The holiday season is filled with different traditions. While only some of us set up nativity scenes on our front lawns, nearly all of us set up scenes of naïveté on our kitchen counters. Our ovens bear witness to the hours that we spend preparing trademark desserts, promising ourselves that we’ll have only a bite when they’re finished; yet our couches testify to the minutes that we spend shortly thereafter, finishing the tin and licking the pan.
Although we usually dread the inevitability of this sequence of events, I propose that we take a different perspective this year. Let’s pull out the fat pants and give it all a pass. What’s more, when presented with the season’s “binge-worthy” treats, let’s indulge in the best way possible and complement it with television programming. This way, the feast will be evenly distributed between the senses. Below, I’ve provided a list of my top five favorite treat-and-show combinations for your enjoyment (in no specific order).
Eggnog and “Arrested Development” are a natural combination. If the former is thick and creamy, then the latter’s presentation of the Bluth family’s thickheaded antics is cream-of-the crop comedy. Both can be a bit boozy, too, and it’s easy to get hooked. From the didactic thrill of learning “There’s always money in the banana stand” to the cringe-inducing shock of seeing a “never nude” in his jean-shorted-flesh, there’s always something to be learned from Michael (Jason Bateman, “Identity Thief”) and crew. Just remember: “Steve Holt!”
All four seasons of “Arrested Development” are available for instant streaming on Netflix.
Sugarplums are dried fruits, rolled in granulated sugar, and they find their match in the Dowager Countess of “Downton Abbey” (played by Dame Maggie Smith, “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”), whose sweet-coated epigrams give viewers something to chew on. The uber-popular period drama tracks the going-ons of the Crawley/Grantham family at its country estate, starting in early 1912. There are pretty costumes and set locations, but at its heart, “Downton Abbey” is a preserved reminder of beautiful and troubled eras gone by.
Series four returns to PBS on Sundays in January at 7 p.m. and all three previous series are available for viewing on Netflix.
Game of Thrones
“Winter is coming” on HBO’s megahit “Game of Thrones,” making it the perfect complement to the cool, refreshing taste of candy canes. Adapted from a series of epic fantasy novels by George R. R. Martin, the show follows a rotation of characters from different noble houses as a decade-long summer comes to an end and a civil war erupts for the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms. The series favorite, Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), is a feisty-cool mother of dragons. Among the other figures, none is more polarizing than Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson), a teenage terror whose aptitude for cruel and unusual punishment knows no bounds. Kids these days…
The show’s first and second seasons are available for viewing on iTunes.
The Good Wife
Gingerbread’s spice pairs well with “The Good Wife.” After all, the lawyers at Lockhart and Gardner build defenses as sturdy as gumdrop-lined houses and they take to biting off people’s heads like children sifting through cookie tins for cutout men. The show begins after a political scandal, when “The Good Wife” (Julianna Margulies, “Stand Up Guys”) discovers alongside the national press that her State’s Attorney husband (Chris Noth, “Lovelace”) has been fooling around with prostitutes and it follows her as she returns to work as a first year associate at a well-connected Chicago firm. There’s something for everyone—crisp dialogue, buttered deals, sugary facades.
The fifth season of “The Good Wife” will return to CBS Sundays in January at 9 p.m. and its previous seasons are available for viewing on iTunes.
Simply put, fruitcake has no better complement than “Duck Dynasty.” Both are odd, fruity and more than a little dense. The reality show follows the lives of the Robertson family, whose wealth can be attributed to their family-operated business (Duck Commander) that specializes in manufacturing duck calls. In any given episode, CEO Willie Robertson attempts to provide insight into seemingly nonsensical events on the Louisiana bayou. They discuss “the bowels of bachelorhood” and “hoarding mustard,” all while sporting big beards and camouflage galore. Beyond the nutty exterior, however, is a sweet family.
The fourth season of “Duck Dynasty” is currently airing on A&E, Wednesdays at 9 p.m., and previous seasons of the show are available for purchase on DVD.