Christmas With the Gays: Ten Classic Queer-Themed Holiday TV Moments

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Dec 24, 2019, 4:13:46 AM12/24/19
It's that time of year when all of the usual holiday classics return to
TV, but that shouldn't stop us from adding our own holiday favorites to
into the annual rotation. For LGBTQ folks, there is a long and growing
history of Christmas episodes and specials that tell our stories and/or
come from our favorite gay icons. Whether serving an outright queer
narrative, or a straight one with themes that allow for queer
appreciation or interpretation, it's time the pantheon of classic
holiday television programming was revisited from an LGBTQ point of

Here are our picks for ten Christmas specials and episodes sure make
your yuletide gay...

RuPaul's Drag Race Season 3 Episode 2 - "The Queen Who Mopped Christmas

No, not last year's deeply underwhelming holiday special from this
seemingly indefatigable franchise. It's the third season debut that was
the show's own winter wonderland. This episode also gives us everything
we want from Drag Race: a fashion challenge that demands some camp,
crackling chemistry between the contestants, and Shangela popping out
of a damn box.

The Golden Girls Season 2 Episode 11 - "'Twas the Nightmare Before

True to form, this holiday episode finds the Miami foursome's Christmas
plans delayed by armed robbery and Blanche's quaking horniness at the
sight of any man in a Santa suit. But when a storm cancels each of
their flights, leaving them stuck together for the holiday, the girls
discover the importance of something every queer person can relate to:
the family you find. Also, it's now official canon: "Surfin' Safari" is
a Christmas song.

Pose Season 1 Episode 3 - "Giving and Receiving"

Speaking of chosen families, one of the signature episodes of Pose's
first season was also one of the most important Christmas episodes of
all of time for how it examines the specific emotional and financial
pains that can strike marginalized people this time of year. The AIDS
epidemic shadows the community, but the House of Evangelista is brought
together through a triumphant win in the Snow Ball and the love of
their compassionate mother Blanca. It's a bittersweet new essential
Christmas classic.

Please Like Me Season 3 Episode 10 - "Christmas Trifle"

As with most episodes of the Australian comedy series Please Like Me,
the Season 3 Christmas special is at once funny and tragic, heart-
warming and infuriating, and it imbues all those qualities at a
Christmas dinner where a dropped gravy boat acts as a dark omen for the
rest of the meal. Josh Thomas's show was a landmark series for those
who sought it out, and we all got to spend this particular Christmas
agonizing over Josh and Arnold's doomed romance.

Dolly Parton's Home for Christmas

What could be gayer than Christmas in Dollywood? This holiday special
arrived shortly after the release of Dolly's holiday album of the same
name, and took us through her hometown and amusement park for the kind
of unassuming cheer that you'd expect from Ms Parton. The superstar-
hosted Christmas special is less common these days — with many lost to
time — but thankfully, this one is preserved on YouTube.

Lady Gaga & The Muppets Holiday Spectacular

You don't even need a holiday album to promote on your holiday special,
you can just have a regular ol' pop album. Lady Gaga may not remember
ArtPop, but with this bizarre cross-promotional special, how could we
at home forget? A wild mix of holiday songs and tracks from the album,
featuring the Muppets and a slew of celebrities like RuPaul, Elton
John, Kristen Bell, and a pitchy Joseph Gordon Levitt.

Schitt's Creek Season 4 Episode 13 - "Merry Christmas, Johnny Rose"

Naturally, the Christmas holiday highlights the "privileged
expectations vs. drab reality" concept of Schitt's Creek and its fallen
Roses. Most shows default to an expected "so long as we're together"
story on their Christmas specials, a theme that is a natural fit to
what the series is about. Schitt's Creek is happy to deliver that
message in its own typically sweet-but-snooty fashion. Plus Catherine
O'Hara's Moira Rose mentions her "Christmas pills".

My So-Called Life Season 1 Episode 15 - "So Called Angels"

We've discussed this episode before on Primetimer, but it bears
repeating. Twenty-five years later, Wilson Cruz's Rickie remains a
revelaltion, and this Rickie-centered Christmas episode shines a light
on the still under-examined issue of LGBTQ teen homeless. Good for more
than some emotional holiday melodrama, it also gives a final moment
reveal of singer-songwriter Julianna Hatfield sprouting wings and
flying off into a silent night.

At Home With Amy Sedaris Season 1 Episode 7 - "Amy's Not-So-Holiday

A Christmas special is already a ripe proposition for Sedaris' brand of
winsome subversion, and this episode does not disappoint. She dances
with some snowmen and penguins, gets maimed by an evil doll, and Cole
Escola's Chassie riffs on the ickiness of "Baby It's Cold Outside".
Plus, Jane Krakowski sings about glue.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

If you're looking among the accepted Christmas canon for possible queer
representation, the mean green one is it. Even if it's ultimately an
assimilation story, The Grinch's position as an outsider to a community
defined by nuclear families and traditions is easily interpretable as a
queer narrative. Queer icon The Grinch represents all of us who are
dealing with the season's noisy heteronormativity, yet are ultimately
swayed by the pageantry of it all in spite of ourselves.

"We need to impeach the President to find out what crime he committed."
- Nancy Pelosi

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