It’s the most wonderful time of the year! That is, time for TV shows to roll out a fresh batch of Christmas-themed episodes for our viewing pleasure. But which of the many Christmas episodes we’ve enjoyed over the years have stood the test of time to become a true holiday tradition? You tell us. We’ve ranked the most enduring Christmas episodes ever -- along with a few wild cards -- and placed them in a March Madness-style bracket. Over the past two weeks, we’ve been asking you to vote for your favorite episodes until we get a winner: the undisputed best Christmas episode of all time.
(2) South Park, "Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo" (aired December 17, 1997)
This seems like a matchup made in bracket heaven to us: a pairing of two highly irreverent Christmas classics. Mr. Hankey and his aw-shucks holiday cheer topped a heart-tugging installment of “ER” last round, and now takes on an equally skewed take on Christmas in Al Bundy’s fractured fable. But while “Married’s” heart is Grinch-y to the core (Al elects to come back to Earth just to make his family’s life miserable), this “South Park” has some genuinely touching moments, like when Kyle warbles his plaintive tune, “A Lonely Jew on Christmas.” It sounds strange to say it, but “South Park” might actually be the sentimental pick this time around.
(14) Married… With Children, "It's a Bundyful Life" (aired December 17, 1989)
Our Final Four is littered with underdogs, but none more flea-bitten than this Season 4 installment of the raunchy Fox sitcom. It barely made it into our bracket as a 14-seed, then proceeded to stun us by toppling "The O.C.’s" Chrismukkah in Round 1 and beating the tar out of the Holiday Armadillo episode of “Friends” last round. (Guess there are more die-hard Bundy fans out there than we thought.) But can the dynamic duo of Al Bundy and Sam Kinison pull off a third straight upset and finally flush “South Park’s” Christmas poo for good? Well, nobody gave Polk High much of a chance in the city championship, either, until a certain star running back scored four touchdowns in a single game… oh, you’ve heard this one before, have you?
Which episode deserves to advance to the final round of Mistletoe Madness? Vote in the poll at the top of the page, click here to see the full bracket and vote on other pairings (Final Four voting ends Tuesday at 6 PM PT), tweet out your choices using the hashtag #MistletoeMadness, and hit the comments to tell us about all the great Christmas episodes we forgot to include.
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