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Our favourite Christmas episodes

Our favourite Christmas episodes

Studio 60 on the sunset strip: The entire episode was all sharp Sorkin dialogue and hilarity (a Santa that looked like it was giving a nazi salute) but the crux of it was that Matt Alby wanted a show that was “christmasy.” And he delivered. A moving end that had to be heard to be believed and one character finally making a big confession that changed the course of the series. This episode is all kinds of heart-warming.

Friends: We spent a fair amount of Christmases and thankgivings with the gang, but the episode where Chandler has to spend Christmas in Tulsa was our favourite. Of all the flashbacks he goes to, our favourite is of course Phoebe singing her Christmas song with all her friends’ names in it. And Chandler came back in the end. Because he missed his wife so much he couldn’t stand it. Awww.

Modern Family: The Pritchets and the Dunphys always know how to balance funny and sweet, but they outdid themselves at the Christmas episode where they all had to arrange Christmas in a day (December 10th). The clan split up and organised food, presents and decorations, all to the kind of comedy errors that cause you to cry with laughter. The episode ended with them all frolicking in fake snow. Perfection to the end.

Community: Abed’s uncontrollable Christmas is one of those episodes that make your jaw drop at the brilliance of this show. The entire show turns into Claymation as they travel through Abed’s head to a Christmas-themed planet. They sing songs and travel through a dark zone and find the true meaning of Christmas. So so cute.

The Big Bang Theory: Putting one of the most important issues of Christmas at the forefront; Sheldon is struggling to find Penny a gift equal in value to the one she gave him. But of course he fails, when Penny makes a thoughtful gesture and gifts him an autograph of Leonard Nimoy. Anything that has Sheldon Cooper stumped is a wonderful moment by our standards.

New Girl: Although New Girl is relatively new, season one had a rollercoaster of a Christmas episode that involved Paul giving Jess and expensive gift while she plans to break up with him, Nick struggling to make it home, Schmidt being Santa for his boss and Winston forming a bond with a little kid. And when everyone has clearly had a terrible day, the gang drives down to see Christmas lights and manage to wake up an entire street and it’s absolutely beautiful.

A jumbled sea of stories

A jumbled sea of stories

Usually I steer clear of movies that have characters with disabilities of any kind. I don’t like feeling forced to empathise with a character or be called insensitive if I don’t. But Bollywood, despite Guzarish and some others, has really handled disability very well in recent times. Paa, Taare Zameen Par and this week’s Barfi.
Barfi is a story about deaf and mute boy (Ranbir Kapoor is absolutely incredible in this movie and so cute!), an autistic girl (Priyanka Chopra) and of course the message of all Bollywood movies: love surpasses everything.

The movie successfully manages to skip past sympathy and gets straight to the story; that there is an autistic person and a deaf-mute is almost kind of incidental. I’m not an expert at writing movie reviews but this is a movie I would recommend to everybody. The music is very sweet and some of the scenes are shot extremely beautifully. The cast is great; it’s just a wonderfully made movie.

I caught the 11pm show and at 2.30 am, I took a rickshaw home from Andheri alone, plugged my headphones in and I realised, it was 2.30 am. A few years ago I wouldn’t dare go alone anywhere past midnight and yes, there is still that occasional moment of anxiety when I’m the only woman on Khar station and the sleeveless kurta seems to reveal more than it actually does. And then there are nights like these when I’ll stop on the way and smoke a cigarette with the rickshaw driver, when all of Bombay seems to mutter stories and the song that plays on shuffle seems to fit your life and even the street lamps look like fireflies. Nights like these when coming home and opening a word document seems organic. You have almost no idea what you’re writing but you do. It may not be as inspiring as you thought it was in the morning but what I’m coming to, after all this pointless build up is that Bombay is so full of stories, so many worlds, so many characters.

Speaking of Bombay stories, this week, Narcopolis by Jeet Thayil (of the super cool Sridhar Thayil) was nominated for the Man Booker prize. Honestly, I’m not the biggest fan of the book, the story is great, the narrative is exciting but somehow it seem a bit, erm, pretentious. I know. Maybe I just didn’t get it. Maybe I’m being a hipster and don’t want to like anything that’s popular (Ok, that’s not true. Look at the fangirlism on this website). But this is still terribly exciting news for Indian fiction and I do hope Thayil wins. We’ll know in about a month, and till then if you haven’t read Narcopolis yet, you should. Do tell me what you think.

And here’s something else I recommend this week, Go on. Matthew Perry’s latest show is about a radio jockey who loses his wife and has to attend mandatory group therapy sessions. Matthew Perry is one of my favourite actors and every time he fails I take it personally. Studio 60 lasted only one season (and what a spectacular season that was), Mr. Sunshine was terribly lackluster so I had my fingers crossed for Go on. Two episodes in, and I predict good things to come. A very cute story with Perry’s trademark humour and wit and a cast that makes for some crazy and sweet moments, Go on might just be the show to watch this season.

Movie-ception

Movie-ception

How great is the show within a show format? I know you think I’m going to start another I love Studio 60 post, but this time it’s something else. It’s an awestruck love letter to Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds in Singing in the rain. I skedaddled from Bombay this weekend and the moment I touched the green, green grass of home (don’t groan. I’m engineered to reference country western music. I was raised on it) I knew I owed myself a great classic favourite. I chose Singing in the rain and within minutes I was lost in the slapstick comedy, the singing, the tap dances and the genius of Donald O’Connor. I also found myself enthralled by the lengthy musical number from The dueling cavalier.

For those of you who haven’t had the immense pleasure of watching Singing in the rain, it’s plot is set in the time when silent films were just making the transition to the talking picture format. Screen legends Don Lockwood and Nina Lamont find themselves having to convert the film they’re acting in (The dueling cavalier) into a musical with modern dance numbers (for that era, this meant lots of fringe trimmed flapper dresses and those sexy cigarette holders). But how to make a film set in 16th century France more 1920’s and less balcony swordfight-ish? Easy. Just make it about a Broadway aspirant who happens to be reading A tale of two cities and call it The dancing cavalier. It’s genius. I tell you, if The Dancing Cavalier were an actual film, I’d watch that shit in a heartbeat.

It’s the same with all the other stuff I’ve seen on films about films or television series about films. I found everything in Studio 60, (with the exception of that biopic that Harriet was supposed to star in) hilarious and that includes peripheral vision man. In the King and I, the Siam dance drama of Uncle Toms cabin was just amazing and since we’re on the subject what was that movie with Lindsay Lohan where she stars in a play about a modern day Eliza Doolittle? Who cares, but I remember she stars in play about a modern day Eliza Doolittle! They should have given that more screen time. It would have made Lohan’s presence bearable.

Six television couples we love

Six television couples we love

Matt and Harriet from Studio 60

There’s something deeply romantic about these two. She’s his beautiful, spirited muse. He falls to pieces and becomes a gibbering wreck without her. Politically, socially, spiritually they’re at complete odds. She’s a star comedienne and he’s a deeply talented humour writer, so that’s a lot of funny in one relationship. She’s conflicted, he is stubborn.  But there’s something deeply romantic about these two.

Andy and April from Parks and Rec

“We’re in love, we didn’t over think it. I mean, I cannot emphasis how LITTLE we thought about this.” Best. Wedding. Speech. Ever. April and Andy are really children playing at being married. They eat out of Frisbees because who needs plates, their role play involves an FBI agent and a rich, 1920’s widow and they get a bunch of medical tests done for fun, when they learn they have health insurance. And they’re the cutest. April and Andy!

Marshall and Lily from How I met your mother

Lilypad and Marshmellow. Sigh. Where to begin. They met in college and they still tell each other what they had for lunch. She finds his calves irresistible and she knows never to bring up chucky before bedtime. He plans elaborate parties for her because she loves birthdays. “Happy happy lily day.”

Joey and Rachel from Friends

If I was friends with on again/off again/on a break/getting married/having a baby/load a gun and kill me already and whatnot Ross and Rachel, I would have slapped them. A lot. Joey on the other hand was perfect. He was madly in love with Rachel, so pretty, and he was closer to her IQ level than Ross was. Also, clearly he has better game.

Jackie and Hyde from That 70’s show

She is uptight and rich and he’s a rebel with sideburns; they are meant for each other. Unfortunately they don’t work out what with the strippers, weddings, Kelso and Fez in the middle, but Jackie and Hyde were the cutest couple on that 70’s show.

Joey and Pacey from Dawson’s Creek

Joey Potter was caught in the eternal struggle between her best friend and his best friend. Well, it happens to all of us (not really). The kids on the creek sure experimented with a whole bunch of people before a moderately bad boy swept Joey off her feet. And thank god for that. Dawson Leary is the most boring, weak-ass protagonist to roam the land of teenage romance television shows.

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