and Soon-Lee get married. And divorced. But it’s cool, she hooks up with Father Mulcahy. The war ends! Hawkeye boards a helicopter, and looks fondly down at  the goodbye message that B.J. wrote in the camp.

Then the helicopter crashes. Onto Sophie the Horse.  Because if you wait seasons and seasons for something to happen, the writers just might give it to you – but true to the HIMYM Series-Ruining Format, you can be sure that they’ll take it away by the end of the episode.

Seinfeld

Make the Seinfeld finale worse? Sure! The HIMYM writers are up to the challenge. When the gang’s plane makes a crash-landing, they see a man getting carjacked and fail to help him. Under the jurisdiction’s Good Samaritan Law, they are put on trial, and all of their old acquaintances come back as character references. Elaine gets reluctant about hanging out with her friends – maybe because she’s in a separate facility, maybe because bitches be crazy and have too many feelings to maintain friendships –  which makes things real weird between everyone. Then, she and Jerry get together and get married by a justice of the peace in the local jail! But they get divorced real quick. They are all found guilty.

And sentenced to death.

Roseanne

Everyone remembers the real Roseanne finale, right? We learned that Dan actually died of a heart attack at Darlene’s wedding. His survival – and everything that happened afterward, including winning the lottery – was a story created in Roseanne’s imagination to cope with the immeasurable sorrow that filled her days.

Actually, this one can stay just how it is.

St. Elsewhere

NEVER SHAKE A DOCTOR. NEVER.

The audience learns that the whole show took place in the imagination of a little boy who has autism, who gazes at a snow-globe containing the titular hospital. The boy drops the snow-globe as he – the kid you hadn’t even met until this episode but who was the key to the entire show – dies. You see the main characters, in miniature, all fall out of the tiny snow-globe hospital. Maybe some of them die too. Were any of them married? Cool. They divorce.

The Office

Remember the wedding between Dwight and Angela? Well, they hadn’t finished paying it off before they got divorced. Jim dies. Pam marries Dwight. I guess Kelly and Ryan can be the Lily and Marshall of this operation, and nothing bad really happens to them. Toby fathers some sort of baby.

Newhart

Dick and Joanna split up. Joanna takes up with George Utley.

THEN, Dick wakes up and we find out that the whole thing was a dream. His name is Bob, he does NOT live in Vermont, and he did NOT divorce Joanna. Really dodged a bullet there! We meet the woman that he actually married. She is wonderful.

She dies.

In the last frame, Bob has taken a train to Vermont in order to track down the woman of his (literal) dreams – Prudence Goddard.

 

Lost

The whole time, you thought you might have been in purgatory.

Actually, you were in hell.

12 Days Of 90s Christmas Episodes

Christmas Eve is only a week away, and if you haven’t gotten yourself into the spirit yet, it’s time to start — unless you don’t celebrate Christmas, in which case, carry on as you were. In the spirit of the season, we present you with a dozen days’ worth of 90s Christmas episodes, because if there’s a perfect cross-section of things we love, it’s 90s, tv, and holidays.

Enjoy a restrained viewing experience of an episode per day from now til the end of Christmas week, or spend a solid 6-12 hour block binging on holiday cheer. Extra-awesome: the episodes are ordered chronologically, so you can follow all of the wacky hair trends, silly fashions, and political references (this is probably the only Christmas post you’ll read this year that mentions the Clinton impeachment).

DAY ONE

Family Matters – Have Yourself A Merry Winslow Christmas (1990)

Family Matters never shied away from showing you the weird love-hate, codependent, mocking relationship the grown-assed-adult Winslows had with the sad, outcast teenaged boy next door. In this episode, Steve ruins the Winslows’ Chrismas (of course!) but is invited over after Laura finds him alone in his basement, abandoned by his real family. Shouldn’t somebody call child protective?

Babysitters Club – Baby Sitters Special Christmas (1990)

Don’t they mean SUPER-Special Christmas? Come on, Ann M. Martin! Believe it or not, this is streaming on Netflix

DAY TWO

Saved By The Bell – Home For Christmas (1991)

Everybody gets mall jobs and then they make friends with a homeless girl who we never see again. What’s not to love? (Teen homelessness).

The Cosby Show – Clair’s Place (1991)

Cliff builds a special room for Clair, the family decorates the tree, and there are cookies. Christmas is honestly just a backdrop for an entire episode built on the theme “MAMA JUST NEEDS SOME ‘ME TIME'”.

DAY THREE

Rugrats – The Santa Experience (1992)

Hard to believe that mere infants at the time this episode aired are now of legal drinking age. As are Tommy and the gang, come to think of it. There’s just too much good stuff in this episode – a coveted Deluxe Cynthia toy, the adults getting thwarted when they try to dress as Santa, a Gift of the Magi situation between Phil and Lil, and a cozy getaway cabin.

DAY FOUR

Roseanne – White Trash Christmas (1993)

In the most Roseanne-y Christmas move ever, the family rebels against neighborhood decoration rules by decorating their house real trashy-like. Also, Fake Becky works at Fake Hooters.

The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air: ‘Twas The Night Before Christening (1993)

Sure, it isn’t the best Christmas episode ever, but it is the only one featuring Boyz II Men. Good news: they perform at Nicky’s christening. Bad news: That one guy doesn’t start the song by talking all low and deep, something like “Boy… today we dedicate you to God. But first, I dedicate my love… all of my love… and this song” and then they all start doing a dance with folding chairs. That’s how I’d have played it.

DAY FIVE

My So-Called Life – So-Called Angels (1994)

Some of the best Christmas episodes don’t as much warm your heart, so much as cut it open like a merry Yuletide knife. I mean, Angel Juliana Hatfield? Little Ricky with his little candles? Brian on the helpline? MSCL always tugs at my heartstrings (remember Rayanne with Sesame Street and the song about the car?), and this episode just proves why Claire Danes has been making us all ugly cry for 2 decades.

DAY SIX

Full House – Arrest Ye Merry Gentlemen (1994)

This episode is from Full House’s golden age, and boy does it show. It has a Michelle-centric plot, a person stranded away from family before Christmas (Jesse gets arrested), a guest star who’s probably too good for this (Mickey Rooney), and my all-time favorite Christmas episode trope — the characters helping a crotchety old man reconnect with his family at Christmas.

DAY SEVEN

Living Single – Let It Snow, Let It Snow Let it Snow… Dammit (1995)

The crew celebrates Christmas in a Canadian cabin, there’s a Mountie, Synclaire dyes his Santa suit pink, and we all learn the Real Meaning Of Christmas (TM).

Home Improvement – Twas The Flight Before Christmas (1995)

You know, tv had me believe that I’d be stuck in an airport during major holidays way more than I actually have. Bonus: this episode aired at the height of JTT mania, so you can watch this and try to remember what we were all thinking. This episode has such a truly witty and spectacular title that it was re-used by an episode of the Disney show Dog With A Blog (which sounds like an insult someone would use if they hate me and also think I’m ugly).

DAY EIGHT

The Adventures Of Pete And Pete – O’ Christmas Pete (1996)

If anyone dares question why us millenials have been flocking to quirky independent comedies since our teen years, I’d point them to The Adventures Of Pete And Pete. Unlike the shiny neon Nickelodeon shows of today, Pete and Pete was decidedly offbeat. This Christmas episode shows what happens when a kid follows the universal desire to keep Christmas going as long as possible. Even as an adult, I still hate that 12/26 slump.

DAY NINE

Seinfeld – The Strike (1997)

My family celebrates Festivus off-and-on. I hold my own in the Airing of Grievances, but the Feats Of Strength didn’t go so well as an 11-year-old girl with two giant older brothers.

DAY TEN

 Ally McBeal – Making Spirits Bright (1998)

Vonda Shepherd sings, there’s a Christmas party at the office, Billy defends a man who claimed to see a unicorn, and we find out that Young Ally also saw a unicorn, because she clearly has a lifetime history of hallucinations that she probably should have looked into at some point.

DAY ELEVEN

Saturday Night Live – Alec Baldwin (1998)

Fond, awkward family memories: my whole family – grandparents, siblings, aunts, etc – were all watching this episode when the Schweddy Balls sketch aired. We all tried to stifle our laughter – to no avail – while keeping my Grammy in our peripheral vision. She was super-proper and prayed the rosary every day. An all-around good episode, it also aired at the height of the Clinton impeachment scandal, and included a sketch where Molly Shannon plays a clown with weird feelings about a little girl who looks like a grown man, a Bill Brasky segment, and a Harlem Globetrotters Christmas cartoon.

DAY TWELVE

Friends – The One With The Routine (1999)

You know, you should really watch all of the Friends Christmas eps, but I like ending our series with this one because it’s also a New Year ep. Favorite parts: the “AZ” and the routine, which I compulsively rewound with my friend Jenny to learn all of the steps when we were supposed to be watching her baby sister.